Seasonal local food recipe No.300 – Nigel’s dhal and pumpkin soup

This recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. He boils his pumpkin flesh for 10 minutes but I am going to try roasting it instead which means I don’t have to peel it first.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
A walnut-sized knob of ginger, peeled and cut into thin shreds
225 g split red lentils
1 1/2 litres water
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground chilli
250 g pumpkin flesh, roasted or boiled
A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

For the onion topping:
2 onions, peeled and cut into thin rings
2 Tbsp groundnut oil
2 small, hot chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

Put the onion, garlic, ginger, lentils and water into a large, heavy-based saucepan, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to an enthusiastic simmer.  Stir in the ground turmeric and chilli, season and leave to simmer, covered, for twenty minutes.

To make the onion topping, cook the sliced onions in the oil in a shallow pan until they start to colour.  Add the garlic and chilli and continue cooking until the onions are a deep golden colour.  Set aside.

Once the lentils have been cooking for 20 minutes, uncover and turn up the heat, boiling hard for five minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the cooked pumpkin flesh.  Blend the soup until smooth, reheat then add the coriander.  Serve in bowls with a spoonful of the spiced onions on top.

Seasonal local food recipe No.248 – Mauritian pumpkin curry

The Guardian Cook supplement had the 10 best pumpkin recipes this weekend.  I am going to try this delicious-sounding curry from Ivor Peters at

Serves 4
Preparation and cooking time: 40-45 minutes

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, grated
3cm of fresh ginger, grated
2 green finger chillies, sliced lengthways
1kg pumpkin, diced
½ tsp salt
A dash of sugar
200ml water
1 tsp ground coriander
12 fresh curry leaves
2 sprigs thyme

In a large, lidded pan, heat the oil over a medium heat, fry the onion until blonde, tip in the garlic, ginger and chillies until they sizzle a little, browning at the edges.

Add the pumpkin chunks, season with salt, a touch of sugar and add the water. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the pumpkin flesh has yielded.

Remove the lid and sprinkle in the ground coriander, curry leaves and thyme sprigs, cooking uncovered for another 10 minutes, reducing the pumpkin stew a little.

Eat with rice or a flatbread such as faratha or chapatti.

Seasonal local recipe No.203 – Nigel’s gratin of pumpkin and borlotti beans


The large amount of double cream in this Nigel Slater recipe made me wilt. So when trying it out I put in a lesser quantity of creme fraiche mixed with yoghurt, and tinned borlotti beans in the absence of fresh.

A firm and flavourful winter squash from my veg box substituted the more watery pumpkin, so I hope I got away with it! Result: still the “resoundingly satisfying family meal” that Nigel intended.

Serves 6

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: one hour

3 small onions, roughly chopped
5 tbsp oil
1kg pumpkin or other yellow-fleshed squash (peeled and seeded weight)
250g borlotti beans (weight before podding)
350g gruyere
500ml double cream
30g grated parmesan

Warm the onions in the oil in a deep pan. Cut the pumpkin into large dice, then add to the softened onions and continue cooking till the pumpkin has coloured a little at the edges. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.

Pod the borlotti and boil the beans hard for 10 minutes in unsalted water then drain. Cut the gruyere into large dice and scatter in the bottom of a large baking dish. Put the onion and pumpkin on top of the cheese, add the drained borlotti beans, then season with salt and black pepper. Pour over the cream, scatter the top with grated parmesan and bake for 35-45 minutes till the cheese has melted and the cream is bubbling around the edges.

Seasonal local food recipe No.166: Halloween pumpkin cake

If, like me, you’re fond of carrot cake, you’ll enjoy this. It’s another way of using up the flesh from the Hallowe’en pumpkin in Camel CSA’s weekly veg boxes

This is adapted from the recipe in BBC GoodFood (which adds a rich frosting). There are quite a few different versions. Tess, one of our CSA members, includes pine nuts in hers (a delicious addition) and finishes with a swirl of glace icing.

Serves: 15 portions

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 mins

For the cake
300g self-raising flour
300g light muscovado sugar
3 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g sultanas
½ tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
200g butter, melted
zest 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
500g (peeled weight) pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, grated

For the drizzle
100g icing sugar , sifted
zest 1 orange and juice of half

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line a 30 x 20cm baking or small roasting tin with baking parchment.

Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Beat the eggs into the melted butter, stir in the orange zest and juice, then mix with the dry ingredients till combined. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch.

Mix together the icing sugar, orange zest and juice. When the cake is done, cool for 5 mins then turn it onto a cooling rack. Prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with the icing mixture while still warm. Leave to cool completely.

BBC GoodFood says: “Pumpkins can vary dramatically in water content, so keep an eye on the cake towards the end of cooking – yours may take less or more time to cook through. If you’re not carving out a pumpkin this year butternut squash works brilliantly, too.”

Seasonal local food recipe No.127: Spiced squash (or pumpkin) soup

This warming, spicy soup is a great antidote to rich, Christmas food. It’s an adaptation of a couple of classic recipes, using the squash or pumpkin as well as chillies, carrots, onions, garlic and parsley from this week’s Christmas vegetable boxes.

Serves: 4

Preparation: 20 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins

750g squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 fresh red or green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1.25 litres vegetable or chicken stock
Lemon juice
Flat-leaf parsley or chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 180°c/gas 4.

Peel the squash or pumpkin, remove the stringy bits and seeds and discard them. Chop it into cubes and put in a roasting tray mixed with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, the garlic and the spices. Cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft and brown at the edges.

Place a pan on a medium heat with the remaining olive oil. Add the carrot, onion, celery and chilli and sweat until softened but not coloured. Then mix in the roasted squash or pumpkin and the stock.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes until all the vegetables are soft and cooked through.

Blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth. Taste and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, then sprinkle with some chopped parsley or chives.

Serve with a swirl of creme fraiche and a scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds or crispy bacon pieces.

Seasonal local food recipe No 119: Pumpkin pie

If you’ve carved out your pumpkin for Hallowe’en and you want a change from making soup with the flesh, why not try this recipe for Pumpkin pie from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. She claims it’s the best pumpkin pie she’s ever tasted.

Alternatively, try Camel CSA’s Pumpkin and apple curry or some of the other recipes linked to from that page.

Serves 6

Preparation: about an hour
Cooking: 55 minutes

For the pastry:
50g butter
100g plain flour
1 egg yolk, beaten
icing sugar for dusting

For the filling:
450g pumpkin flesh, cut into chunks
100g soft brown sugar
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp honey
grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ lemon
grated zest of 1 orange and juice of ½ orange
3 eggs, beaten

To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and just enough very cold water to gather it into a ball. Roll out the pastry and line a 20cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork, cover with greaseproof paper and weigh this down with some rice or baking beans. Bake the pastry case blind for about 20-25 minutes. Take it out of the oven, but leave the oven on, and let it cool slightly, then remove the rice or beans and paper.

Meanwhile make the filling. Having removed its seeds, steam the pumpkin until tender. Put the pumpkin and all the remaining ingredients except the eggs into a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the eggs and blend. Pour into the pastry case and bake for 55 minutes, until a skewer comes out of the centre clean. Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar.

Seasonal recipe No 11 – Squash (or pumpkin) and apple curry

This week’s seasonal recipe comes from 14-year-old Jenny Simmons, our Duke of Edinburgh’s award volunteer.  She often cooks it for her family.  It can be found in Joy May’s Vegetarian nosh 4 students. 

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 25 minutes

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
1 butternut squash – diced
4 large potatoes – diced
2 eating apples, cored and chopped into chunks
1 dessertspoon curry paste
2 mugs water
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp raisins

Naan bread, rice and yogurt to serve

1. Fry onion, squash and potatoes in the oil for 5 mins until they begin to brown.

2. Add the apple, water, stock cube, raisins and curry paste. Bring to the boil. Turn down the heat, put the lid on the pan and simmer for 15 – 20 mins until veg are cooked.

Jenny says:

“This is double the quantities in the cookbook. We like to give it a bit of a mush at the end till we get the texture we like.”

Amounts may have to be adjusted depending on the size of the squash or pumpkin!

Click here to see all the recipes that Camel CSA members have recommended so far.

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