We do love our winter squashes;,crown prince being the favourite, so tasty and creamy, and truth be told many pumpkin varieties are not developed for taste, but instead for their showy size. Atlantic giant will grow huge given the right conditions (we once grew a 104 lb fruit – yes that’s 7.5 stone! ) and can be a lot of fun, but not the best for eating – the flesh of these monster varieties is usually a bit stringy and watery, and often there is a big cavity inside . So when we cut open one of our pumpkins to carve for halloween, we were pleasantly surprised to find a good deal of worthwhile pumpkin flesh inside.
The variety was ‘jack-o-lantern’ and it met its remit perfectly – producing fruit the right size for a big lantern We carved out over three kilos of flesh and I made pumpkin cake – based on this recipe, only I left out the orange completely and added in some cinnamon – and delicious it was too.
Alas a person cannot live on cake alone (regardless of what our son says), and I went on to make a soup which I think is seriously delicious – spicy enough to make me sniff, so if you prefer milder, alter the amount of curry powder:
Curried pumpkin and lentil soup
I kilo of pumpkin (peeled and deseeded weight) cut into chunks
200g red lentils
4 tsp medium curry powder
seasoning to taste
double cream (optional)
thick plain yogurt to serve.
Cover the pumpkin and lentils with enough water to cover, add the curry powder, cover the pan and simmer until both the lentils and the pumpkin are very soft and mushy, adding more water if necessary. Blend – I used a hand held blender, alternatively use a liquidiser or push through a sieve.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, but be careful as curry powder often has salt added. Add more water if it is too thick, but creamy is the consistency to aim for. Reheat through, stirring all the time. At this point you could stir in some cream for extra indulgence
Serve with a dollop of creamy yogurt