Gingergirl

Helen Keown

Reporter:

Helen Keown

Pumpkins are a seasonal favourite of the Gingergirl
Welcome to all about food. It’s that time of year again…

Welcome to all about food. It’s that time of year again…

Ask gingergirl

Hello gingergirl,

I see pumpkins are now stacked in the shops and at the markets for Halloween but I have no idea what to do with them apart from carving a face into one! Have you any tasty suggestions?

Regards,

Gerry, Raheen

Hello Gerry,

It is no secret that autumn is by far my favourite season with a wonderful array of produce at its finest right now. Pumpkins are top of my list and I get so excited when I see them appear in the market. In the gingergirl kitchen I use pumpkin for risotto, soup, curry and aspire to take the time to make pumpkin ravioli with sage butter. As I mentioned previously, I also make pumpkin cake adding mixed spice and orange zest for a delicious treat.

There are many varieties of pumpkins available from the most recognisable ‘field pumpkin’ to ‘small sugar’, ‘sweet mama’, ‘crown prince’, and ‘baby bear’. For cooking, look out for smaller pumpkins as the flavour will be more intense. Choose a firm, unblemished, smooth pumpkin that feels heavy for its size. Do note that pumpkins are not just for Halloween and will keep in a cool place for up to one month.

For a simple yet fantastic supper on cold autumn evenings it has to be roast pumpkin.

Roast pumpkin with sage

(Serves four)

1 medium size pumpkin

2 red onions, finely sliced

1 clove of garlic, also finely sliced

A handful of fresh sage

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Toasted pine nuts or skinned hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and membrane (save the seeds, see below). Cut the pumpkin into slices lengthways. Place the pumpkin slices on a baking tray along with the sliced red onions, drizzle with olive oil and season well. Roast for fifteen minutes then remove and turn each pumpkin slice to ensure a wonderful caramelised finish. Add the garlic and a handful of sage and bake for a further ten minutes. For a more substantial meal serve with brown rice.

Baking pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be baked and used as a tasty snack, stirred into yoghurt and fruit, added to salads or used in baking bread.

Heat the oven to 180ºc. Separate the seeds from the membrane and rinse under cold water. Place the seeds on a paper towel to dry for a few minutes. Brush a baking tray with a little vegetable oil and place the seeds on the tray in a single layer. Toss the seeds to coat with the oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake the seeds for 15-20 minutes or until brown. Allow to cool before eating. Store the seeds in an airtight container.

Contact gingergirl

www.gingergirl.ie

email: helen@gingergirl.ie

Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

You can follow gingergirl’s on Twitter – under gingergirlfood or on Facebook – under ‘gingergirl’.