Gingergirl: A trick with Jack-o’0lanterns that is a real treat

editorial image
Hello and welcome to all about food. It’s that time of year again…

Hello and welcome to all about food. It’s that time of year again…

Ask gingergirl

Hello gingergirl,

Every year I promise to myself that I will use the flesh of the pumpkin when we scoop it out to make our lantern but every year I just end up throwing it in the bin! Can you please give me a tasty recipe and relieve my guilt!

Thank you,

Aoife, Shannon

Hello Aoife,

I can only imagine the amount of pumpkin flesh that is disposed every Halloween as excited children and frazzled parents get homes ready for the spookiest time of year!

When I was younger, like most households, pumpkins were not readily available so it was to the trusty turnip we turned to make our little lanterns!

As many of you will know, this was quite a painstakingly slow task as turnip is a lot tougher to scoop out that pumpkin and we were only too happy to bin the smelly stuff!

Pumpkin are much more versatile – when it comes to cooking (and in lantern decoration) – it is delicious in soups, curries, cakes, pickles and it’s particularly delicious in these falafels…

Pumpkin Falafels

Serves 4

1kg of pumpkin (or butternut squash) peeled, deseeded and cut into wedges

400g can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried on kitchen paper

1 garlic clove, chopped

½ teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

A small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

1 handful of breadcrumbs

For the salad

2 carrots, coarsely grated

½ small red onion, finely sliced

100g of feta cheese, crumbled

4 wholemeal pitta breads to serve

Preheat the oven to 180ºc. Place the pumpkin wedges on a baking tray and roast for twenty-five minutes or until soft and slightly golden. Meanwhile, tip the chickpeas, garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and half of the parsley into a food processor, and process until the chickpeas are chopped but not smooth.

Allow the pumpkin to cool slightly, then add to the chickpea mix with some seasoning and the breadcrumbs. Give everything a good stir, then shape into twelve little patties with your hands.

Put the falafels on a plate and chill for at least ten minutes – you can chill overnight if this suits better.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining parsley with the grated carrot, onion and feta cheese, then set aside.

Heat the grill to medium, then cook the falafels on a baking tray for three to five minutes on each side until golden. Split the pitta breads lengthways and fill with the warm falafels and some of the feta salad.

Contact gingergirl


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.

Letters to ‘gingergirl’ c/o The Limerick Leader, 54 O’Connell St. Limerick.