The thriller that is the pumpkin

The thriller that is the pumpkin

Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand…

Halloween is not just cause for celebration because it allows us to dust down Thriller once more.

Along with the ghouls, zombies, beasts and witches Halloween is pumpkin season.

And it can do so much more than sit on your doorstep with a candle flickering away inside it.

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin risotto, and pumpkin beer – the pumpkin just keeps giving.

Pumpkins not only lend themselves to a variety of dishes they are packed with some real healthy perks too.

A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin is rich in carotenoids and contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light.

Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fibre and low in calories. A fibre-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds.

Move over bananas because the pumpkin’s on its way: if you have ever touted the banana as nature’s energy bar, it’s time to do the maths. It turns out that a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refuelling nutrient potassium, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

Nice n spicy Thai pumpkin soup

Ingredients:

1½ kg pumpkin or squash, peeled and roughly chopped
4 tsp. sunflower oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1 lemongrass, bashed a little
3-4 tbsp. Thai red curry paste
400ml can coconut milk
850ml vegetable stock
Lime juice and sugar, for seasoning
1 red chilli, sliced, to serve (optional)
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Toss the pumpkin or squash in a roasting tin with half the oil and seasoning, and then roast for 30 minutes until golden and tender.

Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion, ginger and lemongrass. Gently cook for 8-10 minutes until softened.

Stir in the curry paste for 1 min, followed by the roasted pumpkin, all but 3 tbsp. of the coconut milk and the stock. Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes, and then fish out the lemongrass.

Cool for a few minutes, then whizz until smooth with a hand blender, or in a large blender in batches.

Return to the pan to heat through, seasoning with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar, if it needs it.

Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with chilli, if you like.