Much to do about a Pumpkin

What does usually think of when Halloween once again pops overs for a visit? Well in this household it is what to do with the Jack-O-Lantern left behind? Leave it to go mouldy and try to dispose of it without touching it? Or, chop it up and make it into hearty meals thereby giving Jack a purpose to his short life other than to look spooky-but-not-really for one night.  Naturally we chose the latter, and so jack soon became among other things, part of a lasagne, soup, quick bread and pie.   Jack, you have done well and we look forward to seeing you again next year!  Until then, below will be a record of your invaluable contributions to our happy bellies.

Pumpkin Lasagne:
(Serves 4)

This came about as a result of copious bottles of opened red wine sitting around and a craving for something indulgent but wholesome and a need to empty some almost-finished boxes of lasagne sheets.  I used tinned plum tomatoes, as I don't know about you but for some reason I really do not like the taste of chopped tomatoes!  Try cherry tomatoes too, they are divine in a sauce.


Red Wine Sauce:
  • About 400g Pumpkin, cubed (1cm)
  • 1 Small Pack (250g) Spinach, Chopped
  • 2 Red Onions, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 1 Carrot, Finely chopped
  • 1 Celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1Tbsp Fresh Sage, chopped
  • 400g Tin of tomatoes
     -Plus 1/4 Can Water to swill and add to pot
  • 200ml Red Wine
  • 1Tbsp Oil
White Sauce:
  • 1tsp Dried Thyme
  • 300ml Milk
  • 25g Butter
  • 1Tbsp Flour
  • 50g Strong Cheddar Cheese, finely grated
  • Nutmeg, grated
  1. Pre-heat the oven to GM6/200C/400F
  2. Coat the pumpkin with oil, salt and pepper and roast in oven for about 45 minutes until tender
  3. Coat the base of a large pan with oil (I used sunflower), add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and gently heat for about 15 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add the red wine to the vegetables and simmer uncovered gently for about 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol, then stir in the sage, tomatoes and water.  Break up the tomatoes and stir to mix, then bring to the boil and simmer partially covered for 20-30 minutes gently until all the vegetables are tender.
  5. Meanwhile, pan-fry the spinach in a little oil, and season with nutmeg and pepper.  Set aside.  (I actually used mature spinach from the garden which takes slightly longer to cook, but equally delicious).
  6. Heat the milk and add the thyme until almost boiling.  Remove from heat, season and leave aside to infuse.
  7. Blend the red wine sauce until mostly smooth and stir in the cooked lumps of pumpkin.  Season with salt and pepper.
  8. To make the white sauce, melt the butter gently until sizzling, add the flour and stir over a low heat to cook for about a minute.  Stir in the milk gradually over a medium heat to prevent lumps (whisk if lumps form or keep stirring) until the sauce thickens.  Season and set aside.
  9. Assembly: In a oven-proof dish, layer half the red wine sauce, top with half the spinach then sheets of wetted lasagne sheets.  Top lasagne sheets with the remaining red wine sauce and spinach then another layer of wetted lasagne sheets.  Press down the sheets gently to level and pour over the white sauce.  Top with the grated cheese and put the lasagne in the oven for about 30 minutes until the whole thing is bubbling hot and the top golden.

Pumpkin and Ginger Teabread:
(Serves 10)

This recipe was taken from the BBC Good Food website which was mildly adapted to suit my caeliac of a housemate to be gluten-free.  It's best served warm straight from the oven in my opinion or microwaved for a few seconds on high later on.  Other than plain and simple, I liked spreading Nutella on top of my slice for a little bit of chocolate naughtiness.  I made this in a tray baked for about 50 minutes but of course times vary with ovens or tins used.  The site recommends 50-60 minutes in a 2lb loaf tin.

  • 175g butter , melted
  • 140g clear honey
  • 1 large egg , beaten
  • 250g raw peeled pumpkin, coarsely grated
     -(about 500g/1lb 2oz before peeling and seeding)
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 350g Gluten-Free self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/ fan 160C. Grease and line the base of a tray bake with baking paper.
  2. Mix the butter, honey and egg and stir in the pumpkin or squash. Then mix in the sugar, flour and ginger.
  3. Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. Serve thickly sliced and buttered.
    NB: I found with gluten-free flour the cake was slightly more fragile, so handle with care!

Pumpkin Pie
(Serves 4)


  • 300g Pumpkin, cubed (1cm)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Courgette, sliced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 Celery, sliced
  • 100g Green Lentils
  • 1/4tsp Dried Tyme
  • 1 Tomato, cubed
  • 150ml Red Wine
  • 200ml water (made up with courgette pan juice)
  • 2Tbsp Soya Sauce
  • 3 large potatoes (about 300g), peeled and quartered
  • 1 Small Bunch Dill (25g)
  • 1Tbsp Wholegrain Mustard
  • Knob of butter
  • Splash of milk
  1. Pre-heat oven to GM6/200C/400F
  2. Boil some water with a bay leaf and enough to cover lentils generously and cook for 30-45 minutes until tender.
  3. Coat the pumpkin in oil and season before roasting for 30-45 minutes in the oven until tender.
  4. Heat some oil in a frying pan and pan fry the courgettes over a high heat until lightly singed and withered. Season and set aside.
  5. Swill out the pan and make up to 200ml to make some stock.
  6. In a pan, coat the base of the pan with oil and add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery - cover and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  7. Add tomatoes and cook until softened then add wine and simmer for 5 minute uncovered to evaporate alcohol.  Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme and soya sauce, bring to the boil and simmer covered for about 20-30 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
  8. Meanwhile, boil some salted water and cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until tender.  When cooked, mash with butter, mustard and enough milk (about 75-150ml) to make a smooth spreadable mash.  Stir in the dill and season.
  9. Blend the sauce when ready and stir in the pumpkin, courgettes and lentils then seaso.
  10. To assemble: Pour the filling into an oven-proof dish and top with the the mash, level out roughly and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until bubbling hot and golden.


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