We all love the simple pumpkin. It is one of the most versatile vegetables as it can be made both sweet and savoury. (Plus, I love the fact that in Europe pumpkins are still fed to cows - lucky them.)
Most parts of the pumpkin are edible - the skin, the seeds, the leaves and even the flowers. We are spoilt for choice. The skin is usually left on the plate and the seeds go in the bin. These, however, are great dry-roasted in the oven and eaten as a snack or added to salad, baking and cereal.
I think my taste for pumpkin first developed as a baby. We were fed mashed vegetables cooked in home-made chicken stock; pumpkin, kumara, potato and spinach from the garden. The tradition continued and my girls were fed the same (although a while ago now). I would make a huge pot so I could eat along with them, as it was so delicious. From there, thankfully, they became a little more discerning, as their tastes developed and now we all love spiced roast pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pies, cake and tempura.
Today's whole pumpkin, stuffed with a simple yet flavoursome risotto, is a great centrepiece for the dinner table. Serve with a fresh salad and bread.
Another option is to buy mini pumpkins and make one per person. Not only does this look impressive, they take half the time to cook.
Take a simple risotto recipe and add your own magic flavour. I've used chicken stock, because it's my favourite. Use vegetable if you'd rather. Add gruyere, a bit of blue cheese, or other herbs from the garden.
When the family is all at home on a wet Sunday, what is more warming than a pot of nourishing soup bubbling away on the stove, the aroma filling the house? This pumpkin and green curry soup is a favourite. Make extra and freeze it ready for next time or for an easy lunch on a busy day.
I often use a potato masher, rather than pureeing it, for a chunkier soup, great for dunking your bread into.
You can't explore the uses of pumpkin without having a sweet option - a cake, pumpkin pie, or even pumpkin icecream. This date and pumpkin cake will satisfy all sweet lovers. Quite dense, it can be served as a dessert with yoghurt or icecream, but is probably better with a cup of tea.
• For more of Angela Casley's fabulous recipes, visit foodhub.co.nz