It’s raining outside. The beautifully golden afternoon turned into a rather gloomy, although cosy, evening. The weather for writing. Hard to believe it’s almost November. It seems like it was yesterday when I was planning all the pickling and preserving for autumn, and now it’s only sauerkraut that’s left to make.
But there is a vegetable that is still in season, proudly fashioning its rich, flashy orange exterior on market stalls. It’s funny how pumpkin is a commonly known and popular vegetable, but – apart from carving – how many of us actually cook with it?
My grandad used to grow pumpkins for pigs’ feed, but I don’t recall it ever being eaten by the family. Apart from the seeds, that can be easily dried and make a great (and healthy!) snack. Extracting the seeds was always my favourite part of the pumpkin carving day: Dad would cut the top of pumpkin off, and us, kids, would take out the moist, stringy flesh and separate the seeds. They would then be laid out on a newspaper and left to dry by the kitchen stove.
It took me years to start cooking with pumpkin, and I wonder if I had ever thought of it if it wasn’t for Japan. Ever tried pumpkin tempura? Yeah, it’s delightful. Today, however, I am sharing a recipe for a pretty tasty roast pumpkin – you can take advantage of the pumpkin season and have a nice addition to your lunch. And don’t forget the seeds!
Roast Pumpkin with Nigella Seeds and Wild Thyme
freshly ground pepper
dried/fresh thyme springs
grating of nutmeg
HOW TO MAKE?
1. Cut the pumpkin in half and take out the flesh with your hands. Separate the seeds, you might have to clean them as they get tangled into the strings. Lay them out on a sheet of baking parchment or a newspaper and set aside somewhere warm to dry.
2. Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment.
3. Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks. Add them to a big bowl, together with the olive oil and spices.Mix everything well so that the pumpkin pieces are covered in olive oil. Spread out on a previously prepared baking tray and put in the oven. Bake until soft (about 25-30 minutes).
4. Serve as a side to your meals with some feta cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and a grating of nutmeg.