Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pumpkin season

I love everything about autumn – that ‘autumn smell’ and crispness in the air, the vibrant colours on the trees, being able to snuggle into a warm sweater and cosy gloves on a cold morning, and – above all – pumpkins. For me, autumns in the UK have a big pumpkin-shaped hole in them, as not even Starbucks sells pumpkin spice coffee, and people give me strange looks when I mention pumpkin pie.

That of course doesn’t stop me making it and many other pumpkin delights. It is possible to buy pumpkins around this time of year (though the standard kind are usually sold as carving pumpkins for Halloween rather than just pumpkins you can use in cooking). So, every year I buy a few, cut/boil/mash them and freeze two-cup portions that I use for breads, cookies, etc. I’ve found one grocery store in this country – a ‘posh’ store – that sells canned pumpkin, which I prefer to use when making pies and cheesecakes.

We did try to grow our own pumpkins this year, but started a little too late in the season, and had to self-pollinate in order to get any fruit. Only one miracle pumpkin made it to the orange stage (shown above).

One advantage to being in a country that tends to use pumpkin in savoury rather than sweet dishes is that I’ve been trying pumpkin more often in things like risottos, casseroles and stir-fries. The pureed portions I freeze are great for stirring into a vegetable risotto, which adds a comforting autumnal taste as well as a bit of colour.

Because it’s usually dark when T and I leave and come home from work, we didn’t realise that a tree in our backyard was slowly turning into this…

...a lovely site to behold as I sip pumpkin spice coffee from the stash I’ve smuggled here from back home. 

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