You know a vegetable is in season when they create a festival around it. So the fact that the small Southern Tablelands town of Collector holds an annual pumpkin festival each May, says to me that we are sitting smack bang in the middle of pumpkin season. That, and the fact that they are popping up in veggie patches wherever I go.
A few weeks ago, I returned from a weekend at the farm with a large, freshly picked pumpkin. I say it was large, but at about 3.5kgs, it was in fact tiny when compared to the winning pumpkin at the Collector festival. Held that same weekend, the winner of the giant pumpkin event was an impressive 308 kilogram beast from the ACT. 308 kilos. Damn, that’ a lot of soup.
But my meagre three kilos of Queensland Blue have done me proud and I’ve enjoyed some delightfully orange food of late.
To start with, I cooked up a pumpkin pie. Traditionally a sweet pie served for brunch or dessert, I served it up for dinner – main course! Controversial right? My dear vego friend Ash and I enjoyed it with a rocket and parmesan salad. And I got to use my pie dish again, which makes me happy!
The fact I got calluses from cutting the damn thing was not so great. But what a beauty he was eh?
This week I made soup. I’ve used different recipes in the past for Asian style pumpkin soup or pumpkin based vegetable soup, but this time I whipped out The Margaret Fulton Cookbook and went for simple option – butter, onion, stock, water, pumpkin and S&P. It’s all about making sure the pumpkin is the hero of the dish (do I sound like a MasterChef judge?!!!). And even though Margaret says to add more water if it’s too thick, in my opinion (no disrespect to Margaret) pumpkin soup is at its best when it’s thick and creamy.
And finally, yesterday I made pumpkin scones. My first solo attempt at scones. It’s at least 20 years since I last made scones and that was with Mum at the helm. But this morning I was on my own and it showed… I wish I had a photo to show you of the kneading disaster that happened in my kitchen, but I had enough sticky orange dough over every other surface, that I tried to spare the screen of my iPhone! Eventually after spreading flour far and wide, I managed to put a tray of things almost resembling scones into the oven and 20 minutes later remove a tray of beautifully orange (if not slightly less puffed than I would have liked) pumpkin scones.
So that’s it. The end of my pumpkin. But certainly not the end of the season for the sunny vegetable. And I’ve already got the next one ready to go. This one’s from Mum’s patch and it’s small but perfectly formed…