This’ll bring a lively dash of colour to the table, and elsewhere too the next day. The Bevski made it for us on Christmas Day, so it probably won’t taste nice, even though it does. Tinned beetroot just ain’t gonna do here, as they will already have been preserved in salt and vinegar. If you have a pressure cooker use that for the beets, as cooking them in a normal pot takes a tedious spell of time.
- 500g beetroot (weight not including the stalks)
- 500g punkyin (or use pumpkin if you like)
- 250g green beans
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 cup of pine nuts
- caramelized or otherwise very thick and yummy blasamic vinegar (or use balsamic vinegar instead)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the making:
- Pressure cook/boil the beetroot until just soft, and slip off the skins under cold water. Discard the cooking water; The Bevski say’s it is very good for the vegie garden once cool.
- Chop the cooked beets into large wedges
- Meanwhile chop the punkyin into large chunks, brush with oil and roast
- Halve the peeled onion at the ‘equator’, then slice each half into four even chunks. Along with the crushed garlic (and optional salt and pepper) saute until onion is clear.
- Blanch the trimmed beans; aiming to have them still crispy. Flush thoroughly with cold water after removing them from the heat to stop them from continuing to cook.
- Combine everything into a large bowl, drizzle with the blasamic vinegar and sprinkle it all with the pine nuts.
- Serve, ensuring you tell everyone “This won’t taste nice” (don’t worry – it will)
There was left over pumpkin in the fridge – maybe about a cup of it mashed up. Ten minutes later it was soup for SheWhoMustBeFed. The VegHead had a salad roll instead.
Needing and doing:
- about one cup of left over roast pumpkin (any skin peeled off)
- saute a few slices of onion with olive oil and a dash of tamari
- add 3/4 cup or so of cooked haricot beans to the onion and mix through over a low heat
- separately bamix the pumpkin, together with about the same amount of water, half a teaspoon of miso paste, and a teaspoon of tomato paste. Add more or less water to achieve the desired consistency
- add the pumpkin to the pot and bring to a low simmer
- garnish the soup with a few slices of avocado, and serve with a crusty roll
England has much going for it. So much that a list of all the truly fantastic things, the wonders, the fond little quirks in all their blessed, thatched glory, oh that would be a long list indeed. Best to leave all that for now and instead simply make the observation that England generally has crap pumpkins. This of course is due to a grave misunderstanding involving a pumpkin, a farmer, and a cow.
Some time long ago, before reality television and ABBA, some English farmer had a bumper crop of fabulously flavoursome pumpkins. The farmer ate them steamed, roasted, mashed, in soups and stews and pies and a hundred other ways until he nearly turned orange. Eventually he could eat no more, and wanting to share his bountiful harvest he chopped up what was left and fed pumpkin to his cows. Eventually his neighbour Ol’ Jim, who was a few herbs short of a Bouquet Garni, took this to mean that pumpkins were only fit for cows to eat. Ol’ Jim’s son surprised everyone when he later went on to found Tesco’s, a company which through its almost complete buyer-side dominance of farm produce trends has sadly contributed to the demise of a truly yummy pumpkin in this country.
And so now you can rarely find a really nice pumkin, and the range of choice is sadly devoid of Queensland Blues, and offers mostly “butternut squash”. The butternut pumpkin is a hit and miss affair in The VegHead’s experience. They’re rarely truly fabulous on their own though they have a nice enough flavour. Sometimes however they can be quite woody and an overall letdown. If you don’t know what a butternut pumpkin looks like, well they’re something like what a particularly boastful Papua New Guinea hills tribesman might wear as a gourd.
As luck would have it, Ginol Silamtena, the creator spirit of Papua New Guinea’s Korowai tribesman was smiling on SheWhoMustBeFed when she last bought a butternut pumpkin. It was a particularly flavoursome individual, with the added bonus of being well shaped to stand upright on an oven tray. Most of the “nose” of the gourd had already been used to make pumpkin soup, that the Loinfruit’s declared worthy of a B+. What was left was the seed pod end, together with about 5cms of the nose.
Lets get to partying with the pumpkin shall we?
Needing and doing together:
- If it weren’t already obvious – a pumpkin. Butternut if you must, or a better one if you’re especially blessed by Ginol Silamtena. Cut around and down into the “Cavern of Seed” which a very sharp and thin bladed knife, in such a way as to allow the “lid” to be replaced back on later.
- Scoop out all the seeds and the webbing with a sturdy spoon. Trim the lid.
- Measure out enough cooked haricot beans by almost filling the voided pumpkin and then tipping them back out into a bowl.
- Lightly saute a generous scoop of your favourite olives, together with a tablespoon of berbere paste. Once the paste has dissolved mix the beans through gently and thoroughly.
- Return the mix to the pumpkin. Extra points if you managed to make a perfect amount of mixture so that there is none left over (though now what will you snack on while dinner is cooking smarty-pants?)
- Secure the lid back on the pumpkin using 3 or 4 small metal skewers (wood skewers will snap for sure if you try to jam them in)
- Roast on a tray on high for 45+ minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is soft.
- Serve with a selection of other vegetables
Travelling to Cannes last week on the train, The VegHead knew that the rail buffet sarnies would be as edible as a monkey’s earlobe. The day before travelllng, this soup was made, then warmed up again just before leaving and poured into a thermos.
Paris never seemed as welcoming…
- 1/2 cup of chopped pumpkin – boiled til soft
- 1/2 cup of cooked chick peas
- 1 teaspoon of Berbere paste
- olive oil
- lightly saute the chick peas with the paste
- mash the chick peas with a fork
- blend the cooked pumpkin with some water, to your desired soupy consistency
- mix through the mashed chickpeas
- take the train to Cannes. Take some pita bread with you. Go to the buffet car when you’re hungry and ask for a large waxed paper cup to pour the hot soup into. Watch the fellow passengers eating vending machine sandwiches and feel superior.
The problem with stuffing is what to stuff it in when you’re not cooking a dead bird. Solved this today by stuffing a small butternut pumpkin.
- One small pumpkin (really, the size of the pumpkin then establishes how much of everything else you need to make. My pumpkin was a bit larger than a softball and had a fairly thin layer of flesh)
- Two slices of bread; toasted
- 1/4 cup of roasted almonds
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- A few thin slices of onion, finely chopped
- Fresh parsley, dill, thyme – chopped
- Ground pepper
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of tamari (or soy sauce)
What to do..
- Cut off the top of the pumpkin in such a way that you can put the lid back on later. Scoop out all the seeds and discard (but don’t compost these unless you want a million pumpkin vines growing everywhere you use the compost down next spring)
- Turn the toast into breadcrumbs and crush the nuts in your preferred manner. I am a big fan of “BaMix” hand held blender for this task.
- Combine all ingredients to make the stuffing.
- If the stuffing is a bit dry add a little water
- Stuff that pumpkin tightly, leaving room to fit the lid back on.
- If possible, skewer the lid with a metal or wooden skewer to hold it on
- Roast until the pumpkin flesh is soft
Serve with other roast vegetables etc etc