7TaqK7BTAPumpkins take centre stage in October, lighting up driveways and leering at us through windows in the run up to Halloween in the Northern Hemisphere. But they’re not just pretty faces, they are a great autumn vegetable with a good shelf life.

Tons-of-Different-Pumpkins-at-The-Peach-Tree-Farm-near-Columbia-Missouri

Blend the flesh into smooth, thick pumpkin soups, finished with a swirl of cream – a small pumpkin can provide a satisfying meal for one. For a pot-luck broth that hits the spot, roughly chop and boil equal quantities of pumpkin, potatoes and sweet potatoes in stock, along with one onion, a tomato, an ear of sweetcorn and a bunch of fresh coriander. When the vegetables are tender, chop them more finely to create a delicious, chunky pumpkin soup.

pumpkin-brulee-11Stir meltingly sweet cubes of fried pumpkin into risottos or curries, offsetting the flavours with fragrant herbs such as sage or thyme, or warming spices such as ginger. Alternatively, serve pumpkin stuffed into pasta, pasties or gnocchi, or use it to beef up warm salads.

Sweet dishes need not be limited to pumpkin pie. Stir puréed pumpkin into a cheesecake filling for a less sickly take on this decadent dessert. Or try making pumpkin halva – the nutty flavour of the pumpkin flesh blends well with the other nuts and seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are great on their own as snacks and can be incorporated into flapjacks and biscuits, or used to garnish tarts and cakes.

Wickedfood Cooking School

Sunninghill – (011) 234-3252 sunninghill@wickedfood.co.za

Wickedfood Cooking School in Johannesburg runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built cooking studios. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). This team building venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our classes are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.