By Helen Groves

Although Halloween is past, the season for squash and pumpkins certainly isn’t. There are many varieties of squash around: pumpkin, butternut and the smaller varieties of gem, acorn, dumpling and buttercup to name a few. 

Here are a couple of quick and easy recipes as well as a trickier one for Pumpkin Torte.

CREDIT: Helen Groves

Buttered Gem 

This is a traditional, simple but delicious South African dish made with gem squash, but it works with any of the smaller varieties. 

Simply cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and boil in salted water until tender. Add plenty of salt, pepper and melted butter and mash in the skin. Great as a light supper or serve as a side dish. 

CREDIT: Helen Groves

Butternut or Pumpkin Soup

Cut the squash or pumpkin into chunks and scoop out the seeds from the pumpkin. Put the chunks on an oven tray with a peeled sweet potato and sprinkle over some cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and rapeseed oil. Roast in a hot oven with a whole red onion until tender. 

Scoop out the flesh from the pumpkin chunks and put all the veg in a pot and cover with vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 mins, then blitz, adding more spices and seasoning if needed. 

Serve with some creme fraiche, fried sage and crusty bread. 

Pumpkin Torte with Salted Almond Crumble and Espresso

You will need:

• 1 pumpkin or squash (about 1 kilo)
• 1 cup coconut milk
• ½ cup maple sugar
• ½ cup coconut sugar
• 6 tbsp cornflour
• 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or mixed spice)
• I tsp ginger
• 1 cup almonds
• 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
• salt
• pinch of chilli powder
• 1 cup good espresso 
• 1 cup maple syrup
• ½ cup water
• 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method

1. For the torte: cut up a pumpkin or squash and scoop out the seeds. Roast until tender and then put the roasted chunks in a blender with the coconut milk, maple and coconut sugar, cornflour and spices.

2. Bake the mixture in a 9-inch greased baking tin at 170° for about an hour. Cool and then chill for at least two hours. 

3. For the crumble: toast the almonds, then blitz in a food processor with the dark brown sugar, a pinch of salt and chilli powder. 

4. For the espresso syrup:  put the espresso, maple syrup and water into a saucepan with the  vanilla bean paste and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until syrupy – about 30 minutes. 

5. To assemble: sprinkle some almond crumble on a plate, top with a slice of the torte and finish with a generous serving of the espresso syrup. Great with an espresso martini!


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