Friday, 22 October 2010

Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash: Book Review


It's just over a week to Halloween and I reckon this book will solve a problem for many of us: what to do with all the pumpkin flesh left over after making our lanterns. If that's not your dilemma, then it'll be just as useful if you grow your own vegetables and are looking for a seasonal cookbook.

Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash is a handy little volume with 36 ideas and recipes, not only for the two cucurbits mentioned in its title, but also for courgettes [aka zucchini] too. As a vegetable grower, I'm finding cookbooks which focus on seasonality or a particular ingredient are better suited for my kitchen these days, rather than having to hunt through my [many] cookbooks to find the one perfect recipe amongst hundreds.

So far I've tried the spicy pumpkin and coconut soup with ginger and lime from the Soups and Salads section and the pumpkin risotto with pancetta and sage from Rice, Pasta and Grains. The results were delicious and the recipes easy to follow. I'm particularly looking forward to trying the squash and sage frittata, the pumpkin fondue and the courgette, lemon & poppyseed cake with lemon butter icing from the Light Bites, Main Courses and Sweet things and Preserves sections respectively.

The book is rounded off by an opening chapter introducing the many varieties of squash, plus an ending one listing useful websites, organisations and suppliers. It's well indexed and the standard of photography throughout is excellent.

Highly recommended.

Note: I was given a review copy of this book, though I was able to choose it for myself from the publisher's catalogue (my idea of heaven!). However, this review is truly my own opinion and I've enjoyed testing the recipes. They make a great change from Allotment Soup :)

7 comments:

  1. Now that is deinitely something I could do with. There's only so much pumpkin soup and risotto we can eat. SomeBeans is already revolting at the thought of more pumpkin-based meals.

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  2. Lu - yes, pumpkin fondue!

    HM - I've seen your bootload of pumpkins and squash ;) There are soups and a risotto recipe in the book, but there's loads more. And actually, the ideas for soups are very good even for a revolting (!) SomeBeans.

    At least they store for months, so you can drip feed those recipes to him ;)

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  3. Goodness, you can I'm not a veg grower. I never get beyond roasting squashes let only having to think up other ways of cokking them

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  4. Thanks for the review VP. I too am looking for cook books that focus on specific veg at seasonal times. This sounds perfect for my Pumpkin and Zuchinni needs.

    Don't forget everyone, rather than overdosing on pumpkin soup, you can make a large batches of it, then freeze it in smaller containers (for 1 or 2 people). Then get it out of the freezer during those long dark days of winter and enjoy a healthy 'ready' meal full of the hint of summer sun.

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  5. I can see your point about having ingredient specific cookbooks, but maybe we just have too many cookbooks ;>)

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  6. PG - I have a crateful to store over the next few months, so this book's very welcome

    GL - good point re freezing and they also store well if you pick the right variety. You'll like an upcoming cookbook review I have as it originates from your part of the world :)

    RobD - good point, I certainly have far too many of them. However, I also think my needs are changing and these ingredient specific ones are fulfilling that need.

    The key factor for me is does a new cookbook go to the enormous bookcase in my dining room, or the select shelf in my kitchen cupboard? This one has gone to the latter, so I know it's definitely going to get well used :)

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