Monday, 4 August 2014


Baked mini Pumpkin filled with Pearl couscous, Red Quinoa, Puffed wild rice, Black truffles & truffle oil, Roasted chestnuts, Porcini mushrooms, Sage sprig and Viola flower. 

                 The mini pumpkin season finished months ago for us here in the southern hemisphere, but I happened to find them at the markets and couldn't resist. Actually a squash and referred to many as a winter squash and not a pumpkin, they make a perfect serving portion when stuffed with the filling of your choice and makes a great wholesome vegetarian meal. We had a go at growing a variety of these called 'golden nugget' last summer in our pumpkin and melon patch with some great success. We grew them trellised up and companioned with nasturtium, which encouraged the bees in for pollination and great for the kids to grow.                                                                                                                            
                I began making this dish with preparing the three grains in the filling, firstly I rinsed 1 cup of organic red quinoa, draining and then soaked the grains in 1 1/4 cups of water for 15 minutes. I then brought this to the boil, reducing the heat and covering, simmering for about 15 minutes until all the water was absorbed. I then removed the quinoa from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before forking to loosen the grains. I then prepared the pearl couscous by simmering 1 part couscous to 2 parts water for 8-10 minutes until all the water had absorbed. For the puffed wild rice I simply placed a handful of wild rice into a hot skillet and toasted until they puffed, while tossing them around to avoid burning. These were then removed from the skillet and set aside. Next I prepared the pumpkin by slicing the top off and scooping the seeds out with a dessert spoon, the pumpkin and its top were then placed skin side up on a flat baking tray and roasted in a 170C oven for about 20 minutes, turning when needed. The pumpkin was the removed and set aside when ready and I then peeled and chopped some chestnuts to be roasted. In a pan I melted a little butter and sweat down some chopped onions and to this I added some sliced porcini mushrooms. When the mushrooms were ready, I added in the three prepared grains, roasted chestnuts, a little truffle oil, some shaved black truffles and a little rubbed sage. This was mixed together and then removed from the stove before filling the roasted pumpkin. The dish was then garnished with a sprig of baby sage leaves and a yellow viola flower.                                            


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