Winter pumpkin and squash
Winter pumpkin: home-grown, October to November; imported, September to November. Squash: all year
The bright-orange lantern pumpkins available around Halloween do not have a great deal of flavour, so in my opinion are not worth serving as a vegetable. However, the smooth, silky texture makes wonderful soup, and gives the best texture in Pumpkin Pie or in Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Sweetcorn.
Butternut squash is available all year because when our season finishes we import it from Africa, and its buttery, nutty texture is one of my own favourites. It is shaped like a bottle and has both a nutty flavour and a good firm texture, excellent for roasting and braising as in recipes for Oven-Roasted Winter Vegetables and Latin American stew.
To prepare pumpkin or squash, you need a good, sharp, heavy knife, and first you cut the vegetable in half and then into quarters. After that, scoop out the fibrous bits and all the seeds with a spoon or knife, then, this time using a small but very sharp knife, peel away the tough skin. Finally, cut the pumpkin flesh into cubes or slices.
Filled with wintry root veg and a cheesy sauce, with a parmesan pastry, this pie is a real treat! Replace the lard with vegetable fat if making this for vegetarians.
Low-fat, full of flavour, easy to make and suitable for freezing: there really is every reason to make this superb velvety, almost fat-free soup on a winter's day. It's bound to become a favourite immediately!
With its explosion of colour and flavours, a spicy mix of Caribbean spices, coconut milk, beef and vegetables brings this vivid, tasty dish to life!
Roasting vegetables is a great way of maximising their nutritional benefit as the vitamins don't leach out into the cooking water - and they're full of flavour and texture. This recipe uses all those wonderful root veg in one go.
Roasted pumpkin takes on plenty of toasty flavours - add melting cheese and this soup is truly sensational!
Pumpkin and other squashes make excellent soup in the autumn...you could even try serving this in the hollowed-out pumpkin shell for visual appeal, perfect for Halloween!
An unusual, colourful stew that is perfect for entertaining - just add plain rice to serve. Spices, squash, sweetcorn and red pepper provide the Latin American elements, giving the dish masses of visual appeal and great flavour.
This is obviously a supper dish for non-meat-eaters, but I have served it to the most dedicated carnivores who, after initial apprehension, have loudly sung its praises. Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese is availa