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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pumpkin goodness - The pumpkin is a squash that's full of nutrition.

THE pumpkin is an all-sea-son squash that is versatile and nutritious. It is a rich source of beta-carotene that can be converted into vitamin A. Pumpkin is a great way to boost your fibre intake. It is very tasty and can be cooked in several ways. Try it in scones, cook it with rice or in a creamy soup.

Pumpkin and Yam Rice
300g (2 cups) long grain rice,
washed and drained
150g yam, diced
200g pumpkin, cubed
Enough oil for deep-frying
1 tbsp chopped ginger
30g mock vegetarian chicken,coarsely chopped
40g dried prawns, soaked and drained
3 dried mushrooms, soaked and diced
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
600ml fresh chicken stock

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce

Some coriander leaves
Some chopped
spring onions

Deep-fry yam and pumpkin separately for 6-7 minutes. Dish out and set aside.
Heat oil and sesame oil in a wok, stir-fry ginger, dried prawns, vegetarian chicken and diced mushrooms. Add rice and toss
briefly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in sea- soning to mix.
Transfer rice mixture into an electric rice cooker. Pour in chicken stock and cook. Once rice comes to the boil, add yam and pumpkin and continue to cook until rice is done.
Stand for 10-15 minutes. Dish up and serve with garnishing, (Note: Net weight of pumpkin paste is 200g after steaming.)

Tasty Pumpkin Soup
600g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
150g carrot, cut into slices
900ml fresh chicken stock
1-2 tsp whipping cream (optional)
1 tbsp olive oi]
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp chilli powder

Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Steam pumpkin and carrot for 15 minutes until soft. Leave to cool slightly then place into a food processor. Add 300-400ml chicken stock and blend into a smooth puree.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add bay leaf. Saute for a minute. Stir m pumpkin purOe and add remaining chicken stock gradually. Add cumin, nutmeg and chilli powder. Stir and bring to a gentle boil.
Once the soup comes to a bubbling boil, add seasoning to taste and mm offthe heat. Ladle soup into individual bowls.
Add an extra sprinkle of ground black pepper and stir in whipping cream if desired.

Pumpkin Scones
250g pumpkin
250g self-raising flour, sifted
30g castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt
35g toasted chopped almonds
50g butter, softened
1 tbsp milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut into cubes. Steam for 8-10 minutes until soft. Mash pumpkin through a sieve into a fine and smooth paste,
Put sifted flour, sugar, salt and almonds into a mixing bowl. Rub in butter lightly using your fingers tips until mixture is crumbly. Add pumpkin paste and mix with a spatula, cutting through into the mixture until a sticky dough is formed.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured tabletop. Combine the dough quickly and lightly together until smooth. Roll out to a thickness of not less than 2cm and cut into rounds with a fluted or plain scone cutter. Gather up the excess dough and lightly press out. then cut out rounds again.
Place scones on greased baking trays. Combine the milk and beaten egg and brush the top of the scones.
Bake in preheated oven at 220C for 15 minutes or until well risen and golden. Split the scones and serve warm with butter or jam of your choice.

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