Halloween lanterns
Julie Parker
My interest in gardening & wildlife stemmed from childhood days spent working in the garden with my parents & reading books on anything from robins to giraffes. As time has moved on these influences have stayed with me inspiring the creation my own garden & leading to interests in fish keeping & the natural world around me. I still love to read & hope that the knowledge I gain will make topical reading through these articles.

How To Make A Spicy Pumpkin Tagine

One of the most popular pastimes at this time of year is making a Halloween Lantern & pumpkins are so cheap & easy to get hold of that the whole family can have a go! Why not come along to Hayes Garden World in October if you like the idea of pumpkin carving in a group. You don’t have to be a Budding Young Gardener to come to one of our events you just have to be keen to get stuck in!

If you are having a go at home, carving a pumpkin and composting the flesh seems such a waste so here is a delicious way to use it up. The recipe is for a spiced Moroccan casserole which is traditionally cooked in a tagine, which gives it the name. The pot allows slow simmering of the stew to give a mouth wateringly tender dish but a casserole dish does the job too!

Lamb & Pumpkin Tagine

(Serves four)

550g cubed lean lamb

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large chopped onion

230g chopped tomatoes (tinned are fine)

350g cubed pumpkin flesh

350ml hot lamb or beef stock

50g sultanas (or prunes)

50g dried apricots

1 teaspoon each of cumin, ground coriander & paprika

½ teaspoon of chilli powder

1 level tablespoon cornflour

Garnish if required

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas 3.
  • Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on all sides in batches, transferring it to a casserole dish as it is done.
  • Add the remainder of the oil & cook the onion until it is soft.
  • Add the chilli, spices & tomatoes to the pan & stir together until they are simmering.
  • Transfer this mixture to the casserole dish & stir in the pumpkin & stock. Put the lid on the dish & cook in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Remove the dish from the oven & stir in the sultanas (or prunes) & apricots, cook for a further 30 minutes.
  • Mix the cornflour with a little water then add to the dish to thicken the sauce, return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven & garnish with some chopped almonds & a sprig of mint, if you wish.

This spicy dish can be served with traditional cous cous or just some fresh crusty bread.

Whether you have grown your own pumpkins or are buying them from the local grocers, don’t forget to have a look at some of the more unusual varieties that are available. They come in a range of different sizes, shapes and colours which may not be suitable for carving but make great decoration in a mixed group in a basket by the door or near the fireplace.