Pumpkin and Coconut
By: Elisabeth WinklerServes: 4
Autumn means harvest, and plenty of produce. I have chosen these dishes because of their sweet yumminess and good looks. The dramatic orange of pumpkin, and purple of cabbage, are not just cosmetic. Anti-cancer experts say 'Eat by colour' because the antioxidants, which combat cancer cells, also naturally create colour. And when you eat produce grown the organic way, you are also avoiding potentially cancer-causing pesticides. As both dishes are naturally sweet, they are a foil for fatty meat, such as goose or pork. They also go well with fish or lentils. And use organic ingredients wherever possible.
1 pumpkin, around 1.4kg in weight
200g organic coconut (in block)
Just under 500 ml water
This takes about 20–35 minutes to cook.
1. Quarter the pumpkin, then cut each quarter in half; you are aiming for a size that is comfortable to hold when peeling. Scoop out the seeds and the wet fibrous bits. (If you are feeling worthy, dry roast the seeds in a hot oven for 15 minutes for future munching – otherwise deliver to the compost bin.)
2. Peel the chunks of pumpkin with a potato peeler. Then chop the pumpkin into pieces. As they will turn into a semi-mush, size does not greatly matter. Put the pumpkin pieces in a thick-bottomed pan and barely cover with the water.
3. Then add the coconut, chopped into similar-size pieces. Coconut is neither local nor seasonal – no one said that following the seasons should be rigid.
4. Once the mixture has begun to bubble, turn it down to simmer. Cook for about 20–30 minutes, giving a regular stir to stop it sticking. If the pumpkin concoction looks too dry, cover with a lid and add a dessertspoon of water; if it looks too wet, remove lid to let water evaporate. You know it is cooked when the pumpkin tastes tender.
This dish survives overcooking and is still delicious and creamy at the end. It is another sweet dish that hardly needs seasoning; but you can spice it up with black pepper.
© Recipe copyright 2004 Elisabeth Winkler