Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Pumpkin Cookbook edited by Nicola Hill

Once again I am showcasing a cookbook that is out of print! So sorry, folks, but since I chose to cook from this cookbook for the Cookbook Challenge, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise. The Cookbook Challenge hosted by Cynni from She Likes Bento was created to encourage participants to cook from cookbooks that we've owned for a long time but have never cooked from in the past. This adorable little cookbook dedicated entirely to pumpkin recipes has been on my bookshelf for years. I bought The Pumpkin Cookbook [published by Hamlyn, 1996] several years ago from my local Williams-Sonoma during a clearance sale shortly after Halloween, probably in the late 1990s. I just love pumpkins and even have two other cookbooks dedicated to these classic symbols of autumn.

I prepared two recipes from The Pumpkin Cookbook recently. First I made Pumpkin Griddle Cakes that came out just okay. They're a cornmeal based griddle cake or pancake, which I thought would be amazing since I also love cornbread, but in fact, these griddle cakes were very plain. The pumpkin flavor was barely noticeable and it didn't have much other flavor either, even after I added a bit extra cinnamon and nutmeg. They weren't a complete waste, however, since there were no leftovers. But I still won't make them again.
Pumpkin Griddle Cakes
The second recipe I made was a Pumpkin, Chickpea and Banana Curry that caught my eye. If you haven't figured out already from the recipes I've posted on my blog over the years, two foods that I love are pumpkin and curry. So to see these two ingredients together in one recipe, I knew I just had to try it. I wasn't sure how this recipe would go over with my family--my husband isn't a fan of any kind of squash or sweet potato (gasp!) and I imagined everyone objecting to bananas in a savory dish. I decided to halve the recipe just in case it did turn out to be a bad idea, but it turns out the dish was very, very good. The depth of the curry flavor was just right and it tasted quite authentic for an Indian dish. If you're freaked out by bananas in a savory dish, you can leave them out. However, why not give it a try? You might just like it! I was impressed with this dish and would definitely make it again--especially as an entree for vegetarian friends.

I give The Pumpkin Cookbook 3.5 out of 5 stars. Nice variety of recipes, but I think you can find so many more amazing pumpkin recipes in other places these days.

Pumpkin, Chickpea and Banana Curry
Pumpkin, Chickpea and Banana Curry
adapted from The Pumpkin Cookbook edited by Nicola Hill

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or other vegetable oil), divided
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 lb. pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoons hot (or mild) curry paste
2 ripe tomatoes
1 small red chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
1 14 oz. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 slightly under ripe banana
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan until hot and add onion, garlic, ginger and spices, cooking until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, chili pepper, salt and stock (or water) and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 5-10 minutes.
3. Toss the chopped pumpkin with the curry paste in a bowl.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet until hot and add the pumpkin. Fry for 5 minutes or until golden.
5. Add the pumpkin to the simmering tomato and spice mixture. Add the chickpeas, sprinkle with garam masala, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. (Poke it with a fork or the tip of a knife).
6. Peel and slice the banana into chunks. Add to the pumpkin mixture and cook for a few minutes more until the banana is heated through.
7. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

Another Indian feast at home!
I served this pumpkin curry with two other Indian dishes--Orange-Cinnamon Basmati Pilaf [Naarangi Pulao] and Moghul Chicken Korma [Murgh Korma], both recipes prepared from Indiana Regional Classics by Julie Sahni that I reviewed a few weeks ago HERE. I also served it with some left over samosa filling from a few days ago when we made homemade samosas at our last girl scout meeting. Yum!

Cookbook Challenge Update
Here's a review of the recipes I've cooked so far for the Cookbook Challenge.

From Autumn by Susan Branch:
Butternut Shotglass Soup 
Tomato Soup

From Indian Regional Classics by Julie Sahini:
Saffron Pilaf 
Moghul Shrimp in Cream Sauce 
Orange-Cinnamon Basmati Pilaf 
Moghul Chicken Korma

From The Pumpkin Cookbook edited by Nicola Hill:
Pumpkin Griddle Cakes 
Pumpkin, Chickpea and Banana Curry

I signed up for the Creative Croissant Level of 3-5 recipes, which I've already surpassed having made 8 recipes already. However, I did want to cook from five different cookbooks, so I'm still going to try to get to the other two cookbooks before the end of the month. Wish me luck!

The Cookbook Challenge runs through the end of November, so if you'd like to join in, visit Cynni's sign up post HERE. Hope to see you cooking from a much neglected cookbook on your shelves soon!

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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. That curry looks awesome. And I love pumpkin, so an entire pumpkin cookbook looks wonderful to me. And I have no problem with reviews of out-of-print cookbooks because I like to know what to look for at the library, used-book stores, and flea markets.

  2. Too bad about the griddle cakes. But sounds like a great cookbook!

  3. This is a really interesting curry recipe! Thanks for sharing. We love Indian meals at our house.

  4. That curry sounds amazing and it has some of my favorite ingredients in it. Pinned!

  5. Beth : I'm glad to know reviews of out-of-print cookbooks are still appreciated! :)
    I think you'd really like the Pumpkin Curry dish.. the flavor is really wonderful.

    Linda: Yeah.. the griddle cakes were yummy, but not in a pumpkin or cornbread or pumpkin spice kind of way. Oh well. You can't win 'em all, right?

    Peaceful Reader : We love Indian meals at our house, too. Even though my youngest mostly just loves the naan. LOL!

    Joanna : Yay! I hope you try it! I really loved the flavor.

  6. That curry looks amazing. I wouldn't have thought about bananas, but I'll bet I'd like it.

    Joy's Book Blog

  7. Joy : I'm now thinking that plantains would have been a better choice than regular bananas, but either way, it's good to eat outside the box, so to speak!

  8. I like the pumpkin griddle cakes; they'd be great for a Sunday morning.

  9. You know, pumpkin as a vegetable isn't very big here, but I do imagine the bananas in the savory dish would turn out good because I like to put banana on top of the rice (it's very good).

    Anyway, sounds like the book is a bit of a mixed bag of nuts, but still good none the less, so I'm happy you enjoyed it. :)

  10. I never thought of adding pumpkin to johnny cakes (what we call cornmeal griddle cakes). I can tell you that instead of syrup try them with bit of yogurt and honey. Yum! Since I've never had curry I can't comment on yours, but I will say it sounds quite original!

  11. You rock when it comes to cooking! Hm, and your pumpkin griddle cakes look like piklets :) My maternal grandmother made the best piklets!

    And that curry looks divine!

    Yes, I'm alive. Trying to be more alive online :)

  12. That's awesome that you're cooking your own Indian food, Christine!! I'm going to convince Van to give these recipes a try LOL. She's the cook in the group :)

    Too bad about the pancakes though :(

  13. Diane The pumpkin griddle cakes were nice.. not very pumpkin-y, but still nice little cakes.

    Alex Banana on top of rice sounds yummy!

    Brandy I don't think cornmeal griddle cakes are very popular up here. I don't think I've ever seen them on a diner menu! While I do love yogurt and honey--alone or together, I am a big fan of maple syrup--but ONLY 100% pure maple syrup, not the fake stuff, and preferably Grade B, so I don't know if I can bring myself to try something different on my pancakes or griddle cakes. lol! ; )

    orannia Aw thanks for the sweet compliment. I've never heard of piklets but isn't that the cutest word! Glad to see you around. I noticed you were still posting updates and stuff on goodreads, so I wasn't too worried about you. xo

    nath, Definitely encourage Van to cook you guys some Indian food. Once you have the right spices on hand, it's really pretty easy.

  14. oh happy dance. I have all the ingredients on hand and am making this for dinner and will serve with basmati rice. Thanks.

  15. Heather Oh yay! I hope you like it is much as I did!


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