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Go with gourd – the WTSIM#20 round-up

So, halloween has been and gone – all those pumpkins carved… and now all that leftover pumpkin flesh to use up.  What to do, what to do??  As I’m not much of a fan of wasted food, a few weeks ago I anticipated this and challenged you to come up with your best gourd recipes for the 20th edition of the much loved monthly cooking event Waiter, There’s Something in My….  As always, you rose to the occasion admirably.  Let’s see what you conjured up this month 17 savoury and 7 sweet recipes – whatever your pleasure, that’s a whole lotta gourd!

First out of the starting blocks was the very lovely Courtney of Coco Cooks, whom I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting on my recent jaunt in Chicago.  She reworks the classic south-Asian snack of samosas and comes up with her own twist – pumpkin, spinach and coconut samosas.  They may not be traditional, but that flavour combination gets my vote anytime!

Up next, from New York, is Amanda from Mrs W’s Kitchen.  Now you’ve all heard of tagines, right?  The middle-Eastern clay cooking vessel with a shallow base and a dome-shaped lid, and of course the eponymous stew that is cooked inside it?  Well, it’s possible to make a tagine in a Dutch oven casserole dish, or a slow cooker – but have you ever thought of making it… in a pumpkin??  Amanda does, and her lamb and prune tagine in a pumpkin sounds absolutely wonderful!

Right here in London, Abby of Eat the Right Stuff experiences the same feeling that I often do:  OK I have x, y and z in my fridge that all need using up – what can I make?  Luckily the edible widows and orphans in her fridge seems perfectly co-ordinated for a wonderful meal 🙂 Check out the delicious butternut, sausage and spinach risotto she tempts us with!  What could be better on a chilly late-Autumn evening?

Staying in the UK, we pop in to visit Lysy of Munchkin Mail who has discovered a pumpkin named after her blog 😉  She first regales us with a story of heartburn mistaken for heart attack (one of those “amusing – but only MUCH later” tales!) before delivering up the recipe for a wonderfully exotic pumpkin couscous with prune and onion confit.

Staying in the UK and, oddly enough, staying with Munchkins, we have the lovely Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar.  She lives up to her blog’s sweet name and brings us our first dessert in this month’s WTSIM.  You’ve heard of pots de creme, right?  But have you ever had spiced pumpkin pots de creme, served in tiny pumpkins, no less?   It’s inspired – and sounds to me like the perfect dessert for people like me nursing a secret Starbucks pumpkin spice latte addiction!

From there, we travel across the Atlantic to San Diego, to the kitchen of my friend Susan from Food Blogga.  She’s going through some agonising choices as regards the best cooking method for the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyoe’s got an opinion.  But one thing she’s not agonising about at all is the Thanksgiving side dishes – she just loves them all!  For WTSIM this month she gives a new twist to an old favourite and treats us to roasted acorn squash with honey-lime glazed pepitas.  Innovative and stylish – just like Susan!

Now we’re heading to the South – to Georgia to be precise, where we will be paying a little visit to Haley of Appoggiatura.  She goes for a classic combination of butternut and sage, which she pairs with prosciutto, and before you know it you have yourself one delightful sounding pasta sauce.  Yum!

Next up we head for my homeland and a first-time entry from one of my favourite South African food bloggers in Johannesburg.  Naqiyah of Tongue Tickle is super-cute (from the pics I’ve seen!) and super-talented and is always a powerhouse of ideas.  She is also teaching me about her Indian culinary heritage, one dish at a time:  I’d never heard of louki until I saw her yummy louki (bottle gourd) with prawns (and check out her gorgeous mosaic table!)

Somebody who hasn’t participated in WTSIM for a while is Will of The Red Whisk in Sydney – he was last seen submitting a rabbit cassoulet to our pulses edition.  But now he’s back with a vengeance.  Showing true commitment to the WTSIM cause, Will tries a number of gourd recipes and finally settles on a winner – zucchini ribbon pickles.  Not only tasty but also very photogenic!

From down south we travel up north to welcome Claudia of The Missing Flavour, a Brazilian expat newbie blogger living in Norway.  She explains that, although pumpkins are only available for a very short time in Norway, they are a big part of Brazilian cuisine in both sweet and savoury dishes.  Claudia plans to make a string of pumpkin dishes to make the most of the short season, and the one she shares with us is vanilla-scented October pumpkin compote.  Most unusual and another addition to our sweet section this month.

Staying sweet and moving over to Rotterdam, New York, we stop by one of my favourite blogs A Southern Grace.  The fabulous Ms. Grace finds herself with buckets of butternut squash and embarks on a string of butternut recipes to use them up, but it is the first one that she submits as her entry into WTSIM this month.  Try her delectable sounding butternut squash muffins with crumbs and cloves.  Now how can you resist that?

Closer to home, we come across Cara at Gourmet Chick, right here in London.  She finds that looking at all the carved pumpkins for Halloween doesn’t put her in the mood for trick or treating, but rather for some comfort food.  In keeping with the season, she opts to make a wonderful pumpkin risotto with chicken and feta.  Don’t you just love Autumn?

Back to New York City now as we join Andrea of Cooking Books in what she describes as “the world’s smallest NYC kitchen”. It doesn’t seem to hold her back though – you need to check out her caramelised onion and butternut squash roast with fresh chestnuts.  Who needs meat when vegetarian is soooooo good?!

Over to one of my oldest blogging friends now – the lovely Pille of Nami-Nami in Tallin, Estonia.  Pille has certainly been on a pumpkin spree of jams and soups lately, but the recipe she chooses to share with us for WTSIM this month is a pumkin and ginger tea loaf.  I must say I can hardly think of a happier marriage of flavours!

Tracey of Sugarpunk in North Carolina is another WTSIM newbie – but she certainly knows her way around the kitchen!  She initially envisages a pumpkin cheesecake but in the end she creates pumpkin potirons a la creme.  Nope, I didn’t know what that meant either, but it turns out it is a riff on an unbaked cheesecake.  Unusual, simple, and delicious – thanks Tracey!

From there we head north to New Jersey to peek into Sweatha’s kitchen at TastyCurryLeaf.  Ever thrown a cocktail party but been stumped by guests telling you that they are gluten-intolerant?  There go all your lovely crostini… or maybe not.  Sweatha treats us to her inspired simply zucchini crostini.  You see, the zucchini isn’t the topping, it’s the base!

I like a bit of enthusiasm and that’s exactly what I got from Judith of the quirkily-named Shortcut to Mushrooms in Iowa City.  She made not one but TWO dishes for WTSIM:  First she gives us an Asian-inspired dish of spicy butternut squash over quinoa with fresh herbs; and then she goes for gold with a baked acorn squash with Fall spices and butter.  Caramelised squashy goodness!

Back on this side of the Atlantic, we journey to Paris to meet up with Priya of Priya’s Easy ‘n Tasty Recipes.  We’ve probably all had pumpkin soup, right?  But Priya puts a whole new flavour spin on an old favourite and presents us with creamy pumpkin and apple soupI’m intrigued – and I’ll bet you are too!

Next is one of the blogosphere’s best-loved food bloggers – the lovely Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? in Weimar, Germany.  Before she gets to the recipe, she treats us to a feast for the eyes as she shows off pictures of the Fall colours.  Then when we’re a little hungry and chilly from our walk in the forest, she puts a steaming bowl of spiced lamb and pumpkin goulash before us.  You have to love her!

Moving across the border to Vienna, Austria we encounter a regular WTSIM participant – it’s Astrid from Paulchens Foodblog.  Now I’ve had apple butter… but hands up – who’s had pumpkin butter??  If you haven’t, now is your chance as Astrid posts a simple recipe for this beautiful golden “butter”.  Just imagine – you could preserve the taste of Autumn to enjoy all year round!

For our next participant, we head for one of the areas I recently visited in the USA:  Washington DC.  One of the best things about hosting WTSIM is that you get to discover new blogs: Tony of Olive Juice, where have you and your beautiful blog been all my life??  Wait until you see his witch hat pumpkin ravioli – it definitely gets my vote for most original entry this month!

Back in the UK, we’re hanging out in London with my dear friend and WTSIM co-founder Johanna of The Passionate Cook.  As for the past 2 years, she and I will again be catering a canape party this weekend for a friend of hers, so she’s been experimenting with all sorts of new canapes, like these courgette and thyme croustades with Parmesan cream.  Ooh boy – I hope there are leftovers after the party!

And then of course there is the third co-founder of WTSIM, my buddy Andrew of SpittoonExtra.  Andrew went well beyond the call of duty on this round, only telling me after I’d announced the theme that he really doesn’t like gourds – in fact he’s a gourd-fearing man 😉  Still, he soldiered manfully on and created a wonderful dish of acorn squash stuffed with lamb mince.  Looks marvellous!

And last but not least, there’s… me, your hostess this month.  I love squash in pretty much any form, so I was really spoiled for choice in terms of what to make.  But in the end, inspired by the flavours of Fall and the Gourmet magazine I brought back from my USA trip, I opted for these gorgeous spiced pumpkin muffins.

And that’s all till next month folks (please let me know if I have left you out – apologies in advance!).  Thank you to all the talented participants, and keep an eye out for the announcement of the next theme from Johanna soon!

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