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Astar's pumpkin recipes - 12 August

Pacific pork stew (Astar's Tonga stew)

Pumpkin coconut pie

Tropical pumpkin soup

Inexpensive seasonal meals: This week it's all about perfect pumpkins!

Did you know?
Pumpkins protect the prostate
They preserve sexual function
Eases arthritis
Protects the heart
Lowers cholesterol
They contain loads of beta carotene and alpha carotene, which are converted to vitamin A in the body.
They are high in fibre, low in calories and a good source of several important minerals, including iron, potassium and magnesium and the best thing about them - they are inexpensive!

All recipes being cooked today come from Sue Carruther's cookbook  The Tropical Garden Cookbook (also published as The Flame Tree Cookbook ) and have been altered ever so slightly to suit.

Sue calls this recipe Pacific pork stew - in our house we refer to it as Tonga stew all on account of the fact that the Engineer is part Tongan and absolutely loves this dish.

Shopping list
1.5 kg lean stewing pork, cut into 4cm cubes
3 tbsp oil
2 red onions finely chopped, almost minced
1 stalk celery with leaves chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced spicy salami
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 fresh bay leaf
1 red chilli finely minced
1 tbsp vinegar
Juice of 1 orange
300g kumara cubed, leave skins on
1 cup sliced pumpkin, skins removed
1 carrot sliced
1 cup sliced yams or parsnips
1 cup corn kernel, canned
1 tbsp fresh lime juice, but lemon works as well
Season with salt and pepper
Water to cover meat

- Season pork with salt and pepper
- Into a large pot, heat oil, then saute onions, celery and garlic until soft.
- Add pork and cook several minutes.
- Add salami, coriander, bay leaf, chilli, vinegar and orange juice.
- Add just enough water to cover.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for around 20 minutes.
- Add kumara, carrots, pumpkin, yams or parsnips.
- Cover and cook until vegetables and pork are tender.
- Season to taste then add lime juice and corn.
- Heat through until corn is cooked.
- Serve with brown rice and a green salad.

Pumpkin Coconut Pie

Shopping list
2 packets thawed sweet short crust pastry
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup thick coconut cream
3/4 cup cream
1 1/2 cup microwaved pumpkin - then puree
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup freshly grated coconut or coconut threads toasted

- Preheat oven to 180degC
- 23cm pie dish lined with baking paper
- Roll out pastry and line pie dish. 
- Set aside in fridge until required.
- Beat together eggs, flour, sugar vanilla coconut cream and cream.
- Add pumpkin to above along with salt, spices and grated toasted coconut.
- Pour into pastry and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until custard mix has set.
- Serve with lashing of natural yoghurt.

Tropical Pumpkin Soup

Shopping list
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 large red onion minced
2 potatoes cubed
4 cups cubed pumpkin or squash - peeled
2 carrots - finely sliced
3 tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 lt chicken stock
Salt to taste
1 tbsp curry
1 small red chilli finely chopped
2 tsp paprika
1 cup coconut milk or cream
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

- Heat oil in a big heavy saucepan; add onion, garlic and saute several minutes until soft.
- Add vegetables and stir well until well coated with oil.
- Add flour all at once and cook several minutes.
- Add stock, salt, curry powder, chilli, paprika.
- Cook gently uncovered for around 45 minutes.
- Place in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Put back into saucepan add nutmeg, grated pepper, salt to season and lime.
- Garnish with chopped coriander.