Tuesday 15 July 2008

Pumpkin, PC Stories and a Roast

If you have read my recent pumpkin post, you will know that I have been giving this vegetable a considerable amount of thought lately. Tonight I continue my musings but in a different vein.

On the weekend I was listening to Helen Razer on ABC 774. She was talking about a newspaper report that the South Australian state government has instructed teachers to warn children not to imitate the risky behaviour of characters in fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and Hansel and Gretel. Seems like political correctness gone mad!

But it got me wondering about what warnings would be on pumpkins if we really did believe fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Warning: May turn into a coach if fairy godmothers in the vicinity. It worked for Cinderella, but imagine starting to cook your pumpkin for dinner and some pesky fairy godmother waves her wand and your pumpkin is off to the ball. Most inconvenient. Although maybe there would be some young girls who would buy a pumpkin in the belief that it was necessary to meet her Prince Charming.

Or should young women be warned against marrying men called Peter who liked pumpkins? This got me thinking about Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater. I have always thought the lines ‘so he put her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well’ meant he imprisoned her in a pumpkin. But then I was thinking maybe it was not such a bad life because it does say he kept her ‘very well’.

Maybe it means that due to the real estate crisis, he just couldn’t afford a home and finally found a large old pumpkin shell where they lived happily ever after, hacking off a piece of pumpkin for dinner every now and again. E told me it was a silly idea but I said if James could live inside a giant peach why not a pumpkin. You only need to read about the pumpkin growing competitions to see it is quite believable.

Oh and one more little esoteric piece of information. As a lover of pumpkin, I almost was a Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater because I would have been called Peter if I had been born a boy. So I have good reason to defend him.

But onto my recipe which is a humble jumble of roast vegies and sausages. I found the idea on Hippolyra’s Fuss Free Flavours. It was a nice variation on a Jill Dupleix recipe of roast onions, tomatoes and sausages which I have enjoyed a few times. Of course I use vegetarian sausages and liked the idea of adding the moistness of pumpkin because the vego sausages are drier than the meaty kind. It worked a treat and was as delicious as it was easy.

This is a great recipe for a night when you want to just sit back and relax while dinner cooks. Hippolyra made it while on holidays and says it is also very handy when cooking in a strange kitchen because it just requires one tray. First night we had it with roast potatoes but the leftovers were thrown into a pasta sauce. And of course, like Hippolyra, you could substitute meat sausages for the veggie ones, if that’s your thing!

Pumpkin and Sausage Roast
(adapted from Fuss Free Flavours)
Serves 4

660 pumpkin, peeled and diced
6 veggie sausages (I used tomato and onion), roughly chopped
1 red onion, peeled and cut in wedges
250g cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper, roughly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Sprig of rosemary (optional – I didn’t use)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Place pumpkin, sausages and onion (and rosemary if using) in roasting dish and toss with a little olive oil and salt. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200 C. Add remaining ingredients and toss to mix. Bake an additional 40-60 minutes until the pumpkin starts to feel soft and mushy when you stir it. The sausages should crisp up a little. (I was moving trays between shelves in the oven so my timing is not terribly scientific.)

On the stereo:
LMT Label Sampler CDR Spring 2008 – Various Artists


  1. Your fairy tale speculation is the kind I love and think is beneficial to the mind, heart and soul! (Especially as opposed to the speculation that is called political news commentary these days.)
    Now your pumpkin roasties are just what I need for dinner. Very nicely done.

  2. In all my years of flogging kids books I met HUNDREDS of people, the PC Brigade, who wanted to hide children from fairy tales and the like...I had to bite my tongue on many, many occasions.

    That first image made me INCREDIBLY hungry this morning, Johanna! Shall see if I too can find some veggie sausages to pair with pumpkin!

  3. I have never thought to pair pumpkin with sausage, but now that I see yours, it's so natural. Glad to see we're not the only ones who are over-zealously PC. And for the record, I like Johanna than Peter. ;)

  4. Sounds both simple AND delicious. And I've always felt the same way about that line in "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater"! And I have to agree with Susan--MUCH better as Johanna! :)

  5. thanks Tanna - it is nice when speculation is a bit of harmless fun and doesn't give you indigestion!

    thanks Lucy - I guess these fairy tales hadn't occurred to me as leading young people astray - after all aren't these books written as warnings! I imagine you would have hidden your horror well!

    thanks Susan - I like my name too - strangely enough by the time my parents had a boy they were sick of the name Peter too!

    thanks Ricki - I almost didn't post it because it was so simple but it was just so good!

  6. Very cute post. I always wanted to live in a little mushroom house when I was a kid. I had the layout all very carefully planned.

    And this sounds divine! I just defrosted some sausages too. Unlikely to find pumpkin at this time of year but squash is always around. Dinner tonight, I think. :)

  7. Thanks Wendy - I'd love to see your plans - I have a good idea of how Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater's home would look! Hope you enjoy(ed) the roast!

  8. Love the image of you living in a pumpkin and calculating the saving on your mortgage! The dish looks lovely too - really nice contrasts, and sausage casseroles are one of our favourite winter foods as well.

  9. Ooo yum I always love roasted veggies, and with pumpkin even better! Though I don't think I can find pumpkin right now. I like the idea of adding veggie sausages - makes it more substantial. As for the Rebar cookbook (as mentioned on my blog), well Rebar is a restaurant in Victoria, BC (Canada) so maybe it's more a North American thing but the recipes are delicious, wherever you are! ;)

  10. Cooking with pumpkin intrigues me, too. Your previous post about the history of pumpkins in Australian cuisine was so intereting and informative - thanks!

  11. thanks Lysy - when I look at the mortgage a pumpkin shell seems like a great alternative

    thanks Ashley - I have had a great success with adding veggie sausages or tofu to roast veggies to make a meal of it. Am intrigued by this Rebar cookbook as have seen you refer to it a few times now!

    thanks Katie - glad you find the whole pumpkin ponderings interesting!

  12. I liked following your thoughts as they weaved around the fairytales! Your meal sounds good. I only ever have veggie sausages when we have a bbq and then I like them well blackened. But I am very tempted by this recipe :P

  13. thanks Holler - my mum used to make casseroles with sausages so I enjoy quite a few vegetarian sausages in casseroles - will have to try and include a few more on the blog!


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