A whole, stuffed, cooked pumpkin makes an impressive centre-piece for festive occasions or simple family dinners. It is very easy to prepare and tastes great too! For this recipe, you will need a pumpkin with part of the stalk still attached. Choose a sturdy, round, blemish-free, medium-size pumpkin that can stand upright without wobbling. Prepare a fairly large quantity of rice and vegetables for the stuffing, as you would rather have more than enough to stuff the pumpkin with, than not to have enough. Whatever remains can be kept in the fridge and warmed up for your next meal.

Ingredients Serves 4-6

A whole, stuffed, cooked pumpkin makes an impressive centre-piece for festive occasions or simple family dinners. It is very easy to prepare and tastes great too! For this recipe, you will need a pumpkin with part of the stalk still attached. Choose a sturdy, round, blemish-free, medium-size pumpkin that can stand upright without wobbling. Prepare a fairly large quantity of rice and vegetables for the stuffing, as you would rather have more than enough to stuff the pumpkin with, than not to have enough. Whatever remains can be kept in the fridge and warmed up for your next meal.

Method

The previous day
1. In a large saucepan, measure four ½ litre mugs of water and bring to the boil. Slip the frankfurters into the boiling water and simmer for about 10 minutes, or according to the instructions on the packet.
2. Remove the sausages, and save the water from the sausages to use to cook the rice. Store in the fridge after rice has cooled.

The next day
1. Put the tomatoes in hot water for a few minutes, cool in cold water and remove the skin. Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop the seeds and juice into a bowl and chop the flesh into medium-size cubes. Dice the green pepper into cubes of the same size. Peel the carrots, slice lengthwise and dice into cubes of similar size as the rest of the vegetables. Slice the onion and finely grate the garlic. Cut the frankfurters into medium-size slices.
2. In a large frying pan or saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions, garlic and garam masala. Add the tomato paste, tomato juice and seeds and stir, for about two minutes. Add the rice and mix until all the grains of rice are properly coated with the tomato paste. Add salt to your taste.
3. Empty the rice into a large pan and add the diced vegetables and sausage slices, mixing well to ensure even distribution. Cover and put aside.
4. Line the base of the oven-proof dish with greaseproof paper.
5. Wash and dry the pumpkin with a clean, dry dish cloth. Slice the top of the pumpkin off a couple of centimeters below the stalk, so that you can easily scoop out the seeds and soft pulp. (Do not discard the seeds, dry them and then roast with a little salt to make a delicious snack.)
6. Stand the pumpkin in the lined oven-proof dish, fill it with the rice mixture and cover with the pumpkin top.
7. Preheat the oven to 210C/ 425F gas mark 5 for 10 minutes. Put the dish in the centre of the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 180C/ 350F/ gas mark 4, and continue baking until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove and serve it in the oven-proof dish, after it has cooled slightly for about 10 minutes. Enjoy.