Pumpkin, quickly

I have always loved pumpkin, but that rough and tough and mottled skin was too much for anybody less muscled than Rocky I, II, or III, before he started to get weather-beaten and beaten. Butternuts were easier, but then I could never get them to taste the way mum’s used to in the days when little old ladies roasted the pants off everything.

Then, in a fit of madness, I tossed a whole butternut pumpkin into the microwave, went and took a sherry, and waited for the bell. Wow! What a result!

This was old-time pumpkin, back on the top shelf. Full of sweetness, juicy, delicious.


Put a whole butternut pumpkin on a plate which can handle the microwave and bake on high for 25–35 minutes, until the skin has changed from lovely orange to tacky brown. A knife should pierce it like butter.


Serve sliced, peeled (the skin comes away easily), or scooped. Serve hot, warm, cold, or re-heated; as an extra, on its own, or on a slice of bread. Or whizz it up with a little chicken stock, some cream, caraway seeds and chives, and you’ve got a thick pumpkin soup.