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Pumpkins and Winter Squash

Sheila Dillon and special guests discover a delicious and fascinating world of pumpkins and winter squash.

Sheila Dillon and special guests discover a delicious world of pumpkins and winter squash.

It's Halloween time, and pumpkins are making their annual appearance in windows and on doorsteps. But these winter squash are part of a fascinating family of fruit (yes, fruit - not vegetable) with huge culinary potential that many feel uncomfortable around. This programme aims to change that. Sheila invites chef, restaurateur and squash-lover Romy Gill to her kitchen, where they're joined by Neil Munro - manager of the Heritage Seed Library at Garden Organic (formerly the Henry Doubleday Research Association). To help with the deeper history, they enlist the help of Ken Albala, Professor of Food Studies at the University of the Pacific in California.

Presenter: Sheila Dillon
Producer: Rich Ward.

Available now

30 minutes

Romy's Recipes

Romy's Recipes

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash

1 medium butternut squash (washed, cut in half, deseeded and then sliced)

3tsp pomegranate molasses

2tsp chilli flakes

4tsp grated ginger

2tsp panch phoron (fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds & nigella seeds in equal measure), make your own or buy them

2tsp olive oil

Salt (to taste)


Heat the oven (fan 180C). While the oven is getting hot mix all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.

Lay the marinated squash pieces on a baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes. After 5 minutes make sure to shuffle them so they’re cooked evenly on all sides.


Spicy Green Squash

I small green squash (with thinner skin, suitable for eating)

2 tsp grated ginger

1 green chilli chopped

1tsp black mustard seeds

1tsp garam masala

3tsp sunflower oil

Salt (to taste)


Wash, keep the skin on, cut into half, deseed and dice into chunks.

Heat the oil in the pan on a medium heat on a hob, add the mustard seeds. Once they start sizzling, add the grated ginger and cook for a minute.

Add the diced chunks of squash along with the chilli.

Mix with the mustard and ginger and cook with a lid for 5 minutes on a low heat but occasionally stirring.

Add garam masala and salt and cook for another couple of minutes, remove from heat leave to rest before serving.


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Seeds of 1 medium pumpkin

1tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1/2 cumin powder

Salt (to taste)


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Heat the oven (fan 160C). Lay the seeds on a baking tray and cook for 5 minutes. Don't forget to check on them after 2 minutes and shuffle them to roast evenly. Should not take more than 5 -7 minutes but depending on the oven might take up to 10 minutes.

Serve with mulled wine or any red wine to your friends.


Pumpkin Tikkis

1 small pumpkin (if you can't find small, then half a pumpkin)

2tsp nigella seeds

1tsp green chilli chopped

1tsp garam masala

1tsp grated ginger

1tsp grated garlic

1tsp fresh chopped parsley or coriander

50gm of gram flour

Salt (to taste)

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

Tamarind chutney


Deseed, peel the skin and dice into chunks.

(You can either boil the diced pumpkin for 2 minutes in water, or in a non-stick pan cook with few drops of water with a lid on for 5 minutes - until it soft to mash. This is my preferred way, since it adds no extra water to the squash.)

Leave the pumpkin mash to cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes before adding all the ingredients.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, mash the pumpkin and make round balls golf ball size make them all before frying.

Heat oil in a pan. As the pumpkin is not starchy like potatoes, keep them into balls and deep fry them until light brown, then take them out and put on a plate.

Once they are cooled down press the balls down to flatten slightly, and serve with tamarind chutney. You could also add potatoes with the pumpkin, then you won't have to add the chick pea flour.


Shark Fin Melon ‘Bowl’

1 shark fin melon squash

40g of cheese (eg. cheddar)

2 cloves of garlic diced

1 green chilli chopped finely

Olive oil

1tsp of garam masala

Salt (to taste)


Cut the squash into half like a bowl and take the black seeds out.

Heat the oven (fan 180C).

Put the half squash (with the ingredients roughly added to where the seeds were) in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve hot: scrape with a spoon to get all the marinated flesh out.



Role Contributor
Presenter Sheila Dillon
Producer Rich Ward
Interviewed Guest Romy Gill
Interviewed Guest Neil Munro
Interviewed Guest Ken Albala


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