Serves 4-6

There are plenty of pumpkins and squashes around and now that Hallowe'en has been and gone, instead of turning them into scary faces we can take these magnificent orange-fleshed beauties more seriously for cooking.

Served with rice or noodles this is almost substantial enough to satisfy even a hardy carnivore. Or combine it with other Asian dishes for even more of a feast.

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into rough 2-3cm chunks
1 onion squash, or gem squash, cut into wedges with the skin on and seeded
1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
1 green chilli, trimmed and finely chopped
1tsp ground cumin
2tbsp vegetable oil
1 litre vegetable stock
150ml coconut milk or cream, or a block diluted to that amount
1tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
A handful of dried coconut shavings (optional)

for the Thai paste

1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Small knob of galangal or ginger weighing about 40g, peeled and chopped
3 sticks of lemon grass, stripped of woody outer leaves, finely chopped
4 lime leaves
Handful of Thai fragrant basil leaves
A handful of Thai parsley or coriander

Blend all the ingredients for the paste in a food processor, or liquidiser, until smooth. Gently cook the onion, green chilli and cumin in half the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add half the Thai paste and continue to cook for a minute or so then add the vegetable stock and simmer for 30 minutes until it is reduced by half. Meanwhile heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Season the squashes and cook them on a baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes, or until soft.

Add the coconut cream or milk to the sauce and continue to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the pumpkin and the rest of the Thai paste and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with jasmine or fragrant rice. Scatter the pumpkin seeds and coconut shavings over the curry.

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