Pumpkin bread and other pumpkin tales….because Fall 2010 would be too late!

It was summer in my homeland,
When I drifted upon an open sea,
Cursing the oppressive heat of my beloved motherland
Was it not a rousing welcome that awaited me in the golden arms of autumn?
Oh, how she made me feel so new
How she made me feel so good
Oh how she thrust me into the icy warmth of winter’s waiting bosom
And did winter not love me so?
Did she not bare her soul to me?
Did trees not bow?
Nor winds uplift
In a bid to welcome me?
Yes, winter tried
And no
Her labour was not lost….on me
Ozoz, 1997 (My experiences of living and studying in Merseyside)


Now…the beauty of fall and its welcoming comforts is that this year’s pumpkin discoveries, can’t and will not wait to be blogged about any longer! Carpe diem!


The humble pumpkin and its cousin gourds, available the world over in every recipe from pumpkin bread to spaghetti squash, soups, pancakes, waffles – no meal is out of bounds: breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight feast!


My memories of pumpkin at home in Nigeria are more about pumpkin leaves than the pumpkin itself! Yep, you heard me right. In Nigeria, fresh pumpkin leaves are an essential part of our diet and its traditional name is ‘ugwu’, probably a word that would be difficult to pronounce in English. The dark green leaves are hardy, and taste a bit like curly kale. You’ll always find the leaves fresh in the market (except you’re desperate- like me and dry them so when you move abroad, where you can’t find them, you have a stash).  The leaves are often cooked with chopped tomatoes, onions and chillies with some seasoning – great with rice. Sometimes the leaves are juiced and a healthy, green drink appears in its place, full of nutritious vitamins and iron. It is also popular in a variety of African ‘eating’ soups!


It is strange to call them soups because they are not drinking soups like broths….or thick creamy soups. The Congo cookbook describes it perfectly:

In Africa, these stewed meat and vegetable dishes are variously called soups, stews, or sauces (depending where in Africa the cooking is done). None of these appellations seems exactly right. Generally they are the main course, so they are more than typical “soups”. They are not exactly “stews” in the European-American sense because they are usually eaten with starchy staple or Fufu-like dish, such as Baton de Manioc, Fufu, Ugali, or some sort of Rice, millet, sorghum, or Maize (corn). Since they usually are not blended smooth, nor served over other meat or vegetables, thay are not really “sauces” either.

In summary, my previous experiments with the gourd itself have been limited to grilling, roasting and souping…till recipes of pumpkin pie and mousses and smoothies and cakes….appeared every corner I turned.

Never being one to pass up a chance to learn something new, I went to a pumpkin sale….where not long, a patch had been.

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I was completely astounded at the variety of pumpkins and squashes there were – edible and not!

Ones for decorating;

IMG_2305And ones decorated;

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Patty pans;

IMG_2353And knobbly squashes;


IMG_2334And gourds for food;

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And all super cheap…..my 3 gourd selection came to a mere 2.50 Euros

IMG_2346Settling down to make a recipe with pumpkin was easy….I knew I had loads of options!

Step one – roasting the pumpkin and that was QED

Top tip – use a serrated knife to tackle the hard skin of gourds!

Cut it open and then place on an oven tray. Sprinkle some salt over the pumpkin bits and some oliv eoil…if you wish. Place in a 200 degree Centigrade (400 degree fahrenheit) oven and roast till the pumpkin flesh is soft, half an hour or longer. When ready, let it cool down and then scoop out flesh with a spoon and use as needed. Alternatively, refigerate or pop in the deep freezer (like I did). If going the frozen route, ensure you defrost it before use!

Pumpkins to roast Pumpkins to roast Pumpkins to roast Roast pumpkin Roasted pumpkin

First I tried some pancakes….with mediocre results. And then knew that I would probably fare better with some pumpkin cake…..so, I roasted some pumpkin, amended my banana bread recipe….and ended up with a pecan studded pumpkin bread, wrapped in coconut flakes.

The verdict?

Soft, moist and tasty….especially the corners….. My son thought the same as he ‘tore’ chunks off….for his good pleasure.

IMG_7180However, if I had to choose between this and banana bread, there would be no struggle, banana bread would win – hands down.

Why? For one the smell. The fragrance banana bread imparts around the house is phenomenal – there’s definitely something about its obvious smell-o-vision inspiring qualities that needs to be bottled up and poured out on a rainy day!

And the texture of the banana bread is nice and soft and finer than the pumpkin bread….sorry for going on and I do know this is not a banana bread post, I’ve done that already!

On the high note for the pumpkin bread, it tasted superb with some caramel curd, especially with the butteriness of the pecans and the tropical flavour of the coconut. Also, I love the taste of roasted pumpkin….a process no banana would survive.

Overall, glad I‘ve gotten this challenge/desire/call-it-what-you-may over and done with.

Life can go on….and I can leave the brave to continue thrilling the world with their pumpkin delights. Recipe does follow!


2-3 tablespoons dessicated coconut
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup (one- third)  of butter, melted
3/4 cup (three-quarters)  of white granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 (one quarter) cup plain/vanilla yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tespoon mixed spice
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (one and a half) cups of plain white flour


How to make my pumpkin bread

Grease a 4×8 inch loaf tin/pan with butter or baking spray and sprinkle the dessiccated coconut in it, turning round to ensure all sides are coated.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (about 180 degrees Centigrade) .

Put pumpkin puree in a large bowl and pour the melted butter over it. Mix/whizz in the sugar, egg, yoghurt and vanilla.

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Sprinkle the baking soda, mixed spice  and salt over the mixture and mix/whizz in.

The flour is the last ingredient to go in – add it now and then mix well. Pour the mixture into your greased pan.

IMG_7095Baking time is an hour but check it after 45 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick or cake tester into the centre of the loaf. It should come out clean or with a few crumbs, not clumps.

Whatever the case, don’t let it bake longer than an hour. You don’t want it overcooked!

Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then tip it out of the pan onto a plate and let it cool down further.

IMG_7136Enjoyed on its own. And with caramel curd.

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Perfect on Christmas morning….I reckon!

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What do you think?

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Pumpkin bread and other pumpkin tales….because Fall 2010 would be too late! – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. GET OUT! Pumpkin bread! Caramel Curd! Oh, man, am I in heaven? This is amazing. I’m with your son–I don’t think I’d bother with a knife, unless I thought to take one with me when I grabbed this loaf and ran to hide in the closet and eat it ALL BY MYSELF!!

    No, I mean I’d share it. Really.

  2. If you plan to use the whole pumpkin, for …. soup or ….? you can put him in an oven for 30 minutes and . . . the skin is soft, so cutting is very easy!

  3. Make pumpkin bread with white chocolate chunks! Or just make pumpkin bread into cupcakes so you don’t compare it to other breads. 🙂 I like it to be more on the cake-y side.

  4. Carrier pigeon it is Sarah….wait for it!

    🙂 Thanks Velva, Jeniffer, Kiran, Meeta, Mimi(if I weren’t allergic to pineapple, I would have Hawaii’d up!)

    Anita, El – changing recipes is my thing, but I have to confess it does go horribly wrong sometimes but hey, food + forgiveness = future hope

    Shayma – 🙂 Give me banana bread anyday….though I didn’t start out loving it. My 1st reactions were lukewarm but the minute my friend and I made it together and I smelled it….my fate was sealed!
    OK, om work, motherhood and blogging – My sleep suffers and I don’t watch TV. And mostly try to wait till kids are in bed before I get on the computer. Not always easy!

    Blogging is super special to me – always what I needed but never knew, so after a decade, I’m almost home. It is well!

  5. Oz pumpkin is an absolute fave. love it. i would choose the pumpkin over banana bread, any day. i can eat anything w pumpkin in it, gelato, cake, cheesecake, you name it. this looks AMAZING.

    you brought back such memories- we used to eat fufu a lot. and i think our cook used to make the ugwu with mutton (we are loads of mutton in nigeria). i shall ask my mum today. ah, lagos!

    ps i can only do a post a week, work gets in the way- how do you balance work, motherhood and food blogging- SuperLady?

  6. What a wonderful display of pumpkins. And how great to adapt your banana bread recipe. Brilliant – I never would have though of it!

  7. Lovely pictures! I like the coconut and pecan touch to your pumpkin bread. Add some pineapple and it would be Hawaiian pumpkin bread.

  8. Pumpkin bread with pecan and coconut… bet it gives it a fabulous texture. We made about two loaves of pumpkin bread per week after Halloween. I’ll have to check our freezer to see if we have any puree left!

  9. Ozoz, Thank you for taking me on your pumpkin journey. I love pumpkin but, I gotta tell you except for making Jack O Lantern’s on Halloween….I use pumpkin from a can. I use this to make traditional pumpkin pies for the Thanksgiving holidays and to make holiday breads.

    Now, other types of gourds? I love to roast them with a little sea salt, pepper and olive oil. I will also blend them into soups.

    P.S. I really liked your poem.

  10. You know, I thought I was full with my dinner this evening but I reckon I could squeeze a slice of this in. Do you want to send me some by carrier pigeon?
    Brilliant pumpkin pics, apart from a few at the Brighton food festival I didn’t really see any good pumpkin displays here so it was nice to see yours.

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