Part of our Halloween tradition is to carve jack-o-lanterns on the eve of Halloween. This year we decided on Thomas the tank engine and a funny pumpkin face patterns and I found these patterns on this site (link). I usually draw the patterns with free hand because I find it a hassle to push pin on the paper pattern. But if you are not comfortable with free hand drawing, you can certainly print the pattern out and trace it on your pumpkin.
Besides the jack-o-lantern craving activity, we also look forward to having a tasty and healthy snack to enjoy after we complete the jack-o-lanterns! We would salvage the seeds and toast them. If you haven’t tried freshly roasted pumpkin seeds before, you should really try it soon!
Since the seeds are naturally flavored and we like our seeds to be unsalted, I didn’t bother to wash them with water and just roast them at low temperature (350F) for 15-20 mins (stir occasionally) until they turn golden brown. As both my children prefer to eat the seeds with shells on, so I have to take extra care (i.e. eyes on the oven) to make sure they are roasted properly. When it is done properly, the seeds with shells can be wonderfully crunchy and easy to eat.
If you like salted version, here’s what you can do…
Put the seeds in salted water (about a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water) and bring it to a boil.
Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain.
Finally, spread them evenly on the baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 350F for 15-20mins until golden brown.
This year I decided to salvage also the pumpkin cutouts. (Well, we should always think the 3R – Recycle, Reuse, Reduce!! ;)) My mother-in-law ever mentioned to me before that we can use pumpkin to make into Chinese-style pumpkin cake so I thought why don’t I try it out this year. And to my pleasant surprise, the steam pumpkin cake tastes really good. It is sweet and savory at the same time.
Here’s the recipe:
A : 1200ml water
350g rice flour
20g tapioca flour
B : 50g (or 2 sticks) Chinese sausage, finely chopped.
50g dried shrimps, soaked and finely chopped
2 cups of pumpkin dices
Seasoning : salt, soya sauce, pepper, chicken stock granules (optional) to taste – make it slightly more salty than u normally like becos the mixture in A has no seasoning.
1. Grease the baking tin and prepare a pot of boiling water for steaming.
2. Combine A ingredients and mix well.
3. Heat 1 Tsp oil in wok and stir fry dried shrimps until fragrant, then add minced chinese sausage and stir fry until fragrant.
4. Add diced pumpkins and seasoning. Stir fry briefly.
5. Add Ingredient A and stir constantly until you feel that the mixture is thickening (or glue-like).
6. Pour mixture into baking tin and steam over high heat for about 40mins.
7. Remove and let cool.