seafood stew in pumpkin

I learned this ‘Seafood stew in a pumpkin’ dish from a Korean cooking show recently. It is like serving seafood stew in a steamed pumpkin instead of a serving plate.

The dish is quite straight forward to prepare and I am confident that both my children would like it…even though one loves pumpkin and the other wouldn’t even want to take a tiny bite. Initially I had planned to cook this dish just for one of them, but, like the Chinese saying, 计划赶不上变化 (literally translated as plans always fall behind changes), I ended up serving this for the whole family. Well, I thought, the elder one could enjoy the entire dish while the younger one could just eat everything, except the pumpkin 😉

There are two ways to prepare the pumpkin to use as a ‘serving bowl’. The lid can be first carved out and the pulp removed before it is steamed. The other method is to steam the pumpkin first to make it easier to cut out the lid. Either way is fine as long as the pumpkin is cooked and has softened (fork tender) but can still retain its shape. Do not overcook till it becomes too soft otherwise it may not be able to hold the fillings.

The cooked pumpkin is then filled with the seafood stew and topped with grated cheese before sending it into the oven to bake. The baking is only meant for the cheese to melt as the fillings is already cooked.

This Korean dish is normally prepared with a spicy seafood stew that is seasoned with gochujang (Korean chili paste) and gochugaru (Korean chili powder). However, the cooking show(“What shall we eat today?”) demonstrates a non-spicy version, replacing the chili paste and chili powder with ready made pasta sauce. To make it even more palatable to suit children’s taste buds, the pumpkin is brushed with honey before filling it with the stew. Besides the seafood, another key ingredients of the dish is Korean rice cakes. I replaced the rice cakes with cooked macaroni as I thought the it should go well with the pasta sauce, and it would be like pasta seafood marinara in a pumpkin. The dish was very appetising and I really like the nice presentation…something I would serve if I have guests coming over for dinner. I will also try the spicy version soon before my pack of gochugaru expires!

Seafood Stew in Pumpkin


1 medium size pumpkin
2 gloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, cut into bite size
2 sausages, slice diagonally into bite size
1 small to medium size squid, cleaned, skinned, cut into rings
6~10 prawns, removed shells and devein
1/2 cup cooked macaroni or fusilli
2~3 tablespoons pasta sauce (I used canned tomato sauce)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper for seasoning
a few tablespoons water
some honey
grated mozzarella cheese


  • Wash the pumpkin. Cut a lid from the top of the pumpkin. Carve out the flash in the centre with a sharp knife carefully. Remove the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Scrape the inside of the pumpkin clean with the spoon. Discard the lid
  • Steam the pumpkin for 15 mins until it has cooked and softened but still retains its shape. Drain the water that may have welled inside the pumpkin. (Note: alternatively, to make it easier to cut out the lid, steam the whole pumpkin for 15 mins before cutting the lid. Test the doneness and if necessary steam the pumpkin for another few more minutes.)
  • In a frying pan on medium heat, heat the cooking oil and saute the garlic, onions, bell pepper and sausages. 
  • Add in the butter followed by the squid, prawn and macaroni. Add in the pasta sauce and stir fry quickly for about 30 seconds. Do not over cook the seafood. Add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture is dry.
  • Season with pepper and salt to taste. Remove from heat.
  • Brush the inside of the cooked pumpkin with some honey. 
  • Fill the pumpkin with the seafood mixture. Top with grated cheese and bake in preheated oven at 200 degC for about 10 mins or until the cheese has melted. (Note: depending on the size of the pumpkin, there could be some leftover seafood mixture.)
  • Remove pumpkin from oven and place it on a large serving plate. Cut the pumpkin into wedges but do not cut through so that the wedges form a flower shape around the seafood. Serve immediately.

buckwheat chocolate chip cookies {gluten free}

buckwheat chocolate chip cookie

So, we’re getting married on Saturday.

For the first week after we got engaged, I embraced wedding planning with enthusiasm. Almost immediately, I went out and bought a huge stack of magazines which I diligently spent the weekend reading and making copious notes from. My lunch breaks were devoted to pinning images to my (secret) boards on pinterest and browsing wedding forums.  I lost several days to developing a ridiculously complicated spreadsheet with far more conditional formatting than was probably healthy.

It didn’t last.

To say that my feelings about getting married are mixed makes it sound like I have many feelings about the whole thing when, if I’m being honest, I don’t. I’ve never actively wanted to get married (which, to clarify, is not the same as saying that I didn’t/don’t want to get married) and I struggle to see why a 40 minute church service and a couple of signatures in a book should make any real difference to our life together or how we feel about each other. Plus, there are elements of the day  that we are both absolutely dreading but which are, sadly, non-negotiable if we actually want to end up married.

That is not to say, of course, that I am not (mostly) looking forward to Saturday. There is very little in life that I enjoy more than a good party (and goodness knows we’ve bought enough booze to make it a good party). I can’t wait for all of my favourite people to be in the same place at the same time. I am also very much looking forward to not feeling a sense of dread every time I open my email inbox (or, as my future husband put it less charitably, to a time when we don’t have to speak to our parents quite so often) and we both long ago lost any enthusiasm for discussions about ribbon colours or cutlery choices.

Plenty of ‘helpful’ people at work have told me that our wedding day will be the best day of our lives. Call me unromantic but I hope that isn’t true. The bit that I’m really looking forward to is what comes after the wedding. Which you can take to mean our married life together or the three honeymoons that we’ve got planned over the next six months…


cookie dough

buckwheat chocolate chip cookie

buckwheat chocolate chip cookies {gluten free}

Yield: 10 – 12 large cookies

I’ve made a lot of chocolate chip cookies over the year and this recipe is what I’ve ended up coming back to time and time again. It incorporates elements from all over the place but, most notably, the use of cold butter which I stole from Heston Bluemnthal. It seems a little counter-intuitive but it’s all to do with the temperature and solidity of the butter at the point which it bonds with the sugar which (sort of) makes sense to me and does end up giving me the texture I want in a cookie. That’s not to say, of course, that I’d ever turn down a cookie made with melted/room temperature butter. The difference is pretty marginal.


  • 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 180g (1 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 180g (~ 1 1/4 cups) buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus extra to sprinkle on top if you’re so inclined)
  • 150g (6 oz) dark chocolate (70%), chopped


  1. In a bowl, beat together the cold butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes or so. This is far too much work to do by hand – I either use a stand mixer or a handheld electric whisk. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until incorporated and smooth.
  2. Add all of the dry ingredients plus most of the chocolate (I like to reserve a little to sprinkle on top before baking) and beat until just combined, no more than that. I prefer the cookies when the dough has been chilled for at least an hour, if not overnight, but the world is not going to end if you bake them straight away. Sometimes you just really need a cookie.
  3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with non-stick paper. Divide the cookie dough into large balls (I use a generous ice cream scope) and place on the baking tray. Push in a little of the reserved chocolate and sprinkle with salt if you like.
  4. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until the cookies are just golden around the edges. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 10 – 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish the job.
  5. Any extra dough can be popped in the freezer and baked from frozen – just add a couple of minutes to the cooking time.

Christmas Chocolate Ombre Cake


How about my modern Christmas crowd pleaser for your Christmas celebrations?

It’s easily adaptable  and you can add your own Christmas twist!

Keep your eyes peeled for versions that some other fab bakers have made in the lead up to Christmas.  All the recipe and how to information right here on Bake with Stork for you.


Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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Nut-Free Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe


Vegan tacos made with nut-free cheese sauce bake and destroy
Please don’t ask me how carrots got on there.

Last night I was in a pinch – Tony had purchased fresh corn tortillas for tacos, and I had Upton’s Naturals Chorizo Seitan, avocado, and other taco stuff… but no cheese. No problem – I can just whip up a batch of Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce from my book, right? Well guess what, Natalie? You’re out of cashews and you already have all the other ingredients in the blender, what are you going to do? I’m gonna add sesame seeds, that’s what.

Yep, it’s a simple swap, made with an inexpensive (and allergy-friendly) ingredient I already have on hand thanks to seed cycling. If you just want a cheddar-y sauce, omit the pepper and add a squirt of yellow mustard or a dash of apple cider vinegar. For a spicier sauce, add some of your favorite hot sauce.

Bake and Destroy – Recipes with mosh parts since 2006.