Any of the small pumpkins that are easily available in the tropics may be used for this recipe, as may the butternut squashes that are available through late autumn and winter in British supermarkets. A squash weighing about 2.5 kg / 5 lbs will be ample for 4 people as a one-dish meal, with plenty left over to make soup for two. If you are serving this dish as a first course, to be followed by a roast chicken or roast beef and salad, this will give you a generous helping for eight.

1 small pumpkin or squash (about 2.5 kg / 5 lbs)
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
80 gram / 3 oz grated cheddar or edam cheese
a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme

Heat the oven to 180 C.
Rub or brush the oil inside and outside the pumpkin halves. Put the grated cheese and herbs inside and bake for 35 - 40 minutes. This roasting of the pumpkin can be done a few hours ahead of the time of serving.

For the vegetables and pasta:
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
2 large red chillies, deseeded and chopped, or 1 teaspoon sambal ulek
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
115 gm / 4 oz brown mushrooms, quartered
115 gm / 4 oz green beans, topped and tailed and cut into 1-cm lengths
4 tablespoons hot water
1 red or green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or a 115 gm / 4 oz tin of chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
225 gm / 8 oz dried chick peas, soaked overnight in cold water, then boiled without salt for 60 - 75 minutes; or canned chick peas, drained and rinsed but NOT boiled
225 - 340 gm / 8 - 12 oz papardelle (or other egg pasta or noodles), cooked in lightly-salted boiling water as per the instructions on the packet

In a deep frying pan or a wok, heat the oil and stir fry the onions for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and chillies or sambal ulek, and continue stirring for another 2 minutes, then add the ground coriander and curry powder. Stir for a minute more, and add the rest of the ingredients, except the pasta. Cover the pan and continue cooking on a low flame for 6-8 minutes. Uncover, and taste - add more salt if necessary. Mix in the pasta or noodles into the vegetables.

Now, if the halves of squash have been roasted in advance, put them on a heatproof dish and pour the vegetable and pasta mixture around them. Heat in the medium oven for 15 - 20 minutes and serve hot.

To make the soup from the left-overs, you need only put the left-overs in a liquidiser or food processor with 340 ml / 12 fl oz hot water, and process for 3-5 minutes. Pass the soup through a sieve into a saucepan, and heat, stirring often till the soup is hot. Add some more hot water if the soup is too thick. Serve straight away, garnished with the peeled roasted pumpkin seeds and some chopped spring onions.