Full Disclosure: I have never eaten Pumpkin pie. How is this possible, you may well ask? Well, folks, I come from Australia. We don't have fall, we have autumn. We're too lazy to carve pumpkins and we're not adventurous enough to put them in desserts. Pumpkins are vaguely autumnal, yes, but you'll find them at markets from the middle of summer right through to the end of winter. And they're certainly not bright orange orbs that require a wheelbarrow to transport. Pumpkins, as I know them, come in every shade from egg yolk-yellow to forest green, and their shapes range from the double-bulb of the Turk's Turban to the python-like tube of the Dutch Crookneck.

They're used in salads in summer; we grill them on the barbecue; roast them alongside potatoes and carrots; chuck them in curries; and worship them in that mightiest of winter warmers, that golden pinnacle of country cooking, the ineffable pumpkin soup.

My mother's garden produces about 40 pumpkins a year, all unexpected hybrids of whichever varieties she planted in previous seasons. As such, we've learnt to think of them as an incredibly versatile vegetable and to cook accordingly. If you're sick of pumpkin spice everything or seasonal pumpkin desserts, trust me: you're not sick of pumpkin. Give it a chance to really strut its stuff in one of these recipes:

Pumpkin Bread

Like banana bread, but with pumpkin.

Sweet, dense, and ridiculously moreish, it's also great if you're trying to eliminate sugar or gluten from your diet, or even if you've gone full paleo. For a savoury loaf, add a little extra of your chosen rising agent and chuck in some seeds; for a sweet tooth, add some chocolate chips and honey into the mix; or for a seasonal delight, include spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.

Here are some recipes to get you started: Seasonal Pumpkin Loaf5 Minute Paleo Dump BreadSweet Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Curry

Pumpkin and curry are a match made in heaven. The soft pumpkin flesh absorbs the flavours of the sauce, adding a sweet, almost smoky flavour of its own. The meatiness of pumpkin makes it ideal in vegetarian recipes, but it also complements pork and lamb beautifully.

Importantly, for people like me whose recipe timing is always a bit off, pumpkin also retains heat very well, meaning that if you forget to put the rice on there's no cause for panic. My go-to curry is modelled on Jamie Oliver's recipe below, featuring pumpkin, chickpeas and coconut milk. Jamie Oliver: Pumpkin, Chickpea & Coconut Curry

Pumpkin Soup

'Everyone knows about pumpkin soup', you may scoff. Yes, perhaps; however, nobody seems to realise how easy it is to make, how difficult it is to stuff up, or how many hundreds of variations are possible. Every time I make a pumpkin soup, it turns out differently. Every time I make a pumpkin soup, it turns out to be the best culinary decision of my week.

The flavour changes depending on the type of pumpkin you use (there's no wrong type), the additional veggies you throw in (carrot, potato, parsnip, squash, celery - you can do no wrong), the method by which you cook it (slow cooking is my favourite, but as long as it's blendable, anything goes) and, of course, your spices. Use the below recipes as inspiration, but approach your pumpkin soup with the aim of using whatever you already have. Don't over-season before it's blended; blending drastically changes the flavour profile. In the end, your taste buds will give you all the direction you need. Roasted Pumpkin SoupPumpkin Spice SoupCoconut Curry Pumpkin Soup

Now we're cooking with gas*


So, there are just a couple of my favourite ways to use this gorgeous vegetable long after fall has fallen.

I'll leave you with a couple of tips:

You can eat the seeds. Massage them out of the surrounding pulp, toss them with your favourite spices, spread them on a baking tray and cook on a very low heat until they're dry and crisp. One of my go-to snacks! Full of nutrition and fibre.

You can eat the skins. A big chunk of pan-roasted pumpkin, the flesh so soft you can pull it off the charred skin with a spoon, is a delight like no other. Either leave the skin on and cook the pumpkin as normal or slice away and reserve the skin, use the flesh in whatever recipe you like, then toss the slices in olive oil and/or the spices of your choice and roast them in the oven until the edges curl.

Canned pumpkin isn't pumpkin and if you buy it, don't talk to me ever again.