Cook it, live it – pumpkin and tomato gratin

Cook pumpkin and tomato gratin from Elizabeth David on Vegetables, live it with stylish Habitat dinnerware.

‘A 1kg / 2lb piece of pumpkin, 500g / 1lb of tomatoes, 2 sticks of celery or the tops of a whole small head, 45g / 1½oz of butter, salt, garlic if you like, parsley, about 4 tablespoons of coarse breadcrumbs. Peel the pumpkin, discard the seeds and the cottony centre core; cut into small chunks. Skin and chop the tomatoes. Wash and chop the celery. In a large heavy frying pan heat 30g / 1oz of the butter, put in the celery, the pumpkin, and 1 scant tablespoon of salt. Cook gently, uncovered, until the pumpkin is soft and just beginning to look slightly jammy. Transfer it to a shallow gratin dish. In the same pan cook the tomatoes, with the garlic if you are using it, a little more salt and some chopped parsley. When most of the moisture has evaporated and the tomatoes are almost in a purée, mix with the pumpkin, smooth down the top (the dish should be quite full), cover with the breadcrumbs and the remaining butter cut into tiny knobs, stand the dish on a baking sheet and cook near the top of a fairly hot oven, 180ºC / gas 4, for 35-40 minutes, until the top surface is golden and crisp. Enough for four.’

Courbe bowl; Rex dinner plate; Alfie tumbler; Airy jug; Albany linen runner; Albany linen napkin; Burlo cutlery; Seine wine glass. Photography (Habitat dinnerware): Patrick Quayle.

Elizabeth David on Vegetables is a compilation of the late culinary legend’s recipes, published in 2013 to mark the centenary year of her birth. The intelligent, passionate and unpretentious books she wrote between the 50s and the 80s introduced a new way of cooking to the UK and were a huge influence on the Habitat lifestyle.

They were always more than lists of ingredients, though, as this volume’s editor, Jill Norman, says: ‘Elizabeth’s writing shows a self-effacing authority and respect for authenticity and tradition; food is put into context, and she quotes widely from literature, history and travel writing. Her style is elegant, she writes with clarity and imaginative boldness, with fire and bite and a caustic wit when the topic demands. She draws the reader in, making her or him want to cook, even if the instructions are sometimes sketchy. She expects the reader to think for themselves and not rely blindly on a recipe book.’

Elizabeth David on Vegetables by Elizabeth David is published by Quadrille (£20). Book photography: Kristin Perers

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