Small, ovalshaped gourds are easy to convert into temporary vases for table displays. Cut off the tops, scoop out the flesh and decorate with seasonal flowers and foliage. at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles (the only restaurant in Scotland with two Michelin stars), grows ‘Musquée de Provence’ and ‘Ghost Rider’ for cooking; for carving she recommends the orange jack-o’-lantern types ‘Harvest Moon’ and ‘Mars’, as well as the spookier White Ghost or Snowball.
Choose a suitably shaped pumpkin with a flat bottom. Protect your work surface then, using a marker pen, draw a circle around the stalk, for a lid. Alternatively, cut a hole in the base or at the back. Make sure the hole is big enough to get your hand inside to scoop everything out. A short, sharp, serrated knife with a point is best for sawing through the flesh.
Work slowly to avoid cutting yourself and keep drying the knife so it’s less slippery. If you cut an opening in the top, try to angle the blade towards the centre of the pumpkin so you create a little ledge to support the lid. Scoop out the seeds, then cut into the flesh until it’s about 2.5mm thick in the area you wish to carve. You can keep the seeds for toasting. Sketch out your design then draw on the pumpkin with the pen or use your sketch as a stencil, lightly piercing the