Stuffed Pumpkins Flowers

Rice and veggie stuffed pumpkin flowers

10 freshly picked pumpkin flowers (Use the male flowers with the long stems, and thin out the female flowers that produce fruit, if you have too many pumpkins. This helps to give strength to the pumpkin vines that are already growing and producing pumpkins.)
200g rice (brown, red or white rice)
400ml water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 onion, thinly diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green, red or yellow pepper, diced into small blocks
Bunch of fresh parsley or coriander, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the rice filling
Sauté the onion in the coconut oil. Once translucent, add the garlic. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg, and then the rice. This attaches flavour to the rice. Now add the water. Set at a simmer with the lid on the pot for 5 – 10 minutes while the rice cooks, then turn off the rice and allow it to stand for a further 15 – 20 minutes. (Please adjust cooking time according to what rice is used.) Using a fork, puff the rice up and add the chopped herbs and peppers, and season to taste. Open the flower petals and scoop in spoonfuls of rice filling. Twist the end of the flower petals together and lay on a greased baking pan. Bake the flowers at 190°C for 10 minutes. Serve the flowers with a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil or a spicy homemade tomato sauce. This is great as a starter to a main meal or with a fresh salad.

The Gardener