I love Halloween. Though I’m too old for trick or treating and apple dunking, I really enjoy the autumnal colours and golden sunshine of this time of year and even the early dark nights are still a novelty. I particularly like pumpkin lanterns, though they were turnip lanterns in my day! So this recipe, with its pumpkin bowl, is a nod to Halloween. You don’t have to go to the trouble of making the pumpkin bowls; the soup tastes just as great in china bowls!
For the Pumpkin Bowls
- Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 4
- Cut off the top of each pumpkin (the lids).
- Using a sharp knife, score the flesh 1cm from the skin.
- Scoop out the flesh, seeds and membranes.
- Put the pumpkins on a tray and bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, put the lids in the oven too.
NB: You don’t get much pumpkin out of the bowls, so you would need to buy extra pumpkin to make the soup to fill them.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Rosemary and Butter Beans (Serves 8)
(Waitrose Recipe Card, October 2015)
1 kg pumpkin peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (I used balsamic)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 cloves of garlic (I only used 2)
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
400g can of butter beans
3 rosemary sprigs
1 red chilli
1 litre chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
3 tablespoons crème fraiche (I used natural yoghurt)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pumpkin seeds to garnish
- Preheat oven to 200C/180 fan / Gas 4
- Toss the pumpkin with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the vinegar, cayenne pepper and garlic cloves. Spread over a foil-lined tray and roast for 25 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Meanwhile, heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Roughly chop the leek and celery and sweat over a gentle heat for 15 minutes, until softened. Tip in the roasted squash and squeeze in the flesh from the garlic cloves. Add the chilli, butter beans and rosemary sprigs. Add the stock and 500ml water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the rosemary sprigs from the soup, then blitz with the crème fraiche, lemon and salt and pepper.
- Serve warm, topped with pumpkin seeds.
With the winter nights drawing in and the grey, cloudy days the main feature of the weather forecast these days, I want something sweet and spicy to lift my spirits. This cake is delicious. I’ve never had pumpkin in a cake before and ginger is one of my all-time favourite flavours, so obviously I had to try this recipe. The texture is moist and the heat of the ginger is guaranteed to hit the spot and take the edge off the autumnal gloom.
(Recipe from BBC Good Food, Birthday Issue, 2014 )
250g pumpkin, peeled and cut into roughly 2 cm pieces
50g black treacle
140g golden syrup
140g light soft brown sugar
100ml semi-skinned milk
110g cold diced butter
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 medium eggs
5 chunks crystallised ginger, thinly sliced
3 balls stem ginger
- Put the pumpkin into a microwave-proof bowl and add a tiny bit of water. Cover with cling film and pierce. Put on full power for 5-8 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Drain the water then mash with a fork until smooth.
- In a saucepan, add the treacle, golden syrup, sugar and milk. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved.
- Heat oven to 180 degrees fan (200 degrees). Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spice and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until no lumps remain.
- Whisk the eggs, then add with the pumpkin into the lukewarm syrup mixture. Add to the dry ingredients.
- Cut the stem ginger balls into thin slices and add to the mixture. Pour the batter into a tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out with just a few crumbs on it.
- Scatter over the crystallised ginger which will stick to the loaf and leave to cool in the tin.
This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. C’s mum wasn’t feeling very well and so I thought some cake might help. She loves her cake but favours the simpler styles rather than the flamboyant. It was C who suggested the apple theme. I think he probably fancied a piece himself. I was quite surprised by this recipe as it says to leave the mixture for a few hours or over night before baking, I’m not too sure why this is. Anyhow, this came out very moist and wintery. I love the pieces of chocolate dotted through the cake. It’s also well worth the effort of toasting the nuts as it really brings the flavour out.
175g unsalted butter (room temperature)
140g soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
2 large eggs
140g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (I misread the recipe and only used 1 teaspoon, it turned out fine and looked just like the picture in the book.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (if making again I would add 1 and 1/2teaspoons rather than just 1 teaspoon)
100g shelled mixed nuts, lightly toasted. (I used hazelnuts, almonds and pecans)
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 eating apple thinly sliced for decoration
A 23 x 13 cm loaf tin, lined with parchment paper.
- Put the butter, sugar and strawberry jam in a bowl and cream until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a separate bowl, then beat into the butter mixture.
- Stir in the nuts, chocolate and apples into the mixture with a spoon until evenly dispersed.
- Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
- Pre-heat oven to 170 °C/150°C fan/ gas 3
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth over with a palette knife
- Arrange the thinly sliced apple on top of the loaf along the middle
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until brown and the sponge feels firm to the touch. A skewer inserted should come out clean, unless you hit the melted chocolate.
Now is the time to make the most of the beautiful pears that are in season. Cheap and delicious, what more could you ask for? I’ m a huge fan of a cheese board, even a pared down version like this one and a good chutney or relish, really adds a bit of spice. The quantity in the recipe makes two jars, but you can always half the quantities used as it only keeps for about 3 days in the fridge. I also made the crackers in the picture which were delicious when they came out of the oven, but on the second day the texture was more like cardboard, so I won’t be sharing that recipe!
(From Olive magazine, October 2015)
2 shallots finely sliced
A knob of butter
6 pears cored, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
- Fry the shallots in a knob of butter with a splash of oil until they soften without browning. They should be soft enough to squash with the back of a spoon.
- Add the pears, bay leaf, cinnamon, sugar, vinegar and sultanas and stir everything together.
- Cook gently for 10 minutes or until the pear is very tender and the mixture is thick enough to spoon. Stir every now and then to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick.
- Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan. When the relish is cooked, add the walnuts and allow the mixture to cool before storing in sterilised jars.
- Serve with blue cheese and crackers.