Pumpkin and Cheese Scones

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It’s pumpkin season and they are everywhere.  The variety of pumpkins seems to be growing year on year and the choice of shapes, sizes and colours can be a bit overwhelming, but why make a choice when you can have them all; they’re pumpkins after all! So, as you can see from the photo, I’ll be making pumpkin recipes for some time to come. Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween! This recipe, originally from Sainsbury’s Magazine (October, 2016), really hits the spot. It’s a savoury, cheesy treat, perfect to eat on its own, with butter or instead of a bread roll with soup. 

Ingredients

275g peeled and deseeded pumpkin or butternut squash (about 350g unprepared weight)

225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika, plus extra to dust

50g soft butter

125g mature cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

2-3 tablespoons milk, plus extra for brushing

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

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Directions

·         Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7.

·         Chop the pumpkin into rough 2.5cm pieces and put in a microwaveable bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover loosely with clingfilm and pierce in a couple of places. Microwave on high for 5-7 minutes. Drain off any water. Alternatively, wrap the pumpkin loosely in a foil parcel and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until tender.

·         Mash the pumpkin into a puree, then tip it into a sieve over a bowl for 5 minutes to drain off any excess moisture and let it cool slightly.

·         Sift the flour, baking powder and smoked paprika into a mixing bowl and season. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in half the cheese.

·         Tip the puree into the mixing bowl and use a table knife to start to blend it into the flour mixture. Add just enough milk to bring it together as a soft, but not sticky, dough.

·         Turn out onto a floured surface and roll or pat out until 2.5cm thick. Use a 5cm cutter to stamp out scones and transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Re-form the dough to stamp out further rounds until all of it is used up. Brush each scone with a little milk and top with the remaining cheese. Gently press a few pumpkin seeds on top and dust with smoked paprika. 

·         Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until well risen and crisp. Cool slightly before eating.

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Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Rosemary and Butter Beans in Pumpkin Bowls

Pumpkin bowl with mini pumpkins

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.

Pumpkin bowl portait

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

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Directions

  • 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.

 

Pumpkin and Ginger Loaf

 

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.

 

Ingredients

(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

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  • 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.

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