Before I go on about the merits of pumpkins, I must first just say.. Oh My Goodness! Did you see Jenny’s handmade wardrobe update? I am so very proud and impressed with the Other Brownie! She has achieved so much and her clothes are so special. One day I am sure I will give it a go myself, but in the meantime, I will just watch and admire Jenny’s endeavours. What an inspiration!
So this week has been the half term holidays. For me these breaks from school and work are always about ‘regrouping’ with my little family: Checking in with each other, talking about plans and dreams, a few adventures and a lot of down time. With the holidays comes a little bit more head space for all of this family stuff and that definitely includes more cooking and baking time. The hubby and I like to experiment and mix things up a bit with new meals and bakes - yummy things we don’t normally cook during term time, when most often we revert to tried and tested dinners and puds. You know, all those meals you could probably make with your eyes closed…...err….don’t try that at home!
For instance in the Summer hols, I experimented with ice cream making. Without churning in a special machine, I made this delicious mint choc chip ice cream, a Waitrose food recipe ..….
...and I made this blackberry and star anise sorbet, the recipe for which was adapted from here ......
If you have read our blog for a little while, you may also remember in the June half term hols earlier this year, I made a healthy watercress pesto, a tomato salad, home baked bread and these delicious bruschetta ……
This holiday has been no exception. I have been embracing the season and making spooky biscuits....
...and I've been playing with pumpkins.....#toomuchtimeonmyhands!
Like lots of families I suspect, pumpkins are not on our shopping list very often. Every year, my hubby carves one up and all those tasty innards go to waste! This year I had other ideas. I browsed pumpkin recipes in Pinterest and oh my, people like pumpkins! Such a wealth of recipes and so much inspiration! If you use pinterest (I would recommend it), check out our board ‘Yummy in our tummies’ where I have pinned lots of pumpkin recipes, amongst other scrumptious grub that Jenny and I want to try.
After being well and truly inspired, I decided to try my hand at a pumpkin cake. I started thinking about it in terms of a carrot cake, so I grated the raw pumpkin flesh, but the resulting cake was too wet and not cooked through. Instead of adjusting the quantities, I decided to treat it a bit more like a banana cake recipe. I roasted the pumpkin, so I could mash it and it worked! My brood gave it the thumbs up too!
My Honey Roasted Pumpkin Spice Cake
1 small - medium pumpkin. I used 150g (5 oz) roasted pumpkin flesh (skin taken off)
A dash of olive oil, runny honey and a sprinkle of rock salt (I did add some dried thyme too, because I wanted to use the rest of the roasted pumpkin for another recipe)
115g (4 oz) unsalted softened butter
115g (4 oz) golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
115g (4 oz) self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
Prepare the pumpkin by cutting into large segments, scooping out the seeds and setting them aside, then cutting down further into chunks. Place on a baking tray, drizzle over some olive oil, runny honey and add a sprinkle of salt (and dried thyme if you wish).
Roast the pumpkin chunks in the oven at 180c for about an hour, taking them out at intervals and giving them a toss. The roasted pumpkin will be beautifully soft and caramelized and so yummy!
Scoop out the flesh from the pumpkin chunks and weigh out 150g (5 oz). Mash well with a fork or potato masher and set aside.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together.
Beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
Using a spatula, fold in the mashed pumpkin, followed by the flour mixture.
Pop into a round 8”/20cm lined loose-bottomed sandwich cake tin (you could double the recipe and make a sandwich cake) and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 22 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Leave in the tin to cool for 5 mins then take out of tin and cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy warm with a dollop of creme fraiche or leave until cold and smear some cream cheese frosting (such as the one from this recipe) on top - delish!!
I used the rest of the roasted pumpkin flesh to make a variation of this Pumpkin Hummous recipe . I pureed 430g of roasted pumpkin, with a clove of garlic, the juice of one large lemon, 2tblsp olive oil, 3 tblsp water and 3 tblsp tahini. Served with a drizzle of olive oil, another squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of smoked paprika, chopped fresh coriander and toasted pitta to dip, this recipe surprised me with its yumminess!
Those pumpkin seeds didn’t go to waste either. I was inspired by this Jamie Oliver recipe to roast my seeds with runny honey and a pinch of salt. The kids love them so much they were gone before I had time to take a photo!
Have a wonderful weekend and if you celebrate Halloween, have a spooky one darlings!