Pumpkin & Orange Pancakes

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So, I promised to upload this recipe on Friday and it’s taken until now (Monday ruddy morning) to get my act together and actually process the photos and write the damn thing. I guess you could say I’m well and truly out of the blogging groove and I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to put my energies back into it. Because I’m channeling all my foodie creativity into other work, this space remains a bit of a ‘relegated to the back of my brain’ dead zone, which is not what I want but at present I can’t fully see a way forward. Part of me thinks I should be diversifying a bit and including more lifestyle posts (beauty, fashion, homeware) but I’m not sure if you agree – do you want to see those type of posts or should I just stick to food? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’m taking your lead on this one.

 

Instagram is proving to be a wonderful outlet for me at present. As long as you follow wisely it can be a really terrific, supportive community to be a part of. I’ve done many’s a cull, which means my feed is full of charming, positive people that have similar interests to me – yes, there’s lots of food but also plenty of performance art, floral displays (I love blooms) and style … I’m a sucker for a great outfit. I highly recommend @personalpractice (dancer extraordinaire) @latonyayvette (supermum and general babe) @ellenfisher (aka mango island mamma) @jennymustard (swedish vegan minimalist living in Berlin) and @carolinedemaigret (sophisticated french model who happens to be hilarious) … do you have any recommendations of your own? Who inspires you on a daily instagram feed basis? Also, I am so, so close to reaching my 10k target – if you’re not following me already (and you like lots of photos of food and Cornwall) then head over to my personal feed (@ainecarlin) and click follow! I would be very much obliged. High fives in advance.

 

And then there’s the small matter of it being October. October. My favourite month because, y’know … harvest, autumn, halloween, all that jazz. We’ve already decorated our living-room with dancing skeletons (see twitter for proof) and other ghostly bunting, as well as seasonal spooky candles – and lots and lots of PUMPKINS! Well, a variety of squash, if I’m being perfectly honest. But still. PUMPKINS!! Truth be told I used canned pumpkin for these pancakes but if you do want to make your own (it’s super easy, promise!) then I have a quick ‘How to’ that will help. This stack were so light and fluffy I was tempted to call them ‘Perfectly Pillowy Pumpkin & Orange Pancakes’ but decided to keep it simple instead. However, they most definitely are ‘perfectly pillowy’ and totally delicious to boot. I made an addictive palm sugar salted caramel to accompany them (can I get a ‘yum’?), which will test your restraint when it comes to bowl licking because this stuff is 100% uh-mazing. The pumpkin, orange yoghurt was a bit of an afterthought that actually really brought the whole dish together … but not as crucial as the caramel, so if you’re going to forgo something, forgo this.

 

Recipe time. You ready? Time to get get jiggy with some pumpkin puree.

 

what you’ll need

150g spelt flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

240ml soya (or other plant) milk

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

juice and zest of 1/2 orange

3 tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 tbsp. melted coconut oil

 

what you’ll do

place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, spices and orange zest in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

 

in a separate bowl whisk the soya milk, puree, maple syrup and orange juice together until smooth.

 

make a well in the centre of the flour, pour in the wet mixture and whisk to combine.

 

heat a crepe or frying pan and melt the coconut before pouring into the pancake batter. whisk to combine and set aside for a minute or two.

 

return the pan to the stove, brush with a little more coconut oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup (or an ice-cream scoop) ladle in the pumpkin batter, cooking one at a time for best results. cook for around 4-5 minutes or until bubbles begin to appear on top and the sides look dry before flipping. cook for a further minute or so before transferring to a plate. cover with a clean tea-towel to keep them warm. repeat until all the mixture is used … you should get approximately 10-12 pancakes out of the batter mix.

 

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for the salted caramel

1/2 cup palm sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

 

place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil for around 5-10minutes or until the mixture reduces and thickens, and the sugar is completely dissolved. swirl to ensure the sugar is evenly dispersed but do not stir.

 

once the mixture has thickened, whisk in the coconut milk (coconut cream will also work) and gently boil for a further 10 or so minutes. once it takes on a caramel appearance, test the thickness using the back of a spoon … simply dip it into the caramel and set it aside for a minute to determine how well it sets – remember, as it cools, it will continue to thicken.

 

at the very end whisk in the extract and sea salt and transfer to a bowl. refrigerate until needed.

 

for the pumpkin yoghurt

4 tbsp. dairy free yoghurt

1 heaped tbsp. pumpkin puree

1 tbsp. orange juice

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

 

whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and refrigerate until needed.

 
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Six steps to a stress-free Christmas Day

Christmas Day. One of the most eagerly awaited holidays of the year. Full of magic and wonder … unless, of course, you happen to be in the kitchen. In which case, that magic and wonder is replaced with sweating and swearing, and vows to be more way prepared next year. Well, next year has arrived folks so it’s time (and believe me, there still is time!) to put those best laid plans into action. Here then is my crucial six-step plan, which will hopefully make Christmas Day just that teeny bit more bearable … please note; copious amounts of wine will still be required.

 

1. Let’s cut right to the chase. Any decent plan requires a list and here’s how mine tends to play out. It all begins on Christmas Eve – but don’t worry, we’re not spending the whole day in the kitchen, that would just be silly. I want you to be able to savour every moment – but also get yourself a little ahead of the game for tomorrow. I begin with breakfast … that’s Christmas Day brekkie I’m referring to and, in my opinion, baked goods are absolutely the way to go. Pumpkin Bread has become a bit of a tradition in our house, and it means we can open our gifts at leisure. A fresh pot of tea (or cafetiere of coffee) are the perfect accompaniment – maybe a few fresh figs or other fruit to pick on, and you’ve got yourself a delicious festive breakfast that will quash any hunger pangs but still leave plenty of room for that hefty midday (or, in our case, late afternoon) dinner.

 

Here’s my go-to Pumpkin Bread recipe. Got more people coming? Just double the quantities and divide between two loaf tins. Whammo.

 

2. Okay, now you’ve made your breakfast bread it’s time to turn your attention to your starter. Trust me, unless you’re happy to faff about in the midst of preparing arguably the biggest/ most important meal of the year then you’ll want this one done and dusted and ready to be re-heated as and when needed. This year, I’ve opted for a seriously simple Chestnut Soup. In the past, I’ve opted for stuffed mushrooms but when you’re cooking for five or six, have limited room in both your fridge and oven, this can be a logistic nightmare. And besides, everyone is going to adore this silky smooth Chestnut Soup – it’s just enough to whet the appetite without over-facing everyone.
 


 

3. Likewise, dessert needs to be a breeze, especially after consuming a plate of food the size of your head. We tend to leave quite a gap between our main on Christmas Day, meaning we enjoy it more. This year my Sister has requested my Mince-pie Galette (although my Mont-Blanc Cups would also be a good option), which can be partially or fully prepped in advance. For those wanting it completely fresh on the day you can simply make and refrigerate the pastry the day ahead, then roll it out when required. Otherwise, make the whole thing a day or two before (it keeps well, loosely wrapped in foil in the fridge) and then gently heat before serving. I wholeheartedly insist you serve it with both (soya) cream and ‘ice-cream’. That and the Downton Christmas special equals festive perfection.

 

4. Don’t forget nibbles and drinks … my go-to drink is a glass of chilled prosecco with a splash of pomegranate juice, and (optional) dash of gingerbread syrup. You could also make my Pomegranate & Thyme Mocktail – to make more than one, skip the cocktail shaker method and simply double, triple or quadruple the ingredients. Place everything in a large jug and stir with wooden spoon. Divide the base mixture between the glasses and top with sparkling water – or for an alcoholic version, champagne.

 

For nibbles, I’m going down the Bloody Mary Bruschetta Route, partially because the colours scream Christmas but also because my version contains vodka. What can I say … ’tis the season!

 

5. Set the table. Or, at the very least, delegate someone to do it for you. I always seem to be rushing prior to serving up, so I like to make sure the table is ready to go well in advance. Whilst everyone is busying themselves getting ready, take a moment to chose a simple theme that will really show off your food. I’m all about self-service, so like to lay everything out, which means that pretty bowls and crockery are essential. Dot the table with a few votives and foliage but don’t over-do it … people like to have room to ‘breathe’ too. I like things somewhat informal so minimal is the order of the day. I think of these few precious moments as the calm before the storm so enjoy it. Now’s the time to potter, play and savour that Christmas spirit.

 

6. Onto the main event. I tend to go through all the side dishes I want to make and highlight those that can be made ahead without impairing the taste. I’ve also narrowed it down over the years … reducing my sides from upwards of twelve (seriously) to around eight or nine, depending on how I’m feeling. Here’s this years choices:
 

(1.) Braised Cabbage & Apple

(2.) Maple Roasted Parsnips

(3.) Pan-fried Brussel Sprouts

(4.) Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe in ‘Keep it Vegan’)

(5.) Roast Potatoes

(6.) Gravy (here’s a YouTube link to my ‘Easy Vegan Gravy’ recipe)

(7.) Cranberry Sauce

(8.) Carrot & Sage Slice

(9.) Tofurkey

 

That’s quite a hefty list as it is but imagine trying to make all that on the day … er, nightmare! These are quite traditional offering so if you’re after something a little more unusual may I suggest the following:
 

Winter Squash &  CousCous Salad
Warm Pumpkin & Red Onion Salad
Festive Slaw
Baked Aubergine with Lemon-infused CousCous

 

From my preferred side-dish list above, here are the ones that I can easily prep ahead:

Braised Red Cabbage, Cranberry Sauce, Carrot & Sage Slice, Sweet Potato Casserole (don’t add the pecans until the following day) and Gravy.

 

Thus leaving these remaining dishes for the day:

Maple Roasted Parsnips, Roast Potatoes, Pan-fried Sprouts and the Tofurkey.
 

 

Seeing it laid out like that already makes it seems much more manageable. I get someone else to peel the potatoes meaning I can then happily prep the parsnips and slice the sprouts. I’ll cook the tofurkey as instructed and then cover it in foil until needed, thus freeing up space in the oven. Most of my dishes take a maximum of 30 minutes to reheat so I’ll par-boil the roasties before popping them in the oven first … in case you’re wondering I’ll coat them in a basic sunflower oil and roast them for abut 45mins or until they properly crisp up. A few minutes later, I’ll roast the ‘snips and then gently re-heat the Braised Cabbage on the stove. Ensuring everything on the stove is re-heated at a medium temperature tends to keep panic to a minimum too. Sprinkle over the pecan topping before baking the Sweet Potato Casserole until piping hot along with the Carrot & Sage Slice, which is essentially acting as my ‘stuffing’ element this year. The last dish you want to cook is your Sprout because you want to ensure they still some freshness and bite. Stir-fry them on a high heat in some coconut oil and serve immediately.

 

Like I mentioned above, I don’t personally serve everyone individually, I simply lay everything out on the table and let everyone help themselves. For me, this is all part of that communal eating atmosphere I love so much. Pass the gravy will ya!

 

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Cashew Cream & Griddled Oranges


 
I am going good guns with this YouTube melarkey, I tell ya. I set myself the task of uploading one a week and so far that’s what I’ve done (click here for the video) … although I won’t deny I’ve had a wee bit of help in the process, ahem. This week I opted for a sweetened cashew cream recipe served with hot griddled oranges – simple but so delicious. You’ll also notice I’ve donned a 70s lurex vest (hey, lurex is ‘in’ again … apparently!) and cut my fringe myself (er, maybe I got a bit scissor happy) … shall we say, double fail? Anywho, something that didn’t fail me was my blender. Since ‘The Boss’ came into my life my cashew creams have never been better; silky smooth, whipped to perfection and scarily akin to the real thing. Yup. Totally obsessed.
 
Truthfully, I don’t have many go-to appliances in my kitchen (I’m pretty hard to please) but I honestly couldn’t live without a blender – I’m sure most seasoned vegans would agree it’s a crucial piece of kit. Personally, I’ve been through a number of ’em (and definitely put them through their paces in the process) so I like to think I know what separates the good from the great – and ‘The Boss’ is without a doubt ‘great’. Not only does it have a setting for ‘green smoothies’ (I know!) but it also (and crucially, for me) makes mincemeat of nuts … and that’s exactly why it’s ideal for this recipe.
 
Because I like to add as little liquid as possible when making creams and cheeses, it’s been quite tricky in the past for me to get the desired consistency without relenting and adding that extra bit of water or juice. You’ll see here that I recommend adding 75ml maximum to the cashews but in reality I didn’t even use the full amount (more like 50ml) and it still rendered it utterly flawless – in a nutshell, my nutbased creams have been revolutionised. Enough blathering though and onto the recipe – the weekend beckons:
 

what you’ll need

200g soaked cashews

75ml filtered water

2 tbsp agave (or maple syrup)

pinch of salt

1 tbsp orange juice

1/2 tsp orange extract

2 x oranges

to serve

finely grated dark chocolate

orange zest

 

what you’ll do

Soak the cashews overnight in filtered water. Drain, rinse and add to your blender along with 50ml water, 1 tbsp agave and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally and adding a touch more water if necessary. It will go through several stages so persevere until you achieve the desired silky smooth consistency.

 

Once smooth add the orange juice, remaining agave and orange extract and blitz to combine. Transfer to a bowl and chill for at least an hour.

 

Heat a griddle pan on a medium/high heat. Slice the skin off the oranges and cut into thickish rounds (otherwise they will disintegrate on the pan) and place on the pre-heated griddle pan. Sear the orange slices for a minute or so on each side before transferring to a large platter or dish.

 

Spoon the chilled cashew cream in tothe centre and finish with a little grated chocolate and/or orange zest.

 

 

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My YouTube Channel

 

I thought it was time for a YouTube update. Whilst I don’t upload as much as I would like (editing seems to take forEVER!) I’ve been trying to invest a bit more of my creative energy into this little channel. Quick ‘n’ easy recipes work best for this medium (in my opinion) – then again, I’m basing that purely on my own short attention span when it comes to online recipe vids. So, because of that, I’ve attempted to keep the dishes straightforward but would love some feedback on whether you would indeed like more involved recipes – totally open to suggestions so fire away.

 

My aim is to upload one video a week … they’ll vary between the book and blog with a smattering of super healthy dishes – and not so healthy because, hey, that’s life. I’m really excited about building this platform not only because YouTube has a growing vibrant community but also because I happen to be an obsessive viewer myself. In case you’re interested a few of my favourite channels include Mr.Kate, BeautyCrush, Alli Cherry, Niomi Smart, Nutrition Stripped and Shameless Maya … oh, and, of course, I love Mr.Oliver’s wonderful FoodTube channel too.

 

My latest recipe is for Homemade Hazelnut Milk but there’s also a recipe for my Carrot Cake Bites and Macaro-no Cheese on the channel too – enjoy! And before I forget, please do ‘like’, ‘subscribe’ and ‘share’.
 

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‘Keep it Vegan’ at Waitrose Cookery School


 
PHOTO CREDIT – ALI ALLEN

Okay, so January isn’t exactly whizzing by but maybe that’s not such a bad thing … after all it gives us time to really adjust to those resolutions. If you’ve decided to give Veganuary a whirl or are just looking to tweak your diet for the better then why not join me for a full day of vegan cooking at the Waitrose Cookery School in Finchley on Saturday 24th January between 9.30am and 4pm. There are still some spots left on the course (but you best hurry before they sell-out!) where I’ll be taking you through some specially selected recipes from my book ‘Keep it Vegan’.

 

The price for the full day is 150pounds, which will supply you with all your ingredients and equipment plus wine with lunch. The course is not aimed directly at vegans either – everybody is welcome at my table and I am so excited to connect with you all in reality. So, even if you’re just a teeny bit curious or simply want to expand your vegan/veggie menu (especially handy when you have vegan guests!) I have endeavored to tailor the day to be as expansive and inclusive as possible.
 
Here’s what you can expect…
 
When you arrive you will be met with freshly prepared Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins and Bircher Muesli, which you will then learn to make yourself.
 
Afterwards we will begin preparing our lunch, which will include my Macaro-no Cheese followed by one of my personal favs from the book – the Indian Spiced Tacos. Next up I’ll be offering some tofu tips before taking you through my Sweet ‘n’ Sour Tofu dish step by step. This will be accompanied by my Green Bean Salad with Lemon, Garlic & Chilli as well as the ever-popular Cumin Spiced Carrots – because, in my opinion, side dishes are equally important as the main!
 
Dessert dishes will include my easy-peasy Carrot Cake Bites (for the health conscious amongst us) as well as my super-rich Fudgy Brownies (for those of us who don’t mind a little sugar in our lives). Yikes, I don’t know about you but I’m full already, haha!
 
To cap the day off I decided to go with my No-knead Carrot & Courgette Bread alongside my Balsamic and Black Peppercorn Cashew Cheese because they’re great ones to have up your sleeve. And that’s that!
 
I will, of course, be available to answer any questions you have so feel free to ask away on the day – look forward to seeing you there!
 

BOOK YOUR PLACE ON THE ‘KEEP IT VEGAN’ COOKERY COURSE HERE

 

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Homemade Almond Milk

 

Please tell me I’m not the only one panicking about Christmas? Whilst I’ve now made a dent in my Christmas shopping (Thank God for TKMaxx!) I’m so behind on all the awesome plans I had for homemade gifts. I’ve also been away from my own home, which has somewhat thrown a spanner in the works with regards to my blogging… side note; nothing beats the light in Cornwall. Of course, it’s super spending time with the folks and I’m doing my best to make sure Dad is getting all the goodness he requires but that means this little space needs to take a backseat.

 

If you follow me on instagram you’ll notice I posted a seriously lush  ‘Christmas CousCous’ dish I’ve been working on (I’ve gone persimmon mad this season) but I just didn’t like how the photos turned out so I’m keeping that recipe on the back burner for a bit. In place of that I thought I’d offer up my fail-safe method for Almond Milk of which I am always obsessed. And because I like my almond milk slightly sweet I’m happy to add a medjool date or two or even a squeeze of agave – actually my preference, as it doesn’t mess with the beautiful bright white colour of the milk… fickle, moi? For a flavoured milk why not play around with various extracts yourself or add a spoonful of cocoa/cacao for a yummy chocolately milk… really great for kids! I will be popping back throughout the week with other handy recipes to see you through the festive period. Now though, it’s time to hit Lidl to see what Christmassy vegan treats they have in store.
 

what you’ll need

85g (1/2 cup) whole raw almonds

350ml (1 1/2 cups) water

pinch salt

optional…

1/2 tbsp pref. sweetener (eg. agave) or two medjool dates

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

what you’ll do

place everything in a blender and blend on a high speed until smooth. pass through a fine mesh sieve or nut milk bag. chill for at least an hour before serving – will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

 

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How to… Make Pumpkin Bread

 

I’ve got a tiny confession to make. My cookbook library is kinda small. Make that very small. In fact, count them on two hands small. Little as it is though, I do use actually them, which is why I tend not to buy in bulk when it comes to recipe books, instead preferring to get good wear out of the ones I do own… however, that’s not say more aren’t welcome on my bookshelf (Christmas is nearing, hint, hint). Food blogs probably have a lot to do with my meagre cookbook collection too although I will admit there is nothing like leafing through a hard copy filled with dreamy images – in my opinion, computer screens will just never match the tactile beauty of a book.

 

My other confession (can you tell I was taised Catholic?) is that I never seem to be able to stick rigidly to a recipe. Of course, that helps when one is transforming a Nigella dish into a vegan friendly affair but baffles even myself when the recipe at hand is (a.) vegan (b.) delicious. Why mess with something that already works and tastes, well, fab? I guess sticking by the rule set was never my strong suit. So, even when I discover a recipe like this one (that’ll be Joy Wilson’s ‘Vegan Pumpkin Everything Bread’ I’m referring to), I can’t help but tweak it to suit my own tastes and needs (cue sugar reduction, vanilla extract addition, rye flour substitution etc.etc.) Like I said, me and rules never did mix very well… even when the rules were (read are) perfectly good ones. With that said, the basic recipe has been a firm favourite round these parts for years (literally) and we now enjoy it every year on Christmas morning with a cup of tea , as we sit around exchanging gifts. You could say it’s become something of a family tradition.

 

And even though I have pumpkin bread recipes of my own, which are darkly spiced and equally yummy, I really wanted to share this Joy The Baker favourite of mine because it’s kinda where my love for pumpkin bread really began. Yes, I’ve changed it up a bit throughout the years but it’s such an infallible recipe, any amendments you wish to make yourself will not affect it’s ultimate awesomeness – trust me, I’ve done all the experimenting for you.

 

Whilst it’s not exactly a Halloween recipe (more like a general autumnal offering) I still feel the need to say…

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

 

 

what you’ll need

adapted from Joy The Baker

 

11/4 cups plain white flour

1/2 cup rye flour

3/4 cup unrefined caster sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup agave or other vegan sweetener

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 small apple, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

 

what you’ll do

pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

 

grease a medium-sized loaf tin.

mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flours, sugar, bicarb, baking powder, salt and spices).

 

whisk together the puree, oil, extract, agave and water until thoroughly combined.

 

make a well in the centre of your flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. fold gently until everything is almost combined before stirring through the pecans, apple and cranberries.

 

transfer to the loaf tin, top with whole pecans and dust over a little more sugar and cinnamon before baking for around 1hr or until a skewer comes out clean.

 

let the loaf cool for around 10mins before gently removing from the tin and cooling completely on a rack. once completely cooled, slice, eat and smile.

 


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How to… Roast Pumpkin Seeds

 

Remember those pumpkin seeds I told you to hang to? Well, now we’re gonna roast ’em. I’ve got several tried and tested methods for doing this including ‘keeping all the gunk on’ (I like the added flavour it gives them), ‘rinsing them thoroughly’ (I realise many of you are averse to the pumpkin gunk) and then this one, which is a ‘boil/rinse scenario’ (which ensures maximum gunk free-ness and therefore optimum mass appeal). Even though you can totally skip this stage I thought it best to hedge my bets here and offer up a roasted pumpkin seed recipe that would appeal to most people… i.e. even those amongst us who don’t share an obsessive love for all things pumpkin. Yep, they do exist.

 

I’ve opted to keep the coating a tad more traditional too for the purposes of this post (it’s essentially a ‘pumpkin spice’ mix) and leave it up to you to do some experimenting in your own kitchen should this combo not appeal. You could easily go down the savoury route … why not try a spicy cayenne pepper mix or even a simple salt and pepper one, which will really let those seeds shine. Whatever you choose, the basic method stays the same – boil, rinse, dry, roast. The rest really is yours to play with.

 

 

what you’ll need

raw pumpkin seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tbsp muscovado sugar

1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch sea salt

 

what you’ll do

pre-heat the oven the 200 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

 

separate the seeds from the pulp, discarding any that look hollow or too small – you should yield about 1/2 cup from each medium-sized pumpkin.

 

bring a small pan of salted water to the boil, add the seeds and simmer for 10minutes. drain and rinse thoroughly. dry with a clean tea towel and transfer to a baking dish.

 

mix the spices, sugar, oil and salt in a pestle and mortar until thoroughly combined. sprinkle the spice mix over the pumpkin seeds and stir until everything is completely coated.

 

transfer the seeds unto a baking sheet and spread out until they separated. roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently – after 25minutes be sure to check them every few minutes as they can turn from perfectly roasted to perfectly burnt in minutes.

 

remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. eat, crunch, repeat.

 

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How To … Make Pumpkin Puree

 

Today marks the first post in what I hope will be a regular feature on the blog… the ‘How To…’ series. I may be setting myself up for a fall even by saying this but (wait for it) I think I’m ready to throw myself back into my blogging in a big way. Sure, I post here and there (and I always try to make sure it’s quality content) but I sometimes feel like I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties (consider my knuckles well and truly wrapped) so this is me doing my best to make up for all those squandered would-be blogging hours and rectify the situation pronto as best I can. Usually it’s my incessant (and probably incurable) over-thinking that prevents me from posting more frequently, which is why a format like this one might be a good way of getting me over this ‘but is it really blogworthy?’ hurdle.

 

With that said, it recently occurred to me I often don’t cover the basics here on PeaSoupEats and seeing as it’s nearing Halloween (and I loves me some Halloween!!) I suspected a mini tutorial on all things pumpkin related would be useful  and hopefully welcome by those of you who reach for the can of Libby’s more often than you care to admit.

 

My own pumpkin puree days began during our stint in the States – ah, ChiTown, you did give me some sweet, sweet pumpkin memories. Prior to that I was completely unaware of anything of the pumpkin variety and that includes pumpkin spice lattes (hurry up and make them vegan already!), pumpkin pie (oh Lordy)  and, my personal fav, pumpkin bread… Ob.Sessed.

 

One thing I would like to make absolutely clear at this stage, however, is that no two pumpkins are made equal. I roasted two for the purposes of this post (that brings my current seasonal tally to four) because the first was way too pale in colour and unusually watery in consistency. It’s not a typical occurrence by any means but as soon as I opened her up I knew she wasn’t a goodun – nothing goes to waste in this house though so the puree (as anemic looking as it is) will absolutely be put to good use. Thankfully Sainsbury’s came up trumps with the next pumpkin, which yieled a beautifully vibrant sunset orange puree that I’ve already used to lipsmacking effect in a risotto. Don’t say I never suffered for my craft.

 

So. Here I am. Pumpkin puree offering in hand. Ready for the week ahead when I’ll be transforming all that luscious golden nectar into some delicious (I tried to think of a more descriptive word but these early mornings are difficult enough as it is) sweet and savoury dishes for your perusal. Okay then, enough of the babble, let’s get to it.

 

 

What you’ll need

1 small/medium-sized edible pumpkin

 

What you’ll do

pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

 

halve the pumpkin using a paring knife (I find that large knives are much more difficult to manoeuver in this instance) and scoop out all the seeds… I invested in one of those little carving kits this year and the mini shovel thing was a godsend although a dessert spoon will also suffice.

 

put the pumpkin seeds/innards in a bowl and set aside for later (I’ll be showing you ‘How to… ‘ roast these suckers in the next tutorial) and place the halved pumpkin pieces flesh side down in a large baking dish… as you can see I roasted two pumpkins and the smaller of them fitted snuggly in one dish.

 

pour about 1/2 cup water over the pumpkin halves to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. roast in the pre-heated oven for around 60minutes or until the skin pierces easily when poked with a knife.

 

remove the pumpkin from the oven and turn them over immediately so they are flesh side up and let them cool for around 10mins before scooping out the soft flesh. let the the pumpkin flesh cool further for around 30-40minutes before blending (I use a Froothie Optimum 9400) until completely smooth. place the puree in a tupperware container and refrigerate overnight.

 

et voila, you’ve just made pumpkin puree!

 

 

 

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