It’s the season for pumpkin picking!!!

97D8AD35-8D4C-4E13-88DC-AA33ED87C2BCAfter an exhausting summer I’m looking forward to autumn and what it has to offer. I’ve already got the chunky knits out from the depths of my walk in and have enjoyed a few cozy nights in front of the fire, whilst watching strictly and enjoying one or two glasses of red wine. It’s one of my favourite times of the year. Not only because it means a new pair of boots (sorry James!) but Halloween, bonfire night (Rye, East Sussex bonfire is always one we frequent, definitely worth a trip out! ), my birthday and of course the lead up to Christmas!! Don’t panic, I shall leave the Christmas subject there!

However the planning of Halloween and the costumes have been the talk of the household since the end of summer as has the frequent question “Muuuummmm!, when are we picking our pumpkins?” We are fortunate enough to live a mile away from the fabulous Pick Your Own Pumpkin fields and often pass by when out and about. So of course on opening weekend we all headed out to find our pumpkins. Toby and Olivia loved roaming through the sea of orange to find their perfect pumpkin to carve but before all of that we got stuck into the wood fired pizza’s on offer. Had I not had such a busy afternoon ahead I would have indulged in a glass or two of prosecco. The converted horse boxes supplying pizza and drinks are a perfect addition to the pumpkin fields meaning families could make a fun filled afternoon on the pumpkin fields.

Now a few months ago, Gemma, the owner of Pick Your Own Pumpkin had asked me to come up with some recipes for all her eager pumpkin pickers to try. So I have come up with some classics but thrown a few spicy treats into the mix as well. I share these recipes with you all in the hope that your autumn days have a little extra pumpkin fun this year!!

@pickyourownpumpkinsevington                                                Pickyourownpumpkin.farm 

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Pumpkin Puree

1 Medium Sized Pumpkin (Cut into 3 cm wedges, leave skin on)

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

50 ml Maple Syrup

Place pumpkin wedges onto baking tray and rub with oil. Place in a 200 degree oven and roast for 25-30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle peel away the pumpkin skin and cut into 3cm cubes or small enough to blend. Now place pumpkin cubes into food processor and blend. As blending pour in maple syrup, continue until smooth and puréed.

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcake with Cinnamon Maple Frosting

24 Cupcakes/2 loaves

PRE HEAT OVEN 160 DEGREES C FOR FAN ASSISTED OR 180 DEGREES C FOR NON FAN ASSISTED

24 Muffin Cases (I use muffin cases as they are slightly bigger and will allow the frosting to sit well on the top of the cupcake.)

200g Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)

100g Caster Sugar

200g Light Brown Sugar

3 Large Free Range Eggs

200g Pumpkin Purée (Recipe above)

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

100ml buttermilk

100ml Maple Syrup

300g Plain Flour

1 ½ Tablespoons Baking Powder

1 ½ Teaspoons Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon Nutmeg (I freshly grate a nutmeg)

(Sift all the dry ingredients)

200g Raisins

In a mixer with a paddle attachment cream together on a medium high speed the unsalted butter and both sugars until pale in colour (This can be done by hand but may take a little longer). Turn the mixer on low adding 1 egg at a time until combined with sugar and butter mix, follow with the pumpkin purée, buttermilk and maple syrup now add the sifted flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Once the batter is mixed add the raisins until evenly distributed through the cake batter.

Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop into muffin cases, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Once baked take out and leave to cool for a moment in pans, then transfer to a wire wrack to cool.

Vanilla Syrup

300mls Water

3 Tablespoons Caster Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil swirling the pan every now and then, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to reduce by half. Brush over cupcakes whilst still hot, making sure to cover. This will ensure a moist cake and a soft top to the cupcakes instead of a crunchy top. Be careful not to moisten too much, brush syrup over only once!

Cinnamon Maple Frosting

150g Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)

150g Cream Cheese (Room Temperature) (I use Philadelphia)

600g Icing Sugar (Sifted)

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

100ml Maple Syrup

Cream together the butter and cream cheese, now slowly add the sifted icing sugar. Once combined add the vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup.

When the cupcakes have cooled smooth over the frosting, to decorate take a pinch of cinnamon and dust slightly.

Roasted Pumpkin Chilli

This would be a great addition to any Halloween or Bon fire party!

Serves 6-8

Vegan

I used two different types of pumpkin for this recipe…however one type will work too.

1 Medium Pumpkin (Cut into 3 cm wedges, drizzle with olive and salt and pepper, roast in a 200 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until tender. Peel/ cut pumpkin skin off and dice pumpkin into chunky cubes.)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 White Onions

4 Cloves of Garlic (Crushed)

1 Tablespoon Chilli Powder (I used a mild chilli powder)

¼ Teaspoons Chilli Flakes

1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (exclude if too hot)

1 ½ Tablespoons Cumin

2 Red Peppers (slices into 2 cm cubes)

2 Green Peppers (slices into 2 cm cubes)

2 Corn on the Cob (Corn removed from cob)

1 Bay Leaf

200mls Freshly Brewed Coffee or 1 Teaspoon of Instant Coffee Pranules (Trust me!, I use Azera coffee)

800g Tinned Chop Tomatoes

1 ½ Tablespoons of Tomato Purée

300mls Water (I use the tinned tomatoes tin to measure water and retrieve the left over tomato juice)

Tablespoon Fresh Basil (chopped)

Tablespoon Fresh Coriander (Chopped)

Tablespoon Fresh Parsley (chopped)

1 Tablespoon Sea Salt

½ Tablespoon Pepper

In an extra large heavy based saucepan place the olive oil and onions, sauté on a medium heat until translucent. Now add the garlic, chilli powder, chilli flakes, cayenne pepper and cumin, cook for 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, red peppers, green peppers and corn, cooking for a further 5 minutes, then add bay leaf, coffee, tinned tomatoes, water, tomato purée, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes until sauce has slightly reduced and thickened. Just before serving add in your fresh herbs, basil, coriander and parsley.

To Serve

Tortilla Wraps

Smoked Paprika

Olive Oil

Take an oven proof bowl, brush with olive oil (I use a cereal bowl, it’s a perfect size for tortilla) and place your tortilla in the middle, now make four folds in the tortilla allowing it to form the shape of the bowl, now brush the olive oil over the tortilla and sprinkle a dusting of smoked paprika over. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 160 degrees C until slightly golden.

Remove carefully from the bowl and spoon a good helping of the pumpkin chilli into the tortilla bowl followed by generous helpings of your selected trimmings, I used;

Sour cream

Cheddar cheese

Guacamole (Recipe can be found on “An All Time Family Favourite” blog post)

Or simply serve on your favourite rice!

Roasted Pumpkin and Cumin Soup

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Yellow Onion (finely diced)

2 Pinch of Chilli Flakes

2 Carrots (finely diced)

2 Celery Sticks (finely diced)

2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed)

2 Teaspoons Cumin

1 Pumpkin (Cut into 3 cm wedges, drizzle with olive and salt and pepper, roast in a 200 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Peel/ cut pumpkin skin off and dice pumpkin into chunky cubes.)

1 litre Vegetable Stock (I use 2 knorr vegetable stock pots)

1 ½ Tablespoon of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon Pepper

2 Tablespoons Coriander (freshly chopped)

200ml Crème Fraiche

In a large heavy based saucepan add the olive oil, onion, chilli flakes, carrot and celery, allow to soften for 10 minutes on a medium to low heat. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2 minutes. Now add the dices pumpkin and mix together with other vegetables, add the stock, salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove from stove and blend using a hand blender (This can be done in batches in a blender however take care as very hot.) Once completely smooth check the season by tasting, then add chopped coriander and crème Fraiche. Return the soup to the stove and heat through.

To serve swirl through some crème fraiche. I served with a toasted tortilla instead of bread.

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A quick party idea….

Baked Pumpkin Camembert with Sage and Thyme

Serves 10-12

1 Small-Medium Pumpkin

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Cloves Garlic (Finely Sliced)

1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

5 Sage leaves (finely sliced)

2 Camembert

Slice the top off the pumpkin, 3cm from the stalk, remove all the seeds and fleshy membrane. Rub with olive oil and bake in a 180 degrees C oven for 30-35 minutes, now remove from oven and reduce temperature to 160 degrees C. In the mean time place olive oil, garlic, thyme and sage into a frying pan. Over a low to medium heat sauté until garlic turns slightly golden on edges. Now take a Camembert and place in the bottom of the pumpkin, pour over ½ the olive oil sauce and place the other Camembert on top now pour remaining oil over. Return the pumpkin back to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove once Camembert is golden and bubbling.

To serve, place the pumpkin into the middle of a large serving platter and surround with your favourite crusty bread, crackers and jar of chutney. Have plenty of spoons to hand and get your guests to help them selves.

Enjoy!

Much Love

George xx

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