Thursday, 20 October 2016

A Bit Of A Wobble And The Next Pumpkin Recipe!!

Some of you will recognise this feeling.
Brain fog. That thing where you can't think straight for a couple of days and that little devil in your head fights you everytime you try to do something positive.
Bit of a pain when you're trying to run a campaign and work with others and generally get on with things.
But just occassionally there is little else to do than allow yourself to give into it for a day or two because if you don't it escalates.
So apologies for the lack of recipe over the last couple of days but I'm back and todays is a corker!!

Again this is a recipe made by preserving queen Danielle at Bishopston Supper Club, and is one that she makes and sells through various places in Bristol, so I can vouch for it personally. It's delicious. And great to make if you have a bit of a glut of quinces if you are lucky, or apples and pumpkins!!
And of course you can do the maths and make more than this if you have a serious glut.

Pumpkin & quince (or apple) chutney
500g pumpkin, peeled, cored & diced (prepared weight)
500g quince (or cooking apples, or mixture of the two), peeled, cored & diced (prepared weight)
500g onions, peeled & diced
20g fresh ginger, peeled & finely diced or grated
1 clove garlic, peeled & finely diced, crushed or grated
300ml cider vinegar
250g granulated sugar
1tsp mustard seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Once you've prepped all the fruit & veg, this is super easy. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until tender & reduced to a thick, jammy consistency. Again, the chutney is ready when a spoon pulled across the pan reveals the base. Cool slightly then pour into clean, sterilised jars & seal with fresh lids or waxed paper discs & cellophane covers while still hot. Store in a cool, dry place and use within a year. Open opened, store in fridge and use within 4 weeks.

Next recipe tomorrow I hope!!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Todays Recipe is from @Bishopston Supper Club.........Chocolate and Pumpkin Brownies!!

So as I wander around Bristol I am constantly, at the moment, being offered pumpkin recipes to try and I had one of these with my lovely friends at Bearpit Social last week and it was delicious!! Danielle, who's recipe it is, makes one, if not the, best brownie in Bristol as well as running Bishopston Supper Club, where Danielle concentrates on local produce, including meat that often comes from withing the city and veg that is often from her back garden!! Minimal food miles to say the least.
On a slightly different note I was shocked to say the least that Waitrose are offering 2 different types of pumpkin-one for carving and one for eating!! I am confused by this to say the least and all I can think is that they are grown on to be larger than the variety ought to be, making them somewhat dry. But what I would like to say is that Danielle's pumpkin puree recipe is good for any pumpkin however large it has become and can be frozen if needed too.
Also a word about Bearpit Social. If you come to Bristol you'll find the Bearpit at the bottom of the A38 and M32. It is a sunken roundabout that has some very definite issues but in it are some great businesses who are all about food. Bearpit Social is a fab cafe, which stocks delicious coffee and cakes as well as some awesome vegan lunches. Visit if you can, and also take a look at the Incredible Edible Bristol garden that is appearing in the space!!
So here is this brownie recipe. Below it is the pumpkin puree recipe too, which you will need for several more recipes as Danielle has shared several with me!

Pumpkin, pecan & salt caramel brownies
250g butter
250g 55% dark chocolate (drops or chopped)
Melt butter in a saucepan on a low heat then turn off heat & stir in the chocolate to melt. Leave to cool slightly.
240g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
Whisk eggs & sugar until pale, fluffy & doubled in volume.
90g plain or gluten free flour
75g cocoa powder 
(Sweeten 100g of the above pumpkin purée with a tbsp condensed milk or golden syrup and add ground cinnamon, mixed spice and finely grated nutmeg to taste. Add 1bsp cream cheese for a more cheesecake-style filling. Mix well & set aside.)
50g pecan nuts (optional)
50-100g salt caramel
Sift flour & cocoa powder into a bowl then fold into the sugar & egg mixture.
Fold in the melted butter & chocolate.
Ensure all is well mixed together without over beating and deflating the air bubbles.
Pour into a lined brownie tin. Spoon blobs of the spiced & sweetened pumpkin purée mixture, smaller blobs of salt caramel and roughly chopped pecan nuts on top of the brownie mixture then gently swirl around. Bake at 180c for about 20 mins ish. Every oven will be different, there needs to be a slight wobble when they're taken out. The brownies are best when still squidgy in the middle. Leave to cool then slice into portions.

And for the puree........
Pumpkin purée 
Place whole pumpkin or squash on a foiled oven tray and bake at 190-200c until soft, the time it takes will depend on the size. Leave to cool enough to handle then scoop out the flesh into a bowl, discarding the skin & seeds. Blitz in a food processor or with hand blender until smooth. Use as is with melted butter, salt & pepper stirred in for a tasty alternative to mash. Or use in puds etc.

It's worth pointing out that the puree can be made from any pumpkin, even those that are marked for carving rather than food.......

Back tomorrow with another of Danielle's recipes, this time for jam!!

If you want to know more about Bishopston Supper Club just click here!!

Sunday, 16 October 2016 skincare?!

So rather than a recipe I'm going to talk about other uses for pumpkin flesh......
I'm, quietly, a bit of a skincare monster. I love creams and oils and have done since being a fairly young girl. I blame my grandma who always had a fine range of lotions and potions that she used to let me try out. As a teen makeup and skincare was something I loved and as I've become an adult, whilst I still love those lotions and potions, what's become really important to me is that the skin products I use are good for me and for the earth, natural and man made chemical free. 
I've lots of favourite brands, and recently became a very part time consultant for one of my favourites, Neals Yard, which is amazing and great fun. 
But then I saw an offer on Facebook for Angela Landford Skincare. Angela was a MasterChef finalist and began making skincare for herself and now is making natural skincare in Somerset. I sent off for the trial pack and having used it sent a Twitter message to say how much I'd liked it. And then something slightly strange happened!! Up popped the lovely Emma Britton of Radio Bristol Breakfast fame, who obviously knows Angela, and introduced me as the Queen of Pumpkins!!
To which Angela tells me that some of her skincare includes pumpkins!! Of course pumpkin is full of good stuff-vitamin A, B2 and B3, omega 3 and 6, potassium, magnesium and zinc, so it lifts and repairs skin. There is a forming serum and a night balm and I will be ordering some soon because I can't wait to see what it's like! All in the name of pumpkin research you understand!! 

I hope to find more people doing great things with pumpkin flesh-let me know if you know of anyone or anything.
Recipes will continue tomorrow!! 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Radio Pumpkin.....

Today the campaign to make sure pumpkins are used as food, as well as to carve, stepped up a notch as I was invited into BBC Radio Bristol's Breakfast Show to chat to the very lovely Emma Britton about pumpkins and food waste. Emma showed me some tiny pumpkins she had been given and asked what I would do with them, so having told her, I will now tell you!!
The variety is one called Baby Bear and the pumpkins are tiny, approximately about 3-4 inches across. They are great fun to grow and are delicious. 
So what's the recipe I hear you ask?! Well chop the top off so you have a lid, put a knob of butter on the top of the flesh and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until completely soft. Remove, add salt and pepper to taste and eat!! Perfect as an accompaniment to lots of dishes as a vegetable or great as a snack sprinkled with cheese.
Emma went on to suggest I need a superhero pumpkin outfit. I'm not so sure!!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Pumpkin scones?!? Oh go on then!!

So dear reader I thought a teatime recipe would be fun for today, but a savoury one. These are delicious and great to get kids joining in to help make too, and we eat them with cheese and chutney. They are great for that point on sweetens afternoon when you need something after a late breakfast or brunch, but aren't ready for dinner yet. And they freeze well too.
So all you need is......
40g butter
200g pumpkin flesh chopped into small pieces
225g self raising flour-don't put the bag away as you'll need more for dusting!!
1 tsp baking powder 
A (largish)handful of grated cheddar
A handful (smallish) of chopped herbs-we use parsley but anything leafy and fresh is fine
3-4 tbsp milk plus some for brushing.

Pop the pumpkin into a ban with water and boil until its tender and then drain, and mash and leave to cool off.
Then put the flower and baking powder into a bowl, add the butter and mix with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. This is a great bit for kids to help with and you'll stay clean. Then use a knife to mix the pumpkin into the flour mix, add the cheese and herbs and a tiny splash of milk and bring the dough together, and then lightly kneed it for 30 seconds 
Roll out the dough to about 3cm thick and cut out scone shapes using a cutter, put them on a buttered baking tray, brush the top with milk and bake for 10-12 minutes on 180fan/200c or gas 6.
When they're risen and golden take them out and hide until cool. 
It's that simple and they are delicious!!
More to come tomorrow folks!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Pumpkin Stew recipe.....

Today's recipe is for pumpkin stew and is one I have kind of used for years, but never really felt it was quite wintery enough in terms of how filling it is.
But then the great Pete Lawrence published his cook book and I realised I'd been missing an extra ingredient that makes this a proper hearty stew, and that ingredient folks is lentils!!

So here's the recipe......
I use a couple of medium sized red onions, a clove of garlic, 2 carrots and 1 medium sized pumpkin. Sweat off the onions and garlic in a pan with some olive oil, add the carrots and pumpkin once the onions are transluscent and cook them all together for 5 minutes. Then add a litre of stock, and around 200 grams of lentils and cook on a slow heat until the lentils are cooked. I serve it exactly as it is at this point, with salt and pepper to taste and a swirl of sour cream and some sourdough bread. Pete on the other hand, says remove the pumpkin chunks, blitz everything else in a food processor and then add the pumpkin and stir in some cream. He's a famous media type so offers a bit more style perhaps!! 
Whichever way you choose to serve your stew, it's delicious, rich and very filling. 
If you have Pete's book you'll see he also has celery in his recipe but I cannot stomach celery and believe it to be the work of the devil!! However, you might like to add celery....

Wordless Wednesday