Halloween is fast approaching and hundreds of thousands of pumpkins will be carved over the next few days – we have two downstairs awaiting the Jack O’ Lantern treatment (this is actually one of the bits of Halloween that I love).
I don’t mind the “Trick or Treat”-ing around a few neighbours and friends, but loath all the plastic tat in the shops, ridiculous quantities of sugary crap the kids collect and all the commercialised hype ….of course, like most 11 year olds, Imi loves it all.
My one condition for buying our carving pumpkins is that we do eat the pumpkin flesh inside (seems pretty obvious but apparently most people chuck it out). You can find the recipe for my favourite pumpkin soup (from my book Pulse) on the fabulous food and wine writer Fiona Beckett’s website . Pumpkin flesh can also wind up in a risotto , or why not give my risotto cake on The Borough Market Website a whirl (any stock will work well, not just ham stock – this recipe was originally in an article about cooking ham!)
Last week I gave a kids demo at The Dartmouth Food Festival and we made some savoury muffins (baking doesn’t always have to be about lashings of sugar and they are about to gather a year’s worth of Haribos from your neighbours) This recipe is adapted from a courgette muffin recipe in my book Cool Kids Cook. I’ll attempt to track down some of the wonderful pic’s take at the festival ( I was to busy cooking and talking to take any) but at least you have the recipe to set you on your way!
Pumpkin, cheese and thyme muffins
Makes 12 ( or 24 tiny ones as we did at The Dartmouth Food Festival)
100 g olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil
2 medium eggs
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
200 g self-raising flour
200 g pumpkin or squash flesh
100g mature cheddar cheese, or a mix of cheddar and parmesan
100 g sweet corn, frozen or tinned – drained
About 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Pre heat the oven to 180 ºC
Grease a 12 hole muffin tray, use paper cases if you prefer, or press small squares of baking parchment into greased moulds so that the paper corners poke up above the top of each cavity (easy for pulling the muffins out once baked) .
Put the oil, eggs and the yoghurt into a large bowl and mix well with a fork.
Keep the flour in a separate bowl.
Grate the pumpkin and cheese on the coarse side of your grater. No fingers thank you !!
Tip the flour, pumpkin, cheese, sweetcorn and thyme into the bowl with the egg mixture and give it a quick stir. Spoon the mixture into the muffin moulds straightaway and sprinkle with seeds.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are ready. Give them the skewer test. (Miniature muffins will only take about 15 minutes)
Other ways for other days
- Swap cheeses – any hard cheese will work it’s a good way to use up bits from the fridge
- Try using grated courgette, carrot or beetroot instead of the pumpkin.
- Add nuts instead of the sweetcorn.
- A teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary would be good here too.
- Sprinkle with rolled oats instead of the seeds
- For super healthy muffins use self raising wholemeal flour instead of white.
I’ll update with some pictures from the wonderful Dartmouth Food Festival as soon as I have some ( I’m writing this at 10pm on a Friday night- no social life! No, actually just a sauce class to teach tomorrow) The Festival really is one of the best, get it in your diary for next year – fabulous programme, some amazing chefs and writers and a stunning setting too.
So there you have it – no excuse not to eat up every last bit of that pumpkin.