The October allotment and garden: pumpkins

 

a whole pumpkinhalf a pumpkin

 

The idea with all these recipes is to use whatever works as a substitute in the event of your veg getting consumed by various pests, fungi or disease; when I came to pick my two treasured pumpkins, the super giant one was looking good but my smaller model (which I was expecting to be the tastier of the two) had been half eaten by slugs!

So, for this recipe I’ve used half a pumpkin the slugs kindly left me plus half a round courgette left over from the summer…

 

Pumpkin soup with crispy sage

pumpkin soup

Fry an onion, a carrot and a clove of garlic in a little butter and olive oil until soft.  Add roughly 1kg of chopped pumpkin, squash or marrow, a squeeze of honey and a few sage leaves, stir, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add 750ml vegetable stock (you can make this with vegetable peelings), bring to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes.  When the vegetables are soft take out the sage and transfer to a blender or use a hand held one and blitz until the soup is the consistency you prefer.

In a frying pan heat some more oil and butter and when it is hot add a few sage leaves and fry until crispy.  I use the ones I’ve taken out of the soup as well!  Return the soup to the pan, heat, season and serve with a swirl of cream and some crispy sage on top.

Now you can enjoy the rewards of your hard work!

Pumpkin cupcakes

Pumpkin cupcakes

I made a batch of these last spring with some pumpkin from my Dads allotment that had lasted all through the autumn, winter and well into March!  They feel a bit more seasonal in October though…

Heat the oven to 190°C and line 2 muffin tins with 12 cases each (this mixture makes 24 cakes, so you can do it in batches if you only have 1 tin).  Cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and roast whole until it is soft and a little bit charred.  Once it is cooked, scoop into a blender and puree until smooth.

Into a large bowl sift 280g plain flour, a pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice, a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

In another bowl beat 250g of brown sugar into 250ml rapeseed oil (I use this because I like the texture oil gives to cupcakes & it is a lovely orange colour).  Add 2 beaten eggs, one at a time and at room temperature to prevent curdling.  Add 250g of the pureed pumpkin to the oil mixture, along with 180ml milk and then stir in the flour mixture.  Pour into the muffin cases and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

Make the topping by beating together about 200g of any cream cheese (I used fridge leftovers of cheese triangles and ricotta!), 50g soft butter and 350g icing sugar, a little at a time until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.  Spread onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon, cloves and grated nutmeg.

 

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