Monday, 7 November 2016

Pumpkins, Mainly


It all started when I bought some of those attractive, slightly overpriced squashes in a farm shop the week before Halloween. You know the kind; a bugger to peel and chop, but they look really good in a bowl on a table. I also succumbed to something called a "munchkin" in Waitrose, a teeny tiny pumpkin the size of an apple. They serve no culinary purpose whatsoever as far as I can tell, but they look adorable as tea light holders. Anyway, eventually the squash situation had to be tackled. At the same time I remembered that I had two tins of Libby's Pumpkin Puree in the cupboard that I'd been meaning to use and had been saving for this time of year and so the cooking began.


I made Thai spiced soup with the squashes, some red Thai curry paste and coconut milk. Spicy flavours go really well with the sweet blandness of squash and pumpkins, and this was delicious with lots of hot buttered toast. I also roasted the seeds with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. I ate them as a snack, but you could sprinkle them on top of the soup too if you like. It's really good.


With the tinned pumpkin puree (which, let me tell you, is really hard to get hold of here) I made my first pumpkin pie. This seems like such a quintessentially American dessert to me, the kind of thing I read about people baking and eating in books as a child, and a dessert very closely associated with autumn and Thanksgiving. 



I used this recipe and it was clear and very easy to follow. I am a fan of the Humingbird Bakery books and have a few of them, and have always found their recipes to be reliable. Next time I might be tempted to blind bake the pastry crust first, just for ten minutes. The bottom was not soggy, but it could have been a little crisper. 


I wondered if it needed sweet pastry, rather than plain. It definitely does not! The filling is pretty sweet, but loaded with cinnamon, cloves and ginger, and again those spices go so well with the pumpkin. I am definitely making this again. 


And finally, pumpkin pancakes. The recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery: Life is Sweetand I'm afraid I can't find a version online, but basically just mix pureed pumpkin or squash into your pancake batter and add cinnamon, ginger, all spice and a pinch of cloves, and little baking powder too if you're using plain flour. It's all very approximate. 


Serve with maple syrup, a knob of butter and chopped pecans. They are amazing. Yes, they are pudding masquerading as breakfast, but I eat porridge every weekday. At the weekend I like something nice, something that takes a while to cook. Saturday morning pancakes are our family tradition when it's John's weekend off, with coffee and Radio 4 on in the background.

*


Pumpkins aside, it's all feeling very November-y here.  The temperature has dropped and the wind is cold. At the weekend we lit the stove in the afternoons and I unpacked some fairy lights. On Saturday we went to my parents for fireworks and it was such a fun night, one of those cosy informal gatherings that works really well. On Sunday we tackled the garden and with help from my parents we pruned, weeded, cut back and tidied up. I planted bulbs and moved pots around and recycled a car boot full of garden waste this morning. It's now looking tidy and ship shape, ready for the winter, which is very satisfying. I don't plan on going out there now until at least March, apart from possibly picking some greenery to make a wreath, one of the many festive crafty ideas I have up my sleeve...


Thank you for all your comments lately, and hello to any new visitors! It's lovely to have you here, and you are very welcome. Your thoughts and suggestions on crochet socks were fantastic, and I've been looking at a lot of patterns, planning and researching my next pair. 

26 comments:

Sol said...

I have never had pumpkin pie... Loving the fairy lights on the mantel, it all looks very cosy

VeggieMummy said...

Those pumpkins are so cute! My daughter was back from uni at the weekend and told me about a pumpkin carving competition that they had held - the winner was carved to look like Donald Trump and called 'Trumpkin'! Your pie and soup both look delicious. I love roasted pumpkin seeds too, although they never last very long around here. Well done on the garden tidying; I need to get out there and follow your example. xx

CJ said...

Mmm, delicious pumpkin cooking, the pie looks especially good. Glad to see no soggy bottom! My children always turn my pastry over now to check. Everything is looking delightfully cosy with you. CJ xx

Cheryl mylittlepieceofengland said...

I've never tried pumpkin pie, but it sounds and looks delicious. I just need to get past thinking of it as a savoury dish! I love the little munchkins, even their name is cute xx

Mac n' Janet said...

Glad you liked the pumpkin pie, I always use the canned pumpkin to make mine, it's so easy.

Rachel said...

Love the decorations, so pretty and festive!

Jennifer Hays said...

I love pumpkin pie and usually make two of them every year, one in October sometime and one for Thanksgiving dessert. I don't do much else with pumpkin, but you can get literally anything in "pumpkin spice" flavor over here these days. I don't know if it's the same there but it's getting a little silly. I do like my pies, though. Canned pumpkin is a godsend, as far as I'm concerned. :)

Librarian said...

What a lovely novembery post! All the food you show looks extremely yummy, I can almost smell it :-)
On my blog, you commented saying you'd never heard of Hokkaido pumpkin. And yet you had one at home - it is in the second and third photo, the one orange one that is bigger than the three smaller orange ones you turned into tealight holders.

Gillian Roe said...

Turns out you can buy them here then, but as an "artisan squash"!

Gina said...

All your photos make November look very cosy indeed!

Christina said...

Pumpkin is a neglected vegetable in my house. We only ever make pumpkin soup, once a year.... shameful I know, particularly seeing your delicious pumpkin food ideas! The pumpkin pancakes look particularly mouthwatering. x

AnnieOBTextiles said...

It all looks cosy and warm in your home and I can almost smell that delicious looking soup.

Summer said...

Looking all so lovely ♥

Jules said...

The little munchkin pumpkin tealight holders are so sweet. A perfect use for them. X

Marion Ogden said...

The pumpkin soup is perfect on a chilly day - I wish I'm having it for lunch today! The little pumpkins are so sweet. I'll look out for them next year. x

Life With The Crew said...

It all looks delicious Gillian! I absolutely love squash - I have declared it is my favorite veg, which is good, because I have about 75 pounds of squash in my front hall. They are so versatile - I love the sound of that soup!

mrsrobinson said...

Hmmm, I am now hungry. Which is a shame as I'm currently sitting at swim club. I found tins of pumpkin purée this year and have been making pumpkin loaf cake. Yum. And some pumpkin pancakes, tho I now want more after seeing your delights! And I think I shall attempt a pumpkin pie while feeling autumnal. I still have to put our garden to bed for the winter-this week!

Lisa said...

I tried our local Waitrose for some of that pumpkin puree. I wanted to make a pie this year and was told that was the place to go but it wasn't to be.
Yours, and those pancakes, look so tasty.
Lisa x

Susan Smith said...

Lovely post. Of course here in Oz we eat pumpkin 12 months of the year, more or less one of our regular veg. Can't remember if I promised to send a few recipes to you last year, but I'll pop them to you very soon. Your interior shots are looking very cosyish.(Is that a word? Well it is now.)
Take care.

galant said...

All looks yummy and pretty!
Margaret P

Winwick Mum said...

I love your Munchkin tea light holders, they're fabulous! In fact, I think one of the things that I like best about visiting your blog is that you create things for your home that it would never occur to me to do, and I enjoy seeing the possibilities. I say "ooh" and "ohh" quite a lot when I read your posts, and I've always got a smile on my face by your last sentence. Thank you! xx

Jo said...

I have tried and tried to eat pumpkins in various guises and I can safely say I really don't like it! muffins, pie, soup, risotto Nope not for me but I nearly thought I would like it when I saw all your recipes and beautiful food photography. So that is three things I can't eat - marzipan, tinned pears and pumpkin. Jo x

rachel said...

Lovely photos - makes me sort my neglected mantelpiece, still in its summer colours, and turn it into a warm candle-lit cosy eye-catcher.

Mrs LH said...

As my granddaughters are only 1 and 3 I got them a munchkin pumpkin for Halloween - they loved them!

driftwood said...

oh those pancakes. they look divine x

Penny said...

I fell for those tiny squashes from Waitrose too, so cute! Lovely, dreative post as always Gillian. Your mantlepiece is looking very seasonal. Well done with the pumpkin pie, I am sure I have a tion of the very same pie filling at the back of a cupboard somewhere......! X