October is all about the nights closing in and starting to cuddle up with something warming, like a hot bowl of soup. And how could I forget the pumpkins! So I have been looking out some of the best pumpkin recipes and these fitted the bill for me - simple and tasty! Perfect for cosy nights in or for warming picnics when catching the last of this year's sunny days.
Also in season this month: Cox apples, runner beans, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, spring green cabbage, white cabbage, savoy cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, leeks, marrow, potatoes, spinach, squash and sweetcorn.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup
1 medium size pumpkin (about 1.2kg), peeled, chopped & de-seeded
1 large onion, finally chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
750ml stock (I use chicken but veg works well too)
salt & pepper to taste.
small pot of cream
Put the pumpkin in the slow cooker with the onion, garlic, stock & seasoning.
Leave it to cook on low all day or on high if you only have half a day.
Blend, stir in the cream & serve.
If you want to spice it up a bit add some chilli flakes at the beginning and use coconut milk instead of cream.
You can cook it is a pan on the hob of course, but you may need to add more liquid.
Savoury Pumpkin Muffins
These muffins are based on a Lorraine Pascale recipe. Perfect with soup or cheese and great for lunchboxes.
• 60ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
• 180g self-raising flour
• 130g wholemeal flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• pinch salt
• 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
• 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
• 100ml plain yoghurt
• 275ml milk
• 1 tbsp honey
• 240g cooked pumpkin, cut into ½ cm chunks
• handful pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Oil a 12-hole muffin tin and line with 12 squares of baking paper. Push the squares down into each hole so that the paper sticks up.
Mix the flours, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt and rosemary.
Meanwhile in another bowl or jug, mix the eggs, yoghurt, milk, honey and vegetable oil until well combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold the ingredients together, but be careful not to over-work the mixture. Stir in the pumpkin & spoon the mixture into the muffin cases.
Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the muffins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.