There certainly seems to be a chill in the air in London, and not just because it’s Halloween! Autumn is well and truly here, and the cooler climes to go with it. But I love that – it’s time for crisp autumn walks, woolly hats and oversized scarves, and celebrating the wealth of produce that goes with this time of year. So, with that thought in mind, last weekend I had the pleasure of returning to Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. As always, I had a fantastic time on the show – I even got to hear Charlie Puth’s awesome cover of One Call Away and then cook for him too! But the main reason I was there was to share some of my seasonal recipes. And what screams Halloween (sorry…) more than pumpkins?
Believe it or not, pumpkins aren’t just for carving! They’re actually super nutritious and packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals such as potassium, beta-carotene, Vitamin A and vitamin C – which means they’re good for your heart, skin and eye health, and they can help your immune system. And if knowing that isn’t enough to boost your mood, then the tryptophan in the seeds will!
They’re also reeeally versatile – which is what I wanted to emphasise on Sunday’s episode. I brought four different recipes that showcase the vegetable in four very different ways – and I’m delighted to be able to share them with you here.
Let me know what you think, and Happy Halloween!
TURMERIC MAPLE PUMPKIN PORRIDGE
My first recipe was for a delicious autumn breakfast/brunch dish, which went down a treat on the show. It’s full of flavour, and serving it in a little edible pumpkin makes it fun to eat too! The key to this recipe is toasting the oats first, before adding the water and then the milk – it’s definitely worth the effort.
3 small culinary pumpkins (2 for serving, 1 for puree)
120g whole oats
50g pumpkin seeds, toasted, plus extra for garnish (optional: use seeds from pumpkin and toast)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches cardamom
1 pinch ginger powder
2 tsp maple syrup
1-2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt
250 ml milk (dairy or nut)
To garnish, 2 tbsp dried fruit e.g. cranberries, mulberries, cherries and 1 red apple, sliced
- Pre-heat oven to 180°c. Cut opening in pumpkin along the top and spoon out seeds. Roast pumpkin whole on baking tray for 25-30 mins until cooked through. Keep 2 for serving. Spoon the cooked flesh from last pumpkin and puree using hand blender. Set aside.
- Mix spices and set aside. Toast oats and pumpkin seeds on a wide pan on medium high heat for 5 minutes stirring continuously then for another 30 seconds with spices.
- Add 400 ml water, maple syrup, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and slowly simmer for 10-20 mins until oats are creamy, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan (add more water if needed). When ready add pumpkin puree and milk and heat through stirring to ensure a creamy texture.
- Serve in edible pumpkin bowls and garnish with apples, dried fruit, thyme and pumpkin seeds.
PUMPKIN CRACKERS & DIP
Next up, these crackers and dip are perfect for an autumnal party or even just a healthy, tasty snack! The pumpkin in this dish comes from taking the flesh and seeds after carving it – ideal for reducing waste.
Serves 4-6 (about 20 small crackers)
For the crackers
100g whole raw pumpkin seeds (makes about 50g roasted and milled)
180g culinary pumpkin or 290g carving pumpkin, peeled and coarsely grated
50g gluten free porridge oats (not jumbo oats!)
20g flax seeds
15g chia seeds
2 tbsp oat bran
1 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds, lightly toasted 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, lightly toasted
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt (+more to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper (+more to taste)
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted (+1 tbsp for greasing)
75ml water (more, if required)
Optional – zest of 1 lemon, 15g shelled pumpkin seeds.
For the dip
90g cashews, soaked for 4 hours
250g culinary pumpkin, sliced and roasted 1/2 tsp coconut oil (for greasing)
1 lemon, zest only
125ml coconut yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil olive
1/2 garlic clove, sliced
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Himalayan salt and Black pepper to season sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
For the crackers
- Remove pumpkin seeds from pumpkin. Clean from any flesh/guts, wash and pat dry thoroughly. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in a 180°c degree oven (gas mark 4) for 15-20 mins, but not longer.
- In the meantime, grate pumpkin, slightly salt and leave for 15 minutes. Squeeze all liquid from pumpkin using a cheese cloth or nut milk bag.
- Put a frying pan on a high heat, once hot put cumin/caraway seeds into the pan and toast quickly until they start releasing aroma (it may take less than a minute), place them immediately into cold tray/plate to cool.
- Once pumpkin seeds are toasted, cool then place in blender and mill thoroughly. Combine, oats, all the spice/ seeds, salt and pepper and mix well. Add squeezed pumpkin flesh, lemon zest, maple syrup and coconut oil, mix again.
- Add water gradually, mixing well to make consistent mixture. If necessary, add more water to achieve spreadable texture.
- Leave for 15 mins for the chia and flax seeds to soften and bind everything together. Taste the seasoning and add more salt / pepper if necessary.
- Grease 4 sheets of parchment paper with coconut oil. Spread half of mixture on one of the greased sheets of parchment paper. Cover with another sheet and roll with the rolling pin to achieve 3mm thickness. Repeat the same with the remaining mixture.
- Take off top sheets of paper carefully. Using a knife, divide the rolled mixture into smaller size square or rectangular crackers. Be careful with the pressing knife so you don’t cut the parchment. Place rolled sheets on trays.
- Set the oven to 180°c / gas mark 4. Bake for 25 minutes or longer (depending on thickness of your crackers and your oven), until firm and golden. Open oven regularly and rotate tray and let the steam out.
- Once baked, cool then carefully crack along the divisions into the individual crackers.
For the dip
- Soak cashews 4 hours ahead.
- Prepare pumpkin. Grease parchment paper with coconut oil and place pumpkin in one layer. Bake at 180°c (gas mark 4) for 20-25 minutes.
- In the meantime, zest the lemon, prepare garlic. Set aside.
- Drain and rinse the nuts and put to the blender, blitz until almost smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, blitz until smooth. Check the seasoning and texture, add more salt/pepper to taste.
- Spoon into a serving bowl, cover and chill until required.
- Serve at room temperature with a selection of crackers or raw crudités
I love this warming autumn Bolognese – on the show I made it with turkey bacon and mince turkey, but you could easily make it vegetarian. This recipe actually uses pumpkin in 3 different ways: in the fettuccine, the sauce and diced within. Pumpkin is a great pasta substitute as its fibrous, nutritious and really easy to make: you can just use your simple vegetable peeler to cut the ribbons.
1 large pumpkin (for fettuccine, puree and cubes)
1kg pumpkin fettuccine
400g pumpkin, 1 cm cubes 1 tbsp olive oil
150g onion, finely chopped 100g celery, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced
400 grams organic turkey mince 6 rashers of turkey bacon
1-2 tsp fresh herbs, leaves only
1-2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper a few pinches chilli/ cayenne powder (optional)
400g pureed pumpkin
250-300 ml water (optional almond milk for creamy taste)
2 cans (800g) diced tomatoes or 800g fresh chopped tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 220°c.
- Peel pumpkin, cut 800g of flesh into 2cm cubes, coat with olive oil and roast for 15-20 mins or until golden. When pumpkin is ready, puree 400g and set aside for sauce.
- With a large vegetable peeler, create 800g ribbons of fettuccine from raw pumpkin.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook rashers 5-7 mins until it’s just beginning to brown.
- Add chopped vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and soft, add garlic cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add turkey mince breaking it up with a spoon, 1/4 teaspoon (to start) salt, plus pepper and cayenne, and fresh herbs. Cook until meat is brown.
- Add pumpkin puree, tomatoes, water or milk and bring to a simmer. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and allow sauce to cook very gently at a very low simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with remaining salt and toss in roasted pumpkin cubes to warm through.
- Boil water in kettle, pour over raw ribbons. Soak for 3 minutes, and drain.
- Immediately plate warm fettuccine and pour hot bolognese on top.
Finally, these desserts are very easy to make – and fun to eat, obviously! I love the way the flavours combine: the fragrant nutty sweetness from the coconut and the subtle earthy sweetness from the pumpkin work so well together. This dessert is also suitable for most people as it’s dairy free!
For the cream
400g (3x160g cans, leaving water) coconut cream
desiccated coconut or coconut chips, toasted
For the puree
3 tbsp coconut oil, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, scraped
250g pumpkin puree
65ml unsweetened coconut milk
175ml coconut cream
80g coconut sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
For the crumble
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted 1 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt to taste
For the cream
- Place the unopened can of coconut cream in the fridge overnight. The next day, open the tin and scrape off the thicker part of the cream, which will have set overnight.
- Pour the remaining thinner milk into a glass jar and reserve for later.
- Whisk the cream by hand or using a free-standing mixer until soft smooth peaks form.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. The cream will thicken slightly in the fridge, so stir gently or whip up lightly before use if necessary.
For the custard
- Combine all ingredients in food processor or high-speed blender, scraping sides of bowl as you blend.
- Pour custard into a tightly sealed glass container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
For the crumble
- In a bowl, coat pecans with coconut oil, then maple syrup and salt. Roast in oven for 20mins. Cool before assembly.
- In tall glass or short wide glass tumbler, assemble parfait starting with puree, then adding coconut cream in alternate layers until you reach the top which should be coconut cream, then top with toasted pecans and toasted desiccated coconut.