Pumpkin steamed pudding

Last week we were off for Christmas and none of Rose’s groups or activities were running, but we had some nice home days and discovered a new interest of Rose’s  – she loves to bake (well, she loves to stand on a chair in the kitchen and move things around) she calls it cooking.

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I have had a little bake in mind since halloween. After making my pumpkin and raisin tea loaf there was still a lot of pumpkin leftover and so I sneakily roasted it with some apple and pureed it and put it in the freezer ready for a rainy day (which there were not shortage of last week!)

I was a little delayed in giving this a go also because I didn’t have a suitable bowl that would fit inside our largest saucepan to be able to steam a pudding, but that has been put right now.

I was drawn to this recipe as I had never steamed a pudding before (well, maybe a Christmas pudding once) and also liked that it didn’t have much sugar in it so a great pudding for Rose who is likely to have trouble falling to sleep if she’s had anything too sweet after dinner.

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I had forgotten how nice a steamed pudding is – there’s a lovely quality to it, especially when freshly steamed. We ate our pudding more like a cake, but I still have three batches of puree in the freezer so the next one we will definitely be having as a pudding with custard.

Here is the recipe in case you want to try. It is another one from my River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook which I really recommend, even if you don’t have a baby or toddler I think it’s a good one.

For the puree:

you need 500g of pumpkin or squash (a large wedge of pumpkin or half a butternut squash) and 4 dessert apples.

Cut your pumpkin into wedges and place on a baking tray skin down. Cover with foil and roast in the oven at 190 degrees for half an hour. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples and add these to the tray and bake for a further 30 minutes until everything is soft. Scoop away the pumpkin skin and put the apple and pumpkin flesh in a blender until all smooth. This should make about 500g of puree. Measure out 200g for the pudding, and freeze the rest for a future pud, or use as you wish.

For the pudding:

100g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
100g of self raising flour
100g of wholemeal self raising flour (or you can use all white or whatever ratio you like as long as you have 200g total)
1tsp ground cinnamon (we had run out so used ginger powder instead)
A good grating of nutmeg (again, we used the powder!)
75g caster sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract

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Start by buttering a 1 litre pudding basin. Mix together the flours, cinnamon (or ginger) and nutmeg in a bowl (Rose did this bit for me, our ginger is in a shaker so she liked adding that and it flowed quite slowly so we were safe) While toddler is helping with that part, beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy (I didn’t want to get the electric blender out with Rose so close so i just creamed my butter and sugar with a metal spoon until smooth) Add the egg, vanilla and a spoon of flour (I broke the egg into a little cup so Rose could add that, and the spoon of flour. This made her very pleased, although she did grab a spare egg and tried quite hard to pull that apart) Beat together well, then add the pumpkin puree and sift the remaining flour (another good task for toddler) and fold in gently until everything is combined.

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Scoop your mixture into the pudding basin and cover with a piece of pleated foil. Secure with string and stand your basin in a large saucepan, fill the pan half full with boiling water and put the lid on. Bring the water back to the boil and then turn the heat down to simmer. Steam your pudding for 1 and a half hours (keep an eye on the water level, topping up when needed)

When done, use the string to help lift the basin out and turn out onto a plate. The recipe suggests serving immediately with custard and I second that.

A really lovely activity for little one, and a really nice pud. Grand! x

Salt and pepper pumpkin seeds

Last weekend i had a really nice afternoon in the kitchen making nice things from our halloween pumpkin and I just wanted to share another little bonus bake – roasted pumpkin seeds.

I de-seeded my pumpkin and put them to one side not thinking much of them at first, but then realised that pumpkin seeds are edible normally – although these did look a bit different to the ones you normally buy to nibble on.

So i did a little investigating and found out that roasting them would be the way to go. As the oven was on anyway i went for it! and i was NOT disappointed.

pumpkin seeds ready to be washed

First separate the seeds from the stringy pumpkin bits as best you can

nice clean pumpkin seeds

Transfer the seeds to a sieve and rinse under the tap to clean off the last traces of pumpkin flesh

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Cover the seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper (or other herb and spice combinations of your choice)

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Spread out on a baking tray and roast in the oven at about 180 degrees for about 15 minutes, or as long as it takes for them to turn golden toasty brown.

Wait to cool for a minute, then tuck in. So simple, but so so delicious. If you do one thing with your halloween pumpkin, make sure it’s this one!

Post-halloween pumpkin delight

Last week Rose had so much fun painting our pumpkin, and this weekend it was my turn for some pumpkin makes.

I had a really good hunt about for nice pumpkin recipes – there are so many great looking things to try. I knew that i wanted to go for something sweet and didn’t really fancy a pie so I eventually settled on a couple of recipes from my own cookbooks. Cakes! (you will learn that i like these. a lot.)

I first chopped up my pumpkin and chopped off the skin. When the paint got wet it did start to get a little messy and some of my pumpkin pieces were dyed a bit blue. I tried rinsing them and i hope we won’t suffer too badly. Rose ingests far more paint in a typical painting session and so far seems to be okay?! I’m sure it looked worse than it was (?)

For the first of my pumpkin baking sessions, I decided to make one of my favourite cakes, the River Cottage Pumpkin and raisin tea loaf. I have made this one a few times with courgettes and carrots, but never actually with pumpkin so this seemed a good opportunity to try it. I changed the recipe a little bit to make it more toddler friendly, halving the sugar and, to add sweetness in a gentler way, substituting some of the pumpkin for apple and swapping the lemon for a satsuma. I often try to reduce sugar in my cakes for little one, and it can have varying effects, but i was really pleased that this was absolutely delicious. I will give you the original recipe though so you can make up your own mind (the original is absolutely delicious too!)

I will admit to you this wasn’t a smooth baking session. After the blue pumpkin I managed to whisk the sugar into the wrong part of the eggs, then managed to completely forget the flour until the very last minute. Can I still blame baby brain 2 years later?? Happily everything worked out fine in the end and I learnt a good lesson on reading instructions!

cut up pumpkin and applesmaking a cakemixing a caketea and cake

If you want a go at making this cake yourself, you will need:

Butter for greasing
200g light muscavado sugar (I used 100g)
4 large eggs (separated)
200g finely grated pumpkin flesh (i used about 170g pumpkin and then grated a whole desert apple which took me slightly over 200g in total)
The finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (satsuma)
100g raisins
100g ground almonds
200g self-raising flour (i used 100g white and 100g wholemeal flour for some extra health!)
a pinch of fine sea salt (i left this out)
1tsp ground cinnamon and a generous grating of nutmeg

To make the loaf:

Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees and grease and line your loaf tin.

Using an electric whisk, beat together the egg yolks and sugar for a couple of minutes until the yolks become pale and creamy.

Add to the bowl, the pumpkin (and apple if using that), lemon (or satsuma) zest and juice, raisins, almonds. Sift in the flour, salt and spices and mix gently until everything is combined.

Clean your whisk and in a new bowl whisk up the egg whites until they form peaks. Add a spoon of the egg white to the mixture to loosen it up slightly, then gently fold in the remaining egg white.

Spoon gently into your waiting tin and bake for an hour, or until golden brown and firm. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto  cooling rack.

Put the kettle on and enjoy. mm.

This cake recipe is featured in this article here which also has some other good looking stuff to try if you are looking for some inspiration (although Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is not very complimentary of halloween pumpkins – perhaps next year we’ll have a halloween squash).

I will be back soon to let you know what i did with the rest of my pumpkin. more nice things.

I hope you enjoy some pumpkin baking. Let me know what you  make. Or if you try this cake tell me what you thought.

hello hallowe’en

I have never really been one for Hallowe’en celebrations, but i decided this year to jump on it and make some fun activities for Rose and me. I saw this blog post from ispy DIY about no carve pumpkins, and the picture of the pumpkin covered in little dots reminded me a lot of a sticker book of Rose’s where we had to stick spots on the ladybirds. Rose enjoyed that activity, telling me the colours she liked and sticking them on, so when i saw it i thought it looked like something she would like, and festive to boot.

Our pumpkin didn’t turn out quite as dotty as i first imagined, but it is quite psychedelic and we had a lot of fun make it. It was quite a nice project for us as broke down into two sessions of crafting fun.

We started off by painting our pumpkin as i thought this would give a nice base for our stickers. There was a bit of a novelty value in painting a pumpkin too! We just used some poster paint which we got from our little toyshop locally. Rose has learnt the word ‘splash’. i am still finding paint splatters (please don’t let this put you off)

painting a pumpkin no carvepainting a pumpkin no carve for children

I also bought some black card for another little project to help pass some of the time, but our pumpkin was quite wet in places so I left it overnight before the next phase.

Rose peeling off stickers for her no carve pumpkin Rose sticking stickers to her no carve pumpkin

I managed to find some little stickers stickers inexpensively in one of the stationary shops – a selection of coloured spots and stars, so once our pumpkins were dry it was sticker time. I didn’t need to explain it to Rose, she knew what she was doing.

 halloween mask cut outhandmade halloween masks work in progress

With the painted card from earlier, i made a little paper template and cut out some mask shapes – we added the last of our stickers then threaded through some elastic to make them into something we can wear to scare daddy when he got home from work. (we made him a mask too!) They are not really very scary though, more like friendly Halloween.

Here are our finished projects. a good week’s work (Rose doesn’t like wearing masks, so Rich and I posed with baby for a ‘scary’ face selfie).

no carve painted and stickered pumpkinscary faces in handmade masks

Happy friendly hallowe’en everyone! Please let me know how you celebrate.
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