Monthly Archives: October 2014

Pumpkin and ginger loaf

I got this recipe from the BBC Good Food magazine. I have adapted it ever so slightly. I would also experiment with dropping the sugar content, but never the first time I make something. It’s great for using up Hallowe’en pumpkin carving scrapings, but I admit I used butternut squash as bit too early, for us, to be carving pumps.

Ingredients

250g pumpkin or butternut squash chunks (note: peeled weight)

50g black treacle

140g golden syrup

140g light brown sugar

100ml milk

100g cold butter, diced

125g self raising flour

100g plain wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

half a teaspoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

2 teaspoons of mixed spice

2 eggs

8-10 pieces of crystallized ginger, thinly sliced

What you do

Oven to 180C. You need a 2lb loaf tin (23cm x 13cm x 7cm) which you have lined in baking parchment.

Put the pumpkin or squash chunks in a bowl with a bit of water, cover with pierced cling film or a suitable microwave cover, and cook on full power in the microwave for about 9-10 minutes. When done, drain any excess water and mash it up.

Whilst that is doing, put the treacle, golden syrup, milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a very gentle boil, stirring until the sugar is all dissolved. Take off the heat.

Sift together the dry ingredients: the flours, ginger, mixed spice, bicarb and baking powder, add the diced butter and rub together with finger tips until like fine breadcrumbs. I admit it, I did this in a food processor because I am a lazy bastard. Set aside.

Whisk the egg gently into the pumpkin/squash, just until you have a gooey, orange mass. Now pour this into the treacle/syrup/sugar/milk mixture, or vice versa. Now add to the dry ingredients, mixing carefully and slowly. If the syrupy mixture is too hot and/or you add it too fast, then you will get small clumps of flour that will never disperse.

Or you could be like me and chuck the whole lot into the bowl of a food mixture and whisk it together, because you can never have too much washing up.

Pour the batter into the loaf tin and onto the top, scatter 80% of the sliced up crystallized ginger. Bake in the centre of the oven for  45 minutes. A skewer should come out with some moist crumbs, you don’t want it too dry. Five minutes before, scatter the rest of the sliced ginger on top.

Take out and cool completely. Like all gingerbread, it tastes better after a few days of being wrapped in baking parchment/foil and is delicious sliced and spread with butter and served, in front of a fire, with a cup of tea.  It is full of lovely autumn flavours.

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Raw chocolate and orange tart (gluten free, dairy free)

For a while I’ve been meaning to make a raw chocolate tart. I keep seeing recipes for them and I love a birruva treat every day after my lunch. But. I don’t always want that sugar high/low I get after eating pastry (much as I adore pastry). Anyway. I saw this in Delicious magazine and I’ve adapted it every so slightly. Next time, I think I’d make some changes to the base, too – I would use toasted (sssh, I know that won’t make it raw but it will make it delish) nuts instead of the dessicated coconut.

If you don’t like coconut you won’t like this, but otherwise, this is a really intense chocolate treat. It still feels ‘spoily’ and not too worthy. It lasts a good long while so you can have a slither every day and it tastes even better after a few days. I warn you, the chocolate hit is powerful.

For the base:

110g coconut oil

140g ground almonds

175g dessicated coconut

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of raw cocoa (I buy it in 1K bags and it works out at quite good value compared to the Green and Blacks one I used to buy)

For the filling:

75g dates

Zest and juice of one orange

50g coconut oil

175g honey (I used mostly honey and some maple as I ran out)

140g raw cocoa powder

Method

Soak the dates in some boiling water for about half an hour then drain them, and discard the water.

Put the ingredients for the base (not the dates, they aren’t part of it yet) in a food processor until it starts to clump together, then tip into a 23cm loose based tart tin. Don’t wash the food processor up yet!

You don’t need to grease the tin or anything (although be warned, the first slice is hard to cut). Flatten it down and up the sides with your fingers, cover with cling film and put in the fridge.

So much easier than pastry isn’t it?

Now put the drained dates, plus all the other ingredients for the filling, into the food processor and whizz up. I found it made quite a sticky mess that was hard to liberate, fully, from the bowl and blade but do your best. Spoon the filling into the case and put it in the fridge. But, once it’s been in the fridge, I find it tastes nice for being out of the fridge for ten minutes.

You only need a tiny slice.