Tag Archives: gingerbread

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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Gingerbread porridge

I have just come off deadline for a hideously complicated piece about mackerel. The research on anything to do with fish quotas is almost enough to drive me to a drug habit (JOKING). So I’m indulging myself with something blissfully easy to write about, something comforting, that I hope you will find useful.

Porridge. We all know how healthy it is. Rich in fibre, lowers your cholesterol, makes you strong and gives you a glow etc.

However.

I am always STARVING five minutes after eating it and I have a bit of a guilt trip going over porridge in that I feel it should be made with steel cut pinhead oatmeal and stirred for one hundred hours and eaten with almost nothing, bar a grimace.

I do lighten up occasionally and use jumbo oats and semi skimmed milk and water and cook it on the hob with my spurtle (NEVER NEVER NEVER in the microwave) and then flood it with sliced fruit and maple syrup, but in my Catholic guilt-ridden heart, I know I am sinning.

Thus I hardly eat porridge which is stupid. Like not letting yourself buy cut up fruit because you should cut it up yourself and therefore never eating fruit (not relevant to me but you know what I mean).

This morning, as I was wafting round Waitrose and taking my commission for my mackerel piece and slightly panicking as I do before I start to write any piece (I can’t do it I CAN’T DO IT), I spied something. Dorset Cereals Gingerbread Porridge. In the packet are premeasured and sealed daily sachets (so wasteful!). It had stuff added to it to make it tasty (so indulgent!) and it recommended you do it in the microwave (shocking!).

I hadn’t had breakfast.
I’d had to dig the car out of the snow that morning.
I had been coerced into buying my child Smarties (I don’t buy Nestle products usually).
I had a hideously difficult piece to write on mackerel.
So I bought it.

I came home and made it – in the microwave – and ate it with a dollop of nut butter (to up the protein) and it was DELICIOUS. I am still going on it six hours later (bar the handful of nuts and an apple that I ate an hour ago but that was more out of deadline avoidance than hunger).

Am now going to eat this every day. Every day.