Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Winter Warmth

Before replying to comments, thought that you might like to see a photo of the view from the window in front of me. Despite it blowing half a gale and raining cats and dogs, the photo shows the lovely orange Pyracantha berries, withe the white 'seed balls' of the Fatsia of the left. Yesterday many blue tits came to feed off the berries, normally it is the blackbirds.

If wishing to make orange 'twiglets', remove all the pith, simmer the peel in water for a few minutes, dry and cut into very thin strips, then dunk each strip into melted chocolate, leave to dry on greaseproof or parchment paper. They make very good 'nibbles' instead of after dinner mints.

With so many pumpkins around at this time of year, we should remember they are part of the 'squash' family, so the flesh can be used in most of the dishes where an other squash is called for. Courgettes, marrows are also a type of 'squash', and we are all familiar with the butternut. Many make good chutneys and even jam. Myself used to make a lovely Marrow and Ginger jam that tasted almost like pineapple. Worth checking these out on the Internet.

Although there are many pumpkin recipes on this site (check late Oct/Nov in preceding years), have another that might be of interest. This time a bread, slightly sweet with a great flavour. Eats well with cold meats and cheese. There will probably be leftover puree, in which case use it to make soup or freeze it away. Alternatively make this bread with thawed pumpkin puree that you have already frozen, but bring to room temperature before making the bread.

Pumpkin and Walnut Bread:

1 lb (450g) pumpkin, peel and seeds removed

3 oz (75g) caster sugar

1 tsp grated nutmeg

2 oz (50g) butter, melted

3 eggs, beaten

12 oz (350g) strong white (bread) flour

2 tsp baking powder

half teaspoon salt

3 oz (75g) walnut pieces, chopped

Chop the pumpkin in to chunks, place these in a pan then add cold water to cover by 2" (5cm). Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is very tender. Drain well, then mash, liquidise or put into a food processor to make a pumpkin puree. Leave to cool.

Put 10 oz (275g) of the pumpkin puree into a bowl and mix in the sugar, melted butter, nutmeg and eggs. Into a larger bowl sift the flour with the baking powder and salt and make a well in the centre, and into this tip in the pumpkin mixture. Fold together until fully mixed, then stir in the walnuts.

Spoon mixture into a greased and base-lined 2 lb (900g) loaf tin and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for one hour or until the loaf has turned golden and begins to shrink from the sides of the tin. Cool on a cake airer.