Pumpkin and Raisin Cake

pumpkin and raisin cake

With plenty of pumpkins stored away I’ve been looking for recipes to make something a little different with them. I found a scrummy recipe for pumpkin and raisin loaf cake that appealed to me, particularly the spicing which would be pleasantly warming now that colder weather has finally arrived. I realised I lacked a loaf tin so I decided to use a cake tin instead. Which is perfectly fine, but the cooking time would need to be reduced a touch.

In any case, I love cake.

The recipe is from All Recipes, I’ve tweaked it a little to suit my own taste and included the measured quantity of uncooked pumpkin and the method I used to make the puree, to make it a little easier for those who’d rather make their own.

Serves 12

Ingredients:

250g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

200g dark brown soft sugar

75g butter

2 eggs

250g pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons milk

100g raisins

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.

For the pumpkin puree I measured out 800g of roughly chopped pumpkin (skin and seeds removed) and placed in a pan of boiling water, simmer for 20 minutes or so until the pumpkin pieces are soft (test with a fork). Strain water and place cooked pumpkin pieces into a fine mesh sieve, try to remove as much excess water as you can by pushing down on the pumpkin pieces with a fork to strain. Scrap the contents from the sieve into a bowl and use a hand blender to puree. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, spices and bicarbonate of soda. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, pumpkin and milk. Stir flour mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Fold in raisins.

Pour into a 23 cm cake tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes (test middle of cake with a skewer).

cake mixture

Although you can’t taste the pumpkin, the puree keeps the cake moist. After working in the vegetable garden or the allotment, enjoy a slice with a cup of hot tea. Lovely!

Easy Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

A thick, rustic soup, bursting with autumn goodness! Perfect for a quick light lunch or warming snack, this recipe is super easy to make, particularly if you’ve never made soup before.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped

200g butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped into small chunks (150g if you prefer a thinner soup)

1/4 pint of vegetable stock (use chicken stock if you prefer)

2 tbsp milk

Black pepper, freshly ground to season

Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

butternut squash macro

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the chopped butternut squash and fry for two minutes. Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil, simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender. Add the milk to the pan and season with black pepper, set aside and allow to cool slightly. Using a food processor or hand blender, blend the butternut squash mixture (for a rustic soup small lumps are fine!). Warm through when required and pour into a warm bowl, garnish with coriander and serve with a chunky slice of bread.

Blackcurrant Jam

blackcurrant jam

The weather continues to be beautiful (probably a little too hot for some) and the allotment is pumping out bumper crops of soft fruit. I’ve really got into jam-making recently so I thought I’d post this easy peasy blackcurrant jam recipe. I’ve used blackcurrant ‘Big Ben’ for my jams, but you can use any variety that you wish. I don’t have a sugar thermometer but I will explain how to test for setting point without one.

Foodie bits you will need to make 1 medium/large jar:

  • 300g blackcurrants
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 250ml water

blackcurrants

The preparation bit:

  • Sterilize a jam jar, make sure the jar remains hot at the time of bottling the jam.
  • Put a plate into the fridge or freezer, you will need it to test the setting point of the jam.
  • Wash the blackcurrants and remove stalks.

making blackcurrant jam

The cooking bit:

  • Place the fruit in a preserving pan or large stainless steel saucepan, cover with pre-measured water and bring to a gentle simmer, leave the fruit to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the skins to soften.
  • Add the sugar stirring gently with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved, bring to a full rolling boil for approximately 4 minutes, remove pan from the heat and test for setting point by placing a small amount of jam liquid onto the cold plate, allow to cool slightly then push the liquid with your finger, if it wrinkles then setting point has been reached (if not, return pan to heat and test again).
  • Pour into a hot, clean jar and seal immediately.

Homemade Coleslaw

coleslaw

Now I’m not one for recipes, purely because im a lousy cook, so when my daughter came home from school with a recipe that I could actually follow, I just had to share it. Its edible and ‘Karen proof’ so its got to be worth a whirl. Problem is I keep making it now, all of the time. My long suffering family are sick of the sight of it. Our carrots are not quite ready to lift yet, did some thinning last night before dusk and they are just too small right now (although I enjoyed chewing on the roots) so I cannot use them in this recipe just yet.

Large carrots, 5 should do it (use more if your carrots are small)

Half a white cabbage

Mayonnaise (with free range egg )

Lemon

Peel and grate the carrots into a mixing bowl or salad bowl, whatever is to hand. Slice the cabbage slightly chunky for crispness, then add to the bowl. Put a few dollops of mayo into the bowl and mix well so that the grated carrot and sliced cabbage are covered then squeeze lemon juice over the coleslaw, add more if you like your coleslaw zesty like me.

And there you have it, simple, quick and tasty.

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