Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

Pumpkin and walnut loaf

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Pain potimarron-noix

I devised this recipe for a competition run by that wonderful bread resource Votre Pain last year but for some reason it never made it onto the blog – until now.

The two stars of this loaf were chosen because they’re the only garden produce in which I can claim to be more or less self-sufficient. Both pumpkins and walnuts, if stored carefully, will stay in good shape until the next harvest with no need for sugar or vinegar, and without using electricity.

The vital supporting role goes to my home-made leaven, which I keep at room temperature and feed regularly with whole rye flour. A leaven refreshed with white bread flour would do just as well.

150g leaven
100g whole rye flour or white bread flour
100ml barely tepid water

500g wholemeal bread flour
½ tsp salt
About 150ml barely tepid water
1 tsp olive oil
200g raw pumpkin
60g walnuts

The night before baking, stir into the leaven first the 100ml of water, then the rye or white bread flour.

Next morning, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the leaven, followed by 100ml of water. Mix thoroughly, then add more water gradually, a tablespoonful at a time, to form a slightly stickly dough. Cover with a clean teacloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin into cubes of about a centimetre. Some pumpkins need to be peeled, but the skin of the Hokkaido variety I used is perfectly edible and adds lovely deep-red flecks to the finished loaf. Roughly chop the walnuts.

Smear a work surface with a little olive oil and turn out the dough, which should already be feeling slightly elastic. Knead it quickly – less than a minute will do – cover with the cloth and leave again for 15 minutes.

Gently incorporate the pumpkin cubes and chopped walnuts into the dough. If it starts to stick, add a little more oil. Shape into a ball, cover again with the cloth and leave for an hour or more, until the dough has doubled in volume.

Form the loaf into your favourite shape. Place it on a well-floured baking tray, cover and leave to rise again for 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C (Gas 7), with a baking stone if you have one.

Cut a few slashes in the top of the loaf and slide it quickly onto the baking stone (or put the tray in the oven). Bake for 40-50 minutes and let the loaf cool completely on a rack before slicing.

One season pizza

Monday, September 27th, 2010

It took me a while to get used to pizza without cheese but now I find I prefer it, especially with a tangy tomato sauce, some really good olives and lots of veg. The other day I thought I’d go one step further and make a pizza without tomatoes.

I also decided to keep my environmental footprint to a minimum by using only vegetables from the garden: one of the first pumpkins, the last ears of sweetcorn, some courgettes, two small onions and a few sprigs of sage.

Pizza veg2

As I don’t grow my own wheat, I bought some local flour which had covered 80 kilometres to get to the nearest organic shop before I brought it another 30 kilometres home. The olive oil had travelled a bit further, but it was still produced here in France.

This recipe makes two pizzas, for two to four people, depending on how hungry they are. You could prepare the second while the first is cooking, then keep the first one hot so as to serve them together. But it’s more fun to eat the first pizza and make the second one afterwards. The dough will come to no harm, and those pining for more conventional toppings can add other ingredients to their half, third or quarter.

You could also rub a little oil on the second piece of dough, put it in a plastic bag (leaving room for the dough to rise a bit more) and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.

Pizza 1 saison
250g (8oz) unbleached flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp olive oil

Toppings: vegetables from your garden, market, local organic shop or weekly veg box.

Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a bowl. Add 150ml (5 fl oz) of warm water and mix to a slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a teacloth and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Pour the oil onto the work surface. Remove the dough (which will already be more elastic) from the bowl and knead for about a minute to incorporate the oil. Cover with the upturned bowl and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Knead once more for just a few seconds, then cover again with the bowl and leave for an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.
(I baked the pumpkin and onion pieces with a little oil for about 20 minutes at 200°C, simmered the sweetcorn for five minutes and sliced the courgettes fairly finely).

Preheat the oven to 230°C (Gas 8). Put in a pizza stone to heat up, if you have one.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Leave one under the upturned bowl and roll out the other, using plenty of flour, to a circle 30-35cm (12-14in) across (I use a rolling pin but if you’re feeling adventurous you could try throwing it in the air like an Italian piazziolo).

Remove the pizza stone from the oven or line a baking tray with parchment paper (there’s no law that says pizza has to be round). Carefully transfer the pizza base to the stone or tray. If it stretches too much, simply pull it back into shape or don’t bother – the taste won’t be affected. Arrange the vegetables on top as quickly as possible and bake the pizza until the edges start to turn golden (in my oven this takes about 12 minutes).

Enjoy sprinkled with some flakes of Maldon salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Pumpkin and ginger soup

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Sometimes, passing an Asian grocery shop, I spy some crisp, young, pink-tipped ginger that’s just crying out to be bought and used straight away. As I haven’t yet managed to grow my own, I can’t bear to let such immaculate freshness go to waste.

Some was sliced and boiled up for ginger tea (which keeps well in the fridge for several days) and some grated to soak in cider vinegar for spicy salad dressings. The chunk that remained found a home in this pumpkin soup.

Now I like my ginger flavour zingy and assertive, but if you don’t share my passion you can use less. Just 2 cm (1 in) of root will blend in with the other seasonings to add a delicate background warmth.

As a change from croutons, I topped the soup with some leftover baked potato, lightly broken up and fried in a little oil.

Soupe poti

1 onion
5-6 cm (2 in) ginger
2 tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
Black pepper
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
Large chunk of pumpkin (about 1 kg)
½ tsp salt

Chop the onion and ginger and brown lightly in the oil in a large saucepan. Add the peeled garlic, cumin and paprika, and grind in plenty of black pepper. Roughly chop the carrot, celery and pumpkin and add to the pan with the salt. Pour in 1.5 litres (3 pints) of boiling water. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

Liquidise the soup (I do this in three batches), and cook gently for another 15 minutes or so, until it is thick and creamy. Check the seasoning.

I see no point in making less than this quantity for six – the soup is even better reheated the next day and can also be frozen in plastic boxes.

Pumpkin and orange cookies

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Pumpkin cookies comp

Masses of the bright-red, sweet-fleshed pumpkins called potimarrons* have been jostling for attention in my weekly veg box lately.

Unfortunately, they don’t keep as well as the ones we grow ourselves. The skin starts to go soft in places and within a few days they deliquesce into a squelchy mess that’s only good for composting, so it’s best to eat them up quickly.

They make delicious soups and gratins, and a recipe I found on Cléa’s blog (in French) suggests grating the raw pumpkin to make a salad with hazelnut flavourings. This works well with walnuts or lightly roasted cashew nuts too.

Here’s another idea : cookies that make the most of the potimarron‘s natural sweetness. Any type of winter squash, such as butternut, could be used.

For 24 cookies:

140 g (5 oz) grated pumpkin
100 ml (4 fl oz) groundnut oil
80 g (3 oz) brown sugar
120 g (4 oz) raisins
Grated zest of an orange
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
120 ml (5 fl oz) soya milk (or other plant milk)
250 g (8 oz) wheatmeal flour (or a mix of plain and wholemeal)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder

Mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, raisins, orange zest, nutmeg and 100 ml (4 fl oz) of the soya milk in one bowl, and the flour, salt and baking powder in another.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas 4).

Gently fold the flour into the pumpkin mixture and add enough extra milk to give a stiff dropping consistency.

Cover two baking trays with baking parchment. Use a tablespoon to make about 12 mounds of the mixture on each tray, spacing them out well and flattening them a bit. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the trays round halfway.

* They’re the ones on the left of the picture at the top of the page, snuggling under the Aspiring Vegan heading. A quick google suggests “Hokkaido pumpkin” or “chestnut squash” (neither of which I’d heard of) as translations.