We know the days are getting colder, shorter and darker, but autumn is not without its benefits. Yes, we’re talking about the food. Summer might be the season for sunshine, strawberries, picnics and Pina Coladas. But, we think there’s nothing quite like autumn eating and this sort of cuisine tends to be colourful and filling. Surely nothing embodies this season
more than the humble pumpkin? These days, most of us associate this food with Halloween – but don’t make the mistake of hollowing them out and discarding the leftovers! This type of squash is delicious, nutritious and endlessly versatile. Read on to discover our resident national trainer Jo Underhay’s favourite pumpkin recipes.
Most people think of pumpkin as a vegetable, but did you know it’s technically a fruit? It’s also classified as a squash and a gourd. Well, however you choose to describe yours, I think we should all be eating more of them. Pumpkins are, after all, rich in vitamins and minerals. More specifically, they are a great source of potassium and beta-carotene (a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A). This squash also contains vitamins C and E, more powerful antioxidants which help to protect our bodies from free radical damage. Pumpkin recipes are also something to reach for if you’re watching your figure. This food might be packed with nutrients, but it’s low in calories – and is a fantastic source of fibre, too.
If you’re new to cooking with pumpkin, soup is an excellent starter recipe (in every sense!). This quick and easy recipe works equally well as a light supper or to kick off an autumnal dinner party. The texture is light and silky, although the double cream does add a touch of decadence! I like to serve mine with wholemeal croutons, although these could be left out if you’re trying to cut down on carbs. Alternatively, indulge yourself and your guests with some warm, crusty bread.
Top tip: This soup can be made ahead and frozen for up to two months.
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With its auto-bridge function to link cooking zones for larger pans, I know our LCD Induction Hob (C970i) would make short work of this soup recipe.
With 14 cooking levels, you can take your pick, from 0-9 to boil control at 93ºC. There’s even a Booster function on all zones, so your soup will be ready in next to no time.
Make your sides special
My favourite pumpkin recipes aren’t just for food. Trust me: squash smoothies taste delicious. They’re also a great way to use up the inside portion of your hollowed-out Halloween ‘jack o’lantern’. This version from the Food With Feeling blogactually uses frozen cauliflower for extra creaminess and lower levels of sugar. I can vouch that it’s also super easy to prepare. All you do is combine the ingredients in a blenderand whizz until smooth.
Top tip: For a more substantial smoothie, why not top it with granola?
Because pumpkin is endlessly versatile, it also works well as a side dish. There are hundreds of squash recipes to choose from. But sometimes, simplicity is best – particularly if your main dish is complex or time-consuming to prepare.
I’m a huge fan of oven baked pumpkin slices. I like to cut mine into chunks, but wedges work well too. After slicing your pumpkin, simply drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your favourite spices. Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and brown sugar all taste fantastic, as do chilli, rosemary or sage. Then pop your pumpkin in the oven, to roast at 200ºC for around 20 minutes. For more delicious pumpkin side dish ideas – including vegetarian and vegan options – you may like Yummly’s round-up.
You’ll find our new Sense Electric Soft Close Single Oven C2105SS is perfect for roasts of any description (pumpkin or otherwise!). This model’s clear, intuitive control panel means the time and temperature are always on view, making sure your cooking is always on track.
Pumpkin recipes don’t necessarily have to be savoury. In fat, pumpkin pie is the classic American Thanksgiving dessert. It features a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling, baked in a single pie shell. I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve visited the USA,
and I think it’s a shame it’s rarely served in the UK! Making a pumpkin pie from scratch is easier than you might think, too. You simply whisk, pour and bake. I like to serve this with whipped cream for a true autumnal treat.
Top tip: If you’re really short on time, use canned pumpkin puree
Need an oven that allows you cook multiple courses at the same time? The MotionHeat+ technology in our Sense C2105 oven evenly distributes hot air around the oven cavity. This makes it is perfect for multi-level cooking without the transfer of flavours and achieves even results every time. This way, you can cook starter, main and dessert in the same cavity for a Halloween party night to remember!
A little autumnal indulgence is all well and good. However, if you’re focussing on healthy eating this season, there are still plenty of pumpkin recipes to try. I often serve winter salads constructed around roast pumpkin. Team with feta and some chopped almonds for a filling, protein-packed vegetarian option. Roast pumpkin salad with spinach and chopped walnuts is another tasty variation. In fact, your imagination is almost the only limit where winter salad pumpkin recipes are concerned. Team your favourite squash with any dark greens, such as spinach, kale or romaine. Ring the changes with different dressings, for example, tahini, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar or mustard.
If you’re in need of a speedy supper, it’s hard to go wrong with squash recipes featuring sweet roasted pumpkin and salty bacon with sage and a creamy garlic sauce. A winning combination, I promise. It’s a great way to use up leftover pumpkin, although butternut squash works just as well. Serve with a crisp green salad.
Top tip: Make this recipe suitable for vegetarians by replacing the bacon with walnuts
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