Muffins don't have to be over-sweet cakes. These savoury, healthy pumpkin muffins make a packed lunch amazing. Also great alongside a bowl of soup. By Lorraine Pascale, From Baking Made Easy
- 60ml/2fl oz vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
- 180g/6½oz self-raising flour
- 130g/4½oz wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch salt
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
- 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 100ml/4fl oz plain yoghurt
- 275ml/10fl oz milk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 240g/8½oz cooked pumpkin, cut into ½cm/¼in cubes
- handful pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Oil a 12-hole muffin tin and line with 12 squares of baking paper. Push the squares down into each hole so that the paper sticks up.
- Sift the flours, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt and rosemary. (Reserve any wholegrain left in the sieve.)
- Meanwhile in another bowl, mix the eggs, yoghurt, milk, honey and vegetable oil until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold the ingredients together, but be careful not to over-work the mixture. Stir in most of the pumpkin, reserving a little for the top of the muffins. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases.
- Sprinkle the reserved wholegrain, pumpkin and the pumpkin seeds over the muffins. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Roasted pumpkin with maple, almonds and sage
This side is simple and yet incredibly tasty, from chef David Everitt-Matthias, Le Champignon Sauvage
- 1kg pumpkin (preferably a small one or a wedge)
- 100g duck fat or olive oil
- 18 large sage leaves
- Salt and black pepper
- 75g maple syrup
- 75g whole almonds, peeled
- 25g sliced almonds, toasted
- 30g unsalted butter
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, and use a spoon to remove the frilly bit. Cut into wedges 2 cm wide.
- Heat the duck fat or oil in a roasting tray, add the pumpkin wedges, 12 sage leaves, and a little salt and pepper, and toss to coat the pumpkin.
- Put the tray in the oven and roast for 5 minutes, remove the tray and turn the pumpkin. Place back in the oven. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the maple syrup and the whole almonds and cook a further 10 minutes.
- When golden, remove from the oven, chop the remaining sage and add to the pumpkin with the toasted almonds, unsalted butter and grated orange zest, then squeeze the juice from the orange over the top.
- Carefully turn the pumpkin over till coated, season to taste and serve drizzled with the cooking juices.
Easy Pumpkin Soup
Why not whip up this easy pumpkin soup as a starter for a dinner party or a light supper when you need a bit of comfort – it has a lovely silky texture:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1kg pumpkin or squash peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
- 700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 150ml double cream
- For the croutons
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 slices wholemeal seeded bread, crusts removed
- handful pumpkin seeds
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
- Add 1kg pumpkin or squash, cut into chunks, to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
- Pour 700ml vegetable or chicken stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft.
- Pour 150ml double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can pour the soup through a fine sieve. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.
- To make the croutons: cut 4 slices wholemeal seeded bread into small squares.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp.
- Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
- Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want.
Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2008
For those of you who plan to eat your pumpkin, you'll be happy to hear that it'll provide you with fibre, zinc, and vitamin A. Jamie Oliver assures us that ‘as long as the flesh is a rich orange colour and dense in texture (as opposed to mottled or stringy), you’re going to get a good eater. But even if this is the case, the seeds are always delicious!’
For more inspiration, while we agree that pumpkins are tasty, they also have uses that go beyond the kitchen. After the trick-or-treaters clear away, and Halloween is officially over, don’t trash your pumpkins! There are several ways to recycle them with wildlife and your garden in mind,such as a pumpkin bird feeder. Pumpkins are 90% water, which means they easily and quickly break down. This makes them a great addition to your compost pile. Maybe you could even plant the seeds and grow your own crop next year!