Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Pumpkin Pasta, Patisserie and Patties

Image result for half eaten pumpkin

My fellow villagers assured me that pumpkins would keep in a cool cellar from October to February- and of course they were right.
But February has been and gone and it's time for those pumpkins to be used up.
Aside from gallons of soup for the freezer, I thought at least one of the beasts deserved a more noble end and so put it into some more imaginative dishes.

 I cut it in half- one part to be roasted, the other to be peeled and grated.
The pumpkin crescents roast for 20 minutes or so with some olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs in a hot oven. They are then ready for serving up with stews or sausages, or peeling and mashing to use in a variety of ways.

Pumpkin for roasting

 First of all, I made some pasta- 4 eggs, a tsp salt, 250g flour and a glug of olive oil whizzed up in  the food processor and then left to rest whilst I make the filling- 2 tbsp of cooked pumpkin, mashed together with some soft garlic and herb cheese.

Pasta rolling
Ravioli shapes
Roll out the pasta as thin as you can, using a pasta machine and then cut out ravioli shapes using a pastry cutter.
Seal up the parcels
Place a teaspoon of the filling on each round, dampen the edges and press on the lid- making your way round with your fingers to ensure a good seal and pressing out the air.
 I keep a damp tea towel handy, sprinkled with flour, to store the ravioli as I work.

You can cook them fresh or freeze them in a container with tiers of greaseproof paper between them, again sprinkled with flour. They freeze well and can be cooked from frozen too.

To cook, bring a pan of water to a rapid boil, gently add the ravioli and turn down the heat to a simmer. The ravioli are cooked when they rise to the surface and float.
You can serve them with simple tomato sauce, or olive oil and parmesan shavings, or floating in a broth. You can make an easy and delicious broth from 1 tbsp miso paste, 1 litre of  hot vegetable or chicken stock and 2 tsp chopped sushi ginger.
I used the leftover bouillon from our village pot-au-feu.

Pumpkin Ravioli
With the grated pumpkin, I made the following:
- Pumpkin and Sultana Tea Bread
-Pumpkin and Gruyere muffins (Coeur Fondant)
-5 -a-day burgers
- Vegetable Moussaka

Pumpkin and Sultana Tea Bread

200g grated pumpkin
200g light brown sugar
4 eggs (separated)
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
100g sultanas (soaked in a cup of leftover tea)
100g ground almonds
200g self raising flour
pinch salt
1 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger

1. Preheat the oven 1o 170 degrees and grease and line a large loaf tin
2.Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until pale
3.Stir in the pumpkin, orange, sultanas and ground almonds

Add the pumpkin and orange etc
4. Sift in the flour, salt and spices
5. Now whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and then fold carefully into the mixture

Fold in your egg whites
6. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for about an hour until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Pumpkin and Sultana Tea Bread

 Pumpkin and Gruyere Muffins (Coeur Fondant)

The secret to these little aperitif cakes is the melting middle- in this case made from a cheese bechamel sauce- but it could be tomato, pesto or just a little mozzarella ball pushed into the centre before baking.
First make your sauce by melting 1 tbsp plain flour with 1 tbsp butter, cooking through and then whisking in a cupful of milk, 1 tsp mustard, a handful of grated cheese, salt and pepper.

Melt together the butter and flour

Whisk in the milk and flavourings

Now pour the sauce into an ice cube tray, allow to cool and then freeze for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Meanwhile make your muffin batter by heating up 150 ml of milk, 30 g of butter and 100g of grated Gruyere cheese. When cheese and butter are melted, add 100g of grated pumpkin, salt and pepper.
In a bowl, beat 3 eggs and add 60g of flour and 1 tsp baking powder.
Now mix in the milk and pumpkin mix and then pour into individual muffin moulds.
Press each 'ice cube' of Bechamel sauce into the centre of the muffin and then bake for around 15 minutes until risen and golden.
When sliced open they should ooze sauce.

Pumpkin and Gruyere Muffins (Coeur Fondant)

Finally I used up the rest of the grated pumpkin in some 5-a-day burgers ( a mix of lentils, spring onions, mushrooms, pumpkin, hummus and garlic). Recipe if you click the link under the photo.
 5-a-day Burgers and Vegetable Moussaka

The same  mixture goes really well in a Vegetable Moussaka too- just fry it off lightly and mix with some tomato sauce. Layer it along the bottom of a baking dish with sliced potato, finishing off with a layer of sliced and lightly fried aubergine.
Top with Bechamel sauce, grated mixed cheese (Cantal, Cheddar, Emmental and/or Parmesan) and a dusting of nutmeg.
Bake at 170 degrees until brown and bubbling.

Not much left in the garden now- just a few leeks, onions, and chard. 
Time to start planting again!

 Image result for packets of seeds

 Roll on Spring!


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