pumpkin

Waste Not Cakes! Carrot & Banana sweetness and pumpkin & mushroom savoury delight

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This year our dream team consisting of Green City Events, Cynefin Cardiff and Lia’s Kitchen will be organising more food waste reduction events in Cardiff’s Roath/Penylan, Splott and Adamsdown areas. Our first Love Food Hate Waste Roadshow on 21 November 2015 kicked off a series of roadshows and workshops to follow in 2016. We cannot explain how much we believe in what we do so we hope that our enthusiasm and dedication is contagious. Now is a great time to think about reducing your food waste and to join the fight to help do something about this ever increasing problem.

At our November 2015 roadshow we provided advice and tips on how to use our imagination to cook with what we have at home. Our savoury and sweet cake samples inspired many of you to be creative in the kitchen. So here are the recipes below. Remember don’t be afraid to replace an ingredient you are missing with another. The cake recipes were inspired by ingredients most us of are likely to waste and seasonal, affordable ingredients such as squash.

The sweet cake recipe is based on a similar recipe shared with me by a dear friend Wendy Twell about ten years ago. Whilst the savoury cake is inspired by pumpkin and winter squash which is abundant at the moment – it is designed to help people not waste some of the larger pumpkins/squash they get hold off. For more inspiration on pumpkin see here.

Follow @greencityevens, @liaskitchen, @cynefincardiff for information on upcoming events.

Thanks to www.dangreenphotography.com and Luke From Cynefin for the snaps today.

Sweet Carrot & Banana Cake

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Ingredients (8-10 portions)

  • 1 carrot coarsely grated
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed with a fork
  • 100ml/g of fat (vegetable oil or melted butter)
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150 sugar (caster or light brown sugar or a mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g chopped nuts of your choice or roughly chopped chocolate
  • 1 tsp mixed spices of your choices (we recommend mixing half tsp ground cardamom, half tsp ground cinnamon powder, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg)

Preparation (1.5 hours)

  1. Grease and line a 20cm long bread tin or a 20cm round baking tray with flour.
  2. Mix the flour with the baking powder and the spices of your choice.
  3. Mash the bananas with a fork and grate the carrot in the same bowl.
  4. Add the banana and carrot and mix with the flour.
  5. Make a well in the middle and add the fat of your choice and eggs.
  6. Beat well until blended.
  7. Bake in a medium oven (170 centigrade) for 45-1hr or until a skewer pierced into the centre comes out clean.

Lia’s tips:

  • If you have one banana only add another carrot. If the mixture is tight add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to make it looser so that the cake is not dry.
  • Cool down the butter a little before you add to your mixture. Mix in before adding your eggs.
  • The cake keeps well in the fridge for about a week.
  • Have too much leftover cake? Why not eat some of it for breakfast with Greek yoghurt and honey. Or soak the drier slices win some coffee and marsala or other sweet wine, topping it with sweetened yoghurt and fruit for an alternative trifle desert which will impress all your guests.

Savoury pumpkin and mushroom cake

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Ingredients (8-10 portions)

  • 1 small-medium squash/pumpkin or up to 500g peeled squash/pumpkin
  • 1 onion
  • 300g mushrooms
  • 1 small bunch of sage (30g)
  • 300g cornmeal or polenta
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter melted
  • 50-100g cheddar cubed or grated
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 30g sugar
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Butter for frying

Preparation (1.5hr)

  1. Grease and line a square baking tray (25cm x 35cm) or a deep round baking tray (20-25cm diameter).
  2. Cut and peel the pumpkin or squash removing sweet. Then grate coarsely or pulse in a food processor for 2 minutes.
  3. Finely slice the onion, mix with the pumpkin, add two pinches of salt and stir fry in a little bit of olive oil for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice the mushrooms, add a pinch of salt and fry in a little butter until soft.
  5. Fry the whole sage leaves and their chopped stalk in a little butter until crispy.
  6. Mix the flours together with the baking powder.
  7. Add the sugar, fried veg, the butter, the cheese , the milk and the two beaten eggs and mix into a soft batter that is neither too tight not too runny.
  8. Season with more salt if needed and add the fried sage.
  9. Bake for 45min-1hr in a medium over (175 centigrade) or until a skewer pierced in the middle comes out clean.

Lia’s tips:

  • Raw pumpkin does not in my opinion freeze that well uncooked. Stir frying pumpkin or squash is a great way to preserve it. If you have too much cook it, cool it, freeze it and use in cakes, pies and stir fries later on in the year.
  • This recipe is adaptable to various and seasonal ingredients. You can use carrot and greens such as kale and spinach. Or add more mushrooms and less pumpkin. Ingredients such as carrot, pumpkin, courgette, aubergine are good for this cake because the keep this cake moist and soft.
  • Same with the cheese- why not use a mix of cheeses, or blue cheese or whatever you might have in your fridge.
  • You can replace the milk with yoghurt and a little bit of water.
  • If you don’t have sage tarragon is a great alternative and so is rosemary. And of course you can use dried herbs instead of fresh. 1-2 tsp should be enough for this recipe.
  • Polenta or fine cornmeal is a great ingredient to store in your pantry. Many shops on or around City road in Cardiff  sell big bags for very little money. It will come handy for many savoury or sweet cakes which you can use your leftovers. Introduce cornmeal to your life – it is a great ingredient to cook with! s
  • This cake keeps well in the fridge for about a week. It freezes well too.
  • For the summer version of this cake see here.

Pumpkin stir fry and savoury pie – November Riverside Market Garden Box Recipes

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It is finally pumpkin and winter quash season! The sweetness of this fantastic vegetable is ideal for moreish, savoury dishes and their salty flavours, which is exactly what I have developed for you this month. The recipes at the end of this blog are inspired by the seasonal ingredients of the November’s Riverside Market Garden vegetable box, such as leeks, fresh onions, sweet and chili peppers, and squash. But also the flavours of sage, mushrooms – currently still popping up in the Welsh forests – and chestnuts, the season of which is beginning.  I really hope you enjoy the recipes, one of which is a quicker stir fry, for days when time is precious, whilst the other allows all you skilful foodies to explore making shortcrust pastry with pumpkin flesh instead of butter!

The trickiest part of cooking pumpkin or winter squash is peeling its tougher skin. Other than this the versatile vegetable cooks easily and quickly. Its flesh roasts in about half an hour (you can leave the skin on), it stir fries in around twenty minutes when diced and much quicker than that when grated. And finally it boils in about fifteen minutes.

The most obvious dish for pumpkin or squash, apart from pie, is soup. The easiest one you can make (and my favourite) does not even really need a recipe. Just roast a medium pumpkin, sliced with the skin, in a bit of olive oil, salt, thyme and 3-4 unpeeled cloves of garlic for half an hour in the oven. When baked place the flesh of the garlic and pumpkin in a pot, add at least 700ml of hot stock (say for 500g squash) and blend with a hand mixed or mash. Your soup is ready and you don’t even need to boil it!

Another idea if you don’t have much time is to scrub the skin of the pumpkin clean, cut it in half, scoop the seeds and stringy bits out with a spoon, drizzle it with olive oil and bake for forty minutes. When baked you can scoop out the flesh, mash it with a generous amount of grated cheese and herbs, and if you like some cooked lentils. Refill the pumpkin or squash halves and grill for another 10 minutes until golden!

I literally could go on forever about the numerous savoury bakes and sweet pies you can make with pumpkin but why not start by trying the two recipes below first. And if you need more inspiration come back to me. We are definitely not done with the squash season just yet.

Sunny autumn Cretan stir fry

pumpkin stir fry

Ingredients (4-6 portions)

  • 500g diced pumpkin or squash (up to)
  • 4 spring onions or 3 leeks or 1 dry onion
  • 2 peppers (red or green)
  • Half a garlic bulb
  • ½ chilli pepper finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sundried tomato paste (optional)
  • 200g pre-cooked chestnuts
  • 100g pitted black olives
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 100g couscous
  • 1 cup white wine or vegetable stock
  • One small bunch of parsley (30 gr)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation (45 minutes)

  1. Peel and dice the pumpkin or squash in small cubes (2cm).
  2. Chop the spring onion (or leek/onion) and peppers.
  3. Stir fry in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the bay leaves and thyme with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sundried tomato paste, pumpkin, chestnuts, olives, garlic with the skin on, a pinch of salt and some more olive oil.
  5. Stir fry, cover and cook for up to 30 minutes until the pumpkin is (no need to add water).
  6. Once the pumpkin is soft, add the wine or stock and bring to the boil.
  7. Remove from heat, add the couscous, cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
  8. Season to taste, sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.

Lia’s Tips:

  • If you don’t have access to chestnuts why not use 200g of mushrooms instead, dice and stir fry at the same time as the squash.
  • You can use plain tomato paste if you don’t have access to sundried tomato paste.
  • If the pumpkin is particularly tough you could add a couple of tablespoons of water to help it cook quicker

Savoury pumpkin and mushroom pie

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Ingredients (4-6 portions)

For the dough

  • 200g pumpkin (diced)
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 eggs +1 egg yolk beaten

For the filling

  • 200g pumpkin (diced)
  • 50g dried mushrooms
  • 4 spring onions or 3 leeks or 1 dry onion
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 small bunch sage (leaves only)
  • 50g of butter
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 30g grated parmesan
  • 100g grated cheddar
  • 100ml double cream or Greek yoghurt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Melted butter for the pastry
  • 1 tsp of the beaten egg for the glazing
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Some olive oil to cook the pumpkin

 Preparation (1.5hrs)

  1. Peel and dice the pumpkin or squash (all 400g for both the dough and the filling) in 2cm cubes.
  2. Bake or stir fry for 30 minutes or until soft after dressing in olive oil and adding a pinch of salt.
  3. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes to reconstitute. Alternatively use 300g fresh mushrooms stir fried in butter with a pinch of salt.
  4. Slice the spring onions and fry in half the butter (25g) with the bay leaves and thyme.
  5. Add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir fry until coated in the buttery glaze.
  6. Melt the rest of the butter in a separate frying pan and fry the sage leaves until crispy (set aside).
  7. Separate the pumpkin in half, add 200g to the mushroom filling and mash the rest.
  8. Add the cream, egg and parmesan to the cooled mushroom filling, remove the bay leaves and season to taste.
  9. Mix the mashed pumpkin, the beaten egg and yolk, a pinch of salt and the flour. Knead for five minutes into a shortcrust dough.
  10. Separate the dough into two equal balls.
  11. Roll out two dough sheets (3cm) on a lightly floured surface in the shape of your baking tray (20cm round).
  12. Line the baking tray with some melted butter and the one dough sheet.
  13. Sprinkle with the grated cheddar and the fried sage leaves.
  14. Add the filling and spread evenly.
  15. Add the second dough sheet, pressing the corners with your finger tips to bind the two dough sheets together and to create a nice finish for the rim of the pie.
  16. Brush with some melted butter and a teaspoon of beaten egg you have kept aside.
  17. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the top is golden.

Lia’s Tips:

  • If you don’t have some of the ingredients feel free to improvise. For example, use yoghurt if you don’t have cream, an extra pinch of salt if you don’t have parmesan which you can replace with other cheese.
  • If the dough is too crumbly to roll you can press it down flat with your fingers. And you can crumble the top sheet for a savoury crumble dish. If you do this add some crushed nuts or seeds.
  • This pie is delicious with gluten free flour too.