Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

These gluten-free Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies are soft and slightly chewy with oats, sweetened only with maple syrup and bejewelled with dates.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

I had no idea what these cookies would turn out like. I made them with Cole and no recipe so I presumed disaster would ensue. I stood him on his kitchen stool at the worktop in his little apron which he’s so proud to wear and took a bunch of ingredients out of the cupboards and fridge that needed using up. It was luck that I usually have half a tin of pumpkin puree lurking in the fridge these days since I’m making a lot of pumpkin cakes for the stall and for café orders. Pumpkin cookies, flavoured with lovely warming spices and paired with oats seemed like a standout choice for our baking adventure. I’m also being vigilant about keeping a stash of medjool dates to hand in my larder as they come in useful for so many bakes, Easy Overnight Coconut Chia Puddings, beautiful tagines and the odd snack here and there. I couldn’t resist putting a few of these chopped little nuggets into the mix.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

Since I was making these cookies with Cole I decided not to use refined sugar. It’s debatable whether maple syrup is technically any healthier since sugar really is just sugar but I felt more of a responsible mother giving my toddler maple sweetened cookies. Plus who am I kidding, I was the one who ate the lion’s share of these cookies and a little bit less refined sugar in my diet is only going to be better for me.

Cole’s main job when we’re baking together is to stir and taste. I haven’t officially given him the role of taster, it’s one he’s bestowed upon himself. After every ingredient is added into the bowl he insists on making sure it is the right call, no matter if it’s the raw eggs or vanilla extract. It might have gone a bit far when he was shovelling wooden spoonfuls of flour, oats and spices into his mouth. At least he knew better to scrape them from his tongue than to try and swallow this time. An improvement from the cocoa powder incident a couple of months ago which led to me frantically pour streams of water down his throat to ease his choking. Special times.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

Cookies are great for baking with a toddler since they are really just an assembly and mixing job with a bowl and wooden spoon, ideal for a child who loves to stir. They are so quick to bake and after ten minutes or so of cooling they are ready to eat. Instant gratification.

When it came time for the final taste test I was completely bowled over at how delicious the cookies actually were. Not at all the calamity I had anticipated. It’s always the way that your best efforts are when you’re not really trying, either that or Cole is an absolute baking prodigy and he’ll be taking over the market stall from me by the time he’s four.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

I’ve made these cookies a few times since, tweaking the recipe here and there but every time I have come to the conclusion that the cookies that Cole and I made together that first time were the most delicious. They were probably not the most photogenic since I gave Cole free rein with the cookie scoop to drop them onto the baking sheet but the taste was all there from the beginning.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies have become a little bit of a staple in our house over the past two weeks, I have been nibbling on them for breakfast, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. They are pretty good whenever to be honest. It’s also pretty handy knowing what to do with that half eaten tin of pumpkin puree.

Print Recipe
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies are soft and slightly chewy with oats, sweetened only with maple syrup and bejewelled with dates.
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 125 g gluten-free oats
  • 75 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ½ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon ½ground ginger
  • teaspoon ¼ground allspice
  • 170 g pumpkin puree
  • 75 g dates stoned and chopped finely
  • 125 g butter melted
  • 100 g maple syrup
  • tablespoons zest 1 orange + 2of its juice
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 125 g gluten-free oats
  • 75 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ½ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon ½ground ginger
  • teaspoon ¼ground allspice
  • 170 g pumpkin puree
  • 75 g dates stoned and chopped finely
  • 125 g butter melted
  • 100 g maple syrup
  • tablespoons zest 1 orange + 2of its juice
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the oats, sweet rice flour, almond flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
  3. In another bowl mix the pumpkin puree, dates, melted butter, maple syrup, orange zest and juice and the egg.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir well until completely combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop with a trigger action, scoop up balls of cookie dough and release the dough onto the baking sheet an inch or so apart.
  6. Flatten the cookies slightly with the back of a fork before putting them in the oven to bake for 13-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, let rest on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

SHOP THE RECIPE

There are two items in my kitchen which are invaluable when baking cookies. A good cookie dough scoop (or ice cream scoop) is one of them. So handy for scooping up a perfect ball of cookie dough for the perfectly sized cookie. Also so useful when baking cupcakes and ensures a perfectly even cupcake bake every time. I use the OXO Good Grips Trigger Ice Cream Scoop which is really durable and an ideal size.The other brilliant piece of equipment which I’ve never regretted buying is a really decent hard-wearing baking tray which I use for all my cookies and scones. I use this KitchenCraft MasterClass Large Non-Stick Baking Tray, Grey, 39 x 27 cm which considering how often I use it is still in excellent condition, fits in the oven nicely and is large enough to hold a whole batch of scones or cookies.The links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund the blog so if you do click through then many thanks!!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Maple Syrup {gluten-free}

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup for a really special bank holiday brunch.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

Pumpkin Pancakes, I am all in. Let’s go, just you and me. We can run away right now. I’ll pack the Almond Maple Syrup as that is really all we need and we can forget the world. Forget physio appointments, nursery pick-ups, laundry, taking the dog to the vet. Leave it all behind. Come on, what are we waiting for?

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple SyrupI’m pretty excited by this recipe as it includes all my current favourite ingredients, tinned pumpkin, coconut milk, almond butter and maple syrup. At the moment I am trying to squeeze all the above into every recipe I create. Muffins, check. Layer cake, check. Chocolate truffles!! Check, check and check some more. I am aware that pumpkin is perhaps more of an autumn predilection than the beginning of Spring but I am in love goddammit and love cannot wait for the right season.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

Luke and I have been talking recently about making more of the holidays. We are often caught up in our own bubble, he works like crazy during the week as I look after Cole who is delightfully engaged with toddlerdom and all the mischief (read: tantrums) that entails. Then I work at the markets at the weekend which doesn’t leave us much time together as a family, just enjoying each other’s company.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

When the calendar suddenly informs us that it is Mother’s Day, May Bank Holiday, Easter, we are often caught by surprise and scrabble around to try and make something of the day. We decided we need to be a bit more organised in carving out time for our family on these dates. Back in the days when laziness seemed the aim of the game at weekends and holidays we used to scoff at those that took these calendar dates so seriously. Bah to Valentines Day, we love each other all year round. As time has become more sacred though it’s hard to remember how to take care of each other in the every day and I don’t think it hurts to allow the calendar to nudge us in the direction of family every now and then.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

This weekend Tottenham Green Market is taking a last minute Easter Break due to London disappearing over the bank holiday so I’ve been left with an incredibly welcome weekend off. Now I’ve got Easter Sunday ahead of me I wish I had been more organised, taken the day off anyway and planned a big family lunch, the kind we used to have when we were children, with roast lamb and Easter eggs galore. Still, it’s not too late for us to make last minutes Easter plans with family this weekend and resolve to be a little better with our planning for the next holiday.

Of course all this talk about family is completely by the by as I’ve already said I’m absconding with my Pumpkin Pancakes the second this post is published.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

These are particularly special pancakes and I have already made them several times for breakfast which is a little unusual for me as my sweet tooth normally doesn’t kick in until after lunch. Although to reserve these pancakes just for brunch seems unfair when really your day would be much improved to substitute them in for every single meal.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

This was my first time baking with gram flour (chickpea flour) and I had heard warnings that the flavour can tend to overtake the rest of the ingredients but it works incredibly well here. The flavour definitely comes through but it marries so happily with everything else that I am completely won over by using it judiciously in my gluten-free baking from now on. Plus I’ve paired it with oat flour and the combo really works.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

These Pumpkin Pancakes are so fluffy and rich with flavour, there is not an ingredient in there which is just filler. They take mere minutes to prepare in blender, 10 minutes until all the pancakes are cooked and then once you drizzle over the (two-ingredient!) Almond Maple Syrup, well you can just retire on that prospect right there. The pancakes are great, so good in fact but with the syrup, they are wondrous. Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Maple Syrup, I love you.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

Print Recipe
Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Maple Syrup {gluten-free}
Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup.
Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
4 large pancakes
Ingredients
  • 60 g gram flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 120 g tinned pumpkin puree
  • 120 ml coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
for the almond maple syrup:
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
4 large pancakes
Ingredients
  • 60 g gram flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 120 g tinned pumpkin puree
  • 120 ml coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
for the almond maple syrup:
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside for a moment.
  2. Place the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract into a blender and whizz until smooth.
  3. Pour in all the dry ingredients and blend again until smooth.
  4. Heat up 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a skillet and pour in a quarter of the pancake batter (about 100g). Heat for 3-4 minutes until the underside is golden brown. Turn the pancake over and cook on the other side for a couple more minutes until golden brown. Remove the pancake from the skillet, pat dry with kitchen towel to remove the excess oil.
  5. Repeat the process with the 3 other pancakes, adding more coconut oil to the skillet if needed.
  6. For the almond maple syrup, warm the maple syrup and almond butter together in a small saucepan until smooth and runny. Add a small splash of water if you would like to make the syrup a little more runny. Serve over the warm pancakes.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

This Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread is the most moist and delicious pumpkin bread you will eat this Autumn. Nutty with brown butter and encrusted with cinnamon sweetened pumpkin seeds for crunch, the alternative flours used not only make it gluten-free but deepen the flavour and give it a slight chew which is incredibly addictive. It’s also easy to make using a couple of mixing bowls and a wooden spoon for company.

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.

You may begin to notice a bit of a difference in this blog and also my cake stall if you are planning on visiting me in the near future. Lately I have been completely converted to gluten-free baking. I feel it’s too early days to say whether the switch will be permanent but I’m finding working with alternative flours so exciting at the moment that I’m forging ahead with gusto.

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.

I have spoken on my blog ad naseum about my relationship with gluten-free eating but I’ll just mention again, ignoring the groans, how it really helped my well-being, tiredness, bloating and daily nausea back when I changed my eating habits. However, this has been a contradiction to how I have always baked. I love to bake, I have great feedback from my cakes and indeed earn money from them. Even though about a quarter of my cake stall has always been gluten-free, I have been reluctant to convert to a 100% gluten-free business, knowing I would be leaving behind beloved recipes and perhaps alienating my customer base.

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.

However, my baking indulgences have been veering more and more towards the use of alternative flours. I don’t mean the gluten-free all-purpose blends you can buy, which I certainly don’t sniff at as they are in constant use in my kitchen and used in several of my cakes. However, I think to rely on just that blend is reductive to the possibilities of gluten-free baking. I have been reading about, playing with and doing a great amount of tasting recently and have been astounded by the sheer variety of flours out there which all behave and taste utterly different.

A comment which really resonated with me came in the introduction to Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s new book ‘Alternative Baker’ where she talks about a conversation she had with her husband over a wheat flour cupcake. It wasn’t the gluten they had the issue with but the blandness of it. It’s true, baking with these ‘Flavour Flours’ as Alice Medrich terms them in her book of the same name adds further interest to the bake and by choosing complimentary flours in your recipe you can really add resonance to the flavour.

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.

Now, not all of these flours are not readily available in your local supermarket, although times are a-changing, but they are easy to get hold of if you have no problem with ordering off Amazon, or you have an Asian supermarket or a particularly on the button health food shop nearby. The flours individually are not too much more expensive that regular old plain flour but since you will be buying more than one and you will probably have to add delivery on top of that cost then this way of baking doesn’t come cheap. However, cake is a treat so do think of it like that if you are balking at the investment, plus since you will only be dipping into each bag these flours will be good for several cakes. And the results are so worth it, it almost goes without saying.

Alternative Flours

The ones I have chosen to help me out with my gluten-free pumpkin bread are:

Sweet Rice Flour
Also called glutinous rice flour, it doesn’t contain gluten and is not the same as ordinary white rice flour. It helps to bind the other flours together, adding moisture and a slight chew to the bake.

Sorghum Flour
This flour is bursting with an earthy nutty flavour. It has a great wholegrain texture which sits perfectly with the pumpkin and spices.

Millet Flour
I have used the millet flour here for bulking out the flour mix. It doesn’t have a strong taste so doesn’t overwhelm the finished bake.

Potato Starch
This adds lightness to the bake so the finished result doesn’t end up stodgy.

You may not have a gluten-free diet, but dismissing these flours as a fad would be a shame since they can add so much to a baking repertoire. Plus, now I’ve discovered them, you might be seeing a lot more of them on this blog. If you can, I urge you to give this recipe a try, I really hope you notice the difference in this pumpkin bread which is so much more than you could ever think possible rather than just another pumpkin bread recipe.

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.
Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread
A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.
A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 400 g pumpkin puree I used tinned
  • 270 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs medium
  • 160 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g sweet white rice flour
  • 110 g sorghum flour
  • 100 g millet flour
  • 65 g potato starch
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 30 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of cinnamon
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 400 g pumpkin puree I used tinned
  • 270 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs medium
  • 160 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g sweet white rice flour
  • 110 g sorghum flour
  • 100 g millet flour
  • 65 g potato starch
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 30 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of cinnamon
A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. First you want to turn your butter into melted brown butter. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. The butter will melt. Listen carefully and the butter will start hissing and cracking and forming little brown bits at the bottom of the pan. You want to wait until the noises start to subside, the butter smells toasty and is turning a darker colour. Remove from the heat as soon as it’s ready so it doesn’t begin to burn.
  3. Pour the butter into a food mixer or large mixing bowl along with the pumpkin puree, sugar and eggs and beat until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt then add to the rest of the mix. Beat until well mixed.
  5. Pour the batter into the baking tin and scatter the pumpkin seeds evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  7. Leave the pumpkin bread for 5 minutes to settle in the cake tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack and leave for a moment whilst you prepare the cinnamon syrup.
  8. Pour the caster sugar, water and cinnamon into a small saucepan and turn the heat onto low. When the sugar has melted then turn the heat off and brush the syrup over the top of the pumpkin bread. Leave to cool completely before you slice and serve.

Spiced Roast Pumpkin Soup with Black Sesame Cheese Straws

Spiced Roast Pumpkin Soup with Black Sesame Cheese Straws
We made this soup as part of our Halloween celebrations the week before last, bringing a huge vat of it to the front of our house and serving to our friends and neighbours. It was a lovely evening and it is extremely comforting to be wrapped up warm whilst out in the cold clutching a mug of spiced hot soup. Well I wasn’t wrapped up that warm since I was in a witch’s hat with punishing red heels and carrying a broom, my normal Friday night attire.

I do need a bit of something cheesy with this kind of warming autumnal soup. For an every day lunch a round of cheddar cheese sandwiches fits the bill quite nicely but for an event it is rather special to bake some fresh cheese straws, most definitely served warm from the oven.

Spiced Roast Pumpkin Soup with Black Sesame Cheese Straws

Although I love pumpkin, by itself it can be a little bland, it doesn’t have the same sweetness as butternut squash, which is why you often find most pumpkin recipes stuffed to the gills with spices or chilli. Here, we went one step further to imbue the soup with as much intensely pumpkiny flavour as possible and roasted it up first before adding it into the soup. If you add pumpkin straight into hot water or stock, much like other squashes or even sweet potato, the vegetable would basically turn to mushy water. The pre-roasting captures the flavour and texture whilst also lending a slightly caramelised note to the proceedings.

Then after that we pumped the soup full of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. A pinch of chilli was added in for depth more than piquancy but if you like your soups super spicy then do add in fresh chillies as well, although that was not what we were looking for here.

You may notice that I have said ‘we’ a lot in this recipe, that’s because I wasn’t the only head chef on this one. That honour lies with my husband who did most of the work whilst I just yelled out what spices to add in next as I prepared the cheese straws from my side of the kitchen. Barking orders in the kitchen is one of my non too favourable traits.

Spiced Roast Pumpkin Soup with Black Sesame Cheese Straws

I wanted to cram in as much cheese as possible into my straws to make sure the deep savouriness could compete with the soup, so I used both gruyere and parmesan in equal measure. Really any strong cheese would do, even stilton at a push. Just before the straws went into the oven I sprinkled a liberal amount of black sesame seeds over which pair beautifully with the cheese and with the pumpkin. Of course you can use white sesame seeds if that’s all your supermarket holds without any impact on the taste.

I think cheese straws are an absolute necessity this time of year, I often make up the pastry a couple of days before guests are due, and often do so in my pre-Christmas preparations so that on the day I can roll them out and throw them in the oven just as everyone is arriving and needs a little something to nibble on. Dunked into this pumpkin soup though gives them even more reason to become a November/December staple.

Spiced Roast Pumpkin Soup with Black Sesame Cheese Straws

Spiced Roast Pumpkin Soup
Serves 6-8

2 kg pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 celery, diced
1 leek, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Pinch dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1½ litres chicken or vegetable stock
Crème fraiche and snipped chives to serve

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, then prepare the pumkin by peeling, removing the seeds and dicing into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large roasting tray and then tip the pumpkin in, coating with the oil. Add seasoning then place in the oven, roasting for about 1 hour until the pumpkin is cooked all the way through and just starting to caramelise at the edges.
  3. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan heat the other tablespoon of olive oil on a gentle heat and add the carrot, onion, celery and leek. Cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are just turning transparent.
  5. Add the garlic, chilli and all the spices and stir to coat for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Tip the pumpkin in and the stock and bring up to the boil. Then turn the heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the soup from the heat and blend it together until smooth. Check the consistency of the soup, if you feel it is too thick then add some more stock or water and bring back to the boil. If the soup is too thin then boil down until you reach your preferred consistency.
  8. Serve with a swirl of crème fraiche and some snipped chives.

Black Sesame Cheese Straws
Makes 45-50
Adapted from a recipe by Jenny White on the BBC Food website

375g plain flour
pinch of salt
225g butter, put in the freezer for 30 minutes
100g gruyere. grated
100g parmesan, grated
½ teaspoon of English mustard powder
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 free-range egg yolks + 2 egg yolks whisked up to make the egg wash
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

  1. Grate the butter into the flour and salt, then rub with your fingertips until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.
  2. Sprinkle in the mustard powder and cayenne pepper and stir in both cheeses.
  3. Add the egg yolks plus 5 tablespoons of cold water and bring the dough together until smooth. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  5. Roll out the pastry into a 18cm long rectangle, the pastry should be about 5mm thick. Then cut into 1.5cm strips.
  6. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds over, pressing lightly into the pastry strips and brush with the egg wash.
  7. Place on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes, before serving warm.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

I hate those recipes that ask you to use a bit of this and a bit of that. If I’m buying a tin of pumpkin puree I want to use the whole thing otherwise it will sit in my fridge for a week whilst I try and decide what else I can do with it. By the time I have come to a decision it is not fit for eating. Both the cupcakes and the frosting  here require you to buy stuff that you may not have in your store cupboard, pumpkin puree and marshmallow fluff, but don’t worry you will need to use the whole darn lot. Good for fridge space and good for your tummy.

I experimented with a few recipes to come up with the perfect pumpkin cupcake but then I realised it was all for naught as Martha Stewart has already cornered the market in the recipe below. I couldn’t better it and they are one of the tastiest, moistest cupcake sponges I have ever had. The frosting recipe makes a lot of marshmallowy goodness but if you are ruffling it onto the cupcakes like I did in the photos then that means you do need all of it.

I have loved coming up with Halloween inspired recipes this past week and I hope you have enjoyed the posts. Tomorrow I am making a last ditch attempt to get healthy before indulging in the upcoming excesses of the Christmas season with a month of gluten free recipes. I’m just telling you so you know you need to have a huge blow out tonight. Eat all the cupcakes! I’m gonna!

Pumpkin Halloween Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
Makes about 18

400g light brown sugar
225g unsalted butter, melted then cooled
4 eggs
1 tin of pumpkin puree (about 400g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Blend together the sugar and butter until pale and well combined.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour in the pumpkin puree and mix well.
  5. Sift together the rest of the dry ingredients, then add to the pumpkin mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 16-18mins.

Marshmallow Buttercream

400g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 x jars marshmallow fluff (about 400g in total)

  1. Whizz up the butter and the icing sugar on a high speed in the mixer for 5-10 mins until very light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. Add the marshmallow fluff a spoon at a time whilst your mixer is on a slower speed until fully incorporated.