Whole Roast Pumpkin with Autumnal Rice Pilaf

Cooking

I’ve been deliberating posting savoury recipes for a few years now but have always held back due to the simple fact that I called this site ‘tassybakes’ and so must, by my own ruling, share only baked goods (yeah, I’m quite neurotic). I’ve decided that’s a pretty stupid ruling especially as I’m a professional chef by day, who cooks savoury dishes the majority of the time.

Anyway you get the picture, I’m going to share savoury recipes with you, starting with this whole roast pumpkin. You part roast it before filling it with rice, wild mushrooms, cavolo nero, a load of spices, stock and pecans, then it’s popped in the oven for 15 minutes and voila, the rice is cooked and the flavours have seeped into the pumpkin flesh- delicious. You can adapt the recipe and use whatever veg or nuts you have lying around so go wild!

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 small/medium pumpkins or 1 large pumpkin
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1/2tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2tsp mixed spice
  • sea salt and black pepper

For the rice

  • 250g basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
  • 2tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 large white onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 2tsp garam masala
  • 2tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200g fresh wild mushrooms
  • large handful cavolo nero or kale
  • 100g pecans
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Green chutney, tamarind chutney, yoghurt and pomegranate seeds, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Slice the top of the pumpkin (or pumpkins) off and hollow out (reserve the seeds and roast them with spices, if you like). Drizzle with oil and rub with spices and seasoning all over, inside and out. Place on a tray (lid included) and roast for 25-35 minutes or until the flesh is very tender.
  2. Rinse the rice several times in cold water then leave to soak until required.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the sliced onions. Cook out until lightly browned and very soft, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further few minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom pods and all other spices and cook, stirring often until aromatic. Now add the mushrooms and a little more oil if required, and cook until caramelised. Don’t stir more often than is necessary or they won’t colour up.
  4. Drain the rice. Add the pecans, cavolo nero and rice to the saucepan and stir to coat in the oil and spices. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then carefully transfer to the cooked pumpkin. Turn the heat down to 160c on the oven and pop the lid on top of the pumpkin to seal in the steam.
  5. Return the now filled pumpkin to the oven for 15 minutes, then remove and leave to stand, lid on, for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Now you’re ready to serve. Slice the pilaf-filled pumpkin into big wedges and enjoy with green chutney, yoghurt, tamarind chutney and some pomegranate seeds, if you like.

Roast Peaches with Coconut Crumble, Blackberry Compote and Lime (VG)

Cooking

This vibrant dish works well if you’re feeling a boujee brunch, but would also make for a delicious, light summer dessert; it’s a real celebration of summer produce and the contrast of flavours, textures and colours mean it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser (plus it’s vegan!).

Ingredients (serves 6)

For the peaches

  • 6 ripe peaches
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • 2tbsp coconut nectar (or honey/ maple)
  • 100ml dessert wine (optional)

For the blackberry compote

  • 300g fresh blackberries
  • juice 1 lime
  • 2tbsp coconut nectar (or honey/ maple)

For the coconut crumble

  • 75g rolled oats
  • 3tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2tbsp coconut nectar (or honey/ maple)
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g roughly chopped almonds
  • 50g flaked coconut

Other

  • zest 2 limes
  • 500ml coconut yoghurt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line 1 baking tray and 1 high sided baking dish with greaseproof paper.
  2. Half the peaches and remove the stones, then place them in the baking dish, cut side up. In a small bowl, mix together the ground cardamom, ground cinnamon and coconut nectar. Drizzle all over the peaches (along with the dessert wine, if using).
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the rolled oats, coconut oil, coconut nectar, ground cinnamon and chopped almonds. Tip this mixture onto the baking tray and spread out.
  4. Pop both trays in the oven and roast the peaches for 20-25 minutes (or until very tender and sticky). Check the coconut crumble after 10 minutes and turn to prevent burning. Once the crumble starts crisping up and reaches a golden colour, add in the coconut flakes and cook for a further 5 minutes. When the peaches and crumble are ready, just leave them to cool while you make the blackberry compote.
  5. For the compote, simply place the blackberries, coconut nectar and lime juice in a saucepan and cook gently (stirring occasionally) until it reaches a loose jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool.
  6. To assemble the dish, start with the coconut yoghurt in the base of the bowl and ripple through some compote, then top with two peach halves, a generous helping of coconut crumble and a sprinkle of fresh lime zest.

Enjoy!

Fudgy Chocolate & Beetroot Cake (Gluten Free)

Cakes

This dense, fudgy cake topped with a generous sweep of thick milk chocolate ganache is best enjoyed on the sofa with a good film, strong coffee and warm blanket (I’m fantasising about this right now as the fluke sunny day we enjoyed last week is a distant memory and it’s currently blowing a gale). Don’t be put off by the beetroot- the earthy flavour mellows through baking and brings moisture and richness to the cake.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 325g dark chocolate (melted)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 275g grated raw beetroot
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • pinch salt

For the ganache:

  • 250g milk chocolate
  • 150ml double cream

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Place the melted dark chocolate, egg yolks, grated beetroot, caster sugar, ground almonds, baking powder and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir together until combined.
  3. Put the egg whites in another bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk, together with the salt, until they have formed stiff (but not dry) peaks. Add a large spoonful of the whites into the beetroot mixture and stir in to loosen.
  4. Add the remaining whites and carefully fold with a large metal spoon, ensuring you keep as much of the air in as possible. Once the mix is combined, carefully tip into the prepared cake tin (not from a height or you will lose some of the air you’ve worked in!).
  5. Level out the mixture then bake for 45-55 minutes, until well risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
  6. Set the cake aside and make the ganache. To do this simply chop up the chocolate and transfer to a bowl, then heat the cream to just below boiling and pour directly onto the chocolate. Leave to melt for a couple of minutes then stir together until smooth and glossy. Leave to cool.
  7. Once everything is cool, cover the cake in the ganache and decorate as desired. I used some purple violas, handmade beetroot crisps, herbs and chocolate shards.

Enjoy!

Hazelnut Latte Eclairs

Pastry, Uncategorized

Everyone loves a chocolate eclair, and these Starbucks inspired ones (filled with coffee cream, dipped in milk chocolate and topped with a strip of dark chocolate and hazelnut praline) make a nice seasonal change from the usual vanilla cream variety.

eclair-1

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 85g butter
  • 220ml water
  • 105g plain flour
  • 100ml strong black coffee, cold
  • 2 tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100ml mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper. Sieve the flour twice to ensure there are no lumps then pour onto a square of greaseproof (this means it is ready to tip straight into the choux when you need it!).
  2. Place the butter and water in a saucepan. Heat gently until the butter has melted then bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and immediately shoot in all the flour. Stir very quickly for about a minute until the mixture is shiny and coming away from the sides of the pan. Now tip into a large bowl and spread thinly to speed up cooling.
  3. Once the choux mixture (called a panade at this egg-less stage!) has cooled to room temperature it’s time to add the eggs. Whisk the eggs in a jug to break them up then pour 1/4 into the bowl. Whisk with electric beaters to fully incorporate, then keep adding  a little more and whisking until you reach a dropping consistency (this means the mixture should fall off a spoon when shaken after about 4 seconds). You might not need all the egg.
  4. Pile the choux into a piping bag and pipe 5 inch lines onto the prepared sheets (leaving space for expansion). Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden then pierce each eclair with a skewer, reduce the temperature to 180c and bake for a further 10 minutes to dry out. When they’re ready they should be crisp and nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack while you make the fillings and toppings.

eclair-2

  1. For the coffee cream, heat the brown sugar and coffee together then set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar until thick. Fold in the coffee mix when it’s cooled completely.
  3. For the hazelnut praline, place the sugar and nuts in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally to encourage the sugar to melt then take it to a deep golden colour. Pour onto greaseproof  paper, leave to harden then break into pieces or smash into a dust (depending on your decorating ideas!).
  4. For the chocolate topping simply melt the milk chocolate and allow it to cool. If you’d like to recreate the chocolate strip just melt and set the dark chocolate on a flat surface in the fridge, then slice into your desired shapes.
  5. To assemble the eclairs, slice them in half and fill with the coffee cream, dip in the melted chocolate and decorate with the set dark chocolate and praline.

Enjoy!

Join Me For Dinner: Wild Garlic Pesto Pasta

Cooking

As a keen cook, I thought (despite my association with baking) it was about time I start sharing savoury recipes for fresh and simple meals I like to cook for myself and my family.

For my first ‘Join Me For Dinner‘ post, I will be sharing my recipe for a simple but absolutely delicious wild garlic pasta with a very special smoked ham (I picked the garlic for this meal just yesterday, so it’s super fresh!).

This seasonal dish works brilliantly at this time of year as wild garlic is growing in abundance (you can find it in patches of woodland and near rivers), but if you don’t have access to it or discover this recipe a little late, just use a basil pesto instead, but try to make it from scratch (you’ll never go back!).

Wild garlic has a really subtle flavour and enticing scent which pairs well with lots of different ingredients; for example, you could use this pesto to coat a chicken breast, rub into a slow roasted leg of lamb or just spread onto bruschetta.

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So, on with the pesto recipe (makes 2 jars)

You will need: 2 very large bunches wild garlic leaves, 1 bunch spinach, 80g pine nuts, 100g finely grated parmesan, a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, 4tbsp olive oil

Simply place all these ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth- it’s that easy!

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Now, for the pasta dish (which served 4) you will need: 150g smoked ham/another good quality thick cut ham (I sourced mine from No2 Pound Street in Wendover, Bucks), 4 servings tagliatelle pasta (my next aim is to make my own, but this time I used shop bought), 3 heaped tbsp wild garlic pesto, 100g sun dried tomatoes, 250g fresh cherry tomatoes, handful pine nuts, sprinkling parmesan cheese

Pop your tagliatelle in a saucepan of boiling water and leave to cook for the recommended time.

Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a large pan (high heat) and add your cherry tomatoes, halved.

Once the tomatoes begin to soften (after a couple of minutes), add the sun dried variety and toss in the oil. Now throw in your ham (chopped into small pieces) and continue to move about the pan.

Drain your pasta and add to the hot pan of tomatoes and ham with another tablespoon of olive oil and the pesto. Toss through the pesto and other ingredients until the tagliatelle is a bright green colour throughout (so you know all the components are well combined).

Serve up a heap of the steaming pesto pasta in a bowl and top with a sprinkling of pine nuts and some parmesan shavings.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, wild garlic is so worth making the most of if you have access to it- it’s delicious (and free!).

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