Category Archives: pumpkin seeds

Halloween Superfood

Halloween is more widely celebrated over here now, but the poor old Pumpkin gets a scary face and a tea light inside and what happens to all that nutritious Halloween superfood!  My own child is far too young to understand the history of  Halloween and much too young to knock on the door of complete strangers for sweets/candy!

So while a Pumpkin looks very cute all lit up, it is a superfood packed with beta-carotene which is the phyto-nutrient that gives Pumpkins their gorgeous orange colour along with an amazingly high Vitamin A content which can help to keep the  immune system strong and a powerful natural anti-oxidant which  is required by the body for maintaining eyes and skin and keeping mucus membranes healthy.   Pumpkins are  good source of vitamins B,  C and E  plus they have a good mineral content.  All in all a fabulously healthy food!

Pumpkin Collage

Pumpkin seeds are also a fabulous source of concentrated nutrition, high in fibre and heart healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids with a high protein value along with vitamin B3, iron and zinc.  These nutty tasting seeds are a great snack or ground up in a coffee grinder (I keep one especially for grinding seeds, oats, etc) and sprinkled on breakfast.  I am saving the seeds from these Pumpkins and must google how to best separate them from their outer husks.

Pumpkin seeds

 This soup makes a hearty supper, full of protein from the Butter beans, dunked with  loads of fresh, crusty baguette (still warm when I bought it this afternoon!) and (optional) butter.  This soup will be great for Miss ND for lunch too, it is a little thicker in texture and with the Butter beans to munch on too.  I like a little chilli with mine (I like chilli flakes with most things!) but can add after, too much for little tastebuds!

Pumpkin soup Collage

Roasted Pumpkin and Butterbean Soup – Serves 4

Ingredients

For this recipe I roasted a Pumpkin which I cut into chunks (with the skin on) at 200C for around 40 minutes in a couple of roasting pans in an inch of water then covered with foil.  Once soft, the pumpkin can easily be cut from the skin.

1.2 kg Roasted Pumpkin (weight with skin removed)
2 medium red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp ground Cumin
½ tsp ground Ginger
sea salt 
black pepper
500 ml hot vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin Butter beans
Italian mixed herbs
To serve: crème fraîche/Greek Yoghurt/Coconut milk/double cream

 Method

– Add the onions and garlic to a large saucepan and fry gently in olive oil for 10 minutes, add the roasted Pumpkin and fry gently for around 5 minutes until lightly caramelised.  

– Add the Turmeric, Paprika, ground Cumin and ground Ginger to the pan, stir in and cook for a couple of minutes to allow the spices to blend into the Pumpkin.  

– Pour in enough vegetable stock to cover the Pumpkin, season with salt and black pepper to taste and cook for around 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before placing in a blender and pureeing until smooth and creamy.  I have invested in a Vitamix, it is a pretty amazing piece of  equipment.  I’m looking forward to putting it to great use soon!

– Place the pureed Pumpkin back into the pan and add the Butter beans and herbs and simmer until the beans are nice and hot.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  

Serve in pre-heated soup bowls and add either a dollop of creme fraiche (me), Greek Yoghurt (me), Coconut milk (me again) or double cream (Mr ND) to the soup.   

 Pumpkin soup 1

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Seeded Spelt Loaves

Since I went on the bread making workshop  I’ve been wanting to try out some breads using non-traditional flours.  I’ve had some Wholegrain Spelt Flour in the cupboard for a while now and was wondering what to bake with it.   Spelt is an ancient grain, a cousin to wheat although  it contains a broader range of nutrients and is high in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, folic acid, E, manganese,  copper, and magnesium.   It also contains a wide range of minerals and is a good source of fibre .

I used this recipe from Dove’s Farm  except that I made 4 mini loaves, omitted the nuts and added a mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and flaxseeds to the top as well as the dough.  Before adding the seeds on top I egg washed the dough to give a nice sheen.

Speltflour

 

The dough was a little harder to work with and didn’t rise with as much aplomb as my usual wheat-based flour doughs but nevertheless the resulting Spelt bread rose well enough and was delicious.

Spelt loaf ND

 

We’ve enjoyed these loaves with a numbers of toppings and fillings, from cheeses to honey and even my jam!  It was also delicious toasted the next morning.  Even the tiddler enjoyed a slice  or two, although I think she’s a little confused about why I would put seeds in her bread when we usually put them in the garden!   

I popped one of the loaves into the freezer, the great frozen abyss that is my old chest freezer, I cannot wait till I have an upright one with drawers!

If you want to try using non-traditional flours, Spelt is a great one to start with,  it has a lovely nutty flavour and with the addition of seeds a very healthy alternative to traditional wheat.

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The Artisan Bakehouse

On Saturday, myself and a group of friends visited The Artisan Bakehouse located between Steyning and Ashurst in West Sussex for a bread making workshop.  The Artisan Bakehouse is owned and run by Les and Louise, a lovely couple who were very welcoming with plenty of tea, coffee and delicious home made biscuits,  a great start to what turned out to be a brilliant day.

The Artisan Bakehouse is set in 5 acres of secluded gardens and woodland, a really beautiful setting, peaceful and calm.   There are also two 16th century holiday cottages available to let all year round for a perfect country break.

The Bakehouse itself houses a custom-made wood fired traditional bakers oven, that uses nothing more than fire wood, to create the perfect bake.  

First up on the bread making list was Foccacia laden with garlic, rosemary and black olives.   We then tackled a small baguette, M&S watch out, ours were pretty good!  Next was a Tear and Share Crown Bread to which we added sundried tomatoes and more black olives.  The same dough again then produced a Seeded loaf with my favourite combination of seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, golden and brown flaxseeds and sesame seeds, a nutritionally power packed bread!  We didn’t get time for the Soda Bread, but as I’ve made it many times it was no matter and we all got a chance for a chat over tea and lunch so the day was not rushed and extremely enjoyable.

Bakes1 Collage

Bakes2 Collage 

Bakes3 Collage

The Artisan Bakehouse also hold a range of other workshops, including children’s baking and pizza making parties.  I will definitely be taking Miss ND next year (she’s a touch young at 3) I would love a mummy and me type afternoon of baking and sampling our bakes.

Lunch Tea Collage 

A break for lunch with home-made bacon quiche with plenty of salads and coleslaw plus a good selection of drinks and a lovely surprise was afternoon tea with a gorgeous selection of home-made cakes, whilst we waited for our final breads to bake, I couldn’t manage much by that point but Louise very kindly let me take home a brownie and meringue for Mr ND who was looking after Miss ND for the day.  They were very well received!

I can highly recommend The Artisan Bakehouse, warm and friendly, beautiful surroundings and superb tuition, I feel way more confident about baking a wider selection of breads now with all the tips Les passed on to us.

 A lot of kneading later and 32 breads made between us, 8 exhausted but happy ladies went away laden with bread and windfall damsons, see what I made with them here!  

 

 

Roasted Salmon with Cumin Pumpkin Seed Crust

Roasted salmon is one of my favourite fish dishes, I eat some most days, I’ve even been known to eat it for breakfast if there is some cold in the fridge! I am happy with just roasting or pan frying in a little olive oil and maybe garlic and herbs but like experimenting with crusts to give it an extra dimension and  flavour boost.  All crusts are very simple to put together as is the whole dish and the combinations endless.  This cumin pumpkin crust is quite dense but hugely flavoursome.   Salmon only needs a few minutes in the oven, too long and it will dry out.    Wild Alaskan Salmon fillets are usually more expensive but more generous in their portion size so I will usually cut some off to make a separate meal for Miss ND or freeze a raw portion to enhance a white fish pie.

I’ve used approximate quantities as I don’t tend to measure!

 

Serves 2

Pre-heat your oven to 160 C 

Ingredients

2 Wild Alaskan Salmon Fillets 
Cumin seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
2 tsp Mixed herbs or to taste
4 tablespoons Greek Yoghurt

Start by toasting a couple of small handfuls of pumpkin seeds in a frying pan until they are lightly browned, don’t do for too long as they can burn quite quickly and the taste will not be good!  Cool.

pumpkinseeds

Take a couple of big pinches of cumin seeds and toast these very briefly, basically just warming them through, about a minute should do!  If you are not keen on cumin, it’s one of my favourites, replace with another spice, it’s the pumpkin seeds that are the star ingredient on top of the salmon.  Once cool add the cumin to the toasted pumpkin seeds, place these and the mixed herbs and salt into a blender and pulse until the pumpkin seeds are to your liking, I like mine quite big!

Smear the yoghurt over the salmon with the back of a spoon leaving a nice thick layer which will keep the fish moist, then sprinkle the spice/herb seed mix over the yoghurt, then a couple of twists of black pepper over the whole dish and you are ready to roast.

Roast for around 10-12 minutes.

Roasted Salmon with Cumin Pumpkin seed Crust – delicious hot or cold.

Quick Nutritional Info:

Salmon – Omega 3, vitamin B3, B6, B12, selenium, magnesium
Pumpkin seeds – magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium

 

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Cooking with Herbs

Super Seeded Bread

I recently purchased Lee Holmes fabulous book Supercharged Food, I’ve tagged all the recipes I want to try, the Super Seeded Bread is first on the list.  I’m not a huge bread eater but was looking for something different and this bread is gluten-free, dairy-free, packed with healthy seeds and uses stevia and coconut milk.  Stevia is a new ingredient for me, it is a natural herbal sweetener that’s more than 200 times sweeter than sugar, with no calories and no carbohydrates, which is used as an alternative to sugar.  I put a tiny bit on my tongue to taste and it really is very sweet so a little goes a very long way! 
The only adaption I have made to the recipe is to use olive oil instead of grapeseed oil.  For my seed mix I used pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseeds.


Super Seeded Breadmakes 1 loaf

Pre-heat your oven to 175C/160C fan – Grease and flour a 20×9 cm (8 x 3½”) loaf tin.

Ingredients

350g gluten-free self-raising flour

1¼ cups mixed seeds

¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp Pure Via stevia
4 organic eggs

1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tblspn olive oil
3 tblspn coconut milk
125ml water
extra sunflower seeds for topping
Method
Combine the flour, mixed seeds, salt and stevia in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes until pale and fluffy.  Stir in the vinegar, olive oil, coconut milk and water.  Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, then smooth the surface with the back of a tablespoon.  Scatter extra seeds over the top.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
The bread will keep well for a day or two at room temperature, then keep in the fridge.  It can also be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 6 weeks!

I ♥ this bread


Recipe printed with kind permission from Lee Holmes, author, Supercharged


Tasty Power Energy Snack

This is a favourite of mine, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are nutrient powerhouses and make great little snacks.  For this very tasty power energy snack take ½ cup of sunflower seeds and ½ cup of pumpkin seeds and gently dry toast them, (you can also add maybe ¼ cup of sesame seeds too if you wish) moving them around so you don’t burn them .  I love my Vision Corning Glass pans, I much prefer them over stainless steel, I used a small frying pan here.

Take the pan off the heat and add ⅓ cup of brown linseeds,

then take 1 generous tablespoon of Marmite (more or less to your own taste) & add to the seed mix.  The glass pans retain a good amount of heat which is usually enough to sufficiently “melt” the Marmite but if you need a little extra heat, make sure it is a very low heat setting.

Continue to move the mix around gently until all the seeds are coated with the Marmite.

The mixture should be cool enough to form into small balls or put the mix into a small bowl to nibble on, I like to do both.  Pop in the fridge for a ready, healthy, tasty snack.  Beware these are very more-ish!
Special Marmite Jubilee Edition

Nutritional info & health benefits:

Sunflower – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folic Acid, C, E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Pottassium, Sodium & Zinc.  Sunflower seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic) and also good in mono-unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA).
Pumpkin – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folic Acid, E,Copper, Manganese, Potassium, Calcium Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, & Selenium.  Rich in MUFA (see above)
Brown Linseeds – rich in Omega 3, Vitamin B Complex, E
Marmite – B1, B2, B3, Folic Acid, B12, Salt