Do remember on Sunday when I told you that Fran and I met up to whip up some Halloween recipes? Remember I said I'd have those recipes for you on Wednesday? Well it's Wednesday and as promised here I am bearing pumpkinny (wish pumpkinny was an actual word) recipes, all ready for Halloween tomorrow.
Fran's blog and vlog are all over being healthy, so she requested we steered ourselves away from the usual sugar-fest that heralds in Halloween. I kind of kept to her brief. One lovely, tasty, super healthy recipe - that's the Pumpkin Spice Smoothie and one batch of Caramel Pumpkin Seeds. It's all about balance, right? That's what I'm telling myself anyway.
This post is also about making the most of your pumpkin. I can't believe how many people throw pumpkin seeds away when they carve their crazy Jacks. If you do one thing differently this year, keep the seeds and cook them up to make an awesome snack! Don't buy pumpkin seeds in late October, it's a trap! Said in Admiral Ackbar voice (The Big Bang Theory has taught me so much).
Moving on... So as we're making the most of our pumpkin I thought we could use the flesh too. I mean actually cook with the stuff, not just slice it up to scare small children. Maverick thinking, but Fran says that this pumpkin smoothie is on to something, so let's go with it. Pumpkins are super cheap at the moment so if there is a buy 2 for £3 offer, don't sadly think oh man I only need one, grab the other one and make something delicious. I'm planning to go to Tesco on the 1st November and bulk buy the leftover (and hopefully reduced) pumpkins for dinner for the rest of the year.
But enough about my crazy life, let's get cookin'.
For Pumpkin Spice Smoothie you will need (serves 2-3 large glasses):
Pumpkin puree (yield of about 1/2 small pumpkin)
2 bananas (preferably sliced and frozen)
6 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg plus extra to serve
1 tbsp honey
For Caramel Pumpkin Seeds you will need:
Seeds of 1 pumpkin
35g unsalted butter
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
Pinch of flaked sea salt (optional)
Begin by taking the top off your pumpkin.
Scoop out the seeds and put in a bowl. You can do this with a spoon if you're not a mad messy cook like me.
Now peel the skin from your pumpkin and slice into chunks.
Boil for about 20 minutes, or until soft.
Add your softened pumpkin flesh to a blender and blitz until you have a puree.
Look at that, you've made pumpkin puree! Now this recipe only needs 1/2 of the yield of a pumpkin so you can freeze the other half of your puree. This makes a great autumn smoothie, you don't just have to save it for a healthy Halloween treat.
Add in your frozen bananas, they will give the smoothie a nice icy quality, which is especially handy if you're working with slightly warm puree.
Add the yoghurt, spices and honey and you should have something that looks like this:
Pour into glasses and grate a little more nutmeg over to finish.
Slurp without guilt and enjoy Halloween the healthy way!
Now for you on the dark side, wanting to whip up Caramel Pumpkin Seeds.
Soak your scooped out seeds in a bowl of water. This ensures the orange gunk sinks to the bottom and you have clean seeds to work with.
Scoop out onto a paper towel and heat up a frying pan until it is very hot.
Add in the pumpkin seeds and toast for about 5-10 minutes. You want the seeds to be crunchy and not soft in the middle before you start adding flavours.
When they are crunchy, add in the butter and let it melt.
Once melted, add in the sugar and stir until your reach a caramel consistency. Be care not to burn the caramel, that would be incredibly sad.
Just before you're ready to serve, add a few flakes of sea salt if you like. This will balance out the sweetness of the sugar and give a spoookily good depth of flavour.
I had to get spooky in at some point, ok?
If you cook your caramel for too long it will harden, but never fear, it's not ruined. You've just made Pumpkin Seed Caramel Brittle - congrats!
Serve warm in bowls and tuck in!
These make a great snack for any time and you can toast your seeds in a combination of savoury spices too. Try celery salt and paprika.
So what will you choose?
Healthy tricks or naughty treats? I went for both.