Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Post - Pumpkin Loaf AND Cheesy Stuffed Pumpkin! Bonus.

Hey everyone!
Now, I know you have swung by today to check out Veggie Mama’s blog and right now you are probably thinking ‘who the hell is this Veggie Imposter?’ So let me introduce myself – my name is Emily and I’m visiting from over at Love Shoes and Cupcakes.

Today we are going to talk pumpkin and things are going to get a little crazy and a little messy so tighten your seat belts and just enjoy the ride!

Pumpkin would have to be one of my favourite vegetables because it’s just so versatile and lends itself to so many fantastic dishes like a gorgeous curry, a fully loaded quiche or even a salad. And do I even need to mention it works beautifully as a side whether you roast it, boil it, mash it or grill it? I think not. Basically what I’m getting at here is that you can do such a wide variety of things with pumpkin and in an effort to fully explore its versatility today we are not going to look at just one easy and delicious pumpkin recipe, but two! And while we are living dangerously I thought we would make one sweet and one savoury…..

Too much?

Bear with me….

The first recipe I have for you today is this Pumpkin Loaf. 

Now I know there are people out there, like my husband – Mr B, who are firmly against the whole pumpkin used in baking theory but I have to say that this very recipe completely changed my tune on pumpkin related baking. Whether you have it warm or cold, plain or with butter, this recipe is packed full of flavour and I’m even going to go out on a limb and say I prefer it to the humble banana bread. So if you are looking for something suitable for lunch boxes, morning teas, after school snacks or even breakfast, give this a go!

You will need:
650g butternut pumpkin peeled and deseeded 
100g softened butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar 
2 eggs 
2 cups self-raising flour 
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda 
1 tspn ground cinnamon 
1 tspn mixed spice 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

Preheat oven to 180°C and line your loaf tin with grease proof paper. 
Cut the pumpkin into 4cm pieces and place in a microwave safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 3 to 4 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Mash until smooth and set aside to cool. 
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.
Add eggs, beating until well combined. 
Add pumpkin, flour, bicarb and spices. Beat on low until just combined.
Pour mixture into your prepared tin and smooth surface. 
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.

Ok so we have done the crazy part – now let’s get messy with this Whole Baked Stuffed Pumpkin. Mr B and I made this for my parents the night before we left on our honeymoon and it was a huge hit!

You will need

1 large pumpkin
100g diced mushroom
1 onion diced
1 stick celery diced
150ml extra light thickened cream
2 cups grated cheese (I used a combination of gouda, romano, cheddar and parmesan, but plain cheddar would be fine too)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tspn Gourmet Garden Mediterranean Seasoning (which is a mix of basil, garlic, oregano and bell peppers)
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180C. 
Place your pumpkin on a tray and cut the top off. Scoop out all the seeds to create a nice round hollow but make sure you still have a nice thick shell as well. Soak the stalk in some water whilst preparing the filling. 
In a lightly oiled fry pan over medium heat, combine the mushrooms, onion and celery. Cook for 7-10 mins or until onion is cooked and celery is softened. 
In a bowl combine the mushrooms, onion, celery, cream, cheese, breadcrumbs and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. 
Spoon the filling into the hollowed out pumpkin. Don't be afraid to cram it all in there. Place the lid back on and pop the whole thing in the oven for around 90 mins. If you can insert a skewer into the skin and through the pumpkin with ease, then it is cooked. If not, give it another 30 mins and see how it goes then. 
When we cut the first slice out, the filling just sort of oozed out and it looked (and tasted) amazing!
There are so many different filling possibilities from rice to risotto to chilli to cheesey goodness! I’m interested to know, if you were making a stuffed pumpkin – what would you fill it with?

Thank you for reading my ramblings and I hope I have given you some inspiration to get in the kitchen, turn the music up and get your bake on!  
Mrs B xx

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