A Smashing Pumpkin Feast

    This Halloween don’t trick your guests treat them instead with these seasonal bites

    ROAST PUMPKIN AND SWISS CHARD RISOTTO

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes

    What you need:
    600g of pumpkin
    4tbsp of olive oil
    1tbsp of maple syrup
    A pinch of cinnamon powder
    50g of blanched almonds, chopped
    225g of trimmed leek, finely chopped
    250g of Arborio or Carnaroli risotto rice
    100ml of vegetarian dry white wine
    900ml-1litre of light vegetable stock
    150g of Swiss chard (leaves only) roughly shredded
    1 ½ tbsp of single cream
    Seasoning to taste

    To serve:
    A squeeze of lemon juice to taste

    What you do:
    Heat oven to Gas 5/ 190C/ 375F

    Cut the pumpkin into quarters, peel and de-seed. Then cut into thick slices/segments (approx 12-15cm) and place in a roasting pan. Mix together 2tbsp oil, maple syrup and cinnamon and drizzle over the pumpkin. Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender, take out of the oven and cut into large dice.

    In a small frying pan, heat 1tsp oil and lightly toast the almonds until golden. Set aside.

    Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and sauté the leek until soft. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated and slightly golden. Pour in the wine and stir until it is absorbed.

    Add 1 ladle of hot stock and simmer until absorbed. Repeat. After 10 minutes add the chard and let wilt. Continue to add stock at intervals and cook until absorbed into the rice (you may not need all the stock). Season well with salt and pepper.

    Once rice is tender but still very slightly al dente, add the cream and cook for a further minute before adding the pumpkin. Remove from heat, cover and rest for 2 minutes. When ready to serve, sprinkle over the roasted almonds and a squeeze of lemon juice.

    Chestnut and Pumpkin seed croustades

    PUMPKIN SEED CROUSTADE CUPS WITH RED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

    Serves 4
    Prep time:
    With fresh chestnuts 1½ hrs
    With canned chestnuts
    45 minutes
    Cooking time: 1 hour

    What you need:
    175g wholemeal sliced bread, made into crumbs
    1½ tsp mixed dried herbs
    30g pumpkin seeds
    75g unsalted butter (or use
    hard margarine)
    700g butternut squash,
    peeled and cut into
    2cm cubes
    1 very small onion, peeled and finely chopped (about
    50g prepared weight)
    160g cooked and peeled chestnuts, chopped
    2 bay leaves
    120ml vegetarian red wine
    200g cranberry sauce (fresh home made is best!)

    What you do:
    Preheat oven to 200C / 400F Gas mark 6.

    Grease 4 x Yorkshire pudding tins with margarine or butter. Line a baking tin with foil.

    To make the crust:
    Put breadcrumbs, mixed dried herbs and the pumpkin seeds into a large bowl.

    Melt 50g butter (or hard margarine) and pour on to the breadcrumb mixture.

    Mix well, then divide equally between the four prepared Yorkshire pudding tins.

    Using the back of a spoon and your fingers, press evenly into the tins to form shallow cups. Pinch the edges between your fingers and thumb to make them firm – the edges should not be crumbly.

    Put in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until crisp.

    Cool in the tins for about 5 minutes, then remove carefully and put on a cooling rack until ready to serve.

    To make the filling:
    Melt the remaining 25g butter (or hard margarine) in a small saucepan.

    Put the prepared butternut squash in a bowl and toss it with half the melted butter and 2tbs water.

    Put the butternut squash into the foil-lined baking tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. It should stay moist – if it seems to be drying out, add a very little more water.

    Meanwhile, make the chestnut paté: Sauté the onion in the remaining butter for about 5 minutes until soft.

    Add the chestnuts, bay leaf and 4tbs of red wine, together with 4tbs water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Remove the bay leaf and mash the chestnuts to a moist spreading paté. If it is too dry, add a little more water.

    Put the cranberry sauce in a small saucepan with the remaining red wine.

    Bring gently to the boil, stirring, then simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the sauce has reduced a little but is still runny.

    To serve: Divide the warm chestnut paté between the croustades, pile the butternut squash on top. Drizzle a little of the cranberry jus around the plate, then serve the rest separately.

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