The Scary Truth About Pumpkins
Plus an early Christmas Dinner Event in November (tickets limited)
Thanks so much to everyone who made it down to the residency at Carousel in Soho in September. It was an incredible experience and I loved meeting you all!
If you missed out, I cooked an 8-course dinner featuring recipes from my NEW COOKBOOK!
You Can Cook This! – pre-order it now and get 12% off so you can try them for yourself! ⇩⇩⇩
Veg Of The Month
This is my favourite time of year because the leaves are changing and there’s a slight chill in the air, but it’s also the season of pumpkins and squashes. With their incredible sweet flavour and texture, they are one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen – and that’s without even talking about the fact they have the most amazing colour.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the UK alone, though, it’s estimated that in 2022 around 39.9 million pumpkins will be bought and 22.2 million will go to waste after Halloween - that’s £32.6 million worth of edible food (source: hubbub.org). That’s bad for the planet and a shocking unnecessary waste of food. Have a green Halloween this year! Read on for how to use up your pumpkin once you’ve carved your best ghoulish lantern. Bwah-ha-ha. . .
Also follow the links below to my brand new YouTube videos, including how to make the best pizza of your life, discover my latest favourite kitchen tips, and find out how you can get involved with a super special event coming up in November. . .
Once you’ve carved your Halloween lantern, chop the pumpkin flesh to use in so many incredible dishes – it will keep for up to three days in the fridge or three months in the freezer. The skin is also delicious roasted until crispy – but if your pumpkin’s been hanging out on your doorstep or is not looking it’s best, then it’s destined for the compost!
No Waste Pumpkin Sage Pasta is one of my all-time favourite recipes, a classic from my first book (it’s perfect for all types of squashes too). Other ways I love to cook with pumpkin include an all-American pumpkin pie, adding it to soups, stews or curries, roasted in warm salads, in traybakes, delicious pumpkin bread or check out my Instagram from Halloween last year for gooey chocolate and pumpkin cookies.
There’s even a whole chapter devoted to squashes in my new book, with recipes for Roasted Squash and Aubergine with Tahini-yoghurt and Toasted Seeds, Curried Pumpkin and Chickpeas and an unbelievably delicious No-Bake Pumpkin Pie in a Jar ⇩⇩⇩
NO-WASTE PUMPKIN SAGE PASTA
5–7 sage leaves (or 1 tbsp dried sage)
700g pumpkin or 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped (keep the skin and seeds)
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled (save the skins for your vegetable stock or compost them)
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp paprika
200ml milk (I like coconut but use any you have)
500g pasta (I like pappardelle for its thickness and because the lengths pick up more of the sauce)
salt and pepper
a handful of rocket or shredded kale, to serve
Preheat your oven to 200C.
In a bowl, mix the sage and the seeds and skin from the pumpkin or squash, if using, with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15–20 minutes. Remove from the tray once roasted and lightly crisped. Separate the sage, seeds and skins for later.
Put your chopped pumpkin or squash, garlic and onion on the same baking tray with a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and the paprika. Roast in the oven for 40–45 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and crisp and the flesh is soft. Once ready, leave to cool on the baking tray.
To a blender or food processor, add your roasted garlic and onion and half of the milk. Give this a good blend until smooth and creamy. Add the roasted pumpkin or squash, a few leaves of roasted sage and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until thick and a bit chunky still – if you blend at a high speed continuously you’ll end up making a soup.
Cook the pasta until tender (or cooked to your liking), then transfer to a serving bowl with heaped spoonfuls of the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Serve with the roasted skins and some toasted seeds scattered over the top.
Top with some leafy greens like rocket or shredded kale for colour and more nutritional value – we mustn’t forget our greens!
DON’T TOSS THE SEEDS!
Toast them instead for a healthy snack, to add extra crunch to soups or salads, blend them into a smoothie, or use them in a pesto. Wash and dry the seeds. Preheat your oven to 200C. Put the seeds on a baking tray and toss in a little oil, then cook in the oven for 10–15 minutes until crunchy.
TOP 7 INGREDIENTS FOR THE FREEZER
One of the easiest ways to reduce food waste in your kitchen is to make use of your freezer. Here are my top 7 ingredients that I keep stashed in my freezer. Make sure to wrap them well to avoid freezer burn, and date them.
1. Bread – slice it first or turn into breadcrumbs.
2. Garlic – freeze a whole bulb or individual cloves. Or peel and chop and add to an ice cube tray with olive oil and herbs for an instant flavour hit for stir-fries.
3. Veg scraps – no need to defrost, just put them straight into the pan to make a delicious broth.
4. Ginger – frozen ginger is actually easier to grate – no need to peel.
5. Greens – spinach, kale, spring greens, even salad leaves: bag them up and add them to smoothies or soups and stews.
6. Bananas – peel and slice to add to smoothies, make nice cream or banana loaf.
7. Potatoes— keep the skin on and parboil until fork tender, drain dry and store in an airtight container. Add to baking tray and roast!
Let me know in the comments below which foods you are throwing away the most – and I’ll come up with some solutions for next month!
WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO. . .
‘You Can Cook This!’ was #11 on Hot New Releases - thank you to everyone who pre-ordered!
The Guardian Feast magazine featured four of my recipes for delicious ways to use up leftover bread – from sundried tomato meatballs to a chocolate hazelnut bread and butter pudding. Bread is the most thrown-away ingredient worldwide, so use your loaf and click the link here.
Brand new website and logo - You can search your favourite recipes and videos all in one place!
New episodes on YouTube – I missed you guys! – watch how to make the best pizza of your life (did you know my first job at 16 was as a dough boy?), make no bake millionaire squares and try to resist my epic loaded nachos (they are topped with the most incredible nacho cheese sauce using a surprising secret ingredient).
*Special One-Off Christmas Event!
I know it’s only October, but did you know it’s only 58 days until Christmas?! That’s right, it’s time to start making your festive plans. I’ll be hosting a Christmas Dinner on 24 November at 7pm with Eatplanted.
I’m hosting a delicious low-waste, plant-based Christmas dinner using Europe’s leading meat alternative brand, Eatplanted, with proceeds from the event going to our partner charity Feeding Britain.
If you would like to join this special event, tap the link and email email@example.com to book your space.
There are only twenty spaces so be quick to bag your spot!
Shelfy: The Solution to Food Waste
A Smart Device designed to make your Food Last Longer and help you Save Money.
It will also remove bad odours and bacteria from your refrigerator and is made from recycled plastics. A small and compact purifier that allows your food to last up to 12 days longer in the refrigerator.
Find Shelfy at a discounted low price with incredible features designed to fight food waste and save money, available only on Kickstarter.
MY OCTOBER DISCOVERIES
App: Olio for rescuing food and sharing with others.
Show: Bad Sisters on Apple TV+
Book: Those Who Can, Teach by Andria Zafirakou
Watch: The Root Cause of Disease Nobody Talks About! (How to live longer) with Zach Bush
SEE YOU NEXT MONTH. . .
Don’t forget to be kind to others, maybe it’s a smile or buying lunch for a friend.
Next month I’m looking forward to sharing my favourite cold-weather soups, getting ready for Christmas, and more exclusive recipes!
Follow me on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Whisk for more recipe content! And don’t forget to get your pre-orders in of You Can Cook This! for even more delicious dishes.
As always, thank you for your support!
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