Pumpkin Fondue

Hallowe'en is nearly upon us again. I decided to try and make something other than pumpkin soup with my pumpkin this year, so here goes!

Pumpkin Fondue


1 large pumpkin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
250g Emmenthal cheese, grated
250g Gruyere cheese, grated
200ml cider (or white wine)
1 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with a little water
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Slice a lid of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut out the flesh until you are left with a 2cm wall.

Brush the inside of the pumpkin with olive oil and bake in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the leeks and garlic for a few minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and dill and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the grated cheese, cider (or wine) and the cornflour paste. Season with salt and pepper and some grated nutmeg. Heat gently, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted into a smooth sauce.

Pour the fondue into the baked pumpkin. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Get dunking!

This is real oozy stuff! It tastes great and the roasted pumpkin imparts a lot of flavour, but is definitely party fodder. You couldn't eat too much of this on your own, it is very rich! Graham gave it his best shot though!

Happy Hallowe'en!

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge and Cardboard Box Love

I dipped into Nigella Express again for this one! Great for a chocolate fix and good to share (if you can bear to)!

Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

350g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped
1 x 397g can condensed milk
30g butter
pinch salt
150g pistachios

1 Put the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and salt in a heavy-based pan on a low heat, and stir to melt.
2 Put the nuts in a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into both big and little pieces.
3 Add the nuts to the melted chocolate and condensed milk and stir well to mix.
4 Pour and spatch this mixture into a foil tray 23cm square, smoothing the top.
5 let the fudge cool, and refrigerate until set. You can then cut it into small pieces.
6 Once cut, it can be kept in the freezer - no need to thaw just eat straight away.

Makes 64 pieces (approx.)

I just put the fudge in the fridge, but Nigella says it will turn more grainy if you put it in the freezer!

And now to my cat, Beaker!

There is much excitement in this house if a parcel arrives and it is packaged in a cardboard box. Beaker waits, (I use this term loosely) while you unpack the box, so that he can get in it! I think it must be a comfort thing! He was a rescue cat and they had a cardboard box in his pen, when we got him.

Unfortunately this box was a little small for him, but he will try to squeeze himself in anyway, failing that he will just put his front paws in! Bless!

Pear and Ginger Muffins

These muffins are dedicated to Joanna at Joanna's Food, who is debating which type of bakeware to buy! She is replacing her whole set! I personally rub my hands in glee at the thought of all that kitchenware shopping! Just don't let me see the bill!

Anyway back to my original point! These moist muffins were baked in my new Jamie Oliver Advanced Silicone Muffin Moulds by Tefal. I was a bit nervous, using them the first time, but they were great. It isn't just hype, this whole silicone debate, the muffins popped out of the moulds very easily! So I would wholeheartedly recommend silicone muffin trays Joanna! I bought mine at Lakeland.

So on with the recipe! I got this recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson.

Pear and Ginger Muffins


250g/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g/1 cup caster sugar
75g/1/2 cup light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp sour cream
125ml/1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
2 eggs
2 medium pears (roughly 300g), peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks


1 Preheat the oven to 200c/Gas mark 7, If you are not using a silicone tray, line your 12 bun muffin tray with muffin cases.
2 Measure into a bowl the flour, baking powder, caster sugar, brown sugar and ground ginger.
3 In a large jug, whisk together the sour cream, oil honey and eggs and then fold into the dry ingredients.
4 Lastly, mix in the diced pear and divide the batter evenly between the muffin cases.
5 Sprinkle each one with 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove to a cooling rack.

Best eaten still a little warm.

Makes 12

I ladled out the ingredients using my cup measures, hope that helps!

Nigella suggests that when they are cold, these muffins are delicious eaten with a hard sharp cheddar, crumbly Caerphilly or a pungent blue cheese. I think that is a jolly good idea!

There were lots of great recipes in this book, all beautifully illustrated by the most gorgeous full-page photographs. I will be writing down a lot of recipes from this book, before I return it to the library!

Apple and Red Onion Chutney

A friend from work, Margaret, gave me a wonderful gift! A bag of windfall apples from her garden. So, I decided to make some Apple and Red Onion Chutney as my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted this week by Pille at Nami-Nami.

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Good Housekeeping book on Preserves by Joanna Farrow. It is my first trip into chutneys, so I decided to go for a Simple Apple Chutney. I replaced the white onions with red onions and added 1/2 teaspoon of toasted crushed cumin seeds.


I had a little browse around for information on onions and apparently they belong to the lily family of plants. That was news to me! I just had to use red onions, they are just so  pretty!



Apple and Red Onion Chutney


700g (1 1/2 lbs) 6 cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
700g (1 1.2 lbs) 6 medium red onions, skinned and chopped
225g (8 oz) 2 cups seedless raisins (or sultanas)
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
350g (12 oz) 1 1/2 cups demerara sugar
300ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups malt vinegar
1/2 tsp toasted, crushed, cumin seeds


Put the apples, onions, sultanas, lemon rind and juice, sugar, vinegar and cumin in a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan.

Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and pulpy, with no excess liquid. You should be able to draw your spoon across the base of the pan and leave a channel behind!


Spoon the chutney into clean, dry warmed jars and seal with a plastic coated metal lid. ( I put my jars through a dishwasher cycle to sterilise them, although apparently, you don't need to be as careful with chutney, because of the protection the vinegar gives it. But, just as well to be safe as sorry, I say!)

Makes 4 lb (fills 4 x 1 lb (545g) jam jars, with a spoonful left over to take a photo of!)


This chutney will last for up to one year stored in a cold, dark cupboard. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 -4 weeks.

I decided to make my own labels, there is just not enough room to write everything on the small labels I bought with the jam jars!

Hope this is good! It certainly looks and smells tasty. That is the only trouble with chutney, isn't it, the long 6 week wait until it matures. I am really an instant kinda gal, very impatient!


Mini Muffin Pizzas

quick pizza recipe

Graham took pity on me, feeling poorly and ventured into the kitchen to make these lovely, little mini pizzas.

First he fried some onions and mushrooms in a little olive oil. Then he split the muffins in half and toasted each side. Next, Graham spread the muffin bases with tomato puree, topped them with the mushrooms and onions and covered them in mozzerella, before popping them back under the grill, until the cheese was melted and golden.

I have added a picture of the muffins for anyone horrified at the thought of a sweet muffin made into pizza! The white muffins we have here are not quite the same as the puffy, sponge delicacies filled with blueberries or chocolate chips found elsewhere in the world, they are more like the consistency of a dense scone.

Thank you Graham, they were just what I needed, they definitely hit the spot!
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