Playing dress-up and pumpkin cooking

We are fully getting into the Halloween spirit in our household, with our almost 8 month-old daughter having already attended her very first Halloween party a week ago! A quick dash to Sainsbury's and I picked up this season's hot Halloween accessories - a spider headband and cobweb tights! We set up a mini studio space in our attic bedroom and did a little photo shoot. What I had not anticipated was each time the spider headband was placed on her head, it was immediately removed and inspected suspiciously,  making it a race against time to get each shot!

I also set myself a challenge this year - to buy a pumpkin and cook with it. Pumpkin carving is not my thing.  I have never bought a pumpkin and therefore never carved one. So this could get messy...

I picked my baby's nap time to do my baking in the hope that she would stay dozing for at least an hour while I braved my pumpkin cooking mission. I don't think I was fully prepared for how tough pumpkins are to cut into. It felt like a full bicep workout as I chiselled away at the firm core. Another thing I was not prepared for - SO many seeds tangled inside a web of orange stringy flesh. Apparently the seeds are good roasted, so after cleaning them with cold water,  I placed them on foil in a baking tray and sprinkled them with olive oil and coarse salt.  FoodNetwork.com  offers a choice of different ways to jazz up your pumpkin seeds and I opted for the Indian spices suggestion adding Garam Masala halfway through the 50 minutes oven time. I then added a handful of sultanas once removed from the oven and voila! - a great, healthy snack without wasting the pumpkin seeds!

Pumpkin seeds with Indian spices

Pumpkin seeds with Indian spices

My next stop - a website called Wholefood SimplyAfter developing gestational diabetes while pregnant, I have taken a big look at my diet and hugely reduced my intake of refined sugar. This website has incredible recipes which cater for my dietary needs. The photography is just beautiful too. I chose the Pumpkin and Almond bread to try baking. The warm comforting aromas of cinnamon, vanilla and Chinese five spice quickly filled the house and instantly made it feel like a slippers on, cosy up by the fire, lazy Sunday afternoon. This bread takes about an hour to bake and is delicious with extra thick double cream. 

With my pumpkin well and truly carved to pieces and at my husband's request, I made one more Halloween foodie treat - dark chocolate Rice Krispie cakes. In a bid to reduce the sugar content, I used very dark chocolate, over 85% cocoa, instead of milk chocolate and Rice Malt Syrup was used in place of golden syrup. All you need is:

90g Rice Krispies

60g butter

100g dark chocolate

3 tablespoons of rice malt syrup.

Melt the butter and dark chocolate, add the syrup, mix with the cereal, place in paper cases and leave to cool.

These Rice Krispie cakes are sticky and melt in the mouth and perfect with a cup of tea - bliss! Happy Halloween!

Notebooks to write home about

Finding creative inspiration at home