Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Sweet Icing (gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free)

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‘butternut squash pie cupcakes’ just didn’t sound right…

 

These delightful little cupcakes came about while I was trawling the internet looking for grain free, egg free bread. It’s harder than you’d think, which is bad news for my eldest unfortunately. I came across this pumpkin spice muffin recipe and adapted it based on the ingredients I had. They were a win with the girls, and I’ve been enjoying them too. They are very dense and fudgey, and make for a yummy moreish treat. So much so that I’ve made three batches in the past fortnight – well we have been entertaining lots…

Ingredients for 12:
250g butternut squash
100ml coconut oil
40g coconut flour
40g ground nuts
40g ground flaxseed
2 tbsp water
1-2 tbsp honey
Tsp cinnamon
Tsp vanilla
Tsp bicarb of soda
(for the icing) 100g cashew nuts
2-3 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 tbsp honey

 

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the batter should be very thick

Method:
– preheat your oven to 170c and line a cupcake tray with cases

– peel and deseed your squash (you could use pumpkin) and cut into small chunks. Place in a saucepan with the cinnamon and water. Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat with the lid on for about 20 mins until it is fork-mashable

– tip the contents into your blender or food processor, along with all the other cake ingredients and whiz until well combined. One tablespoon of honey is enough for me, but you might want to add a little extra

– divide the batter between the cases and bake for 30 mins

– allow to cool completely before icing them

– to make the icing, put the cashews into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for two hours, then drain through a sieve. Blend with 2 tbsp of honey and 2 tbsp coconut oil, adding a little extra for taste and consistency. You are aiming for it to be thick but spreadable

– you’ll now be ready to ice the cakes. Serve immediately, or make in advance and store in a cake tin. They are particularly delish when they’ve been in the fridge 🙂

Chicken tray bake

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This awesome one-tray meal has become a family staple for us since I returned to work. It takes about five mins to prep and there is only one tray to wash up. Delicious from-scratch cooking does not get easier than this!!

Ingredients (for two adults & two kids):
1kg chicken thighs
1kg seasonal squash
Large leek
Juice of a lemon
Juice of a lime
Tbsp sesame oil
Tbsp tamari

Method:
– preheat the oven to 180C/365F

– chop the squash into 8 chunky pieces and thoroughly wash the leek, then arrange with the chicken thighs on a large non-stick baking tray

– in a small bowl squeeze out the lemon and lime juice, and pass through a sieve. Add the sesame oil and tamari, stir well then pour over the contents of the tray

– roast in the oven for 40 mins and serve immediately with seasonal veg (cauliflower, kale and spring greens are very good at the moment here in the UK)

 

Paprika beef topped with spicy roasted squash and crispy kale

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I set out to make a butternut squash lasagne the other night, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided to spice things up a little. I kept things really simple, as always, and will definitely be cooking this fab dish again!

Since learning that it’s one of the most nutrient dense vegetables on the planet, kale has become my new best friend and was a wonderful addition to this meal which traditionally would have some cheese on the top.

Ingredients (for two):
300g minced beef
100ml red wine
50ml tomato purée
50ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
Med red onion – finely chopped
2 lge cloves of garlic – crushed
Half a butternut squash – peeled & cut into 6 discs
100g kale
2 glugs of olive oil
Salt & pepper
Tsp dried chilli flakes (or more depending on your taste)

Method:
– preheat the oven to 175C/360F

– prep the butternut squash and arrange on a non stick baking tray. Drizzle over some olive oil, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Roast for 30-40 mins until cooked through

– while the squash is roasting make the beef component. Gently fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Add the mince and stir well until all the meat is brown

– stir in the paprika and give everything a good mix

– add the red wine, tomato purée and balsamic, ensure everything is incorporated well. Allow to simmer on a low heat for 20-25 mins

– once the squash is cooked, put the kale on the top and season to taste. Cook in the oven for 3-5 mins until crispy, taking care to ensure it doesn’t burn

– layer up your bowls with beef, then squash and top with the yummy crispy kale

 

Leg of lamb with butternut squash

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Here’s another super easy roast recipe, inspired by the ginormous whole leg of lamb we had in the freezer where we bought half an animal recently. This should keep us going all week 😉

Ingredients:
Whole leg of lamb (2-2.5kg)
Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage or dried
Knob of goats butter (sliced into 5)
4 med sized red onions (peeled, left whole)
4 large carrots (top, tailed, peeled and halved)
1kg butternut squash (scrubbed, deseeded and cut into 6)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Method:
– preheat the oven to 200 degrees

– put all your veg on a large baking tray and place the lamb on top in the centre

– slash the skin 5 times with deep cuts

– season everything with salt and pepper, cover the lamb with sage then put the butter slices into the cuts you just made

– roast for 30 mins, then turn the heat down to 160 degrees

– roast for a further 30 mins per kilo for med-rare and 40 mins per kilo for med cooked meat

– when it’s cooked remove the lamb and allow to rest for at least 30 mins

– take the butternut and 6 of the 8 carrot pieces away for serving

– tip the onions, rest of the carrot and all the pan juices into your blender and whiz on high for a 5-10 seconds for fab gravy

– serve your lamb, roast butternut and carrots with tons of green veggies

 

Really rather tasty rabbit stew

I made this simple but delicious, flavoursome dish quite accidently but am really glad I did. It’s lovely and light, so perfect for Spring. You can make a big batch and freeze it, and if you can’t get hold of rabbit meat you could use skinless and boneless chicken thighs which make a good substitute.

Ingredients:

1kg rabbit meat (cut into large chunks)

1k butternut squash or pumpkin (peeled, de-seeded and chopped chunky)

1l veg or chicken stock

large leek (washed and sliced fairly fine)

Bulb of fennel (sliced chunky)

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

Small lemon (quartered, any large pips removed)

250g orzo pasta

Method:

– gently sweat the leek, fennel and garlic in a knob of butter or glug of oil for around 5 mins over a med heat, in a large oven proof dish

– add the meat and brown off for a few mins, adding a little bit of stock if it starts burning

– add the butternut/pumpkin, lemon and orzo, then pour over the stock so the ingredients are completely covered

– bring to the boil, then transfer to the oven

– cook on 160 for 90 mins with the lid on

– remove the lemon and cook for a further 30 mins with the lid off

– serve with crusty bread and green veggies