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When Mother Nature Gives You Pumpkins

Updated: May 1


With April bringing earlier sunsets, colder days and chilly evenings, it is definitely starting to feel like winter is right around the corner. The leaves are turning all shades of red and the veggie gardens are bursting with winter veg.


No vegetable screams winter to us more than a big ol' pumpkin. The garden gods have been good to us this season and given us more pumpkins than ever. So, it was time to get creative in the kitchen with this glorious ingredient. We've had roast pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin jam, pumpkin cake - frankly I am surprised we haven't turned into a pumpkin yet!



Through all the pumpkin creations we haven't yet gotten over our favourite winter vegetable thanks to two things. First is simply how versatile it is. Sweet, savoury, side, soup or main - pumpkin can carry it all. Second is the science. Did you know pumpkin is one of the most nutritious vegetables there is?



Low in calories but endlessly rich in vitamins and minerals. This pulp orange veg is an all rounder, giving a variety of different benefits in its seeds, flesh and leaves.



Most famously pumpkin is known for being one of the worlds best sources of beta-carotene, the powerful antioxidant that gives fresh fruit and veg that vibrant orange colour. Once eaten your body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which helps to keep your eyes sharp, skin healthy and immune system strong.

Just one cup of cooked pumpkin gives you 245% of your daily requirements of Vitamin A!



Right now all our immune systems could use an extra bit of TLC, and adding some pumpkin into your diet can help to do exactly that. Adding to the benefits from Vitamin A, pumpkin is also high in Vitamin C, which helps immune cells to work more effectively and increase healing. It is also rich in Vitamin E, iron and folate, all of which are needed for a strong and healthy immune system.



What's more, pumpkin is a great source of gut-healthy fiber that helps to keep you fuller for longer whilst fuelling your gut microbes, and a thriving micro-biome is also essential for a healthy immune system.



Winter is also the time of year when your skin has a break from sunshine to recover and renew. Pumpkin helps to amplify this beauty process by nourishing your skin. Beta-carotene helps to protect and heal skin from sun damage and harmful UV rays whilst Vitamin C helps your body to create collagen, which keeps skin firm, glowing and youthful.




Eating seasonal produce is a super simple way to ensure you are giving you body the nutrients that it needs. Mother Nature always has your back. Tune in to what is in season and your health will flourish.



Click here to find out what is in season now.



Pumpkin Cake with Chamomile Raisins

by Chef Eilish



This is the sweet treat you have been dreaming of. Soft and light in texture but strong and rich in flavour.


We have already treated ourselves to this cake three times during quarantine and something tells me there is still more to come.


Cake

2 1/4 cup plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup crushed pineapple or apple juice

1/2 cup raw honey

1/2 cup coconut sugar

Dash vanilla essence

1 cup macadamias, finely chopped

1/2 cup sultanas (we soaked them in chamomile tea overnight)


Icing

125g soft butter

200g cashews

100g natural yogurt

Honey and water to cook out pumpkin on top.


To Make


Cake

Add all ingredients into a large bowl and combine gently. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl add the remaining (wet) ingredients. Whisk until combined and bubbly.

Slowly pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold together. Do not whisk or beat as this will activate the gluten and make your cake too dense.

Line your baking tray then pour the mixture in.

Bake at 180 degrees for 34/40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool on a cake rack.


Icing

Toast cashews until golden brown then whilst still hot transfer into a blender and blitz into a paste.

Whip butter with a whisk or kitchen aid until pale and smooth.

Slowly add cashews on low speed, allowing butter to whip the cashews in.

Gently fold through yogurt into mix.

Spread onto cool cake.


Topping (optional)

Grate 200g of pumpkin and place into a pot.

Add 50ml water and a TBS of honey.

Simmer until reduced and pumpkin is lightly cooked.

Let cool before placing on top.

Garnish with rosemary flowers to finish.


Enjoy!


x Team Springfield




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