Pumpkin fruit cake with pumpkin and mascapone icing

 Pumpkin fruit cake with pumpkin mascarpone icing
Now Halloween is over, there are a lots of cheap pumpkins in the shops or you may have some left over from decorations. The less starchy ones used for carving are quite good for this recipe. This is a moist fruit cake which is actually quite light. I think its best to make the cake first and then leave it in a tin for a day or so before you ice it though it will still taste great the first day.

(Recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
For the cake:
200g Wholemeal self raising flour (I'm not saying this to be super healthy. The wholemeal tastes better in this particular cake and improves the texture because it it doesn't soak up as much moisture as white flour and so avoids becoming stodgy. )
175g Dark soft/Muscavado sugar
120ml sunflower oil
2 free range eggs
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
grated zest of one orange
200g grated pumpkin
175g mixed dried fruit
100g chopped nuts

For the Syrup:
juice of the zested orange 
2 tbsp dark soft/muscavado sugar 
optional- few tablespoons of bourbon if you're feeling cheeky

1) Mix together the sugar, eggs and oil
2) Add in all the other ingredients and fold through.
3) Grease a 9 inch (23cm) tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
4) Put everything in and bake in a preheated oven at 175 c (325 f) for 35-45 minutes (so that it feels firm to the touch and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean) 
5) While it cooks make the syrup by boiling together the ingredients till the sugar dissolves. 
6) When the cake is cool, stab it about five times with a thin knife and drizzle over the syrup slowly
7) Put in a cake tin

For the Icing: 
200g Mascapone
200g Cubed Pumpkin
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
(optional) 2 tbsp Maple syrup
1 Tsp Good quality vanilla essence 
Icing sugar

This icing comes out a gorgeous orange and because of the roasted pumpkin, its much lower in fat and sugar than most butter-cream icing. Now I cant be too exact with this because the proportion are will kind of depend on how starchy your pumpkin is and how sweet you want your icing. You might have to adjust as you go.

1) Put the pumpkin in a baking tray, sprinkle with the cinnamon and if you wish drizzle over some maple syrup (if you don't have it just add more icing sugar at the end). Cover the tray with foil and roast for about 20minutes in an oven preheated to 175 c (325 f)
2) When the pumpkin is cooked till very soft, put it in a bowl with the vanilla essence and puree with a stick blender.
3) When this puree is cool, fold in the mascarpone. This is where you might have to play around a bit. If your pumpkin puree is a bit wet you will have to use more mascarpone than pumpkin. Don't be tempted to whisk it as the mascarpone will loosen up too much and you'll end up with a soupy mess. I did mine in the Kenwood mixer with the rubber K attachment on the slowest speed.
 4) Taste it and carefully fold in as much sifted icing sugar as you wish. 
5) Cut your cake in half and slightly less than half the icing in the middle and slather the rest on the top. 

Apple Granola and Bircher Muesli

Apple Granola and Bircher Muesli (this recipe is vegan and wheat free option)

Its the middle of British Apple season which means shops filled with my favourite apple, Cox's Orange Pippins. These tangy little apples are really the ultimate all-rounder: great for crumble, apple sauce, just the right size for putting in your coat pocket as a snack and also very good for homemade granola.

Granola is really quick and simple to make and stores very well so you can just make a big jar and work you way through it gradually. I know you can buy granola and muesli in many thousands of forms in the supermarket but this way you can make it exactly as you like it. Use this recipe as a guide but feel free to add and take away nuts of fruit, sugar or spice.

(Recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
For the muesli: 
450g Porridge Oats (Use the large oats rather than refined easy cook porridge. They are much tastier and better for you)
100g Mixed Seeds (I used a premixed pack of sunflower, hemp and pumpkin but use what you like. You can use nuts instead like chopped walnuts or pecans)
100ml sunflower oil
50g plain flour (I use wheat free but regular is fine)
3-4 tbsp Honey (for vegans use maple syrup)
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 grated cox apples (You can use any apples but try to get a nice crisp variety)
Optional- dried fruit like sultanas, dates, raisins or cranberries

Its quite simple from here.
1) Put all of this is a bowl and just toss it through with your hands.
2) Then spread it across a baking tray thinly (but don't crush it or pack it down because you want to retain the little clumps)

4) Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 160c opening the oven to move the mix around every 15 minutes or so to ensure it cook evenly.
5) When its cool you can add dried fruit if you like. I find it too sweet but my husband likes it so we keep ours in a separate jar and he add his in as he goes.
6) Store in an airtight container, like a Kilner jar. At home, ours in always gone within two weeks so I'm not sure how long it keeps but I would hazard a guess that it keeps for at least a month when stored properly. 

To Make this mix into Bircher muesli

I heard on Radio Four this week that apples are better at waking you up in the morning than coffee because even though they don't contain caffeine, they contain a concentrated hit of glucose which burns slowly and keeps you going for longer. I find a good breakfast is even more essential in the winter when facing a long cold journey to work (or a chilly kitchen and a huge prep list).

For the Bircher Muesli:
Mix one grated apple (just the flesh, not the core), some yogurt (I used gooseberry in the picture, but you can use plain or whatever you prefer), a splash of orange juice and as much granola as you wish.

Halloween recipe #4: Pumpkin, coconut and cardamon soup

Pumpkin, coconut and cardamon soup (this recipe is vegan and wheat free)
This is a really rich, creamy soup and the flavour of the cardamon really complements the pumpkin. If you want to make it lighter then just add one can of coconut and some water. This recipe serves 4-5.

(recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
800g pumpkin (peel it if its a large tough-skinned variety, but no need for the smaller thinner-skinned varieties)
1 small white onion
3 cloves of garlic
15 cardamon pods - de-shelled
6 kaffir lime leaves (we get these in fresh, if you're using dried then re-hydrate them in some warm water)
1 green chilli

1) Chop up your pumpkin
2) Toast the cardamon pods until they start to pop (not too hot, you don't want to burn them). Then open up the pods and remove the seeds. Crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
3) Saute the onions with the chilli, garlic and add the cardamon
4) Remove the tough vein from the kaffir lime leaves and then slice them. Add them to the onions.
5) Add the diced pumkin, saute for a couple more minutes and then add the coconut milk.
6) Simmer for 30 minutes. You may need to add some water depending on how firm your squash is. 
7) Puree the soup with a stick blender then serve.

Halloween recipe #3: Baby Pumpkins filled with chipotle, black bean chilli with toasted coconut and coriander rice

Baby Pumpkin filled with chipotle, black bean chilli with toasted coconut and coriander rice 
(this recipe is vegan and wheat free)

I made this for our daily special main yesterday but I got the idea from our Sous Chef, Marcelo Navarro, who told me about a dish popular in his native Brasil, in which they empty pumpkins and fill them with a coconut curry. I think the nice fresh flavour of the rice and pumpkin married well with the smoky chipotle flavour. This dish is a little labour intensive for making at home but it makes an impressive dish for a special meal or a dinner party.

Our pumpkin man, Greg, has supplied us with lots of beautiful little baby pumpkins. His advice with small pumpkins is not to peel them as the flesh loses flavour so just take the tops and bottoms off and scoop out the flesh. They are really easy to peel on the plate (though the skin is edible and sometimes quite tasty). If you cant get these baby pumpkins you can just use one medium sized pumpkin or alternatively use the bottom part of some butternut squashes and save the rest of the squash for another meal.

This recipe serves 6-8  for a main, depending on the size of your pumpkins. You might have a bit of chilli left over or you could choose to by not making so many pumpkins as the chilli make a lovely meal in itself. Just pop it in the fridge for another meal. It also makes a nice starter if you skip the rice and use slightly smaller pumpkins.

(recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
First prepare your pumpkins. Top and tail and scoop out all the seeds. Then brush the pumpkins (inside and out) with seasoned olive oil mixed with chopped garlic. Roast these in the oven (180c) for about 20 minutes.  

For the Chilli:
1x can black beans
1x can chopped tomatoes
1x diced white onion
200ml water
3 Tbsp tomato puree
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chipotle chilli (this is a smokey flavoured chilli which we get from the excellent Cool Chilli Co in Borough Market. Ancho chilli is a good substitute and failing that add more smoked paprika)
1 Tbsp brown sugar (I use muscavado but it doesnt really matter)
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Courgette diced
3 Sticks celery diced
5 Tbsp chopped coriander 

To make the Chilli:
1) Roast the diced courgettes in oven till cooked but still firm and green.
2) Saute the onions in olive oil for a couple of minutes (not too hot) then add the garlic. Turn down the heat and add the diced celery and saute for another few minutes. Then add all the spice including the chipotle and cook out for 2 minutes.
3) Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, sugar, water and cook for 20-30 minutes.
4) Take of the heat. Add the black beans, courgette and coriander.

Fill the pumpkins with chilli and return to an oven (preheated to 180c) till heated through (about 15 minutes).

For the rice:
1) 250g basmati rice (thoroughly washed)
2) 1/2 can coconut milk
3) 100g dessicated coconut (toasted in the oven. Couple of minutes at 180c ought to do it)
4) Green chilli (not diced but thinly sliced)
5) 5 Tbsp chopped coriander

To make the rice:
(I'm sure most of you know how to cook basmati but including it here just in case. Timings are for easy cook basmati but for regular increase cooking time by ten minutes)
1) Heat a pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil. Add the chilli stir and then add the rice. Stir through the oil and then then cook for about 1 minute.
2) Add the coconut milk and then enough water to cover the rice by about 1/2cm. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Take off the stove and steam for five minutes.
3) Add the toasted coconut and chopped coriander.

Halloween Recipe #2: Pumpkin, pecan and cranberry cupcakes

 Pumpkin, pecan and cranberry cupcakes

(Recipe by Daniel Acevedo)

250g unsalted butter
250g castor sugar
3 eggs
350g self raising flour
200ml milk
200g pumpkin
50g dried cranberries
50g pecans

Peel and dice pumpkin into small chunks to speed up the cooking time.  Lightly oil and roast until cook for approximately 20 min and set aside to cool

Using a whisk attachment with a hand mixer, in a medium sized bowl cream butter and sugar until it becomes whiter in colour, add eggs in one at a time mixing in well.

In a separate jug add milk and pumpkin and give a light blend with a hand blender.  It is not essential to have a smooth liquid some small bits of pumpkin present is fine.  Add your cranberries and pecan nuts to this mix and give another light blend to break them up slightly.

Add wet mix to creamed sugar and butter, sift in flour and fold mixture together using a wooden spoon.

Line muffin tin with cupcake cases and fill almost to the top as they will rise slightly. To make things easier use a piping bag if you have one and pipe it in.

Bake at 160c for 25-30min, to touch the cupcakes should bounce back when fully cooked, alternatively prick with a toothpick, should come out clean.

For the icing:
Depending on how much or little icing you wish to add here is a simple rule to follow
Half butter to icing sugar, I used the following:

200g unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk
2-3 drops of your chosen food colour in, to tie in with the Halloween theme I used green

Beat soft butter in a mixing bowl with approximately half of the icing sugar, add the remainder of the sugar along with your milk and food colouring and combine well.

Once cupcakes have cooled down completely top with icing and decorate.  

Finally, and most importantly. Taste test! Here carried out by our selfless volunteer Thiago Campos.

Halloween recipe #1: Pumpkin, Feta and piquillo pepper pie

Here's our first recipe using our lovely organic pumpkins. This pie is on the menu at Mildreds but we re-sized it for making at home to make a 24 cm/ 9 inch pie to serve 4-5 for a main or 6-8 for a starter. If you cant get these spanish piquillo peppers then use some roasted and skinned red peppers.

(Recipe by Daniel Acevedo)

For the Filling:

1kg Pumpkin
1 red chilli
4 garlic cloves
4 sticks rosemary
200g feta
6 piquillo peppers
Splash olive oil
Few pinches of Maldon sea salt

For the Pastry:
200g butter (cubed and cold)
400g plain Flour
1 egg yolk
Ice cold water 
1 Tbsp (more or less) fresh herbs (oregano, sage or thyme)

First make your pastry. We always use the mixer for this as the more you touch pastry the more rubbery it gets but you can crumb it by hand by rubbing the flour and butter together with your fingertips. 
1) First crumb together your flour and butter (make sure your butter is fridge cold, it makes this easier)
2) Add the herbs, egg yolk and enough ice cold water to bring the crumbs together but not so much that it gets sticky. 
3) Leave it to rest in the fridge.

Then start your filling.
1) Peel and de-seed and cut pumpkin into even bite sized chunks. 
2) Finely dice chilli and finely slice garlic cloves, hand strip rosemary and roughly cut.  Add all the above to a baking tray, lightly splash with olive oil, season with Maldon sea salt and bake for 25-30 min until fully cooked (it should be really soft). 

3) Once pumpkin has cooled down, crumble in the feta cheese and add chopped piquillo peppers combine well.

Now assemble your tart.
1) In a 24cm pit tin (with a drop out base) roll and line with savoury pastry (recipe to follow). 

2) Pack the pumpkin mix into the tart and seal with top layer of pastry and bake at 170c for 30-40 min or until golden brown. 

You can if you like lay top layer of pastry out flat on top of the pie or as I have let it fold and wrinkle around, to avoid wastage and in my opinion give you a better finish, as I'm a sucker for a good bit of extra pastry with my pie.

This is also the same with glazing the pie I don’t bother as this does nothing to the final taste of the pie, as it is purely cosmetic and adds shine to the finished product. If you do like the shine, then we use either a traditional egg yolk wash or, more often, soy cream which works really well.


Pumpkin Time !

Its late October and fast approaching Halloween. One of the consolations for the gradual loss of sunlight is all the wonderful, colorful, organic pumpkins coming into the kitchen courtesy of Greg Klaes of Forge Farms. Daniel and I have just been to visit Greg at his farm in Oxfordshire and in between cups of tea and slices of pumpkin pie we interviewed him about his family farm, pumpkin, organic farming, Groove Armada and many other things.


We will be posting our interview with Greg soon. For now, feast your eyes on some of the wonderful varieties Forge Farm produces. Lots and lots of vegetarian pumpkin recipes to follow.

Mildreds Restaurant

Mildreds Restaurant: An Introduction

Mildreds, established in 1988, serves internationally inspired vegetarian food, all of which is made daily on the premises. Catering for vegetarians, yet popular with omnivores, Mildreds offers friendly informal service in a lively atmosphere coupled with excellent value for money. We are a Soho institution, moving from Greek Street to our current location at 45 Lexington Street.

We use organic ingredients where possible and endeavor to source small businesses for our supplies. 

We have a beautiful wood paneled dining room (featuring a fine selection of Victorian Erotica) which is available for party bookings Monday to Saturday, please phone 020 7439 2392 for details.

We do not take bookings in the restaurant if we are very busy when you arrive you can enjoy a drink whilst waiting for your table but if you want to avoid waiting please come before 7pm or after 9.30pm

Our shop Mrs Marengo’s caters for all take away orders with a similar menu during the day as well as an excellent selection of fresh daily salads and specials, cakes, muffins, cookies and cupcakes. Visit Mrs Marengo’s Cake Shop website and go to Breakfast, Lunch & Drinks Menu for details

Opening Times
12 noon till 11pm Monday to Saturday