• Weekend recipes: pumpkin puddings

    by  • October 4, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Homes-&-Gardens-Autumn-recipes-2Last week, Alice Hart brought us delicious, autumnal recipes made using baked squash and roasted pumpkin. This week, we turn our attention to desserts; a curd sponge with hints of orange blossom and winter squash hotcakes with blackberries and honeycomb. Yum…

    Orange and butternut curd sponge (above)

    As well as making a fabulous cake filling with a difference, this orange and pumpkin curd, with a hint of orange blossom is excellent on toast or spooned onto yoghurt for breakfast. Make sure you use deep cake tins, rather than shallow sandwich tins for this sponge as the cake depth is on the generous side.  

    Ingredients (serves 10-12)

    For the pumpkin and orange curd:

    100ml freshly-squeezed orange juice from 1 large orange (save zest for cake)

    30ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice, from 1 lemon

    100g pumpkin puree (tinned is fine)

    125g unsalted butter, cubed

    50g golden caster sugar

    2 large eggs, lightly beaten

    few drops orange blossom water

    For the cakes and filling:

    225g salted butter, very soft, plus extra to grease the tins

    225g golden caster sugar

    4 large eggs

    200g pumpkin puree (tinned is fine) 

    200g self-raising flour

    30g ground almonds

    2 level tsp baking powder

    1tsp finely grated orange zest

    150g fromage frais

    200ml double cream

    1tbsp icing sugar, plus extra to dust

    fresh raspberries and pomegranate seeds, to decorate


    Start with the orange and pumpkin curd. Put the citrus zests and juice in a heatproof bowl with the pumpkin puree, butter and sugar. Sit the bowl over (but not touching) a saucepan of boiling water and heat, stirring,until the sugar and butter have melted. Lower the heat slightly, whisk in the eggs and continue to stir with a wooden spoon until the curd has thickened and coats the back of the spoon. This will take 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the orange blossom water and strain into warm jars through a sieve. To make the sponge, pre-heat the oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, gas 4. Grease two sandwich tins with a little butter then line the base of each tin with non-stick baking parchment. Measure the soft butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and orange zest into a large bowl and beat until thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Whip the fromage frais and cream together with the icing sugar and orange blossom water until just billowy and thick. Use to sandwich the cakes together with the curd. Sift a little more icing sugar over the top and decorate with fresh raspberries and pomegranate seeds. 

    Winter squash hotcakes with blackberries and honeycomb

    Homes-&-Gardens-Autumn-recipesThese wholemeal pancakes make a delightful weekend breakfast on autumn days. The batter is subtly-spiced, but you could enhance the gingerbread flavour with a little ground ginger and mixed spice. Serve them, puffed-up from the pan with hot blackberries and honeycomb. Heaven!

    Ingredients (makes 10-12 pancakes, serves 3-4)

    250g wholemeal spelt flour

    1 1/2 tsp baking powder

    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

    1/4 tsp fine salt 
50g light muscovado sugar

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

    284ml pot buttermilk or thin, natural yoghurt

    130ml milk

    ½ 425g tin pumpkin puree [ie about 210g]

    2 large eggs, separated

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    2 tsp sunflower oil

    300g blackberries 

    100g honeycomb, to serve


    In a mixing bowl combine the spelt flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and spices. In a second bowl, using a stick blender, blitz the buttermilk or yoghurt, pumpkin puree, 40g light muscovado sugar sugar, egg yolks and vanilla together until smooth. Fold into the spelt flour bowl until almost combined, but with a few clumps of flour still remaining. Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and fold into the mixture until just combined. Transfer to a pouring jug and allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes. While the batter rests, put the blackberries in a small saucepan with the remaining 10g muscovado sugar and a splash of water. Bring up to the boil and simmer gently for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the blackberries just begin to give up their juice, but don’t break don too much. Set a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Dip kitchen towel into the oil and rub over the surface to coat lightly. Pour or spoon the batter in to make pancakes of about 8cm diameter (space them out well to make flipping them easier). Lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown and a bit crispy then turn with a spatula and continue cooking for 2 minutes more. Keep warm on a loosely-covered plate in a low oven. Repeat until all the batter is used. Serve the pancakes in small stacks with the blackberries and craggy pieces of honeycomb spooned over. 

    For more delicious recipes, have a look at our Pinterest page.

    Recipes Alice Hart

    Styling Karen Akhtar

    Photogrpahs Ali Allen


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    Things to do in October

    by  • October 3, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Royal-Society-of-Marine-Artists-Annual-Exhibition-2015-Homes-&-Gardens-2The London Design Festival might have come and gone in what seemed like seconds, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of creative events taking placing in the capital over the coming month. Marine paintings, a major design retrospective, calligraphy workshops and mixology classes are top of our list. Sounds like fun? Read on to find out more.

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    Join us for a day of festive inspiration with OKA on 4 November

    by  • October 2, 2015 • 0 Comments

    OKA-Reader-Event-Homes-&-GardensSo often the atmosphere of a home comes not from its rooms, but from the unique mix of furniture, lighting and accessories that furnishes them. Homes & Gardens has partnered with the design team at OKA to offer readers a fascinating day that will cover everything from creating an inviting tabletop to adding those all important finishing touches that make all the difference to a room.

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    Beautiful hand-painted fabric and wallpaper from Rapture & Wright

    by  • October 1, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Rapture-&-Wright-Homes-&-GardensMade using traditional hand printing techniques from a barn in the Cotswolds, Rapture and Wright’s textiles and wallpapers provide a welcome antidote to today’s mass-produced designs. It was great news then to hear that, coinciding with this year’s Decorex fair, the team have introduced six new designs into the collection – and how beautiful they are…

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