Autumnal Pumpkins

Autumnal Food – Don’t Waste Your Pumpkins!

Autumn is my favourite time of year, I love the colours, walking through rustling leaves, the scarf and sunglasses weather it brings, and obviously the food! With occasions like Halloween and Bonfire night to look forward to it’s a perfect excuse to make some delicious autumnal food.

It doesn’t need to be complicated food, if you’re out watching fireworks on bonfire night then a baked potato or a bowl of chilli is perfect.

I love to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, but for me the pumpkin doesn’t get wasted like so many of them do. If you’re going to carve a pumpkin, make sure you do something with it. Roast the seeds with some spices for a great snack or as a garnish to soups and salads.

A great thing to make with pumpkin at this time of year is soup. You can switch out the sweet potato in my recipe for spiced carrot and sweet potato soup for pumpkin to make a spiced warming soup. Give it a try and don’t waste all that pumpkin!

A Different Kind of Junk Food

I’m always conscious of wasting food and hate to see things go to waste. We’re part of such a throw away culture now that this has passed on to our eating habits. People waste so much food everyday and others go desperately hungry, it’s just wrong. To see bins outside supermarkets full of perfectly good food being thrown out is awful. I’m a massive fan of cookery shows on TV but when you watch these programs about fancy restaurants and if something is made slightly wrong it gets binned and they start again, it really winds me up! 

This week I signed up to volunteer with The Real Junk Food Project Sheffield. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I was a little anxious, as I always am before doing something new, but I was excited too. I signed up to volunteer 3 hours of my time helping them prepare for their pop up restaurant event at The Burton Street Foundation. The idea is customers come along to the event and “pay as they feel”. I didn’t know what to expect at all.

I arrived, apron in hand, ready to help. Everyone was welcoming and there was a real mixture of people there. After a look round I was taken into the kitchen, the amount of food surprised me. Boxes filled with varieties of fruit and vegetables, piles of artisan bread, baking stuff, tins and loads more all donated from a variety of local shops and businesses. I was put straight into the kitchen to start prepping veg. 

Chatting away and preparing veg for salad, curry, bakes, sauces and slicing so many huge onions I was in tears! We even baked desserts, banana breads, bread and butter pudding, fruit salads and other bits I’m sure I’ll have forgotten. It was great to see so much food that would more than likely have ended up in the bin being used. Before I knew it, it was 6 o’clock and people had started queuing up to get in to the restaurant ready to eat. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the evening but I can’t wait to hear how it went and see the photos from the day, hopefully there aren’t any of me crying chopping onions though!

I had a great time and will definitely be volunteering again when I can. Remember not to waste food folks, and if you have extra food then consider taking it to your local food bank or see if there’s a Real Junk Food Project in your area. 

Edit: Just found out that the food we prepared fed 92 people, saved 366kg of food from going to waste and £703.20 was generously donated!

 The Real Junk Food Project