We spent the day with young Eco Warrior Molly Taylor talking all things Pumpkin and Photography.
October is here and you can’t move for pumpkins in the fields, farm shops and soon to be gazing out at your from windowsills and doorsteps across Portsmouth. But where did this tradition come from, and why has the humble pumpkin become a symbol for the scariest night of the year?
The first Jack O’Lanterns as they are otherwise known, were thought to originate pretty close to home in Ireland. An Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who made a bargain with the devil that left him wandering the earth for all time with only a piece of burning coal which he put inside a carved turnip. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities. But perhaps their popularity also stems from the fact that pumpkins make for tasty eating. Once carved, the flesh can be used in a pumpkin pie, cupcakes; or even bread adding some warming, spicy flavour as you go – plus it looks amazing!
Ingredients – Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 150ml soured cream
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 125g piece pumpkin or butternut squash, coarsely grated
- 75g walnut pieces, chopped
For the icing
- 50g butter, softened
- 200g cream cheese
- 50g icing sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger in a bowl. Pour the oil into a jug and add the soured cream, sugar and eggs and beat with a fork until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then add the pumpkin and walnuts and stir well.
- Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, until well risen and firm. Leave to cool.
- For the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese until softened and combined. Stir in the icing sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until smooth. Spread over the tops of the cooled muffins.
Ingredients – Pumpkin & Olive Oil Bread
- 150g cooked peeled pumpkin
- 175g warm water
- 1 tsp fast-action yeast
- 100g greek yoghurt
- 400g white bread flour, extra if needed
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp salt
- olive oil for kneading
- 30g sesame seeds & 1 tsp nigella seeds
- Mash the pumpkin in a bowl, stir in the water then whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Mix in the yoghurt and olives, then add the flour, mahleb or cardamom, and salt and mix everything to a soft dough, adding more flour if the dough feels very sticky.
- Knead the dough until smooth on a floured (or oiled) surface then return it to the bowl and leave for about one hour somewhere warm until risen by half.
- Then shape the dough into the shape of your choice (we used a proving basket) brush with water, roll in the mix of seeds on a dinner plate then place on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Leave to rise for another hour, covered.
- Heat the oven to 200C, bake for about 40 minutes until a deep golden colour.
All photography by Molly Taylor
Molly is fourteen years old and is a super chic eco warrior loving all things natural and organic.
She’s very passionate about her photography and had a natural gift and ability for composition.
Check out her instagram here.