I know it is Halloween this weekend but equally scary is that it is exactly 25 years ago that Rupert and I got engaged! I am a bit of a romantic at heart so I probably would remember this anyway, but I am always reminded of that happy time when I see all the gorgeous autumn colours and the leaves all over the ground – that’s exactly how it was when we got engaged! This morning when I was walking the dogs and thinking about what I might write in this mailshot I couldn’t resist picking up this beautiful assortment of autumnal leaves.

There can be no more appropriate food for Halloween than pumpkin – I know most people at the moment are buying them and carving them with scary faces but they are so yummy to eat. These recipes could make the perfect supper to have on Saturday night after the Rugby World Cup Final – you can do most of it ahead so you can get stuck in to the rugby and not have to think beyond turning the oven on.

Pumpkin Chilli

You can either use small pumpkins for individual servings, or a larger pumpkin which will work for more people – in this case you can then just put the whole pumpkin in the centre of the table as a serving bowl.

We all have our own way of cooking chilli but essentially what you need is this – pumpkin, mince, onion, garlic, spices, salt, pepper, tomato puree, kidney beans, chilli, grated cheese – and I use a slug of Fino Dark Balsamic or Fino Arrope as a secret ingredient. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the inside with olive oil and sea salt. Bake in the oven for 30 mins at 180C. Meanwhile make your version of chilli – I do recommend a slug of Fino Dark Balsamic or Arrope to add a slight sweetness. Remove the cooked pumpkin from the oven and fill with the chilli (not quite to the top). Return to the oven for 20 mins topping with grated cheese for the final 5 mins. Serve with a piece of warm crusty bread and don’t forget to eat the pumpkin too – a word of warning – it is very filling but if poss do try and leave a bit of room for this delicious pud …

Apple and Pumpkin Crumble

Peel and chop a medium sized pumpkin into small cubes – do the same with 3 or 4 big cooking apples – put into a pan with 40g butter, 50g caster sugar, juice of a lemon, a pinch of ground cloves, ½ tsp ground ginger, the same of ground cinnamon, and a handful of sultanas – heat over a gentle heat for about 20 mins until the fruit is softened. For the crumble rub 50g cold butter into 150g plain flour using your fingers until it looks crumbleish! Add in 50g soft brown sugar and mix with a fork. Tip crumble on top of the pumpkin and apple mixture and cook for 45mins at 190C. Serve with mascarpone.

I’m now racing around all over the country doing fairs of which there’s a list on the website – www.finooliveoil.co.uk – I hope I will see a number of you but if not please do order online – as a Halloween “Treat” anyone placing an order online before 5th November will be put into a draw to win a £25 voucher to use against a future purchase from Fino!

Happy Halloween

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