Is it just me or has Autumn this year been completely dominated by Halloween and the Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte? Everywhere I go I see Halloween paraphernalia and signs for this intriguing beverage and every minute of the day I long for its spicy, creamy goodness…
Clearly Halloween is fast attaining the same kind of standing as Christmas round these parts and I, for one, am delighted. I actually prefer Halloween to Christmas largely because the overriding modus operandi of the holiday (eat sweets and wear outlandish outfits) speaks to me far more than the Christmas traditions of spending inordinate amounts of time with your in-laws.
As fun as Christmas is there is an underlying message about kindness and the brotherhood of man that jars somewhat with our secret selfish plans to eat out faces off and watch the Toy Show. On Halloween the ‘message’ is much more overt and blatantly self-serving: Scare people and get as much sweets as you can. I’ve found since becoming a mother that a baby is the perfect accessory for Halloween. The options for matching costumes go on and on. I considered recreating an episode of the X Files in which a pair of conjoined twins were able to detach and commit grotesque murders, but Tom crushed the idea with this cutting remark:
“Not everyone is as big an X Files nerd as you are. Some people have moved on with their lives to other TV shows.”
My next suggestion that we go as Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger from the hit 80s comedy Twins was met with similar derision.
Then I realised that his problem was that he was being left out of the costume theme. I sat him down and told him that we hadn’t meant to leave him out and that, of course, we wanted to include him in the family costume. This was met with a disdainful and exaggerated eye roll, from which I gathered that he perhaps did not want to dress up with us.
However, it was too late as I have already set in motion the plans to dress up as the Addams Family as (hopefully) Henry will only be bald for so much longer and we need to make the most of this bald baby. These spiced pumpkin pancakes are the perfect indulgent Autumnal breakfast and will scratch that pumpkin spice latte itch. I’m clinging to the fact that the vegetable element will cancel out the maple syrup. I recommend roasting the pumpkin as with steaming or boiling it tends to take on a lot of liquid and become quite wet. Butternut squash works equally well if you’re not in the mood for carving up a pumpkin.
Cinnamon spice pumpkin pancakes:
1/2 cup chai tea
80g roasted pumpkin or butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g ground almonds
3 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (only for the older children and adults)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup (only for the older children and adults)
2 teaspoons cream cheese
Peel core and chop the pears and place these in a pot over a high heat along with the tea. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer until the pears are tender, about 10 minutes if the pears are not too hard. When the pears are tender, drain the liquid and leave to one side.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk together. Add the pumpkin (or butternut squash if you’re using) and the nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and banana. Mash it all together until smooth then whisk in the ground almonds, the almond milk, the salt and the baking powder. Heat the coconut oil in a non-stick pan over a high heat, then carefully spoon in the pancake batter. Make the pancakes quite small and cook the batter in two lots of five for a total of ten mini pancakes.
Top the pancakes with the poached pear, a drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of cream cheese.