Sweet Pumpkin Brioche

Sweet Pumpkin Brioche

Who doesn’t love a brioche? Rich, tender and buttery, it’s no wonder this French bread is so popular.

Having quite a few pumpkins this year, and judging from some of the pictures posted on the Facebook group, many of you have an abundance of pumpkins too, so I thought why not combine sweet pumpkin and a hint of spice to this French classic.

It’s the butter and eggs in a brioche that makes it so delicious. It’s thought of more as a dessert bread because of the rich texture the butter and eggs give it, but a traditional brioche is not actually sweet.

This pumpkin brioche is sweet though. I added brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s a loose spin on a traditional brioche.

Any type of pumpkin can be used in this bread, though the sweeter the better. Steam or bake your peeled pumpkin until soft and blitz it into a smooth puree.  A cup of pumpkin puree gives this bread dough a lovely golden hue.

I make my brioche dough in a stand mixer and I suggest you do too, or in a bread maker. The dough is very, very sticky at the start so it is hard to mix by hand.  You need to keep mixing the dough until it goes from wet and sticky, to smooth and elastic.

When you add liquid to flour, the gluten in the flour swells and forms gluten strands. By mixing and kneading a dough, this warms and stretches the gluten strands which then form a springy and elastic dough. I use a high-grade flour in this recipe as this contains more gluten. More gluten means more gluten strands are made and intertwined, which creates the structure of the dough.

This stretchy and elastic dough will capture gas bubbles that are released by the yeast and create the rise in the dough.

The dough rises for a total of three times. I make my brioche dough the night before I actually bake it, as for the second rise, leaving the dough to ferment in the refrigerator for a while enhances the flavour greatly. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours and up to 24 hours.

Chilling the dough in the refrigerator also gives the butter in it a chance to solidify and makes it easier to shape the dough. If the dough is too warm while you’re shaping it, the butter may start to leak out.

Once shaped, the dough proofs for one last time before it’s brushed with an egg wash and baked.

It’s the best to eat on the day it has been baked as it contains no preservatives so by day two and three it will become stale. Luckily, stale brioche is perfect for many other recipes. I use my stale brioche to make extra special french toast. A quick dip in a milk, cinnamon and egg mix, fried in butter and topped with maple syrup.

Deeeeelicious!Sweet Pumpkin Brioche

Pumpkin Brioche


  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 sachet instant yeast
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tblsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups white high grade flour
  • 150g butter, softened


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, white sugar and instant yeast.
  2. In a stand bread mixer bowl, add in the pumpkin puree, two of the eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix together
  3. Add in the flour and the yeast mixture.
  4. Start the mixer and add in the butter, a tablespoon at time, waiting till each tablespoon is incorporated before adding the next.
  5. Mix on high for at least 15 minutes. The mixture will start off very sticky but keep mixing until it forms a ball and there is no more dough stuck to the sides of the bowl. When touched the dough will still be sticky but will be quite elastic and stretchy.
  6. Place in a greased bowl, covered with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for an hour until doubled in size.
  7. Gently pull away the dough from the side of the bowl to deflate it, pushing down down slightly on the top. No kneading it, just pushing out the air.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Remove from the refrigerator and tip out onto a lightly floured bench.
  10. Shape gently into a log and cut in half. Shape each half into another log and cut those in half. Cut each of those into three, so you have 12 even sized dough balls.
  11. Shape slightly into ball shapes and place in a greased tray.
  12. Cover with a damp tea towel and let them rise for an hour until doubled in size.
  13. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and brush on the dough.
  14. Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  15. Bake for 35 minutes until the tops are a shiny dark brown.
  16. Let cool before removing them from the tray by pulling them apart.

Mini Salted Caramel Apple Pies

Mini Salted Caramel Apple Pies

Apples and apples and apples, as far as the eye can see! I’ve peeled and cut so many my hands have stiffened up. I am in no way complaining about this bounty of sweet deliciousness, but there is only so many dehydrated apple chips apple puree and homemade apple cider vinegar one can have.

Today I’m going to go straight down the road to treat-ville. No amount of claiming ‘but there is fruit in it!’ is going to make these any healthier. We are well and truly in dessert territory, and I for one am happy to be there.

Apple + Caramel, Caramel + Apple. No matter which way you put it, these two flavours are meant to be together.

What makes it even better is that the caramel sauce is homemade. Store-bought caramel has NOTHING on homemade stuff. Plus, when you make it there is always enough left in the jar for future desserts.

Once your caramel is made, you’ll add it to the apple filling as well as over top of the little pies. Apple slices are first sauteed in butter and a little cinnamon til they are soft. Then the gooey caramel is added and they are cooked a little more.

I am using store-bought puff pastry, or else I couldn’t brag about how quick these are to make. (Really! They are so quick.)

One sheet of ready rolled puff is cut into 4 pieces, each will be a little pie.  A good tablespoon of apple filling placed in the middle, folded in half and crimped with a fork. Add a few slits in the top and ta-da!

A little egg wash on top and they are ready to be baked.

Once they’re golden brown and cooked, remove them from the oven and let them cool before smothering them with rich caramel sauce.

Mini Salted Caramel Apple Pies


    Salted Caramel
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 100g butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup pouring cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
    Apple Pies
  • 5 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
  • 3 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


    Caramel Sauce
  1. In a deep saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat until it starts to melt. Stir gently but thoroughly while it melts. It will first clump together, then melt and turn a deep golden colour.
  2. Once melted, add in the cubes of butter, two cubes at a time. Start whisking while you do this and don't stop until the butter has melted.
  3. Once the butter has completely melted, pour in the cream and keep whisking. Take extra care here as the cold cream will make the caramel bubble and rise.
  4. Add in the salt.
  5. Pour into a sterilised jar and leave it to cool down.
    Apple Filling
  1. In a saucepan, gently saute the apple slices and cinnamon in the two tablespoons of butter. Cook for 10 minutes, until the apple is soft.
  2. Add in the three tablespoons of your caramel sauce and cook for another two minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper or grease it.
  4. Take your three sheets of rolled out puff pastry and cut each into 4.
  5. Place a spoonful of apple filling into the middle of each quarter of pastry.
  6. Fold over one corner to meet the opposite corner and crimp it down with a fork. Repeat this until all the filling is gone and you have 12 mini pies.
  7. Brush each mini pie with some egg wash.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before smothering with caramel sauce.

Happy Baking!

Autumn in the Garden- March to do List

Autumn in the Garden- March to do List

Seeds to sow now: Cauliflower, Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, Khol Rabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Radish, Silverbeet, Spring Onions, Turnips, Swedes, Carrots, Beetroot

Plant from punnets now: Leeks, cauliflower, Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, Khol Rabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Silverbeet, Spinach

Some summer crops are most likely still being harvested right now but many will be ending their life cycle now or very soon. I love this time of year when I can clean up my garden, reuse the green waste and plant anew for winter and spring.

End of Summer Garden Waste

If you had a full summer garden you may feel daunted at how much green waste there is once you start pulling out spent plants. Don’t worry though, if you let them break down in a compost pile or let them break down in your garden, these plants will soon become part of the soil.

My personal method in the garden is a deep mulching one and I like to chop down my spent plants in smaller pieces and lay them right down where they were planted, then cover them with a mulch like hay or straw and compost. The microorganisms under the soil will then get to work for me and break down the plants, returning them and a truckload of nutrients back into the soil. I plant my new seedlings right into the compost I laid on top.

Letting it all break down in a compost heap is also a great way to reuse green waste. Alternate your green waste with some brown carbon such as dead leaves and you’ll soon see the pile break down and lower.

*Note: Don’t compost diseased leaves that have been infected with things like powdery mildew or blight. A home compost doesn’t usually get hot enough to kill off the fungal spores.

Powdery Mildew
Powdery Mildew

Bridge the Gaps

Planting quick growing crops like radish, turnips, lettuces, beetroot and Chinese greens means you can have something to harvest while you wait for your bigger autumn and winter crops to grow. Beetroot and turnips are delicious when young and small, they’re especially tender and sweet then, plus their leaves can be harvested as well as the root.

Sow a Green Crop

If you have any garden beds that were used for the summer but are having a break over the winter, sow a green cover crop over the top. The plants in a green cover crop are nitrogen-fixing which means they take up nitrogen from the soil and ‘fix’ it in these small nodules at the end of their roots. Come spring, you can chop down this cover crop and work it back into the soil. The nitrogen from these little nodules will then be released back into the soil in a form that other plants can then take up and absorb.

A green crop will also stop weeds from overtaking the empty garden.

Over winter some crops

Plants that we sometimes think of as annuals are actually perennials in warmer countries, such as eggplants, chillis and capsicum. If you can, you can move these plants inside a glasshouse, or a makeshift greenhouse and overwinter them. Bring them out again next spring and they can produce even better in their second year.

Seed Saving

Try your hand at seed saving so you can save money next time.

For cucurbit seed saving, let them grow huge and let their skin harden. Once mature, you can scoop the seeds out from the middle and wash them well to remove the pulp. Once collected, let the seeds dry out completely on a tray before storing in a dry, cool and dark place.

Beans seeds can be collected by letting the pods dry completely on the vine until they rattle when you shake them.

Happy gardening!

I made a start on my own March to do list in the video below.

Pumpkin and Mixed Greens Lasagna

Pumpkin and Mixed Greens Lasagna

There’s a bit of a cold nip in the air again today. 2 days left of summer but it seems the next season can’t wait.

Yesterday’s cold air made me crave warm comfort food so I made one of our family favourites, a pumpkin based lasagna mixed in with whatever garden greens you can find. It means this dish is extremely versatile and except for a pumpkin, there are no other ‘key’ ingredients. Just whatever you’ve got!

The main ‘sauce’ is a pumpkin puree. Smooth, silky roasted pumpkin, whizzed up with garden herbs of your choice and a touch of garlic. I used sage and thyme.

I don’t peel or deseed my pumpkin (unless I’m saving the seed). I just roast it in the oven and scoop everything out with a spoon. The skin comes off so easily when it’s roasted.

‘Greens’ are sauteed with garlic and onion and layered on the pumpkin puree. For my greens, I used zucchini, spinach and silverbeet but you can use whatever you have, e.g broccoli, chard, fennel, kale, cabbage, collard greens…

A creamy bechamel sauce with a hint of nutmeg is spread in the middle layer as well as the topping, creating an extra decadent dish.

Pumpkin and Mixed Greens Lasagna


500g pumpkin
300g chopped greens of your choice
30g fresh herbs of your choice
1 Onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons wholemeal flour
550ml Milk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
300g lasagna sheets
3 cups grated cheese of your choice
1/4 cup breadcrumbs


  1. Heat your oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
  2. Chop your pumpkin in half and roast for 45 minutes until tender.
  3. In a saucepan, saute the onion until the onion is translucent. Add your chopped greens and two cloves of the garlic and saute for 5 minutes until the greens start to soften and cook down a bit. Do not overcook them as they’ll bake more in the oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once your pumpkin has been roasted, scoop out the flesh (discard the seeds) and puree in a food processor along with 150ml of milk, your mixed herbs and the remaining clove of garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. This mixture should be a little runny as this is the ‘sauce’ for the lasagna. Add more milk if needed.
  5. To make the bechamel sauce, in a saucepan combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 3 tablespoons of wholemeal flour. Cook this mixture for about 2 minutes before adding 4ooml of milk, whisking constantly as you pour it in. Add in the 1/4 tsp of nutmeg. Whisk until the sauce thickens, for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Making the lasagna: Grease a lasagna tray and add the first layer of pasta sheets. Spread 1/3 of the pumpkin puree and 1/3 of the greens. Add another layer of pasta, 1/3 pumpkin, 1/3 greens and this time also 1/4 of the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese. Add another layer of pasta and the last of the pumpkin and greens.
  7. Lay on the last layer of pasta and top with the remaining bechamel sauce, the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the pasta is tender.

Happy cooking!

Lemon and Zucchini Muffins

Lemon and Zucchini Muffins

The rain has come and settled in, ready for a long stay so today was the perfect day to do some baking.  Our kitchen reno is so close to being finished: only the flooring and tiling of the backsplash are left to go. This means I finally have my new bench tops in place and it’s been W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L.

I mean, we were making do before but it was a tad depressing trying to ‘clean up’ a makeshift MDF board bench that literally soaks up and displays all the stains…

But anyway, enough about that for now. I will do a proper reveal of the finished kitchen on my channel in the future.  Now let’s get down to business, and by business, I mean Lemon and Zucchini muffins.

These little cakes are so fluffy and moist thanks to the addition of the zucchini. (Moist. That word everyone seems to hate. But seriously, have you looked it up in the thesaurus? Moist wins out of all the other options by far. Like, damp and soggy? No thank you!)

I added wholemeal flour to add some texture, and a little more fibre, a mere hint of cinnamon plus plenty of lemon zest for a tangy kick. These muffins as they are, freeze really well and make an excellent lunchbox filler.

Then top with a tart and tangy lemon glaze and you’re all set!

The batter makes enough for 12 standard sized muffins or a 23 cm round cake tin, though the baking time will have to be extended if making this as one cake.

I only added a simple lemon glaze on top to reduce the sugar amount a little, but if you were going all out then these would be excellent with a thick cream cheese icing.

Lemon and Zucchini Muffins


1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 2 lemons plus juice
1 cup coconut oil or other cooking oil
3 eggs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2  tsp baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup grated zucchini

Lemon glaze:

Juice of 1-2 lemons
1 cup icing sugar


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a standard 12 muffin tin with paper cases.

In a large bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until the oils in the lemon zest are released. Add the lemon juice, eggs and oil and beat well until combined.

In a separate bowl, sieve together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir well to ensure it’s all mixed well together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold in well. Fold in the grated zucchini.

Spoon the finished batter into the muffin cases. They should be filled just over 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 minutes. Leave them to cool and make the glaze by combining the lemon juice and icing sugar until it makes a thick but runny glaze.

Once the muffins are cool, drizzle with the glaze.*

*if you are freezing the muffins, omit the glaze. It doesn’t freeze that well.

Happy baking!


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