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4th November 2023

Pumpkin Layer Cake

Pumpkin layer cake

This recipe is brought to you by Ocado

Based on the same principle as carrot cake, Gizzi Erskine’s Pumpkin Layer Cake marries moist pumpkin with warming, sweet spices and cream cheese icing.

Ingredients

  • 250ml olive oil, plus extra for the tin
  • 100g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 280g pumpkin, grated (or use butternut squash)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 100g pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 100g dried pineapple, chopped
  • 250ml double cream
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 500g cream cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Grease the base and sides of a deep 23 cm x 8 cm loose-bottomed cake tin with oil and line with baking paper.

2.     Put the 100g dates in a bowl with the zests and juices of the orange, lemon and lime; set aside.

3.    In a mixing bowl, beat the muscovado sugar and oil with an electric whisk for 2 mins or until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking for 1 min before each addition, and for 2 mins after the third and final egg. Beat in the pumpkin and 1 tsp of the vanilla until evenly dispersed.

4.     In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves and salt, then add to the wet mixture; whisk well. Stir in the pecans, pineapple and date mixture, pour into the tin and bake for 1 hr 10 mins or until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven; leave to cool completely in the tin for 2-3 hrs.

5.     For the icing, combine the cream, icing sugar and remaining 1 tsp vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat with an electric whisk until thick. Fold in the cream cheese until smooth and easily spreadable.

6.     Remove the cake from the tin, level with a sharp knife, then cut into 3 even layers. Place the base layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread over 4-5 tbsp of the icing, sandwich with the next layer and repeat. Ice the sides of the cake first, then the top. I prefer a slightly thinner layer but feel free to opt for more! Adorn with decorations, if you like, and serve. The cake will keep chilled in an airtight container for 4 days.

Tips or serving suggestions

Allow 2-3 hours for the cake to cool before icing. To make crystallised citrus, thinly slice the fruit, brush with sugar and place on a lined baking tray. Bake for 2-3 hrs at 110°C/90°C fan/gas ¼ until dry; store in an airtight container. For sugared bay, dip the leaves in egg white, then sugar, and leave to dry. For caramelised pecans, heat 1 tbsp sugar in a pan with a splash of water until bubbling; add the nuts, swirl to coat, then tip onto a lined tray to harden.

More Ocado Recipes

Crispy Root Vegetables with Pumpkin Seeds and Parsley Dip

Pumpkin Spice Porridge

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Sage Butter

About Ocado Retail

Ocado.com (operated by Ocado Retail) is the world’s largest dedicated online supermarket and is a joint venture between Marks & Spencer Group and Ocado Group.

Delivering to over 80% of the UK, more than 940,000 active customers benefit from an unbeatable range of around 50,000 products (including big-name brands, more than 5,000 items from the M&S food and drink range and Ocado’s Own Range), unbeatable service with next-to-no substitutions, and the most sustainable grocery proposition of any British grocer.

Every order is carefully packed in one of seven distribution centres using world-leading software and technology. Shopping is then delivered directly to customers using a network of regional spokes and a fleet of delivery vans. Ocado developed the first grocery shopping app in 2010 and continues to innovate, offering customers the best possible experience.

Ocado Retail is also responsible for Zoom by Ocado, its rapid grocery delivery service.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Sage Butter

Pumpkin gnocchi with gorgonzola and sage butter
This recipe is brought to you by Ocado

Use up any leftover pumpkin from lantern carving to make this filling and comforting Pumpkin Gnocchi for the whole family.

Ingredients

  • 200g ricotta
  • 1 (425g) tin pumpkin purée (or use fresh purée; swap for butternut squash if you prefer)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 thyme sprigs (approx.), to decorate (optional)
  • 200ml double cream
  • 100g gorgonzola, chopped
  • 30g parmesan, finely grated
  • 100g cavolo nero, finely sliced
  • 100g salted butter
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 50g chopped walnuts

Method

.   Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Blitz the ricotta in a food processor for a few secs to loosen, then add the pumpkin purée, egg yolks, salt, sugar, nutmeg and a little black pepper. Add the flour and mix until it comes together as a dough.

2.   Turn out onto a floured work surface; knead briefly. Divide into quarters, then roll into logs, flatten slightly and cut into ‘pillows’, placing them on one of the lined trays as you go. For ‘pumpkins’, roll into balls and indent the tops and sides with a toothpick. Create a ‘stalk’ by pressing a small sprig of thyme into the top of each pumpkin. Chill for 30 mins to firm up.

3.   Cook the chilled gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water for 2-3 mins until they float to the surface (you may need to do this in batches). Wait for 30 secs to 1 min, so they’re just cooked through, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the second lined baking tray. Set aside while you make the sauce.

4.   Put the cream, gorgonzola and parmesan into a medium pan and warm gently over a low heat, whisking until combined. Stir the cavolo nero into the sauce until wilted; season to taste.

5.   Melt half the butter in a frying pan with 10 sage leaves. Add half the gnocchi with half the walnuts and cook for a few mins until the bottoms are caramelised, basting with hot butter. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the other half.

6.   To serve, divide the blue cheese sauce and gnocchi between plates, then spoon over the crispy sage butter and the caramelised walnuts.

More Ocado Recipes

Pumpkin Layer Cake

Crispy Root Vegetables with Pumpkin Seeds and Parsley Dip

Pumpkin Spice Porridge

About Ocado Retail

Ocado.com (operated by Ocado Retail) is the world’s largest dedicated online supermarket and is a joint venture between Marks & Spencer Group and Ocado Group.

Delivering to over 80% of the UK, more than 940,000 active customers benefit from an unbeatable range of around 50,000 products (including big-name brands, more than 5,000 items from the M&S food and drink range and Ocado’s Own Range), unbeatable service with next-to-no substitutions, and the most sustainable grocery proposition of any British grocer.

Every order is carefully packed in one of seven distribution centres using world-leading software and technology. Shopping is then delivered directly to customers using a network of regional spokes and a fleet of delivery vans. Ocado developed the first grocery shopping app in 2010 and continues to innovate, offering customers the best possible experience.

Ocado Retail is also responsible for Zoom by Ocado, its rapid grocery delivery service.

 Pumpkin Spiced Porridge

a girl holding a bowl of pumpkin spiced soup
This recipe is brought to you by Ocado

Food writer Esther Clark has devised this Pumpkin Spiced Porridge, a nourishing, veg-boosted treat for autumn that is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Ingredients

  • 80g quick-cook oats or fine oatmeal
  • 100g pumpkin purée
  • 50ml milk (any type)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 4 tsp extra thick double cream (optional)

Method

1. Cook the oats in a small pan over the hob as per pack instructions.

2.  Stir in the pumpkin purée and milk, then sweeten to taste with maple syrup and a little cinnamon.

3.  Divide the porridge between 2 bowls and, working quickly, drizzle a spoonful of cream over each in at least three concentric circles.

4.  Drag a cocktail stick or knife tip through from the centre a few times to create a spider’s web effect; serve immediately.

More Ocado Recipes

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Sage Butter

Pumpkin Layer Cake

Crispy Root Vegetables with Pumpkin Seeds and Parsley Dip

About Ocado Retail

Ocado.com (operated by Ocado Retail) is the world’s largest dedicated online supermarket and is a joint venture between Marks & Spencer Group and Ocado Group.

Delivering to over 80% of the UK, more than 940,000 active customers benefit from an unbeatable range of around 50,000 products (including big-name brands, more than 5,000 items from the M&S food and drink range and Ocado’s Own Range), unbeatable service with next-to-no substitutions, and the most sustainable grocery proposition of any British grocer.

Every order is carefully packed in one of seven distribution centres using world-leading software and technology. Shopping is then delivered directly to customers using a network of regional spokes and a fleet of delivery vans. Ocado developed the first grocery shopping app in 2010 and continues to innovate, offering customers the best possible experience.

Ocado Retail is also responsible for Zoom by Ocado, its rapid grocery delivery service.

Crispy Root Vegetables with Pumpkin Seeds and Parsley Dip

Crispy Root Vegetables with Pumpkin Seeds and Parsley Dip
This recipe is brought to you by Ocado

Crispy root vegetables are a colourful topping or a side that doubles as a post-dinner snack on the sofa. An extra idea for this sharer is to peel some of the pumpkin’s skin to crisp up in the oven, adding a crunchy extra to dunk in the dip.

Ingredients

  • 500ml vegetable oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 parsnip, peeled
  • 2 beetroots, peeled
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • 300ml creme fraiche
  • 6 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp parsley

Method

Heat the oil for deep frying (around 165C). Use a vegetable peeler to shave the veg into long wafer-thin pieces, removing any excess moisture with kitchen paper.

2.  Put a handful of slices in the oil for 2-3 minutes, until their colour deepens and they crisp up – they will get crispier as they cool, so be careful not to overcook. Remove and place onto kitchen paper.

3.  Repeat until they are all cooked, then transfer into a dish and sprinkle over the salt and cinnamon. Mix carefully by hand.

4. To make the dip, finely chop the toasted seeds and parsley then blitz in a blender with the creme fraiche, seasoning to taste.

More Ocado Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Porridge

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Sage Butter

Pumpkin Layer Cake

About Ocado Retail

Ocado.com (operated by Ocado Retail) is the world’s largest dedicated online supermarket and is a joint venture between Marks & Spencer Group and Ocado Group.

Delivering to over 80% of the UK, more than 940,000 active customers benefit from an unbeatable range of around 50,000 products (including big-name brands, more than 5,000 items from the M&S food and drink range and Ocado’s Own Range), unbeatable service with next-to-no substitutions, and the most sustainable grocery proposition of any British grocer.

Every order is carefully packed in one of seven distribution centres using world-leading software and technology. Shopping is then delivered directly to customers using a network of regional spokes and a fleet of delivery vans. Ocado developed the first grocery shopping app in 2010 and continues to innovate, offering customers the best possible experience.

Ocado Retail is also responsible for Zoom by Ocado, its rapid grocery delivery service.

Understanding the Art of Body Contouring: What You Need to Know

picture of a woman - understanding body contouring
Image by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay
This is a collaborative post

In the quest for achieving the ideal body shape, many individuals turn to various methods of body contouring to sculpt their physique. Body contouring is a term that encompasses a range of cosmetic procedures aimed at enhancing the body’s appearance by eliminating excess fat, tightening loose skin, and improving overall contour. If you’re considering body contouring, it’s crucial to understand the options available, the science behind the procedures, and what to expect. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about body contouring.

What Is Body Contouring?

Body contouring refers to a set of cosmetic procedures designed to reshape and enhance the appearance of the body. These procedures can address various concerns, including:

1. Stubborn Fat: Targeted fat reduction to eliminate pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise.

2. Loose or Sagging Skin: Tightening loose or sagging skin, often resulting from significant weight loss or ageing.

3. Muscle Definition: Enhancing muscle definition and tone in specific areas.

4. Cellulite Reduction: Reducing the appearance of cellulite, a common concern for many individuals.

Body contouring procedures can be surgical or non-surgical, and the choice depends on individual goals, preferences, and the areas to be treated.

Types of Body Contouring Procedures

1. Liposuction: Liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess fat from targeted areas using a suction device. It’s highly effective for eliminating stubborn fat pockets and reshaping the body.

2. Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area while tightening the abdominal muscles. It is ideal for those with loose skin and muscle separation, often following pregnancy or significant weight loss.

3. CoolSculpting: CoolSculpting is a non-surgical fat reduction treatment that freezes and eliminates fat cells using controlled cooling technology. It’s suitable for individuals with localized fat deposits.

4. Body Sculpting: Non-surgical body sculpting treatments use various technologies, such as radiofrequency or ultrasound, to tighten skin, reduce fat, and enhance muscle definition.

5. Cellulite Treatments: There are non-surgical treatments that target cellulite by improving skin texture and elasticity, and reducing the appearance of dimples.

The Science Behind Body Contouring

The effectiveness of body contouring procedures, whether surgical or non-surgical, relies on scientific principles that target specific issues:

1. Fat Reduction: Procedures like liposuction and CoolSculpting target fat cells directly. Liposuction physically removes fat cells, while CoolSculpting uses controlled cooling to induce apoptosis (cell death) in fat cells, which are then naturally eliminated by the body.

2. Skin Tightening: Surgical procedures like tummy tucks tighten loose skin by removing excess skin and repairing underlying muscles. Non-surgical treatments often stimulate collagen production, which helps improve skin elasticity and firmness.

3. Muscle Enhancement: Non-surgical body sculpting treatments use technologies like radiofrequency and electromagnetic pulses to stimulate muscle contractions, enhancing muscle tone and definition.

4. Cellulite Reduction: Cellulite treatments focus on improving blood circulation, collagen production, and tissue elasticity to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

What to Expect During and After Body Contouring

The specific experience during and after a body contouring procedure depends on the type of treatment chosen. Here are some general guidelines:

1. Consultation: Before any procedure, you’ll have a consultation with a qualified practitioner to discuss your goals, assess your candidacy, and create a personalized treatment plan.

2. Procedure: Surgical procedures like liposuction and tummy tucks require anesthesia and downtime for recovery. Non-surgical treatments like CoolSculpting and body sculpting typically involve minimal discomfort and no downtime.

3. Results: Surgical procedures provide more immediate results, but it may take weeks or months to see the final outcome as swelling subsides and tissues heal. Non-surgical treatments often yield gradual improvements over time.

4. Recovery: Following surgical procedures, you’ll need to follow post-operative care instructions, which may include wearing compression garments and avoiding strenuous activities. Non-surgical treatments typically require no special recovery measures.

5. Maintenance: Maintaining results often requires a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet. Non-surgical treatments may also benefit from occasional touch-up sessions.

Conclusion

Body contouring offers a range of options for individuals looking to enhance their body shape and address specific concerns. Whether you opt for surgical or non-surgical procedures, it’s crucial to consult with a qualified practitioner at Platinum Sculpt to discuss your goals and develop a personalized treatment plan. Understanding the science behind body contouring and what to expect during and after the procedure will help you make informed decisions and achieve the results you desire on your journey to a more sculpted and confident you.

Mental Health Matters: Everyday Practices for Mind Wellness

scrabble tiles spelling out Mental Health
Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay
This is a collaborative post

Mental health is as crucial as physical health, yet it often receives less attention in our daily routines. However, simple practices incorporated into our daily lives can maintain and improve mental wellness. This post will explore everyday actions that foster a healthier mind, as well as discuss an emerging aid in mental wellness—natural supplements, such as those found at a reputable CBD shop in Portugal.

Understanding Mental Health

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how we think, feel, and act, playing a crucial role in how we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions.

Daily Habits for a Healthier Mind

Start the Day with a Positive Affirmation

Your morning sets the tone for the day. Positive affirmations can boost self-esteem and diminish negative thoughts.

Create a Routine

A predictable routine provides structure and security, reducing stress and helping manage anxiety.

Practice Mindfulness

Being present and engaged in the moment can improve concentration and reduce stress, which is a cornerstone of mindfulness and meditation.

Stay Active

Physical activity releases endorphins, which act as natural mood lifters. Regular exercise is a key component of mental health maintenance.

Connect with Others

Strong relationships provide emotional support and a sense of belonging. Regular communication and social activity are vital.

Take Time for Hobbies

Engaging in hobbies can be a therapeutic escape from daily stress and contribute to joy and fulfilment.

Set Realistic Goals

Goal setting and achievement can provide direction and a sense of purpose.

Practice Gratitude

Acknowledging the positives in life can shift focus from negative thoughts and lead to a happier mindset.

Seek Professional Help When Needed

For those struggling, professional help from a mental health specialist is essential.

Leveraging Natural Supplements

In the realm of natural wellness, many have found solace in the calming effects of cannabidiol (CBD). Accessible at a CBD shop in Portugal, these supplements can be a supportive element in managing anxiety and stress, complementing the everyday practices for mind wellness.

Conclusion

These practices can make a meaningful impact on mental health. It’s important to treat mental wellness with the same care as physical health, and utilizing natural aids like CBD can support this journey.

FAQs

Q1: Can CBD products from a CBD shop in Portugal really help with mental health?

A1: CBD is known for its potential to alleviate anxiety and stress, which can be beneficial as part of a holistic approach to mental wellness.

Q2: How can I incorporate CBD into my mental wellness routine?

A2: CBD can be used in various forms, such as oils, tinctures, or edibles. It’s important to start with low doses and consult with a health professional, especially if you are taking other medications.

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