Pumpkin goodness- Know Your Basics

pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

Although you can buy pumpkin for a fair chunk of the year here in Australia. Now is when you will be seeing rather a lot of it. Autumn and early winter is a great time for the humble pumpkin. It’s a cheap and easy basic, that really does pay to know a few different ways in which to cook it. Team it up with the forever versatile fetta and you are away. Meal times never looked so simple.

 

Now if you are lucky enough to grow your own pumpkins, they can be stored for several months in a cool dark airy spot, especially so if they have been cured beforehand. This can be done by leaving them out in the sun for a while first, for the skin to harden and the stalk to dry out.

Then there is the eating. I really like using pumpkin as it’s cheap, and can be turned into a whole list of easy dinner time meals… Or snacks… Or desserts. Actually the humble pumpkin is rather impressive with its array of pumpkiny meal options.

KNOW YOUR BASICS: Find a couple of basic ingredients and really get to know them, what they can do, what they taste well with and most importantly, how on earth to cook them.

First up, roasted. This can be done either with skins on or off depending on your time, strength and taste buds. I normally peel them, as they are generally going into a soup, dhal or bread kind of dish.

Now once you’ve peeled, chopped and roasted you are left with the scooped out, fleshy, stringy and seedy bits. Separate all the seeds and leave them in a bowl to soak over night. The next morning dry them off and spread them out in a frying pan gently roast- watch them, they POP!

Pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirlpumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

Whether you are roasting, steaming, eating cold, eating hot, the pumpkin is a great one to be bought locally, seasonally, frugally, and importantly tastely, (surely that can be a word?)

What’s your favourite way to serve pumpkin?

A few more ideas on what to do with your wonderful pumpkin

Make a Pumpkin and Fetta Tart

Pumpkin and Fetta salad with chickpeas was delicious

Pumpkin and Fetta sausage rolls always a winner

Pumpkin and Fetta foccacia

Pumpkin Spiced Cake– everyone loves cake, especially pudding kinda cake

Pumpkin and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, cool nights, hot dinners

Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Indian Spiced Pumpkin Scones– easy for lunch or afternoon tea

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Dhal- frugal and seasonal cooking

and my go to Thai Style Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin: know your basics || cityhippyfarmgirl

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enthusiasm…

I gave a friend a sourdough lesson the other day. I think it went quite well. Actually I think it went really well.

Not because of my untold clear teaching techniques, (nope, not at all) but because she had enthusiasm, and later that night when her first made loaf came out of the oven, that enthusiasm was still there. Bundles of it.

It was impossible not to get caught up in her enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, for wanting to completely change around her families eating habits. Wanting to make things from scratch, away with packets, and also embracing the sourdough. Jumping all in as she had only made three loaves of bread before and then deciding that she wanted to give sourdough a crack.

It’s so wonderful to find like minded people who think along a similar way regarding food, you can stop being the odd one out for a while and that’s… lovely.

I think I had subconsciously started to tone things down a bit, even here on the blog. Did people really want to hear over and over that if you make something from scratch it tastes better. That it makes so much more sense to eat seasonally. To know where your food comes from, to get to know what was going in to your kids bodies and how to cook that food. Not Michelin starred restaurant style food but good honest, eat it everyday kind of cooking. When someone is so enthusiastic about wanting to learn, and wanting to pass that knowledge on to their own children, it’s inspiring.

Really inspiring.

It reminded me that it is really important, this food journey that a lot of people are beginning to take on and the more people that shout it from the roof tops, (not in a jam it down your throat kind of way), but in a hey, I made this, and that makes me so freakin’ happy I can’t tell you... well I think it’s worth it.

Food should be so much more than something that gets squashed together in a factory, popped in some plastic and a box, and then to be selected from a supermarket shelf. I understand convenience, and I understand lack of time, but good food shouldn’t have to mean hours and hours in a kitchen. Good food can be as simple as good core ingredients. Great core ingredients even. Back yard tomatoes, a little local goat cheese, a drizzle of awesome olive oil, a grind of black pepper and a chunk of crusty bread.

Simple. Tasty. Healthy.

The more people start to question where their food is coming from, finding out what it is exactly on their plates, and getting excited about cooking, the more things will change for the better.

If someone does this with bubbling enthusiasm, a skip in their step and love in their heart…well I think I want to be a part of that.

feeling mortal…I think we need to do some cooking

Strangely enough I am not superhuman. This came as a bit of a shock. I thought as long as you put the fuel in, were kind to your body, mind and soul things would continue on even after major hiccups like hospital stays. Apparently it’s not true though.

Apparently even super heros get sick now and then.

Now I know I’m no super hero, and never try and pretend that I am, but getting blasted with a virus (with super evil powers) still was a bit of a shock. The kind of virus that lands Little Monkey in hospital for two days, Monkey Boy not to eat for 6 days and me to be a quivering mess in a darkened corner for far too long, (I have things to do damn it!)

So what does this have to do with cooking? It dawned on me as I pointed Mr Chocolate towards the fridge and told him “whatever” to feed our children for another consecutive night that all the cooking is central around me. The Monkeys are too little to really help out, and there is only so long the freezer meals will last. Mr Chocolate does long working hours so all the cooking pretty much I do. I have all these simple recipes in my head that mean the difference between screaming toddler at 4.30pm, who just needs a little something to tide him over until dinner, but all fairly useless if I’m not there to execute them.

If I was really sick for a really long time or really wanted a really long holiday…(oh!) Does that mean that’s the end of all the food that my family rely on and enjoy? Now don’t get me wrong, Mr Chocolate can cook a bit, and certainly wouldn’t let the boys starve but if he knew how to cook a few of the staples it would make me feel a little easier.

Even just to feed the sourdough starter.

So last weekend was spent with Mr Chocolate becoming Mr Sourdough and Mr Biscuit. The following weekend will be spent in a similar fashion, compulsory cooking classes.

Everyday Biscuits

* for use for snacks, cure for my belly is so hungry I may explode before dinner, or some after dinner dunking.

100gms softened butter

1/2 cup honey (125mls- a little more if you want them chewier)

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups plain flour (225g)

Cream the butter, honey, vanilla and then add flour. Lightly roll in a ball, then squish down a little. Bake at 180C until light golden.

Now how easy is that?