Monday, November 17, 2014



My grandmother was a good cook, a kind of one who had to cook for a big family usually only with ingredients that came from the local farm. Today you would call it 100% organic. I remember how she would say to granddad to go catch a rooster for lunch. Gold liquid served with homemade noodles or semolina dumplings. And that was just an ‘appetizer’. They ate seasonally and did lot of preserving. On the other hand my mother enjoyed using store products. She didn’t like spending too much time in the kitchen. But my father is passionate cook, especially for baking. By strange circumstances he become our le chef. One day while going for work my mother had an accident and later, tomorrow, dad was a star in the kitchen.
I remember, it was long time ago my sister and I came from school and pancakes were on the table. My father has made crepes caramelized in orange juice and not only that, he also made those filled with dark chocolate served with red wine sauce. I will never forget that experience and how he showed to us how much food mattered to him.
It seems today we are all fascinated with food, we all cook, there are TV channels, TV chefs, celebrities cook, images of food are everywhere.
I really cannot tell if our collective obsession with food has gone too far, but my obsession with pumpkins this season is serious.
But I still follow tree magic words: fresh, local and seasonal. 
This Hokkaido pumpkin is produced by local farmer and the lady that sells them at the market is very proud of them. One can tell how she smiles by only talking about them and explaining how they taste.
They really do have hint of that nut flavor, and I like to use them for stuffing, dips, spreads, soups..
pumpkin hummus
6 cloves roasted garlic
3-4 tablespoons olive oil (garlic infused olive oil, the one used for roasting the garlic cloves)
3 tablespoons cold water
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
200g pumpkin puree (Hokkaido pumpkin)
sea salt to taste

To roast the garlic, simmer peeled cloves in a small saucepan with olive oil for about 10 minutes over low heat. First puree chickpeas, water, garlic and oil in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add pumpkin puree and season with salt and add more oil or water if needed.  Blend again until smooth.
Serve with warm bread sticks, crackers, pita bread or anything you can think off.

pumpkin, almond, walnut and coconut muffins  
(makes 12)

80g ground almonds
20g   shredded coconut
100g self raising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla paste
180 g pumpkin puree (Hokkaido pumpkin)
2 eggs
3 tbsp honey
65g vegetable oil (sunflower)
200ml milk
100ml juice of an orange

30gr almond flakes
walnuts, handful (chopped)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a spoon until all is combined. Line a muffin pan with baking paper or muffin cases. Divide the mixture into them and sprinkle with few shredded coconut. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden on the outside.

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