pumpkin

All posts tagged pumpkin

The Great Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Published November 23, 2014 by The Feminist

thank

Usually, I’m not a very jealous person. Jealousy, in my humble opinion, is simply time wasted. Time that you could have spent actually doing sh**, instead of being envious of other people doing sh**. Jealousy brings out the worst in people and that is why I always try to live a jealousy-free life.

There is only one moment every single year that I am truly jealous. And that is when all you Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. To me, a girl who has been living in Belgium her entire life – a country where there is no such thing as Thanksgiving, boohoo! – Thanksgiving seems to be the most decadent of holidays with an (over)abundance of food, family and friendship.

It seems wonderful.

It seems brilliant.

And most of all, it seems like a whole lot of food.

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So yes, I am genuinely jealous.

However, instead of letting myself be consumed with jealousy, I decided to tackle the green-eyed monster and turn a negative emotion into a positive one. I decided to get busy and started cooking myself. My very own vegetarian Thanksgiving!

I know that it must be hard to be a vegetarian on Thanksgiving. Especially if you are the only vegetarian in your family and everyone else is digging into a turkey the size of a Kim Kardashian butt.

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But if you are a little bit creative, you can enjoy a marvelously decadent, vegetarian Thanksgiving  as well. Forget the turkey. Forget the gravy. The following recipes are heartwarming in their own right.

Ps: If you are one of those vegetarian Americans (or American vegetarians), and just had a Thanksgiving with a family who weren’t exactly animal-friendly: take pen and paper and write down the following recipes. Next year’s Thanksgiving will be one big, delicious vegetarian bash, I promise!

Brussels Sprouts Risotto with Stilton and Pecan nuts

What could possibly be more comforting than a risotto? A risotto with fragrant roasted Brussels Sprouts and pungent stilton cheese of course!

risotto

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, one minced and the other one just bashed
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 lemon
  • 300gr risotto rice
  • 500gr Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 200ml white wine (the good stuff)
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 250gr stilton cheese
  • 2 handfuls of pecan nuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat a knob of butter in a pan and add the Brussels sprouts and the bashed clove of garlic. Season with salt and pepper and some nutmeg. Let them fry for a couple of minutes, until they have a nice colour. Remove from the heat and put the Brussels sprouts in an oven-proof dish together with a couple of strips of the lemon rind. Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The Brussels Sprouts should be al dente: tender enough to be enjoyable to eat, but not too mushy.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and minced garlic and let it sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir in the rice and let it fry for a couple of minutes on a medium heat.
  3. Pour in the wine and let the rice absorb all the moisture. Stir in the thyme. Now spoon in the vegetable stock, one ladleful at a time, until the rice is tender.
  4. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven and stir those lovely roasted gems into the risotto together with the cream cheese.
  5. Finish with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Spoon the risotto onto your plate and scatter some pecans and crumble stilton cheese on top.

Spiced Sweet Potato Mash with Peanut Butter and Ginger and Chili Sautéed Kale

An exotic twist on sweet potato mash. The zingy flavours of ginger and chili kale marry beautifully with the warmth of all the spices in the sweet popato mash. Add to that some good oll’ peanut butter and you just know that this dish will be an instant family favourite.

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Ingredients:

For the sweet potato mash (serves 1):

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1tbsp honey

For the sautéed kale (serves 1):

  • 2-3 large kale leaves, sliced into thin strips
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 large chili pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp terriyake sauce

Method:

  1. Boil the sweet potato in some salted water until tender. Drain and mash together with the peanut butter, spices and honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remember: it should be a rather sweet and spiced mash, but if it tastes like a dessert, you’ve been a bit too generous 😉 It’s all about a balance of flavours. That is why the combination with the peanut butter works so damn well.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan. Add the kale, ginger, garlic and chili. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the kale on a medium heat for about 15 minutes –don’t forget to stir, otherwise it will burn – until your kale is tender.
  3. Stir in the terriyake sauce.
  4. Serve the sweet potato mash with the fragrant kale.

Spiced Lentil and Pumpkin Stew with Maple syrup and Pecan Brussels Sprouts … and some Feta Cheese

You can’t have a Thanksgiving party without serving at least one pumpkin dish. This lentil and pumpkin stew is spicy and sweet at the same time and works brilliantly with the Brussels sprouts. Even if you are not really a Brussels sprouts fan, you have got to try this recipe. The sprouts were fried with some fragrant pink peppercorns and are coated in a lick of maple syrup. The pecans add extra crunch and all these ingredients together make one explosive Brussels sprouts dish. The stew and the sprouts were finished with a crumbling of feta cheese. This tangy and salty kick lifts this already incredible dish to unseen culinary heights.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the Brussels sprouts:

  • 2 handfuls of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • ½ tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pink peppercorns
  • Handful of pecan nuts, chopped

For the lentil and butternut stew:

  • Handful of lentils
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 200gr butternut, cut into large chunks
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Vegetable stock

To finish:

  • Feta cheese

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small pan, add the shallot, lentils, chili and cinnamon. Stir and cover with vegetable stock. Let it simmer for 10 minutes before adding the butternut chunks.
  2. Add some more stock and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the butternut and the lentils are tender. Add vegetable stock once and a while to make sure your lovely stew doesn’t burn. The end result should be “oozy” not “runny”.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a tbsp. of oil in a frying pan. Add the Brussels Sprouts and the pink peppercorns. Season with salt. Let it fry until golden brown. Turn down the heat and let it fry on a low heat until the sprouts are al dente. Stir in the pecan nuts and maple syrup and stir.
  4. Serve the stew with the Brussels Sprouts and scatter some feta cheese over the top.

The Beauty or The Beast: dainty tarts vs. spooky brownies

Published December 9, 2013 by The Feminist

beast

These two baking extravaganzas couldn’t be more different from one another. One is savory, the other is sweet. One is light, the other is rich and heavy. One is a beauty, the other is a beast.

If you love baking as much as I do, there is one rule you will always have to stick to: flavour. Flavour is the key to producing good food (and on a more melancholic note: the key to a happy soul), because no matter how pretty a dish might look, it will always be the flavour that leaves a lasting impression.

These two dishes are both absolutely delicious! They are packed full of flavour, blend together the most amazing aromas and are a wonderful experience in terms of texture  and stickiness.

Their outer look on the other hand… well… that’s a different story. The fresh fig and camembert tart looks refined, pretty and feminine. The pumpkin cheesecake brownies look butchy , sloppy and masculine.

Which recipe you decide on replicating is entirely up to you, but just remember that they are each so magnificently scrumptious I would consider it a sin if you didn’t give both dishes a go. (Just sayin’)

Fresh fig and camembert Tart

This is the perfect savory tart in every possible way. The pastry is crispy and light…The rich and salty depth of the camembert is in perfect harmony with the sweet and soothing figs… The crunch of the walnut and the aroma of the honey compliments the fragrant notes of thyme so beautiful it will bring tears to your eyes…

PS: if this tart does indeed produce a waterfall of tears, I have one quick message: Get a grip, tart-loving people! (And eat it before it gets cold!  😉

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • Puff pastry
  • 4 fresh figs, cut into approx. 0,5 cm slices
  • Camembert, cut into thin slices
  • ½ tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 walnuts, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Cut out a circle out of your puff pastry. (A big one if you’re starving, or smaller ones if you would like to turn this dish into an appetizer)
  3. Prick the dough all over with a fork and layer the figs and camembert on the pastry but leaving about 1cm space along the edge.
  4. Gently fold over the edges to make sure the filling doesn’t leak out whilst in the oven.
  5. Drizzle over the honey and sprinkle on the thyme and crushed walnuts. Transfer the tart onto your baking tray.
  6. Bake into the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Pumpkin cheesecake brownies

These ugly goodies are devilishly delicious! I made them when my BFF and I were holding a Harry Potter movie marathon ( please don’t judge me!) and we needed a wizardly dessert to create the perfect magical ending to a wonderful evening. These brownies certainly did the trick! The flavour of this spooky brownie is so rich and intense, I can guarantee that after treating yourself to a large slice, you will have no problem whatsoever annihilating some creepy dementors or Death Eaters.

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Ingredients

For the pumpkin puree:

  • One butternut, cut into small chunks
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp honey

For the brownie:

  • 100gr dark chocolate
  • 100gr butter
  • 120gr caster sugar
  • 55gr plain flour
  • 2 eggs

For the pumpkin cheesecake:

  • 250gr pumpkin puree
  • 200gr cream cheese
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Make the pumpkin puree by cooking the pumpkin in hot water. Drain and mix with the spices and honey until you get a smooth paste. Leave to cool. (Preferably overnight)
  3. Make the brownie. Melt the chocolate au bain marie. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Stir in the flour and mix until incorporated. Gently stir through the melted chocolate.
  4. Pour ¾ of the brownie batter in your tin and spread out evenly. Set aside the leftover batter.
  5. Make the cheesecakes mixture by mixing all the ingredients together. Pour the batter on top of the brownie. Now drop dollops of the leftover brownie batter into the cheesecake to create a cow/marble effect.
  6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

Passionate about Pumpkin: Curried pumpkin soba noodles and spiced pumpkin cake with nougat

Published October 8, 2013 by The Feminist

pumpkin duo

Take a look outside your window, dearest reader.
Do you see that?

Fall has arrived.
The foliage is changing colours, the sun is standing incredibly low on the horizon- transforming the air in a parade of golden sunbeams- and Christmas decorations are starting to pop up in shopping windows everywhere. Although I think that the latter is the epitome of bad taste and dreadful commercialism, I do love every little thing about this season. (yes, even the freezing toes and bloody rain showers)

But if there is one thing about the fall that I truly and utterly adore, it most definitely is the great… the humble…the magnificent… pumpkin! These strange looking fellas have the brightest orange hue –it would even make Tan Mom blush!- and their taste is just a heavenly combination of sweet, slightly honeyed bliss and earthy, fiber goodness.

Besides the obvious health benefits ( say hello to lots of vitamins and minerals!), this humble winter squash is also incredibly versatile! Yes, I’m not joking! There is actually more to pumpkins than velvety pumpkin soup or –the horror!- Halloween lanterns.

In order to prove my point, I conjured up a two-course meal for 4 that truly captures its unique and yummy character. Enjoy!

Asian curried pumpkin soba noodles

This is the ultimate vegetarian comfort food dish. Creamy coconut milk, sweet pumpkin, aromatic spices and –last but not least-very slurpable noodles!

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Ingredients:
• 250gr soba noodles
• 300gr pumpkin, cut into 1cm dices
• 1 can of chickpeas
• 200gr cherry tomatoes, halved
• 500gr spinach
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
• ½ tsp chilli powder
• ¼ tsp nigella seeds
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp fenugreek
• ¼ tsp mustard seeds
• 2 tbsp garam massala
• 2 tbsp ground turmeric
• 400ml coconut milk

Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a heavy-based cooking pot and add all the spices, garlic, onion and ginger. Sauté for a couple of minutes until your kitchen smells like an Indian take away (in a good way, of course)
2. Add the diced pumpkin and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the coconut milk. Let it simmer for 15 minutes until the pumpkin is soft but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile cook your noodles according to the instruction on the packet and blanche the spinach.
4. Add the tomatoes, drained chickpeas, blanched spinach and cooked noodles to the pumpkin curry and season with salt if necessary.
5. Dig in!

Spiced pumpkin cake with soft nougat and nuts

(I repeat: pumpkin! Spice! Nuts! SOFT NOUGAT!!) This cake has the rare quality of being both incredibly light and airy, and at the same time staying lusciously moist and fudgy. The soft nougat turns into a sticky chunk of sugary honey and makes this already yummy cake a one-in-a-million showstopper! Don’t say I haven’t warned you!

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Ingredients (makes 6 really big squares, or 8 regular ones)
• 2 eggs
• 125ml sunflower oil
• 100gr caster sugar
• 80gr muscovado sugar
• 275gr pumpkin, cut into small chunks
• 170gr plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• 100gr soft nougat, cut into chunks
• 50gr of nuts, roughly chopped

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a flat cake tin with baking parchment.
2. Cook the pumpkin in some boiling water until it starts to fall apart (Add a cinnamon stick, a star anise and some crushed cardamom pods to the water to give extra flavour.)
3. Drain the pumpkin and mash it all up until you get a smooth puree. Let the puree cool slightly.
4. Add the oil and sugar to the pumpkin puree and mix well. Stir in the eggs and whisk until combined.
5. Sift in the dry ingredients until you get a smooth batter and finally stir in the chopped nougat and nuts.
6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
7. Get ready to go to warm, gooey and fuzzy pumpkin heaven !

Where there is no imagination, there is no horror

Published October 31, 2012 by The Feminist

I’ve never been very subtle when it comes to expressing my likes and dislikes, so why start now, right? If my previous posts about my love for pumpkins haven’t made it clear, I will say it one last time: I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!!!!
Not because of the decoration ( I HATE the corny decoration!) and not because of the horror ( I am a TOTAL WUSS !) but because of all the YUMMY FOOD!!
What could be better than cooking a Halloween dinner? Cooking a Halloween dinner while being dressed like a vampire, of course!
On the menu: all things orange
• Pumpkin coriander dip with grissini
• Pumpkin soup with goats cheese and Black Forest ham
• Eerie pumpkin cupcakes (To be honest, I actually tried to make a spider web frosting but failed miserably. So I thought “eerie” was a better description 😉 )

Pumpkins here, pumpkins there, pumpkins everywhere!

Published October 24, 2012 by The Feminist

The autumn coziness is PUMPKIN-ly, the clouds look PUMPKIN-like and I’m feeling quite PUMPKIN-ish!
Guess what? This post is about pumpkins and nothing but pumpkins! Simply because I love everything about this magnificent orange squash: Rough on the outside and soft in the middle. It not only tastes delicious, you can also turn it into a carriage to take you to the ball!…Oh wait, maybe that was just the fairy godmother from Cinderella 😉
Pumpkins are so versatile! So for heaven’s sake: STOP USING THEM AS DECORATION! Oh, and by the way, there’s more to pumpkins than just pumpkin soup and pie, you know.
Here is a (not so) brief list of the delicious pumpkin dishes:
• Pumpkin risotto: Add sage if you want to keep it traditional, or add cumin, curry powder and coconut milk to give the dish an Indian twist
• Pumpkin curry: pumpkin goes so well with spices, so be generous with the ginger and chili.
• Pumpkin tajine: lovely with dried dates or cranberries, chicken and chickpeas
• Pumpkin ravioli: an Italian classic!
• Pumpkin pasta with blue cheese and pine nuts: I could eat this every day!
• Pumpkin and potato gratin: a perfect winter dish for a cold winter day
• Pumpkin soufflé: for those who like a bit of a challenge
• Pumpkin stuffed with wild rice, nuts and dried fruits: need I say more?
• Pumpkin hummus: lovely with a good pinch of cumin and garam massala powder
• …

Are you starting to feel a bit hungry? I haven’t even mentioned the desserts yet!
• Pumpkin cheesecake: with a marble effect!
• Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and candied ginger: heaven on earth in one little cup!
• Pumpkin and coconut pancakes: though traditionally for breakfast, I can eat them all day long!
• Pumpkin strudel with pecans: an American twist on a German classic
• Pumpkin , rum and raisin ice cream: simply sublime
• Pumpkin chocolate chip scones: it will be hard not to eat them all at once
• Pumpkin and chocolate shortbread: sticky and sweet, just how I like it!
• Pumpkin and cinnamon rolls: another match made in heaven
• …

I could go on forever, but I’m starting to drool all over my keyboard 😉