March 8, 2011

Promises to myself

There are things you promise yourself you'd never do.

You know, things like:
- If I were a teacher, I'd never give my class a quiz just to shut them up.

And if I were a parent I'd never give my kids sweeties.
Oh yeah, right.

And if I were a gardener, I'd never, no never, plant too many zucchini plants or fall into the magic land of the pump-action inflating summer squash. No, never that either.

Good thing Mom's zucchini bread recipe is so damn fine.

- - - - - - -
Ma's Zucchini Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)

3 eggs, beaten until frothy
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups loosely packed coarsely grated zucchini (about one zucchini or half a monster)
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Beat the eggs in a large bowl; stir in the sugar and vegetable oil.
In a separate jug or bowl, mix all the dry ingredients with a fork.
Add the zucchini to the egg/oil mixture, alternating with the flour. Stir to combine.
Pour into two lightly oiled loaf tins and bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour - when they smell so good you're eager to eat zucchini again....

March 3, 2011

What became of the pumpkin?

Well, we ate it, of course.

My goodness, we liked it! I was trying to think up a name for the recipe. 'Agent orange' is not appetising, neither 'Fromorange' - an unholy union between the words 'fromage' and 'orange'.

It's been a long week.

So when my tired stubby fingers hit the keyboard and typed "Pumpklin", I thought, hmmm...

Pumpklin - Stuffed

This is for a small pumpkin or hard-skinned autumn squash like turk's turban, Queensland blue or any of the others of that ilk.

1 small pumpkin, about 1 kg
1 clove garlic
a shred of bacon, about half a slice (only necessary if you live with a carnivore)
1/2 onion, chopped
silverbeet (chard) or spinach leaves, 2 or 3 large ones
1/2-3/4 cup chopped pieces of cheese - I used raclette and a bit of rock-hard parmesan. Needless to say it should be good cheese....the dry bit near the rind will melt nicely if you chop it finely
2-3 tablespoons cream
salt and pepper
nutmeg, for grating
1-2 potatoes (optional) 
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 F).
  • Wash the pumpkin and carefully cut a slice off the top at the stem end to make a lid.
  • Scoop out all the innards with a spoon. (You might want to save some of the seeds for toasting, or even for planting in spring!)
  • Put the pumpkin in a small baking dish so tht it sits firmly upright, pop the clove of garlic inside with the bacon (if using). Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Put the pumpkin in the oven, its lid perched in place. 
  • Warm a frying pan over medium heat, add some olive oil and saute the onion slowly 5 minutes, until soft and transparent. 
  • Strip the leaves from the stems of silverbeet (chard) and slice them finely. Add to the onions in the pan, and stir.
  • After 2-3 minutes, rip up the leaves and add them. Cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. 
  • Tip the onion and greens into a medium bowl, adding a grating of nutmeg. Dollop in two tablespoons of cream, and add the grated or finely chopped cheese. 
  • Remove the pumpkin from the oven, remove the lid and stuff in the onion and cheese mixture, pressing down with the back of a spoon. Pack it quite firmly and pile it up a bit, jamming the lid down when you're done - the cheese will melt and fill any holes! 
  • Any remaining stuffing (I had more than I needed), can be layered with thinly sliced potatoes in the baking dish around the pumpkin base. They'll cook nicely and catch any sweet juices coming out of the pumpkin. 
  • Put the whole lot back in the oven for almost an hour, checking regularly after 40 minutes. When the pumpkin if soft and yields easily to the tines of a fork, it's done. 
  • Slice in half and serve half per person - or just a quarter if your pumpkin was larger and if you serve something else (or dessert) with it.