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Indian Pudding: Childhood Memories And Autumnal Tr...

Thinking back on my childhood, one of the things I remember from this time of year was my Mum making a dessert known as Indian Pudding. There was nothing quite like playing outside in the crisp Autumn air – jumping in piles of leaves and playing make believe in the back yard – and then coming inside to this wonderful dish. The spicy aroma and deep smoky flavour of molasses take me right back to those happy childhood memories.

The origins of Indian Pudding come from Colonial America where the settlers attempted to recreate dishes from their homelands. It is very similar to porridge and also to what is known in the U.K as hasty pudding. Cereal grains (usually wheat or oats) would be boiled down over a long period of time in scalded milk, resulting in a thick creamy consistency (no lumps please!).

Not having access to large stores of wheat or oats the colonists used cornmeal instead which was more readily available. Often butter or beaten eggs would be added to give the dish extra richness. Spices such as Cinnamon, Ginger and Nutmeg would be used to enhance the flavour and it would be sweetened with molasses. Dried fruits were also occasionally added.

For me this creamy dessert conjures up happy childhood memories (and Autumn) just as much as a big slice of pumpkin pie.

Here is the recipe for my Mum’s Indian Pudding

Ingredients

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup water

4 cups whole milk

1 large egg

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup dark molasses

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup combination of raisins and dried cranberries

Good quality vanilla ice cream to serve. (I love Mackie’s)

Directions

Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees F).

Heavily grease a 1-1/2 quart oven proof baking dish with unsalted butter.

Place 3/4 cup water in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the cornmeal until it is completely mixed and smooth.

Scald 3 cups of the milk in a heavy saucepan (heat until tiny bubbles appear around the edge). Make sure you don’t bring the milk to a full boil.
Stir the cornmeal mixture into the hot milk. Reduce heat to low and stir frequently, for approximately 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.

Remove from heat.

Beat the egg in a small bowl. Gradually stir some of the hot cornmeal mixture into the beaten egg, one spoonful at a time, until you have added about 1/2 cup of the mixture. (This will gently warm up the egg so the hot cornmeal mixture doesn’t cook it too quickly.)

Return the egg and cornmeal mixture to the saucepan and stir in the sugar, molasses, butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. You can add dried fruit at this stage if you want.

Pour the mixture into the prepared greased dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and gently pour the remaining 1 cup of milk over the top of the pudding. Do not stir in.

Continue to bake for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the pudding begins to set.

Remove from oven and set aside for 30 minutes to one hour. It will continue to thicken further as it cools.

Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Note: This recipe serves 5-6 but I love to have the leftovers for breakfast the next day – slightly warmed and served with milk. YUMMY!

Indian Pudding

Indian Pudding

Sweet Potato And Black Bean Soup: Magic In A Bowl...

“Soup is the song of the hearth… and the home.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

There is nothing quite like a bowl of home made soup on a cold rainy Autumnal day. Usually when making soup I take my time; allowing things to gently simmer for hours, enjoying the process of flavours developing and coming together and breathing in the rich aroma of herbs and spices as they fill my kitchen. For me making soup is very much like brewing up a magic potion. It is a sacred ritual and something to be savoured – I enjoy the process as much as I enjoy eating the soup!

However I do understand that sometimes you just want to curl yourself round a big comforting bowl of soup as quickly as you can. That was certainly the case for me when I went out for a weekend walk and got caught in a sudden downpour. With no where to hide and no umbrella, I got soaked. By the time I got home I was chilled to the bone and to be honest, was also slightly cranky. What I needed was the powerful healing magic of soup!

Fortunately earlier on in the week I bought ingredients to make Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup. While browsing the Spark People website, this recipe shared by member SOUSRATURE, caught my eye. It is extremely healthy, uses an ingredient (black beans or turtle beans) which I have never used before and takes all of 20 minutes to prepare and cook. It did take me a little longer as I don’t have a hand held blender so had to transfer some of the soup into my glass blender. Still the soup was on the table within 30 minutes!

I had always been under the assumption that soup needed to bubble away for ages in order for deep flavours to develop and emerge but this soup was one of the most delicious I have ever tasted. The only changes I made was to use a Spanish Onion, add a pinch of nutmeg (of course) and an extra clove of garlic.
This is definitely a dish I will make again and again. If you love good wholesome tasty soup then do yourself a favour and get in your kitchen and brew up this magical recipe. I promise you’ll love it!

Here is Sousrature’s recipe as seen on Spark People:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

2 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 cup of rinsed black beans

1 cup sweet vidalia onion, finely chopped

1 tsp chopped garlic

3 cups veggie broth

1-2 bay leaves

.5 tsp cinnamon

Directions

Lightly spray bottom of sauce pan with olive oil and sweat the onion and garlic over low heat.

Add chopped sweet potatoes and beans and cook briefly.

Add water, 3 vegetable bouillon cubes, cinnamon and bay leaf. Turn up heat slightly and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes soften.

Remove bay leaf and blend just a bit with hand blender–be sure to leave some nice big chunks of sweet potato for contrast. Pop it back over the heat for a minute, then serve with an optional sprinkling of brown sugar and/or dollop of light sour cream on top.


NOTE:
Full of fiber, protein, and vitamins, this soup is filling enough to be a stand-alone meal! The black beans and orange sweet potatoes also look great together. (Tip: Use low-sodium broth to cut the salt content.)

Number of Servings: 2

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup

Home Made Pumpkin Pie.It’s Easier Than You Think...

The Magical Pumpkin

The Magical Pumpkin

Pumpkins ARE magical. They have pleasing shapes, are beautiful shades of orange and they smell of Autumn when you cut into them. Of course one of the best things about pumpkins is the way they taste! There are so many wonderful things you can create with pumpkins – never mind carving them into Jack O’Lanterns!

I am saddened by how many people throw away the seeds when they are carving their pumpkins. These seeds are not only good for you – they are absolutely delicious. All you need to do is clean them off and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes or so and presto – you have a snack that you won’t want to share with anybody else!

Luna Raye’s Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Ingredients

A pumpkin of course!

Directions

While you’re scooping all the gloop out of your pumpkin make sure to have a bowl handy in which you can reserve the seeds.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.

When you are finished with your pumpkin (carving it or preparing the flesh for a recipe) go back to the seeds and clean off as much of the gloop as you can, but don’t be too worried if there is a small amount left around the seeds.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the seeds out.

Lightly salt them and put in the oven. There is no need to add any oil.

Keep checking on them and giving them a swirl around the tray to make sure they are toasted on both sides.

When they are crisp to the bite take them out and serve them up.

You will wonder why you ever threw them away!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

So what else can you make with pumpkins?

• Soups.

• Stews.

• Curries.

• Roasted in the oven with some butter and maple syrup or brown sugar.

• Mashed on its own (or with potatoes) with lots of black pepper and some butter.

• As a filling for pasta, pasties and rotis (the best I ever had came from a little newsagents shop in Fiji).

• But my all time favourite recipe for pumpkins is the mighty pumpkin pie!

The UK is not big on pumpkin pie. It is near impossible to buy the usual canned pumpkin that many people use back in Canada or America. I have seen it in specialist stores but it usually requires a small bank loan just to purchase one can.

Most of my friends in the UK make funny faces when I talk of my love for pumpkin pie (they start talking about weird North American foods like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or egg-y waffles (eggo waffles) with maple syrup and crispy bacon).

Maybe it’s the Canadian in me but it just doesn’t feel like Autumn without pumpkin pie. This year for Thanksgiving I was determined to make one from scratch. I thought it would be impossibly difficult, but I found the most amazing website which talked me through the whole process. I am not much of a baker but I am pleased to say the pie (well I actually had enough mixture for 2 pies!) came out beautifully. The website said that once you have tried pumpkin pie made from scratch you wouldn’t want to go back to the canned version and I absolutely agree!

Please follow this link for their really easy to follow and fun to read recipe for the perfect pumpkin pie made from real pumpkin.

For those of you who have never tried this wonderful dessert (usually served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream) then give it a try. You will love it!

Yummy Pumpkin Pie

Yummy Pumpkin Pie Made From Scratch.