Joyeux Noël: France Christmas in Pictures

Winter solstice sunrise run

You’ve made this a Christmas to remember
Springtime feelings in the middle of December…

Many thanks to the wonderful people (and animals) who helped make this a Christmas – and Winter Solstice – to remember: Kate, Stephanie, Phyllis, Mardi, Neil, Texas Marty, Penny, Marie-Carroll, Franny, John, Greg, Bosco, Bacon, Echo and Terra. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone! You all are the best Christmas gifts in the world.

I’ve put a few favorite photos from my trip below. You can see all of my pictures – for better or worse! – on Flickr: Camont Christmas 2014.

View all photos from Camont Christmas 2014 on Flickr

An Easy 3-Day Juice Feast to Jumpstart 2015

#JuiceFeast Day 1 of 7. This being the season of Thanksgiving, this juicy bonanza offers a timely opportunity to give thanks for the abundance of fruit and vegetables we have access to in this modern world. Who knows, when the zombie apocalypse arrives, t

“I’m not really one for new year’s resolutions, “Dry January”, “New Year New You” or other such arbitrary means for betterment. But the fact is, I entered this year feeling not exactly my best self. Granted, I’ve felt worse on New Year’s Day. At least this year I well-rested and didn’t have a hangover (because I didn’t go out the night before, for various reasons). But my sobriety only made it all the more clear that the only trousers that fit comfortably at the moment are leggings.

I know: don’t panic. A little bloat is expected after a 10-day trip to France, and bonus: I know that a great solution to the over-indulgence blues is a juice feast. But I know from experience that this “quick fix” doesn’t mean much if there isn’t some forward planning to go with it. A little more on that later. In the midst of all my thinking and scheming, my friend and fellow smoothie addict Jacqueline Meldrum set out a challenge called Jumpstart 2015, the rules being as follows:

  1. A freshly made smoothie or juice (made of mostly veg) for breakfast and lunch
  2. Drink more water
  3. No alcohol (Jac asserts that this is optional but I reckon that for many of us it’s the key to feeling awesome)
  4. Eat more soups
  5. Normal meal in the evening

This is pretty close to my own plan for the coming weeks so I thought I’d overcome my cynicism and, in the spirit of camaraderie and support, join Jac and fellow bloggers in this challenge. (BTW, Jac notes that she isn’t medically trained and the challenge is based on common sense, but it’s worth noting that her challenge is pretty much on par with the Clean program, designed by an M.D., and which I can say from experience is pretty solid!)

3-Day Juice Feast

As mentioned, I’m beginning with a 3-day juice feast to bump start my jumpstart (not that kind of bump start). I am essentially following Jason Vale’s 3 Day Juice Program (you can find the program with recipes in full on The Fresh Network Blog). I found it very therapeutic to take some time to scrub my kitchen, and my appliances, and set up a little home juice bar in my kitchen. (In case you’re wondering, my tools of the trade are the Froothie Optimum 9400 blender and Optimum 600 slow juicer.)

Getting prepped for a juicy 2015 by giving the home juice bar a good tidy, stocking up on beautiful ingredients, and augmenting the bar with some inspiring reading materials! How is your awesome prep going?

Following this, I plan to follow the challenge pretty much to the letter, with some fitness goals thrown in:

  • Monday – Friday: Cardio training in the morning – either Swim or Cycle
  • Monday – Friday: CrossFit in the afternoon
  • A walk every day
  • Some kind of long walk or bike ride on the weekends

Some of my training may necessitate some solid food mid-afternoon (or mid-ride / mid-hike!) but in general the plan is to eat and drink super clean. And embrace soups!

Goals: What This is All About

This year I want to take on some big fitness challenges. Things that come to mind:

  • The Omm
  • The Pennine Way
  • The Pembrokshire Coast Path
  • Cycle tour in France
  • Multi-day wild camping adventures

I’m NOTE going to do all of these but if I did even one I’d be pretty stoked.

And I can’t deny that some of this is aesthetic. I want to comfortably fit into my trousers! I want to like what I see when people take pictures of me!

What worked in 2014?

But in writing all this, I think it’s important to remember my successes and what worked in 2014.

  • CrossFit – I am definitely way stronger than I was at the start of the year and I’ve met some amazingly supportive people as a result
  • Swimming / Spinning in the mornings – I just feel better when I bump start the day with some exercise, preferably cardiovascular
  • Juicing / Smoothies
  • Walking every day
  • How water with lemon
  • My solstice friends
  • Social activities that are active, either physically or mentally (i.e. not purely focused on food and booze, not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
  • Crafts!

So all of that is part of my strategy for the coming months. Then…

Why didn’t all of that work in 2014?

I’m pretty sure that my big downfall is drinking. Drinking means I eat more, I sleep less and I perform poorly (or at least at a sub-standard level) at all physical activities. I know I’m not alone on this one. I am very grateful that I know so many awesome people, and that the opportunities to socialize keep increasing! But it’s up to me to recognize that not ALL social occasions necessitate drinking lots of booze and having a cheese board.

Cheese shop in Hillsboro

I’ve recognized in myself that I’m a person of extremes: 85% of the time I’m an uber healthy, super clean-eating superstar. The rest of the time I’m the person obsessed with making cocktails, tasting all of the wines and making dutch babies, no matter how full we are after dinner. It’s a dilemma, because I actually LIKE that I go all out in the things I do. I just can’t do that all the time. And that goes for the uber healthy stuff, too, because I’ve been there and I was a total bore to be around.

For most of us doing Jumpstart January, or any other kind of New Year reboot deal, it’s all about changing our physical selves. But the problem is totally mental. But that’s ESPECIALLY why doing something like this is important: it takes clarity of mind to figure out how to overcome life’s challenges. And that’s what I love about Juice Feast: it gives me that clarity, and seemingly boundless energy, to plow through what’s bothering me and get to the heart of the problem and hatch a solution.

Over the next couple days I’ll be using this clarity to make some plans and set some goals for the year ahead. Two things I’ve found helpful is the Wheel of the Year book and YearCompass.

First #greensmoothie of 2015 (with garnishes), and fresh new note books for mood padding and getting things done. Feeling the fresh start vibes all around.

I finish with a quote from a friend that I keep coming back to for inspiration, especially when I find myself dwelling on past mistakes: “Nothing to fear. The reality will be what it is.”

Also, from Wheel of the Year: “These old parts of ourselves we banish now / what’s past is past / we look to the new.”

And finally, this song.

Jumpstart2015

Be sure to visit these rad peeps who are also taking part:

Tinned Tomatoes
Fuss Free Flavours
Ren Behan
Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
Maison Cupcake
Veggie Desserts
Franglais Kitchen
Utterly Scrummy
Food to Glow
London Unattached

Chargrilled Romanesque Cauliflower Salad

Chargrilled Romanesco Cauliflower Salad

I am an ardent lover of cauliflower. And as a veggie lover who sidelines as a mathematician, a mathematical cauliflower is an extra special thing. Enter the Romanesque cauliflower (also known as Romanesco or Romanesco broccoli), a beautiful example of a Fibonacci fractal in the natural world, with buds arranged in an enchanting logarithmic spiral. It’s always a special day when one of these arrives in the Riverford box. And a special vegetable like this requires special treatment.

Riverford Box

Romanesque cauliflower has a flavour and texture pretty close to that of regular cauliflower, so I drew on my existing cauliflower know-how for inspiration. Yotam Ottolenghi has a recipe for Chargrilled Cauliflower with Tomatoes, Dill and Capers that I adore. In particular, I love the effect of chargrilling the cauliflower, which has the same crisp, caramel-like appeal of roasted cauliflower, but is fresher and lighter because the cauliflower gets steamed before chargrilling, and is then tossed with a light vinaigrette while still warm.

Chargrilled Romanesco Cauliflower Salad

This salad gets the same chargrilling treatment, but instead of tomatoes (far too summery for this time of year), I added raisins, red onion and dill, plus a splash of sherry vinegar and a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds. It’s a strange combination of ingredients but it works really well. For a complete meal, you could could add some chickpeas, cooked quinoa or even fish (good quality tinned tuna is actually fantastic with this and makes for an easy lunch).

Chargrilled Romanesco Cauliflower Salad

I use a little honey in the dressing but you could easily use maple syrup or agave for a vegan salad. This salad ticks the gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb boxes, too.

Chargrilled Romanesque Cauliflower Salad with Raisins, Almonds and Dill

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 head of Romanesque cauliflower (or normal cauliflower)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup or agave for a vegan version)
  • 3 Tbsp raisins
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 small handful of dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Whisky the honey with the sherry vinegar then toss with the onions, raisins and a pinch of salt. If you have time, leave this mixture for 30 minutes or so to give the raisins a chance to plump and the onions a chance to soften.
  2. Cut the Romanesque cauliflower into florets and steam for about 4 minutes, so that it’s tender but still has a crisp bite to it.
  3. Meanwhile, heat up a grill pan (or your outdoor barbecue) on a high heat. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil then grill, turning occasionally, so that it gets nice black crispy bits on all sides.
  4. Place the chargrilled cauliflower in a bowl and toss with the vinegar-onion-raisin mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add more olive oil if you’d like.
  5. Serve the salad sprinkled with sliced almonds and dill.

Bourbon and Spiced Pecan Ice Cream

Spiced Pecan and Bourbon Ice Cream

There are four parts to this recipe, each of which stand on their own as beautiful things, but together totally become one of those instances of a sum being more than the parts. The four parts are:

  1. Spiced Pecans
  2. Vanilla custard
  3. Bourbon
  4. Homemade Waffle Cones

Making ice cream cones with @thelaundry

The ice cream was inspired by a few things:

  1. A house guest who wanted to learn to make ice cream.
  2. The holidays, where pecan pie is a family tradition that has long eluded me – I’m just not a big fan of pecan pie. Too rich. Too sweet. But I love pecans. And I love ice cream.
  3. Gloria Nicol, who taught me how to make ice cream cones a few weeks ago using the recipe in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and Gloria’s cool ice cream cone making contraption.
  4. My dad’s love for butter pecan ice cream. I didn’t go home for Christmas this year, so I’ve been looking for all kinds of excuses to make things that remind me of my Chicago home.
  5. David Lebovitz’s book, A Perfect Scoop.
  6. I love Bourbon.

The spiced pecans in this totally rock my world and I’ve since made them again to use for other purposes – they’re great on salads, or just to eat as their own.

Bourbon and Spiced Pecan Ice Cream

This recipe explains how to make custard on a stove top, but if you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Froothie, you can also make custard in a blender.

  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) bourbon (I like Makers Mark)
  • 1 batch of Spiced Pecans (recipe below).

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.

2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last minute or so of churning, add the bourbon pecans to the machine (reserve a few pecans for garnish if you’d like).

Spiced Pecans

  • 2 Tbsp egg whites
  • 1/4 cup (60g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground chile
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (200g) pecans

Method

  1. Preheat the oven 300F / 150C. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl. Stir on the sugar, spices, vanilla and pecans. Spread the coated nuts evenly on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking, until the coating has hardened onto the pecans and they are nice and dry. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  4. For ice cream, chop them coarsely before mixing into the custard.

Oh look, I made a picture with some text on it!

Bourbon and Spiced Pecan Ice Cream

This is my submission to Kavey’s Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream, inspired by ice cream showstoppers!

Tropical Spirulina Yogurt Smoothie

So it seems spirulina makes smoothies look like something out of Ten Forward. This is cool to me. #trekkie

The Neptune green appearance of this spirulina yogurt smoothie would make it a fitting item on the bar menu at Ten Forward (or the Chalmun’s Cantina if you’d like). The super sci-fi color comes from – you guessed it – the combo of yogurt and spirulina. Meanwhile, the addition of pineapple and banana make it delicious and refreshing.

Why this is good for you:

  • Banana is loaded with potassium
  • Spirulina adds iron, magnesium, protein and B12 to the party
  • Yogurt adds more protein, plus live cultures, calcium and vitamin D
  • Just half a banana and a small slice of pineapple means this smoothie isn’t a sugar bomb

This smoothie is inspired by the Passion 4 Juice Master, one of the highlights of Juice Feast. This smoothie uses whole pineapple rather than juiced pineapple so it can all be done in the blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9400).

Spirulina Yogurt Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 200g plain natural yogurt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1-inch round slice of pineapple, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • 5g spirulina (about one heaped teaspoon; I use Naturya spirulina)

Method

  1. Put everything into the blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9400) and blitz until smooth. Serve on ice and enjoy!

 

Warm Tofu With Garlic Sauce and Sesame

Warm Tofu with Garlic & Sesame Sauce

This recipe could equally be called “The Easiest Way Ever To Make Tofu Taste Delicious”. It doesn’t involve any of the usual tricks people try to make tofu palatable: there’s no pressing or marinading or pan-frying or grilling. But the result is even better than you often get with some of these techniques.

The idea is simple: simmer tofu in water for a few minutes until its nice and hot. While that cooks, whip up a simple quick savory sauce, heavy on the chilli and garlic. Remove the tofu and place in a shallow bowl, then serve the tofu with garlic sauce.

That’s it.

Warm Tofu with Garlic & Sesame Sauce

The warm tofu basically becomes a sponge for the marinade, in this case, a potent garlic sauce that’s well seasoned with garlic, spring onions, soy sauce, a good dose of chilli and finally, a smattering of sesame seeds for flavor and texture.

It all comes together in about 10 minutes. Add some steamed rice and vegetables (broccoli works really well here) and you have a complete meal in no time flat that’s tasty enough to wow your friends. In fact, this is one of my favourite meals to serve lunchtime guests (Kavey in particular) when time is better suited to conversation and catching up rather than excessive amounts of extravagant cooking.

Warm Tofu in Garlic Sesame Sauce

Inspired by Lillian Chou’s recipe on gourmet.com.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 400g package of firm tofu
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method

  1. Put the tofu in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer then keep covered on a low heat while you make the sauce.
  2. Mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle (or with the side of a knife) with a pinch of salt. Stir the mashed garlic together with remaining ingredients.
  3. Lift the tofu with a spatula or slotted spoon out of the water and transfer to a shallow bowl. Spoon the sauce all over the tofu and serve.

Warm Tofu with Garlic & Sesame Sauce

Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

This is one of my go-to post-swim breakfast smoothies that gets its awesome coniferous color from spirulina, a blue-green algae that I’ve been enjoying in my smoothies lately. Spirulina is touted for its high concentration of plant-based B12 and protein, making it a pretty cool supplement for vegans and vegetarians. Now, this could all be in my head, but I actually feel better for it – this spirulina smoothie after a swim seems to give me enough oomph to power through til lunch (including a pre-lunch CrossFit session as is my routine these days).

How does spirulina taste? Let’s be honest here: it’s an algae so it tastes a bit like seaweed and takes some getting used to. I’ve actually grown to like its flavor. Plus, this spirulina smoothie has a lot more stuff going for it: pineapple, lime, avocado… serve it in a salt-rimmed glass, garnish it with some flaked coconut and make an event of it.

Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

This spirulina smoothie features prominently in the 7-Day Juice Feast. It’s made by juicing pineapple, apple, cucumber and lime then blending it with avocado and spirulina. Yep, you need a juicer and a blender for this one. But as the song says: it takes two to make a thing go right. And this spirulina smoothie is so so right. I’ve been using an Optimum 9400 blender and Optimum 600 Slow Juicer to get the job done and I can’t recommend them enough.

Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 lime, peel removed
  • 1 tsp spirulina (I use Naturya spirulina)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 heaped tsp psyllium husk (totally optional)

Method

  1. Juice the pineapple, apple, lime and spirulina.
  2. Blend the juice with the avocado, spirulina and psyllium husk until silky smooth.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Juice Feast Winter Edition

Juice Feast Winter Edition

Today is the first day of my latest 7-Day Juice Feast, a 7-day juice-only regime following the program designed by Jason Vale . This is my fourth time doing the feast, and if you’re wondering what this is all about and why I do this, then read my previous posts: 7 Reasons Why Juice Feast and Juice Feast in Review.

Although it may seem strange timing to do a juice feast at the start of December (a week of drinking cold juices? brrr), for me the timing couldn’t be better. I initially set aside this week for juicing because for a while now I feel like I’ve been slipping. On my own I’m a superstar when it comes to food. I am also fairly active which means I can get away with eating a little extra from time to time when social celebration or a simple craving calls for it. However, these “times” have become more and more frequent and I’ve lost my focus a little. So I want to get that back and feel comfortable in myself (and in my clothes) again. On top of that, I’ve had a very difficult last couple of weeks following the passing of my dear dog Rocky, which has involved much comfort eating, far too much Prosecco and two Thanksgiving dinners in the process. It’s really time for a reset.

Also, this being the season of Thanksgiving, the Juice Feast offers a timely opportunity to give thanks for the abundance of fruit and vegetables we have available to us. I harken back to my words during my previous Juice Feast Harvest Edition:

I’m trying to make this juice feast not only about ME, but also about a celebration of all that’s available this time of year, and how lucky I am to live in a place where I have access to such beautiful fruits and vegetables, some of which grow right outside my door. The harvest aspect also plays to the “positive thinking” angle of Juice Feast. This isn’t something to “get through”, it’s a treat to my body and my brain.

Positive thinking: so important during these dark days! But unlike the Harvest Edition, when I was very motivated by my lack of goal progress, during this Winter Edition I want to reassess what my goals actually are. I guess I’m ramping up for Yule, a time to contemplate hopes and aspirations for the coming year and figure out how our natural talents can be used for good.

Plus, I can’t think of a better way to brighten up these dark days of winter than by surrounding myself with fresh vibrant fruit and veg, and loads of cheerful tasty juices!

A few of my Juice Feast goals:

  • Finish my Rocky tribute book, “Rocky: A Dog’s Life”, in aid of Hope Rescue
  • Figure out my goals (and rewards!) for Imbolc and the new year
  • Enjoy lots of quiet contemplation and thinking time
  • Get a lot of work done (boring)
  • Write a few blog posts, including my juicing essentials, and a review of the Optimum 600 Slow Juicer which I’ll be using throughout the week.

Several folks are joining me in the Juice Feast, both virtually and in person, some for a few meals, and some for a few days. I appreciate all of the camaraderie. If you fancy joining in on the juicing fun, then do share with me what you’re up to, either here in the comments, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

 

Rocky Tribute Book and Calendar for Charity

Rocky: A Dog's Life

If any of you follow me on social media, then you know I had a dog named Rocky who’s been my constant companion and an internet superstar in his own right ever since I rescued him in April 2012. I am sad to report that dear Rocky passed away last week following a (fortunately short) battle with liver disease.

Rocky was already coming on in years when I adopted him, so I’ve always felt that every moment we had together was precious, which might explain why I’m finding his passing particularly tough. Still, I’m grateful that we had as much quality time together as we did, and  I’m also grateful that I took so many pictures of him (upward of 1,000!) to remember him by.

I’ve decided to pay tribute to wonderful Rocky by creating a photo book to celebrate his life. The book is for sale in soft cover and hard back, priced to cover my costs plus a few extra £££ to be donated to Hope Rescue, the rescue center where I found Rocky. I also have a calendar for sale at the bargain price of just £6.

Rocky Calendar

Be uber generous this Christmas by helping out all those loving animals who haven’t yet found their forever homes for the holidays. Buy your book and / or calendar below:

Buy the book “Rocky: A Dog’s Life” directly through Blurb.

Buy the Rocky Calendar by clicking on the button below:





Some cool ways to display your calendar…

The cork technique…
Rocky Calendar

Good ol’ sticky tack on the wall:

Rocky Calendar

Ye olde hole punch and nail:

Rocky Calendar

Fridge magnets:

Rocky Calendar

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie with Oatmeal Crust

Pumpkin Pie with Oatmeal Crust

One of my all time favorite family recipes is mom’s pumpkin pie. She’s been bringing this dessert to Thanksgiving and Christmas parties for as long as I can remember. My version of the pumpkin pie with oatmeal crust is just a slight tweak on the original, because you really shouldn’t mess around too much with a good thing.

Mom’s method follows a pretty classic pumpkin pie recipe, with all the usual ingredients you’d expect: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, eggs, evaporated milk and if you want to be super American about it, Libby’s tinned pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Pie with Oatmeal Crust

Of course, you can make your own pumpkin puree, but there is something special about Libby’s – they use a strain of Dickinson Pumpkins, with especially creamy flesh, that the company developed themselves. This variety is actually closer to a butternut squash than the pumpkins we’re used to, so if you are going for DIY pumpkin puree, you could just as easily use butternut squash.

I’ve riffed on the family recipe with the pastry, where I’ve used a pretty standard shortcrust amped up with some rolled oats for amazing texture that works really well with the custardy pumpkin pie innards.

Oatmeal Pie Crust

I’ve also been playing around with drink pairings for pumpkin pie. Sweet oloroso sherry and sweet reisling are amongst the recommended pairings, but I maintain that pumpkin pie, already quite sweet, needs to be balanced by something with a bit more oomph. For this reason, Maker’s Mark bourbon is ideal – the bourbon mellows the pumpkin pie, while the pie brings out the caramel flavours of the bourbon. It’s astounding, and about as American as it gets.

Maker's Mark: Perfect with Pumpkin Pie

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 16oz pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 13oz evaporated milk
  • 1 oatmeal pie pastry (see recipe below) or plain pastry
  • whipping cream
  • icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and spices. Blend in eggs and evaporated milk.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean. Let cool.
  4. Just before serving, whip the cream (add a little icing sugar for a touch of sweetness). Slice the pie and serve each slice with a big dollop of whipped cream.

Oatmeal Pie Pastry Crust

Makes 1 crust.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/2 cup jumbo rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary

Method

  1. Combine the flour, oats and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process for about 10 seconds, until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal.
  2. Put the mixture in a bowl and add the ice water; mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another tablespoon or two of ice water if necessary. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle a clean countertop with flour, put the dough on it, and sprinkle the top with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour. Roll, adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed.
  4. When the diameter of the dough is about 2 inches greater than that of your pie plate, drape the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Press the dough firmly into the plate all over.
  5. Trim the excess dough to about 1/2 inch all around, then tuck it under itself around the edge of the pie plate. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate it for 30 minutes) until you are ready to bake.

Pumpkin Pie with Oatmeal Crust