Pure simplicity – roasted pumpkin

When I think about wasting lovely pumpkin for the Halloween decorations… to be honest with you, I am not really into Halloween anyway, so no harm at all. If you like simplicity which is super-fast and sophisticated at the same time – Roasted pumpkin is good consideration. All you need is wide kitchen board and a knife. And wide plate of course, because this proposition of pumpkin is dangerously delicious.

1 pumpkin
2-3 Tbs of butter (it’s enough!)
Fresh or dried rosemary – up to you how much
Sea salt

If you don’t know how to cut pumpkin properly (and safely!), put the knife into the top and carefully try to halve it, cutting around. Make quarters and smaller slices at the end. Cut off pluffy inside. I love eating fresh pumpkin seeds, they’re absolutely great for your digestive system. Peel it and cut into big chunks, season with salt (it’ll be softer) and put in the very big pot or bowl. Heat up butter in the small pot, just for a minute, to get runny liqid (not too much heating!). Pour butter in the pot with pumpkin and immediately start tossing, because we need it to cover up every chunk of the pumpkin. Add rosemary. Put on the very wide baking tray, and leave in the oven (200 C) for about 45 mins. After that time change for a 220 C for another 15 mins, to get crispy endings. This is what I really wait for… And you will be genuinely surprised, that the entire baking tray will be empty within minutes ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s also perfect base for a winter, comfort soup, with cream and a bit of ginger. Enjoy!
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Make the most of the Fall

I visited my Family who live in the country and the weather was absolutely stunning. I mean, we have nearly November and today was 17 Celsius! I could go for a long, relaxing walk. What’s best after? Of course thick, creamy pumpkin & pepper soup.
Although I’ve made many recently I decided to show you one of my favourite’s (but I love all of them anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I made this one a couple of times, beause I wasn’t really contented when it comes to the flavour. Now I know that pepper in this particular recipe should be raw, crispy and sweet and added at the very end.

Yellow pumpkin – the more the better… at least 0,7-1,0 kg
1-2 carrots
1/2 of leek, white part only
2 big onions
1 big pepper or 2 small, red preferably
4 cloves of garlic – and 1 crushed and added just before blendering
1 bay leaf
1 L of vegetable/chicken stock or simply water
1 cup of whole milk (200 ml) / or cream if you prefer
2-3 Tbs of olive oil
Sea salt, black pepper
* you can also add 1 big potato to get smooth consistency. I skiped.

Peel pumpkin, cut into chunks. Start heating stock / water up. Chop onion and leek, rather finely. Put olive oil in the pan and fry until golden. Set aside. Put pumpkin on the same pan, and fry til softer – add a little amount of water to make it faster. Don’t worry if it tourns out a bit sugary / brown – taste will be great but be careful and do not burn. Slice carrot and put in the boiling stock / water. Add bay leaf BUT only for at least 20 mins – after that time take it out. Otherwise you get unneccesarily strong flavour. Put fried onion and pumpkin in the pot, crushed 4 cloves of garlic and cook until soft. Cool down a bit, add pepper & salt to taste (quite a lot!). Add crushed 1 clove of garlic, chopped pepper and blend everything, to get very smooth soup. If you like creamy flavour – add whole milk or cream. I prefer with milk, adds lovely sweetness. Sprinkle with olive oil. Enjoy!
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Coconut & plums loaf

Fall has come… For many – unfortunately. For me? Finally. I assume that many of you don’t like this time of the year. I do, very much. It’s such an extraordinary time… Even a fog has got something. A few days were sunny enough to make a fluffy loaf, with dessicated coconut and plums. Delicious and perfect with a nice cup of tea.

300 ml of coconut milk
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks (raw)
2 cups of plain flour (I mesure 1 cup as a amount of 250 ml glass. Itโ€™ll be about 130 gramms each)
3/4 (three-quarters) glass of sugar
4 Tbs od dessicated coconut *
Zest from 1/2 of lemon
3-4 plums, chopped
2-3 dried apricots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
4-5 tablespoon of sunflower oil
* Boil 50ml of water/milk and pour into the bowl with coconut. It’ll absorb water thoroughly and you’ll get stronger flavour.

Grate lemon zest. Combine everything in a large bowl, using whisk. And thatโ€™s pretty much all. Bake for 45 minutes in 180 C, and then for another 10 minutes in 200 C. To make sure itโ€™s ready โ€“ use a wooden stick. Simply stick in and check if the end is dry. If yes- perfect. If not- wait 5-10 mins more, and check again. Should be ready this time. If you like, you can prepare coconut icing. Combine a few Tbs of coconut, 2 Tbs of butter (unsalted!) and sugar to taste. Heat it up and spread on the loaf (icing should be sticky, a bit runny – but not too much). Enjoy!
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Pumpkin’s and pepper’s time!

We’ve finally had beautiful, sunny days recently. I like this time of the year especially for its extraordinary colours and also because it’s pumpkin’s & pepper’s season. I’ve never tried to match it before. Yesterday I realised that it could be interesting combination: pumpkin is very delicate, sweet and is a good base. Pepper is quite intensive, has great colour and could be either crispy or soft. Depends on you. And to be honest with you, guys, I think almost every vegetable goes great simply with butter, garlic and rosemary.
Today I’ll show you how to prepare a bit rustic, but still delicious and light meal, within 15-20 minutes.I am using rustic plate, too, which is my great love… I even think that one of the posts could be devoted to my collection of Churchill's porcelain which I’ve been buying on the Internet (quite big I must say – for 12! ) Maybe one of you also loves vintage style, just like me? When you like me to choose a new pair of shoes or nice antique piece, I wouldn't hesitate at all. Although I love booties too ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I thought that buckwheat is so rustic and deserves only one of Cottonwood Collection's piece.
Ingredients at least for 2.

150g of roasted buckwheat
300g of pumpkin ( I bought 1/4 of entire one)
1 red pepper
1/2 of small onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs of butter
Fresh rosemary – 2-3 Tbs
Salt, pepper to taste
Cook buckwheat (1:2 proportions, buckwheat to boiling water). Cook for about 10 mins and then turn if off. Leave until water absorbed. In the meantime, peel and dice pumpkin. Slice pepper. Put 1 Tbs of butter on the hot pan, put chopped garlic in, and after 1 min – also finely chopped onion. Fry until nicely golden and flavoured. Add sliced pepper, chopped rosemary and fry until soft. It will go red a bit. Meanwhile, cook pumpkin, using steam pot. When it's soft, mix everything carefully. At the very end, add 1 Tbs of butter to the hot buchwkeat and serve immediately. Enjoy colours and flavours on you plate!
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Walnut carbonara with spring onion

Pasta makes me feel very comfort. I don’t know what’s in it, but most of my friends or family say the same. If you ask me – while making pasta I always have known Families from Milano and Rome in front of my eyes… Apart from the wonderful food which was served to us with big heart, like rich pasta, heavenly scented lasagne or roasted pepper with garlic&olive oil (delicious…) – you could nearly touch emotions… Full of love, respect for each other, happiness, smile… I’ve been in Italy twice and I know It’s way not enough for me. I remember that I thought over many issues after that experience… which was fabulous after all.

Today I would like to present my variation of pasta carbonara. I must say that many times I had got scrumble eggs on the pan by the time I larnt how to make smooth carbonara sauce. Practice makes perfect! It’s walnut time, I love it, so why not? Spring onion gives nice flavour and colour. You have to try this out. Of course, I assume that It is NOT original Italian sauce, because I didn’t use bacon and I am using cream. And propably preparation is weird… Please, leave any comment which can explain how to prepare one ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be delighted.

Original pasta penne (durum is absolutely required) 150 g

Handful of walnuts

2 spring onions, whole ones!

2 eggs

1/2 cup of cream (125ml)

1 Tbs of olive oil

Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Pasta must be ‘al dente’. To be honest I don’t remember when was the last time I ate soft one… If you want Italy on your plate, pasta must be made from durum and be al-dente. Otherwise you just pretend. Cook about 8 mins, using quite a lot of sea salt. It is said that water for pasta must be as salty as Mediterranean Sea. Very wise. And you have 8 mins for a sauce preparation…

Sauce: Chop walnuts into small pieces and roast on the HOT pan until you literally smell its flavours. Set aside. Put olive oil on the pan and add finely chopped spring onion. Fry for about 1 minute, just to break crispiness. Turn the gas OFF. Beat eggs, combine with cream, salt and pepper, pour a creamy mixture in and immediately start mixing. Don’t let the sauce to “catch” the pan. Drain pasta and add to the pan (leave about 1/2 cup of starchy water). Mix everything for a moment (1-2 mins) and to get smooth tickeness turn the gas ON, for about 30 sec. Again- mix… Again Off… Until you get smooth constistency. Freshly groung pepper to taste – e buon appetito!
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Coconut tart with plums

Very crispy tart with coconut filling, with sour plums and crunchy coconut crust. I did it for my colleagues from work. This is the first time so many people tasted my cake… I was stressed like during my university exams ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s not made from the recipe, I just realised I have dessicated coconut, coconut milk and it’s plums’ season – so why not trying something new out? Turned out surprising, light and very tasty. And even if you think plums are not best friends with coconut – you will change your mind after veryfing below recipe.

Bottom of the cake
300g of flour
200g of soft butter
100g of sugar ( Better icing than caster, otherwise it’ll be perceptible)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp of baking powder
Vanilla extract – a tablespoon
Zest from half of lemon
1-2 tablespoonf of cream – to add moist

Coconut filling
200ml of coconut milk
1 vanilla pudding powder (40 gramms)
200g of cold butter
250ml of milk
100g of sugar (add more if you prefer sweeter)
100g of desiccated coconut
100ml of boiling water

about 300g large plums
A pinch of citric acid

Coconut crust
100g of desiccated coconut
2 tablespoon of butter
3 tablespoons of icing sugar

Knead the dough very fast, combining everything together. Remember, shortbread loathe long hand-kneading (It’s all about our warm hands). You must be quick, but careful. At the end, the structure has to be smooth. Otherwise you will get sad layer. Put in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile do the pudding according to the recipe from wrapping, using only 250ml of milk. In the bowl pour boiling water on the desiccated coconut and leave for absorbing. It’ll become soft and heavenly scented. When pudding’s done (it’ll be thick!), pour coconut milk in (become smooth and more runny). Turn the gas off and carefully start adding butter, mixing from time to time. Add sugar. Combine gently and put in the fridge.
Slice the plums. Put in the large pot, pour a little bit of water (not more than 2 tablespoons!). Heat it up, mixing all the time, for abot 10 mins. Plums must be only heated, not cooked! Should be softer than raw ones, but not mushy. Add a pinch of citric acid. Remove extra water/juice.
CRUST: Put butter on the pan and heat it up. Add desiccated coconut and fry until golden. Add icing sugar and the end and fry for 2-3 mins.
Take the bottom out and spread on the round baking tray. Bake until golden (about 40 mins) in 180 C. Cool down. Spread coconut filling on the shortbread. Put plums on it and coconut crust on the top. Put in the fridge for at least few hours. Decorate using lemon balm. Enjoy!
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Buckwheat with pumpkin and sage

What I like the most about grains is that you can use any kind you prefer, combine with many herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, mint or basil, by adding mushrooms / meat / smoked salmon – you always get a nice and tasty dish. Thanks to my Mum – I know and eat every kind of grains I can get in my shop. You can easy check that even millet groats are eaten by me for a breakfast! Grains are: full of potential, delicious, cheap (!) and HEALTHY. Especially now, when winter is just around the corner, you would like to eat comfort and warming meal and at the same time put bikini on next summer ๐Ÿ™‚
Today my latest hit – it’s season for pumpkin. Of course you can bake pumpkin pie or prepare puree – but I wanted something different. And as far as I’m concerned – I found pretty nice combination. Because I used roasted one – I think it would be great with pork, because of the nutty flavour.

150 g roasted buckwheat
Pumpkin – about 300 gramms
4 cloves of garlic
1 small onion – finely chopped
Fresh sage- use as much as you like – I used a lot ๐Ÿ™‚
Sea salt, pepper
Sunflower oil for frying
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter/ per 1 person, right before serving.

Cook buckwheat (1:2 proportions to water, always use boiling water. Cook for 12 minutes and then turn gas off. Leave until water absorbed). Meanwhile, chop garlic and onion very finely. Put with 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in the pan and fry for 2 mins until you smell the flavour. Add pumpkin dices in the pan and fry, until soft and tender ( you can pour 1/2 cup of water when frying). At the end, combine everything with chopped sage, cooked buckwheat, sea salt and pepper. Ad butter at the very end. Sprinkle with sage if you have any lefovers. It’s perfect as a side dish, with red meat. Divine. Enjoy!
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