The picture on the cover of issue #67 caught my eye, Cranberry & Cinnamon Semifreddo, it even sounds fabulous. Again, though it is a dessert and I have already fulfilled by quota especially when I realise that I started out with the muffins. I did give most of them away though. However I have plenty of jelly cakes that still need to be eaten.
There were a few more things inside that caught my eye. I know that I said before that I don't really like seafood, one exception is salmon, especially a lovely salmon fillet. In this issue Valli Little's recipe for Wasabi-coated salmon with cucumber salad looked wonderful. It uses 150 g of ground wasabi peas (among other things) to coat the salmon fillet. I adore wasabi peas to snack on and normally have a supply in the cupboard but when I went to check the cupboard was bare. Apparently I had forgotten to stock up again and so did the supermarket...grrr. I will make this one day soon though, I hope.
With my first choice defeated by lack of ingredients I went with my second choice. Jamie Oliver's The Best Baked Pumpkin. My hopes for this dish were pretty high as I have made Jamie's Hamilton Squash a number of times. I love it and it is a popular dish when entertaining too. The Best Baked Pumpkin was supposed to be done in a whole Jap (or Kent as they are called here now) pumpkin. I was unable to find a smallish one. Then I thought that I could make individual ones in golden nugget pumpkins but I couldn't get any of those either. So I decided that since the hamilton squash recipe works well in a butternut I would use one for this recipe too. It worked quite well except for the fact that there was a bit too much stuffing and liquid. To be honest while this was an enjoyable meal, served with a simple salad, I don't think it is the best and much prefer the hamilton squash.
The Best Baked Pumpkin
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
- 1 pumpkin (about 1 kg)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- olive oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- a small handful of black olives, stoned and chopped
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
- 1 dried chilli
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 50g basmati rice, washed and drained
- 75g dried cranberries
- 50g shelled pistachio nuts (I used pecans)
- zest of 1 orange
- 200ml vegetable stock, preferably organic
- Preheat the oven to 230 C
- Cut the lid off the pumpkin and reserve it. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and keep them to one side. Make the hollow where the seeds were a little bigger by scooping out some more pumpkin flesh. Finely chop this pumpkin flesh and one of the garlic cloves.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Pour in a splash of olive oil, then add the chopped pumpkin, chopped garlic, onion, olives, and half the rosemary. Cook gently for 10 minutes or so until the pumpkin has softened.
- Meanwhile, place the whole garlic clove and the remaining rosemary in a pestle and mortar. Crumble in the dried chilli, add a good pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon and bash until you have a paste. Add a little olive oil to loosen up the mixture and then rub the inside of the pumpkin with it.
- Season the cooked pumpkin mixture and stir in the rice, cranberries, pistachios and tangerine zest with a pinch each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly then add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes (no longer or the rice will end up overcooked later).
- Tear off a sheet of tin foil that’s large enough to wrap the pumpkin in a double layer and lay on top of a baking tray. Place the pumpkin on top and spoon the rice mixture into it, then place its lid back on. Rub the skin with a little olive oil, wrap it up in the foil and bake in the oven for about an hour.
- The pumpkin is ready when you can easily push a knife into it. Bring it to the table and open it up in front of everyone. Cut it into thick wedges and tuck in, leaving the skin.
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