May all your tables be full, your bells a-jingling and your tummies full over the holiday season, where ever you are in the world, in Summer Sun or Winter White. The mad dash of shopping and bopping are finally done and it’s time to unwind in front of a roaring fire with some mulled wine, Christmas Pudding and those near and dear.
Archive for December, 2007
So these Persimmon things and I have not had the most understanding of relationships. In fact, there seems to be a complete lack of communication and I feel rather like I do nothing but give, give, give and the persimmon does nothing but take, take, take. I was on the verge of walking out of that door forever, citing irreconcilable differences when, lo and behold, a breakthrough. Suddenly, it seemed, the Persimmon was a changed fruit, a giver not a taker and quite willing to do it’s fair share in the relationship.
The problem was, you see, that I had been buying hachiya persimmons, which have to be squishily over-ripe to be eaten, and there-in lay the seed of my trauma. No matter how many fruits I bought, all gorgeous, orange, firm and shiny, not a single one bothered with what I would consider the normal path a fruit’s life follows, namely: ripening. I put them in paper bags, in warm spots, in cool spots, with other fruit, on their own. Oh, I tried it all, and everytime the fruit would sit there, glaring at me, hard firm as a green mango until it started shriveling and turning muck. And I had just about given up hope of ever coming to terms with this intriguing fruit when I noticed a tray of persimmons in the market that looked just a little bit different to the usual bright globes. They were … Ripe! Squishy and jellyish and just sitting there in their little trays begging for some love.
So finally, here it is. A recipe I’ve been holding hopefully onto for nearly 18 months now in the hope that one day, One Fine Day, I’d meet Mr Persimmon-Perfecto. Please don’t ask me where the recipe is from: it’s been kicking around, scribbled hastily onto a piece of paper, for just too long. If anyone recognises it, do let me know so that I can pay tribute correctly as this delicious pudding deserves.
*note: the left overs are great cut into cookie-sized squares for tea time
**note: this is not strictly a pudding, but more of a cake-meets-pancake. But who’s counting, right?
1 cup persimmon pulp (from 1 big, super ripe persimmon)
½ cup dark brown sugar (demerara)
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp bicarb
½ cup evaporated milk (from a can)
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup vegetable oil, such as canolo
for the filling:
3 or 4 Tbsp cream cheese
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
couple drops of vanilla
honey, to taste
– preheat the oven to 325˚F. Grease 2 23cm cake tins.
– mix fruit, sugar and eggs in a large bowl.
– stir the bicarb into the buttermilk, then combine both milks together.
– mix fruit and milk mixtures, then add vanilla.
– mix the flour and the baking powder well then add to the milky fruit mix.
– lastly add the oil. Allow mixture to sit for 5 mins before baking.
– divide between 2 cake tins and bake for about 45 – 50 mins, until golden.
– the cake will rise quite dramatically then fall again, don’t worry. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.
– to finish the pudding, mix the filling ingredients, to taste, and spread between the cooled cakes.
And just as I finally turned the oven off, the skies turned the snow on and poor, dear Toronto was generously bedded down in a thick blanket of white, bringing the city to an eerie, ghostly quiet as most people stayed indoors, drinking hot beverages by the fire, no doubt. Not, I, naturellement, as I just couldn’t resist a snowy exploration. At least there’ll be a white Christmas this year, non? A perfect way to celebrate the occasion, along with all sorts of goodies and treats.
Nothing like some mulled wine and fire-side nibbles after a Winter Walk in a Wonderland. Will Christmas ever be the same again without the snow?
The Christmas bake is upon us, here. My kitchen is covered in a fine and persistent film of various flours and sugars and nuts and fruits and the ever wafting air of things being baked greets the marvelous Mr P every time he comes in to see what’s what. It’s perfect weather for it too, snowy and chilly and Winter-wonderland gorgeous out there, and toasty, spicy and afternoon-napish in here. There’ve been pots and pots of hot spiced apple cider and mulled wine and steaming mugs of hot tea going around, along with many friends to keep the spirit kicking. As soon as I get a chance, I’ll post all that’s been happening, but in the mean time I thought something a little savoury was in order to cut through all that sugary yum. Here is that rather delish broccoli pesto I made for our first, fire-side dinner last week. It’s equally good on a pasta as it is stirred into leek and potato soup, or grilled with cheese on whole grain toast.
*note: only use the flowery bits of the broccoli as the stems can be a bit bitter. I kept the stems for a soup later in the week.
**note: as with most pesto’s, the ingredients are a guideline only. Add more or less of each according to your taste.
Broccoli and Pepita Pesto
2 cloves garlic
1 large head broccoli, florets only
⅔ cup Pepita’s (green pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
⅓ cup good virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
– toast the Pepita’s over a medium to high heat. Remove from heat as soon as they start to brown.
– peel the shallot and garlic and blend, along with the broccoli in a food processor until finely chopped
– fry over a medium heat until broccoli is bright green and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Allow to cool.
– chop Pepita’s in food processor. When broccoli is cool, add to Pepita’s along with cheese and process until fine. With the motor running, slowly add olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.