24 November 2013

Pumpkin Pie

Before making this pumpkin pie I had never even tasted it. I wanted to make it purely to try it, and it turned out I really like it. Pumpkin pie is very popular in America but in this country it seems very few people have tried it. When asked what it tasted like I've described it as a cross between an egg custard tart and carrot cake...sounds strange, but trust me when I say it's good and you should at least try it! It is a very seasonal treat for Autumn and especially around Halloween when we see so many pumpkins around. If you don't go to the effort of making your own shortcrust pastry, this is very quick and easy to put together.

You will need:

400g Ready-made Shortcrust Pastry
425g Tin of Pumpkin Puree
340g Evaporated Milk
2 Eggs
¾ cup Granulated Sugar
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
¾ tsp Ground Ginger
tsp Ground Nutmeg
tsp Ground Allspice


Preheat your oven to 220 C. Start by lightly greasing a 9-inch tart tin. Dust flour over a clean work surface and roll out the pastry in a circular shape until it is about half a cm thick. Wrap the sheet of pastry around your rolling pin and use it to lift the pastry onto the tin. Lower the pastry into the sides of the tin without stretching it and lightly press into the corners. Trim any excess pastry off leaving about 2 cm around the edge. Fold the edge back on itself. Using a fork, carefully prick the pastry on the base of the tin.
In a large mixing bowl measure out all of the remaining ingredients. Using a hand or electric whisk, mix all the ingredients together. Pour the mixture into the pastry lined tin, leaving about cm gap at the top of the pastry. (I had a small amount of pastry and a small amount of filling left, so if you have a small tartlet tin you can make a mini pie with the leftover.)
Put the pie into the oven. After 15 minutes turn the temperature down to 175 C. Leave the pie in the oven for a further 50-55 minutes. The filling should still be wobbly when it is done. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool completely before taking it out of the tin. Store in the fridge, as it is best eaten chilled.

8 November 2013

The Beauty of Going for a Walk

I have many memories of going on walks with my family. It was something we often did. Something to get us out the house, get some fresh air and blow the cobwebs away. Maybe it was something to wear us out when we were young and full of energy, and something free that we could all do together.
More often than not we wouldn't even get in the the car. We would simply walk out the front door and see which direction took our fancy.
I remember walking to primary school. There was a few others from the village that also did and we would sometimes be all walking together. Even though it was at least a half an hour walk, only the rain or lack of time would stop us. In the Summer we would enjoy the walk more, playing and chasing each other on the way home. I remember the steep hill we had to walk on the way out of the village and the many times that I fell and injured my knee. In the Autumn we would collect conkers and play with them in the school playground.
I remember many of the walks we took as a family to Meanporth beach. I specifically remember the time when my Dad taught me how to whistle. He spent the whole way there showing me with persistence how to shape my lips and blow, demonstrating himself, until I finally mastered it. I then spent the whole way back whistling, so pleased with my achievement. 

When we got a dog, I would walk him to the beach with my Dad almost every day of the week. I would love running across the beach with Sam, chasing him and throwing sticks.
On a cold windy day we would often get wrapped up warm and walk along the cliffs, or drive to kennack or cadgwith and take a walk through the woods. We would appreciate our nice warm house all the more when we returned.
If I ever needed time to think. If life ever felt like it was getting too much. If I just need time alone. I would take myself out for walk, usually with Sam, to the top of the cliffs. I would sit on a bench up the there looking out to sea, listening to nothing but the wind and waves, and the thoughts in my head.
It didn't even matter if it was wet outside. We would dress up in waterproofs and embrace whatever the weather was. 

In the autumn our walks would often take us blackberry picking. This was something me, James and Dad normally did and then Mum would make a lovely apple and blackberry crumble with our pickings. On cold days we would sometimes stop to get a hot drink from a cafe on the way back.

I've realised I don't go on walks hardly at all anymore. Where I live now is quite different to the cliffs and valleys and beaches of Cornwall. I had lived in Cornwall my whole life and so knew the place well. I knew all the places to go on a day out, all the beaches along the coast, all the footpaths we could walk along. There's certainly advantages to where I'm living now but there's also many thing I miss in Cornwall. I suppose after time, and a lot of exploring the area we will get to know the place we live now better.