Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Halloween means Pumpkin Pie!

My Pumpkin carving skills went down well on the other side of the pond last week and left us with the usual abundance of pumpkin flesh.
I looked up a pumpkin recipe in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook that I'd sent my sister on her arrival to Boston this summer thinking, rather stereotypically, that she might find herself in need of a whole book
dedicated to cupcakes and 'pies'.
She is sadly been too busy with visiters and with settling my nephews into new school.

We baked the pumpkin flesh in the oven on a fairly low heat for about an hour (kind of steaming it) then mashed it into a puree (or magi-mix it)

We had 500g of pureed pumpkin and to that we added
a small tin of condensed milk 375ml
300 grams of light brown sugar
1 egg and one yolk
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
pinch of salt
Mix up in one bowl and fill your pastry cases (this should make two large flan tins lined with crumb or shortcrust pastry)
We cheated(?!) and bought a couple of pre made crumb pie casings but if you use shoert crust be sure to blind bake thoroughly as there is little worse than a pumpkin pie with soggy pastry.
We had ours in a fan assisted oven at 325c for 50 minutes. Shake the tray, if its still wobbling in the middle then they need longer in the oven.
Pumpkin Pie is rather sweet and I serve with creme fraiche to balance out sweetness.

Barking Crab in Boston Harbour

Our last supper in Boston whilst visiting my sister and her family was one of the finest seafood feasts i've ever had.
Not because of the selection or the quality of the wine list or the consistancy of their mayonaise (which was not home made!). It wasn't posh and the service was fast but not refined, it was though, a great meal out with family in a magically simple setting with great food at great prices.
We ordered a huge plate of crab claws and legs from varying varieties ... the King crab legs having the most amount of meat i've ever been able to extract from one crustacean limb!
The kids had deepfried clams?! and fries with sides of coleslaw.
I chose a good friend of mine on the stateside to join the party in my tummy ... Samuel Addams Boston Lager MMMMMMMmmmmmm,
crab and beer heaven.

Balthazar... Lunch in Manhatten.

Whilst in Manhatten last week I couldn't resist visiting my old favourite, Balthazar on Spring Street, Soho.
The chaotic entrance was crowded with an baying crowd of hopefuls, thankfully our good friend William Clarke had secured us a booth with a great view of the festivities.

Exquisite oyster selection from both East and West coast of the Americas and a chunky brandade with toasted sourdough were followed by a steak frites for me, a boeuf bourguignon with parpadelle for Hobby, warm salad of trout with spinach and lentils for Sarah (Williams wonderful wife, and a whole lot more!) and William had a sauteed skate with capers ... all immaculately cooked with plenty of butter and washed down with a wonderful bottle of 2003 Condrieu, just as it should be in a french brasserie.

With the release of Julie and Julia (which I watched on the flight home!) we are reminded that those pesky yanks do know how to cook french food and its great to find it served in the setting of its homeland with wonderful and informed service. Fabulous.