This weekend has been a pumpkiny one. Petra’s kindy had a harvest festival on Saturday and we had to take along a carved pumpkin to put on the table. Petra drew pictures on our one and Travis cut round them with a small knife. As a result, our effort was much more haphazard than many of the beautifully carved productions of the other parents. But Petra was very proud of it.
The children, their parents and siblings, and the odd grandparent, gathered around the long tables the children usually use for morning tea, and the teachers served us pumpkin soup and buns. We sang a few songs, then chatted with the other mums and dads. It was a nice, warmly communal way to spend a couple of hours. Petra was knackered afterwards – she sat swaying on Travis’s shoulders and we had to beat a hasty retreat before she toppled over into sleep.
We’d bought an extra pumpkin in case of carving accidents and I spent most of the afternoon today cooking it and turning it into pumpkin pies and a pumpkin loaf. I used a pie recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, a book that friends assure us is a North American classic. It called for canned pumpkin, half-and-half cream, and a special pie crust. Now, there’s not much demand for tins of pumpkin or pie crusts in New Zealand supermarkets, and half-and-half cream isn’t something that’s even made here, meaning that we had to get a bit creative with the recipe. I wanted to use my own pumpkin anyway, so that wasn’t an issue. I googled half-and-half cream to find out what it is and made my own using cream and whole milk. And I bought sheets of sweet short pastry for the crust. The crust didn’t work as well as I would have liked, but the rest of the pie is very good indeed. The loaf is yummy too. Bad for calorie counting, but fantastic for eating. And, hours later, the house still smells of spice and baking – it’s lovely.
Happy harvest festival everyone!