we saw a fox hunting an animal in our back garden on the 21st of january of this year. then, the winter was gone, the flowers showed up and we moved to another house. after exactly 10 months, that big furry red fox showed up in our new back garden. i love living in a neighbourhood that is full of wild life!


pumpkin pie (a.k.a. the first pie i have ever baked)

october was over and we were left with a whole lot of pumpkins to cook. soups were made and our halloween dinner wouldn't happen without the traditional shrimps in pumpkin, a brazilian favourite. pumpkin pie was the ultimate recipe i wanted to try before autumn was over.

as expected for a virgin baker that i am, the pastry wasn't amazing and i had quite a few problems while blind baking it. well, but it's what they say, if you never get it wrong you will never learn how to do it right.

both recipes for the pie and the pastry were from good food website with a few changes to suit my taste. but here it is:

750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
350g sweet shortcrust pastry
140g muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
25g butter, melted
175ml milk

225g/8oz plain flour
110g/4oz butter
80g/3oz sugar
1 large egg

1. place the pumpkin in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or until tender. drain pumpkin; let cool.
2. heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas.
3. crumb together the butter in to the flour using the food processor in pulse mode. add the sugar and give a couple of pulses. mix in the egg and enough milk and pulse until a soft dough forms. let it rest in the fridge.
4. roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a tart tray. blind bake it for 15 mins. remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is pale golden and biscuity. remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
5. increase oven to 220C/200C fan/gas
6. push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. in a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine.
7. pour the mixture into the tart shell and decorate the top with pecan nuts. cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas.
8. continue to bake for 35-40 mins until the filling has just set. leave to cool.

it seems a lot, but was actually quite easy to do, even for me!