Friday, October 26, 2012

Carrot (pumpkin) Pie

This morning when I opened my blogger dashboard I was greeted by a delicious looking post by Sara from My Merry Messy Life on an easy pumpkin pie recipe.

Here in South Africa when someone says pie, this is what comes to mind:
 Basically a pastry pocket with a meaty or other savory filling.

I have never made or even tasted a pumpkin pie before, I have never actually made any pie but Sara's pie looked so good I just had to give it a try.
Only problem is I didn't have any pumpkin in the house.

After following a link to Pick Your Own they mentioned that a good alternative to pumpkin in this pie is carrots. Well I have tons of those in the garden and decided to give it a try. I have been looking for new ways to use my carrots as the family are not too fond of them as a veg on their own.
So out I went to pick some carrots.

Washed and trimmed, here are the purple and orange carrots from the garden

 
I just love how when you peel these purple dragons, the orange under the skin is so bright.

Anyway back to the pie...
I didn't take any picture during the process of making the pie, but here is the end result:
 

And after about 15 minutes:
 

It was sooooo good! I think I am hooked, lots more carrot pie coming to this household. I will also have to try pumpkin and butternut one day
I must say, hubby was very skeptical about this "carrot pie", but he really enjoyed it and the boys thought it was amazing. Who would have guessed carrots could taste this good.

So here is the recipe if you would like to give it a try, you can also use the recipe from Pick Your Own as they have tons of pictures to follow

Crust:
210 grams of flour
100 grams of cold butter
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
cold water to bind

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add water while the food processor is running until the dough comes together. It only takes a few tablespoons. Wrap the dough in some cling film and place in the fridge.

Filling:
2 cups of carrot puree (i used about a kilo of carrots to get this, which I steamed and pureed in the food processor)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
350ml of evaporated milk (I used regular milk and mixed in 2 tablespoons of milk powder to make it richer)
*update* I made this pie again and while following the recipe above I realised that I forgot to put sugar on the list.
1 cup of sugar

Simple mix all the ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth

After about half an hour remove the dough from the fridge and roll out, then place in a pie dish. Pour the filling into the crust and bake.
Bake at 210 C (425 F) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 175 C (350 F) and bake for another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Leave to cool for about 15 minutes (this is the hard part), slice and enjoy.

Apparently its good with whipped cream or ice cream, but we didn't get a chance to try that.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

First step towards canning

There are so many blogs that I enjoy reading, and many of the lovely women (and a few men) that I follow can their extra produce, and make delicious looking jams and preserves.
I have been itching to try it out myself, but battled to find the right jars here in Durban. I eventually found a local distributor for Consol a few months back, a company call Dalgen. Today I finally got a chance to go up and visit their showroom. I came home with these 24 x 500ml jars and 12 x 1 litre jars. I couldn't help myself.


My next step is to get myself a canning pot (or at least something big enough) because when I got home I realised I didn't have a single pot big enough to cover these jars.
I'm not sure where to get a proper canning pot here is SA as I have searched for ages on the net. I can get them from amazon but international shipping is not cheap for such a large item.

I am so excited to get into the kitchen and start my canning journey but I may just have to wait a few more weeks before I can get cracking.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Case of mistaken identity.

I think no matter how long you grow your own veggies, you can always learn something new.
In my last post I made what seems to be the most silliest mistake. I posted the below picture and said that my corn had germinated.


After a few more days I went outside and found this:
My actual corn has now germinated and I have these squash plants randomly dotted around the bed. So what I assumed was a baby corn plant was actually a squash, which I guess came from the compost I added, probably butternut.
I am going to leave them in and see how it goes as I have read that corn and squash do well together.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Garden

Last weekend we had a family picnic at the Durban botanical gardens. They have the most amazing permaculture garden, and even though it was locked, we could walk around the fence line and get a great view of it. I was so inspired! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me but I will take it along next time.

But back at home this is what is going on in the garden...

The nasturtiums are beautiful in full flower

One of the many brinjal plants
 

The chard bed is very full, there is also a few beetroot still in here.

Cayenne chillies that self seeded from last season

Lots of basil, also self seeded

The corn I planted over the weekend is just starting to peek out of the ground

A cucumber vine climbing up an old security gate

Last of the brassicas, hoping I can get these out the ground soon as the summer bugs have stared to hit them pretty hard. They are just not quite ready yet, I think I put them in the ground a bit too late over the winter season.

Lettuce gone to flower, but I will leave them in and collect some seeds.

 The office garden looking pretty good. The middle bed that looks empty is were the corn has been sowed.

I still have quite a bit that I would like to get into the garden, and the days just seem to be flying by. It's hard to believe we are already into the second month of spring. I better get busy!