Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learning a new creative skill

One of my goals for this year is to learn a new creative skill. I have never been a very creative person, but I want to learn something that will benefit my family. I decided to start with something easy. Crochet.
When I was very young my Aunt taught me a few basics, but all I could do was a granny square.
So I borrowed a needle from my gran, who only knits now, and bought a few balls of cheap wool, opened up a few youtube tutorials and gave it a go.
Here are my first 4 attempts, all incomplete but definitely getting there:

My first try was the black block (top left). Not great, but I was still getting the hang of the needle.
Next was the yellow hat (bottom left). Must have been a bad tutorial because it come out very pointed and I got the sizing completely wrong.
Then I found another beanie tutorial which seemed a bit better. It came out very small (bottom right), might fit a little baby, but I don't have any of those. If I carry on with the sides I think it might make a good cover for toilet rolls in the bathroom.
Lastly was the green hat (top right) using the same pattern, but now that I have started the sides, I see that it is going to be way too big. I just can't seem to get the sizes right.

But I am not put off! I am going to keep trying until I get it right. Maybe I should attempt something else, a headband maybe?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Roasting a Whole Pumpkin

While visiting the Veggie Market a couple weeks back I passed the pumpkins and came across this beauty on special
 I have never actually cooked a pumpkin before as we generally prefer butternut squash, but I could not pass this up.
I have been reading some recipes online where people have cooked an entire pumpkin by putting it in the oven and I really wanted to try it. The method is so simple. Stab a few holes in the pumpkin, and place it in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius until a knife slides in easily. It took me just under 2 hours, but I had a big pumpkin so this will vary with size.
 Once cooled the skin peels of very easily. Then cut it up, remove the seeds and guts, and use the pumpkin as you would normally. I tried roasting the pumpkin seeds but nobody liked the hard chewiness of the outer shell of the seeds.
 I bagged the fresh into 500g parcels and stuck it in the deep freeze until I need it. I came out with 4.5kg of pumpkin flesh
 But that's not all! I also threw all the guts into a colander and swished it around unto all that was left was a few seeds and strings (bottom right of the picture below). What I got from that was 2 and a half cups of "gut pulp" (bottom left of the picture below). It was like soft pumpkin puree or baby food..
 So I turned it into this:
A delicious crust-less pumpkin pie using this carrot pie recipe.