It’s Pumpkin Season (even in Finland)!

Pumpkin Gratin / Casserole

As long promised, this is going to be a recipe post. Once again it’s one of my favourite recipes. It’s made even more special with the fact that the main ingredient (pumpkin) is only available for a short time of the year. Last year I didn’t have ANY! 😦

While there were pumpkins in the supermarket, they seemed to me to be decorative, rather than edible. I was convinced they don’t exist here (I’m rather prejudiced about this country’s agricultural produce. Prejudice is never good, but it’s like Christmas every time I get proven wrong!) So when I saw this big and rather less than stellar looking pumpkin (ergo it cannot be decorative, and therefore HAS to be edible), I immediately had to buy it! Poor PB had to suffer the consequences and carry it home. 😉

Then I let it sit in my kitchen for a week, drawing out the anticipation for this dish. Also: My Mamma makes it with bacon, so I had to think what to replace that with. But then I just forged ahead and made it with smoked tofu (I tend to use this to achieve that smoked flavour that I love about bacon. Tofu or smoked paprika). It was as delicious as the original and PB and I kinda fought over the last bits (Me: “I’d like some leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.” PB: “Why do you always get to eat the leftovers? I want some too!” So we settled for PB having lunch at home the next day and we shared).

But where’s the freaking recipe?! Give it to me already! I imagine you yelling at the screen, grabbing it ferociously (I have a weird and lively imagination). So without much more ado, there you go:

Pumkin Gratin (from my Mamma)
(Should theoretically serve 4, but we usually eat all of this in 3)

Ingredients
1Tbsp butter or oil
100g smoked tofu, cut in small cubes
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1kg pumpkin, skinned and cut into big cubes
1Tbsp white wine vinegar
3dl vegetable broth

1Tbsp butter
2Tbsp flour
1.5dl cooking liquid
1 cup (around 180g-200g) créme fraîche
dill (the recipe asks for fresh, but I used dried), to taste
salt and ground nutmeg, to taste
1Tbsp Parmesan

Pre-heat oven to 220°C. Prepare an ovenproof casserole dish.

Sauté the tofu, onions and garlic in the butter for about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, vinegar and broth and let simmer for 10-20 minutes (depending on the type of pumpkin and the size of the cubes) until pumpkin is just soft.

Add the pumpkin to the casserole, keeping the cooking liquid apart.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and roast (is that the right word?) for about 1 minute. Add the cooking liquid and let the butter/flour mixture dissolve completely. Remove from heat, add the remaining ingredients, except Parmesan, stir well, and pour over the pumpkin in the casserole.

Now sprinkle the Parmesan over the whole thing and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

I usually eat it with bread or all by itself, but I think rice or potatoes might also fit.

P.S: I had an “accident”, publishing this post too early. Sorry if you receive this twice, or if you received this as a one sentence update…

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Fixing And Finishing

PB’s Mamma has emphatically been requesting this post, so a sewing post it is again. Next one will be a food one, I promise!

I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but the first 6 weeks of being back home, I was home alone. PB was working and attending conferences in Italy, and I had to prepare for the exam. But of course I couldn’t just study. I took advantage of being alone and would sew every day and mess up the whole apartment in the process.

I’d had ordered the Sewaholic Saltspring dress shortly before returning and immediately set out to make it. I was a good girl and used some silk/cotton blend poplin from the stash (originally intended for a Sencha). As I didn’t have a lot, I made the shorter version.

Sewaholic Saltspring

Sewaholic Saltspring – I just love the colour!

I hadn’t been sure whether this silhouette would suit me, but was convinced after seeing this picture. I didn’t have plans on making any more, because winter was/is approaching and I should be sewing winter stuff, not more summer dresses. But then I came across this Hawaiian print I brought home from our trip there when trying to find something else (which I still haven’t found). Plus I still hadn’t put away the pattern pieces, so it was clearly meant to be. I thought the print begged to be made into the maxi version:

Two Saltsprings Side By Side

Two Saltsprings Side By Side

I though it would be nice to see the two versions together, hence the above picture. I did a review of this pattern on patternreview.com, here’s the link to it: Saltspring pattern review.

Then I realised I still hadn’t made the lounge pants I had been planning to make since September 2011 (eek!). I had all of the necessary ingredients, so finally traced the pattern from the Burda Style magazine 08/2011. I hate tracing, so that’s what usually keeps me from starting a project (I trace all patterns). After this was done, the pants came together really quickly.

Stylish Lounge Pants – Burda Style 08/2011 #130

I still don’t know how to make interesting and/or artistic selfies, so tried to emulate the model’s pose from the magazine. I wrote a bit more about this project (plus more pictures) on burdastyle.

Speaking of taking my time to execute my sewing plans. Cake Patterns have just announced the 1 year anniversary of their first pattern, the Tiramisu dress. Incidentally, I had made my first version just three weeks before. I had planned to blog about it including a tiramisu recipe. However, I didn’t  have good pictures of the food version, so postponed. I will upload the recipe at one point, but for now there’s just the dress:

Cake Patterns Tiramisu Dress - Happy Birthday!

Cake Patterns Tiramisu Dress – Happy Birthday! (Sorry for the crappy picture)

Again, I was a good girl and used stash fabric, which incidentally also was intended for a top. Why I would buy so much fabric for a top eludes me now, especially as it wasn’t cheap fabric. But I’m the happier for it now!

Seeing as how I was in a sewing frenzy, I turned my attention to things I had meant to fix for AGES (sounds familiar?). First, a Sewaholic Cambie dress I had made in summer 2012. Unfortunately, with this dress, my vanity got the best of me. Being used to going down one size from the Burda patterns, I looked at the finished measurements of the cambie and decided that size 4 was ideal (nope, 8 it would be). That was also before I found out about why you should add ease in a garment. Thanks to this dress, I now know why. While it was ok to wear while standing and walking, sitting got very uncomfortable very quickly. I looked fabulous, though:

Sewaholic Cambie Dress - Too tight!

Sewaholic Cambie Dress – Too tight!

The uncomfortableness is kind of visible in this picture. *suck in stomach* So I unpicked most of the dress, let out the front and back darts and added a new waistband:

Sewaholic Cambie Dress - Much better

Sewaholic Cambie Dress – Much better

Not as bombshell-alicious, but much more wearable! Then I tackled the dress with the opposite problem. The baggy Colette Chantilly. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unpick anything to fix this. I essentially just took in the back bodice at the darts by a total of 3cm. Add in a new (padded) bra, and the dress fits much better now:

Streamlined Colette Chantilly

Streamlined Colette Chantilly

I also hemmed it, thus it’s a bit shorter than in the previous post. Now it’s fixed, I actually wear it (even with the cold weather we have at the moment). I combined it with tights and the PeggySue cardigan (now with buttons) to go to class, and got told by a classmate that I looked fabulous (his words). Ergo: it’s my favourite dress at the moment!

I got a bit exhausted after that and wanted something less prone to rushing. So I started to knit yet another sweater. One that would go with the stylish lounge pants. I had bought the yarn back in LA (free shipping…). It had been intended for a Sweatshirt Sweater, but I can’t seem to stick to any plans. I had also meant to try an Idlewood after I saw Tasia’s version. It’s a very unusual colour for me, but I kind of like it:

Yellow Idlewood - long sleeved, obviously

Yellow Idlewood – long sleeved, obviously (Ravelry notes here)

And that’s it. That’s what I made since coming back home. I am currently making an Anna dress (the pattern has finally arrived). I have to be careful with cutting the skirt pieces, as I have very little fabric. So I am stalling a bit. But for now: Have a good one!