LiveStrong Day

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
Louisa May Alcott

It’s the time of the year again that makes me walk towards the oven in a hypnotic trance and want to bake all day long. Its warming and comforting to have the oven on, to fill the house with warm flavours that give you joy. The nip in the air, the apples flooding the market, the big yellow {& green}  pumpkins all beckon you. Even though the pumpkin sits there all the year round, it’s once the weather begins to get nippy that I like to roast it.

The ‘make my own pumpkin puree’ madness hit me last year when I made my first pumpkin pie, the Praline Pumpkin Pie from a fabulous cookbook that I reviewed, Park Avenue Potluck CELEBRATIONS. It was the best pie ever, and one that I need to revisit soon this year. My enchantment with this rather under-rated vegetable also showed up in Pumpkin Panna Cotta, and in a less guilty pumpkin pie, the Simple Pumpkin Pie.

I’ve had Pumpkin Pots de Creme on my mind ever since I made Chocolate Cherry Pots de Creme in September, and I thought it would be a wonderful way to use pumpkin puree. So I got this HUGE slice of pumpkin and roasted it, with some unpeeled garlic thrown in to the oven alongside, because  I wasn’t sure I’d use all the puree the sweet way. Savoury pumpkin soup was tugging the strings of my heart too, after a rather wonderful one my twin sistah Jamie and I shared at the FBC in London. What I made wasn’t exactly that, but  it was darned good.

The amount of puree I finally got ensured I went every which way! Here’s the first thing I made from the puree, dessert which was loved, and screamed everything warm, filling and flavourful. One ramekin later, the lad said ‘Err, can I have another pot please? No? Maybe tomorrow? Well it was yummy!He tried pushing his luck, but it didn’t work!! The daughter was a bit iffy about it initially because she inadvertently had a go at the yellow bowlful of pumpkin puree and almost fainted when I enlightened her. A spoonful of dessert later, she forgot all about the pumpkin puree & dug right in!

I made these pots specially for Barbara @ Winos and Foodies for her LiveSTRONG With A Taste of Yellow event, an annual event held each year. This is my fourth year at the event. The food blogger community is a tight knit, supportive community. Most of us have been inspired by Barbara and her fight with cancer. She is an amazing lady, and a source of inspiration to many, including me. Her story is moving, frightening at times, but a lesson in life ; a must read.

October 2nd has been announced as LiveSTRONG Day 2010, and this year the event has a new theme. Throughout 2010 Barbara has been posting a heart each Saturday. She thought it might be fun to incorporate the hearts in this years LiveSTRONG Day event. I ♥ the idea. She called for everyone to create their own heart photo and post it to their blog on October 2nd, 2010. If you want to join in, you still have time since she’s accepting entries through the week.

Here’s a picture of the roasted pumpkin soup; ’twas certainly a comforting and delicious bowlful. Will post that recipe later.  I did intend to put that up today too, but the shift to WP means that each post takes a little longer than before, as I learn the ropes. I did oven bake some heart shaped, turmeric yellowed croûtons out of brown bread too! I still have some pumpkin puree in the freezer, and am debating what not to make with it … there are far too many options I’ve found!

Pumpkin Pots de Creme with Candied Walnuts
Inspired by Canelle et Vanille
250ml low fat milk milk
200ml low fat cream {Amul 25% fat}
1  1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 cup vanilla sugar {as the pumpkin wasn’t sweet}
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup candied walnuts {recipe follows}
Bring the milk, cream, vanilla bean and half of the sugar to a simmering boil.  Put off  heat and allow to sit for 30 minutes for the vanilla bean flavours to mature.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 160C.
Add the pumpkin puree, pie spice and cinnamon to the vanilla milk  / cream mixture, and whisk with a balloon whisk.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk and the other half of the sugar. Add the warm pumpkin mixture into the egg  mixture, whisking constantly. Strain the custard through a fine sieve.
Pour the custard into the ramekins and place them on a sheet pan and bring this to a preheated 160C oven.
Place the sheet pan in the oven and pour hot water in the sheet pan. Bake the pots de creme in the water bath until the center is set; mine took about 45 minutes. Refrigerate once cool. Chill completely, preferably overnight.
Serve with unsweetened whipped low fat cream and a sprinkling of candied walnuts.
Candied Walnuts
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp butter
Place all ingredients in a small heavy bottom pan, and simmer until the sugar begins to melt.
Swirl around so the melted sugar coats the nuts. Simmer until the sugar begins to caramelize and turns a golden brown, Don’t let it get dark, else the nuts will taste bitter.
Immediately turn the nuts onto a lightly greased platter and allow to cool.
Break up into pieces, and store in an airtight container in a cool place. I keep mine in the fridge for 5-7 days.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.”
Unknown Quotes

Grilled Cottage Cheese…for LiveSTRONG Day 2008

This is a really healthy & delicious dish marinated in an olive oil dressing, & then grilled to yummy heights…served with a salad on the side. Makes for an appetizing first course, or even for a main course with a soup & freshly baked bread. It’s kid friendly too…& wholesome all the way. The original recipe was possibly with halloumi , a cheese indigenous to Cyprus. I have been making this with cottage cheese for ages & we all love it.

LiveSTRONG Day 2008 is on May 13th. My entry is specially put together for a foodie event at Barbara’s blog @ Winos & Foodies. In her words, “Here in the food and wine blogging community we will be supporting LiveSTRONG Day with our A Taste of Yellow event. Please join me again as we remember those loved ones who are no longer with us, support those still fighting and celebrate with those who have won the fight.”

The orange LiveSTRONG band is one my daughter picked up from the UK a few years ago. Sorry I couldn’t find a yellow LiveSTRONG band Barbara…but the event has been on my mind every single time I see yellow. You have left many a footprint on hearts around the world!! Thanks for the huge effort.

Cottage cheese / Paneer – 500 gms / cut into slices 1/2 ” thick
Olive Oil – 5 tbsps
Honey – 1/2 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Zest & juice of 1 lime
Yellow bell pepper – 1/2 / sliced
Red bell pepper – 1/2 / sliced
Cherry tomatoes – 100 gms / halved
Fresh basil leaves
Corn salad – optional


  • Whisk olive oil + lime juice + zest + honey + salt + pepper. Marinade the cottage cheese slices in this for at least an hour; 2-3 hours would be good.
  • Gently lift out the the slices of cottage cheese & reserve the marinade. Place the slices on a heated the grill pan, turning once to ensure both sides are done. The honey in the marinade gets a little caramelised adding to the flavour.
  • Meanwhile, toss the bell peppers & cherry tomatoes into the remaining marinade. Adjust the seasonings & chill.
  • Make individual platters. Place the grilled cottage cheese slices on a platter, drizzle the salad on top & garnish with fresh basil leaves. Add some corn salad if you like. Alternatively, you can spoon a chilled yogurt salad on the side instead. Serve immediately.
“Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality.”
Clifton Fadiman


Many in the food and wine blogging community will be supporting LiveSTRONG Day with the A Taste of Yellow event. Last year 149 bloggers made yellow food to show their support for LiveSTRONG Day 2007 . Some chose to share their own cancer experiences and some told stories of their support for their friends or family experiencing cancer.LiveSTRONG with A Taste Of Yellow has been accepted by the Lance Armstrong Foundation as an official LiveSTRONG Day event on Tuesday May 13.
This is my entry for an extraordinary effort by Barbara…come & show your support too!
“Men become passionately attached to women who know how to cosset them with delicate tidbits.”
Honoré de Balzac

Lime Chocolate Almond Shortbread Tart…making it YELLOW!!

Got a mail from the talented Zorra @ Kochtopf the other day announcing an event being co hosted by her for International Women’s Day on 8th March. In her words…”fiordisale asked me to organize with her a special event for International Women’s Day. March 8 is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. Food connects people, so we would like to invite you to cook or bake something yellow for this special day. Yellow because on this day in Southern countries there is the tradition to give sprigs of bright yellow Mimosa flowers to women. The flowers are intended as a sign of respect and also an expression of solidarity with the women in their support for oppressed women worldwide.So this year, instead of the Mimosa sprigs, we will make yellow food! It can be whatever you like: pasta, meat, fish, fingerfood or a whole menu as long as it is yellow.”

International Women's Day

A foodie event in YELLOW to support IWD! Great idea & enough to get the mind ticking again! The idea is to colour the blogosphere YELLOW on IWD
…a GLOBAL DAY OF CELEBRATION Celebrated on 8 March, International Women’s Day (IWD) is the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. IWD celebrates the collective power of women past, present and future more

If it’s on my mind, then I have to do something about it. I spent a day browsing all my books for ideas, & then eventually the net for more ideas. This recipe appealed to me for it’s out & out simplicity, regular pantry ingredients, & a great looking end result. In Rachel Ray’s words…No need to get out your rolling pin or even grease the pan for this dessert. Just use your fingers to mix the shortbread dough, then dump it straight into a cake pan, press down and bake.

Shouting it LOUD…YELLOW!!

You can view the original recipe HERE too. Mine is an adaptation which I made last week…( this week was booked for our anniversary’s ‘CLOUD’ cake). I added almonds to the shortbread crust for a added crunch & flavour, & some low fat cream so that the custard would be a little richer. Just a personal choice because I was indulging myself for IWD!! Instead of raspberries, which we don’t get here, I grated a layer of chocolate & topped it with the custard. Finished the top with something from the main ingredients to tie it all together! The combination of flavours beautifully complimented each other…this is a great YELLOW bake for dessert. Simple to make & great on taste!! I decorated the top because I enjoy doing arty stuff, but a dusting of sugar, like in the original recipe, would make it taste great too!

The recipe as adapted from Everyday Rachel Ray
For the shortbread base:
Butter- 3/4 cup (chilled)
Flour -1 cup
Almonds – 1/2 cup (whole)
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Almond Extract – 1 tsp (optional)

For the Custard:
Eggs – 3 /large
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Cream – 150-200 ml (low fat)
Flour – 1/4 cup
Lime juice – 1/4 cup (0f 2-3 limes)
Lemon Extract – 1 tsp
Zest of 2 limes
Few drops of yellow food colour ( because egg yolks here are very pale in colour…& we needed yellow!)
Chocolate-chips – 1/2 cup or dark grated chocolate (I grated the dark chocolate directly over the baked shortbread)
For garnishing the top – Powdered sugar, grated dark chocolate, ganache, roasted almonds, lemon slices etc.
For the base:
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Keep an 8″ spring form tin ready. (I greased the bottom, though Rachel Ray says there’s no need to. I like to play safe!)
  • Put the flour + sugar + whole almonds in a processor & pulse it in short pulses, till almonds ground fine.
  • Add the cold butter (cut roughly into pieces) & continue to pulse till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the extract & pulse just till the mixture starts coming together & starts getting caught around the blades of the processor.
  • Turn into a bowl, mix briefly till uniform & then press uniformly into the base of an 8″ spring form tin.
  • Bake for 20mins till the top is golden brown. Take out & place on rack.

For the custard:

  • While the base is baking…
  • Beat the eggs with 3/4 cup sugar.
  • Add the zest + lime juice + cream + 1/4 cup flour + lemon extract & beat again. Add yellow food colour if required.
  • Once the base is done, remove onto a rack & reduce the oven temperature to 170 degrees C.
  • Sprinkle base with chocolate chips & grate some chocolate directly over it.
  • Pour the custard into the base & bake for approximately 45 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, if the top is browning too fast, slide a sheet of foil loosely over the top.

  • Once set, remove & cool completely, then sift powdered sugar over the top & decorate as you like!
  • Chill well before serving!

    Pretty in YELLOW …A slice of tart! Here’s to all you great women…

ENJOY YOUR DAY TODAY…the 8th of March, 2008!!

While the colour is yellow, another important date on the calendar is approaching…LiveSTRONG Day 2008 has been announced. This year it is on May 13th.

Do check out a foodie event at Barbara’s blog Winos & Foodies . In her words, “Here in the food and wine blogging community we will be supporting LiveSTRONG Day with our A Taste of Yellow event. Please join me again as we remember those loved ones who are no longer with us, support those still fighting and celebrate with those who have won the fight.”

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