Wednesday, October 31, 2007



As you all must already know, on the night of the 31st of October, Halloween will be celebrated by many people around the world. Although, the trick-or-treating tradition, the bonfires and the habit of wearing custumes/disguises isn't very popular here as it is in the US or in Canada (and certain other regions of the world), I still like to do my own thing...

This time of the year is very important for me, because it is the season of pumpkins and my most favorite time of the year. Autumn is a season that I adore and Halloween is closely linked to fall!

If you want to learn more about this festive day or find some special recipes, then here are some links that might interest you:

All about Halloween (see link)
Luscious Pumpkin Jam (See recipe)
Pumpkin Apple Bread (see recipe)
Pumpkin Challah (see recipe)
Pumpkin Latkes (see recipe)
Pumpkin Muffins (see recipe)
Pumpkin Pasta Bake With Speck (see recipe)
Pumpkin Pie (see recipe)

Halloween Pic By

Monday, October 29, 2007


Ladies and Gentlemen, I am ever so proud to annouce that I have officially joined the Daring Bakers' ranks and that I have succesfully completed my first challenge as a member of this group!!!

The Daring Bakers was created in November 2006 when Lis of "La Mia Cucina"(USA) and Ivonne of "Cream Puffs in Venice" (Canada) decided to challenge themselves by baking "Pretzels" for the very first time using exactly the same recipe and without being allowed to operate any modifications. They each went ahead and posted about it.

As they both very much enjoyed that experience, they decided to have a new try with "Biscotti". This time around, they were joined by a few other foodbloggers who were ready to follow the rules and share their baking adventures with the whole world...

Some months later, the group had already grown considerably and Lis and Ivonne t
hought that they had to give it a name. That's how the Daring Bakers were born!

It is con
stantly and impressively growing day by day... So if you want to join this wonderful group of homebakers/amateur bakers who share a similar passion for baking and who want to learn more and become more skilfull or if you simply want to browse through the blogroll of Daring Bakers, then visit their site (see link). Their recipes are grandiose, audacious, original and totally scrumptious!!!

Our October challenge was to make "Bostoni Cream Pie", a very close cousin of the "Boston Cream Pie" or more exactly, as the name implies, a crazy twist on that classic recipe.

In my opinion, this recipe was quite easy and very clearly explained. I went through the challenge smoothly, without facing any major problem and had a lot of fun baking that "Bostoni Cream Pie".

It is to be said that this dessert is an absolute hammer! It is so rich that I recommend you to eat it after a very light meal, otherwise you'd die or might feel desperatly sick after having ingested this copious and gargantuesque sweet course! It is no wonder that it is such a killer when you know that it's consists of a luscious and silky cream-ladden "Custard", a voluptuous, spongy and slightly rubbery "Chiffon Cake" and a luxuriant "Chocolate Glaze". This "Bostoni Cream Pie" is a gooey treat that cannot ever be forgotten if you had the chance to savor it! It is so remarkable taste-wise. A real orange, vanilla, chocolate flavored symphony that will send you to the heavens above! Texture-wise it is surprising with it's gooey "Chocolate Glaze", fluffy and elastic "Chiffon Cake" and velvety "Custard" that all go ever so well together. Another surprising aspect is the dazzling temperature contrast between the warm "Chocolate Glaze" and the cold "Custard"...

Electrifying, stunning and amazing!!!

~ Bostoni Cream Pie ~
Recipe from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of "Bistro Don Giovanni" In Napa Valley and "Scala's Bistro" in San Francisco.

Makes 8 very generous servings.

Ingredients for the custard:
3/4 Cup Whole milk
2 3/4 Tbs Cornstarch
1 Whole egg, beaten
9 Egg yolks, beaten
3 3/4 Cups Heavy whipping cream
1/2 Vanilla bean
1/2 Cup + 1 Tbs Castor sugar

Ingredients for the chiffon cake:
1 1/2 Cups Cake flour
3/4 Cup Superfine sugar
1 1/3 Tsps Baking powder
1/3 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Canola oil
1/3 Cup Egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks), beaten
3/4 Cup Fresh orange juice
1 1/2 Tbs Grated orange zest
1 Tsp Pure vanilla extract
1 Cup Egg whites (about 8 large)
1 Tsp Cream of tartar
Ingredients for the chocolate glaze:
8 Ounces Semi (240g) or bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa)
8 0unces (240g) Unsalted butter

Method for the custard:
1. Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth.
2. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth.
3. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and car
efully bring to a boil.
4. When the mixture just boi
ls, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture.
5. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to
coat the back of a spoon.
6. Strain the custard and pour
into 8 large custard cups.
7. Refrigerate to chill.

Method for the chiffon cakes:
8. Preheat the oven to 160° C (325°F).
9. Spray 8 molds with nonstick cooking spray.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
11. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla.
12. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat.

13. Beat the egg whites until frothy.
14. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
15. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter.
16. Fill the sprayed molds/cups nearly to the top with the batter.

17. Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip.
18. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

19. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds.
20. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.

Method for the glaze:
21. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
22. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about t
o bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt.
23. Pour through a strainer and keep warm.

Method to assemble the pie:
24. Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface.
25. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard.
26. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze.

27. Serve immediately.

I recommend yxou to start baking the "Chiffon Cakes" first and then to make the "Custard".
For the vanilla custard, I used 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract instead of the 1/2 vanilla bean that the recipe called for. You can also use vanilla paste if you wish.

All my eggs weighed 53g.

I used plain white flour for the chiffon cakes as no such thing as cake flour exists here.
The canola oil can be replaced by any neutral tasting oil like pea
nut oil or sunflower oil.
I didn't use fresh orange zest. Instead I used (1 packet) Oetker's orange zest.
For the "Chiffon Cakes", you may use 7-ounce (210g/ml) custard cups, ovenproof wide mugs, large foil cups, small cups or even a cupcake pan (only for the cakes)... Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups.
Do not overbake the chiffon cakes.

Serving suggestions:
I doubt that you'd want to add anything else in order to make this dessert even more indecent, otherwise you'd end up being sick!!!

~ Bostini Cream Pie ~
Recette par Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley des restaurants "Bistro Don Giovanni" à Napa Valley et "Scala's Bistro" à San Francisco.

Pour 8 personnes très gourmandes.

Ingrédients pour le custard:
3/4 Tasse de Lait entier
2 3/4 CS de Maizena
1 Oeuf, battu
9 Jaunes d'oeufs, battus
3 3/4 Tasses de Crème double
1/2 Bâton de Vanille
1/2 Tasse + 1 CS de Sucre cristallisé
Ingrédients pour le "chiffon cake":
1 1/2 Tasses de Farine pour gâteaux
3/4 Tasse de Sucre en poudre
1 1/3 CC de Poudre à lever (levure chimique)
1/3 CC de Sel
1/3 Tasse de Huile de colza
1/3 Tasse de Jaunes d'oeufs (3 à 4 jaunes), battus
3/4 Tasse de Jus d'orange fraîchement pressé
1 1/2 CS de Zeste d'orange rapé
1 CC d'Extrait de vanille pure
1 Tasse de Blancs d'oeufs (environ 8 blancs)
1 CC de Crème de tartre
Ingrédients pour la sauce au chocolat:
8 Onces (240g) de Chocolat à 60%
8 Onces (240g) de Beurre non-salé

Méthode pour le "custard":
1. Dissoudre la maizena dans le lait et bien mélanger.
2. Incorporer l'oeuf entier et les jaunes d'oeufs au mélange lait/maizena tout en fouettant.
3. Dans une casserole, mélanger la crème, la vanille (bâton) et le sucre et porter à ébullition.
4. Quand le mélange bouillira, retirez-le du feu et incorporez l'équivalent d'une louche de ce mélange aux mélange oeufs/lait afin de le tempérer, puis versez ce dernier dans la casserole contenant le mélange crème/sucre/vanille.
5. Cuire, à basse température, en remuant constamment jusqu'à ce que le
"custard" soit assez épais, jusqu'à consistance de nappage.
6. Filtrez le "custard" et versez-le dans chacuns des 8 moules/bols/recipients.
7. Une fois refroidi, les mettre au frigo pour 1 à 2 heures.

Méthode les "chiffon cakes":
8. Préchauffer le four à 160° C (325°F).
9. Huiler/graisser les 8 moules/bols/récipients.
Dans un grand bol, tamiser la farine, le sucre, la poudre à lever et le sel.
11. Ajouter l'huile, les jaunes d'oeufs, le jus
d'orange, le zeste et la vanille.
12. Mélanger jusqu'à ce que la pâte soit homogène, mais ne le faite pas à outrance.

13. Monter les blancs d'oeufs en neige ferme.
14. Ajouter la crème de tartre et foutter jusqu'à formation de pics.
15. Incorporer délicatement les blancs d'oeufs à la pâte.
16. Remplir les moules/bols/recipients presque jusqu'en haut.

17. Cuire pendant environ 25 minutes, jusqu'à ce que la surface des cakes "rebondissent" lorsque l'on y exerce un pression avec les doigts.
18. Retirer du four et laisser refroidir sur une grille.
19. Quand les cakes auront complètement refroidi, sortez-les des moules.
20. Emballez-les afin qu'ils gardent tout leur moelleux.

Méthode pour la sauce au chocolat:
21. Hacher grossièrement le chocolat.
22. Mettre le beurre dans une casserole et le faire fondre à feu doux jusqu'à ce qu'il fasse des bulles. Retirer du feu et ajouter le chocolat. Bien remuer jusqu'à ce que le chocolat ait complètement fondu.
23. Filtrer et ne laissez pas refroidir cette sauce (elle doit être chaude au moment de servir).

Méthode pour l'assemblage du dessert:
24. Couper le dessus de chaque cake afin que leur surface soit plate.
25. Placer le cake (côté coupé en bas) sur le custard.
26. Recouvrir de la sauce au chocolat chaude.
27. Servir immédientement.

Je vous conseille de commencer par préparer le "Chiffon Cake" en premier et de passer à la confection du "Custard" par la suite.
Pour confectionner le custard, j'ai utilisé 1 1/2 cuillères à café d'extrait de vanille au lieu d'utiliser un 1/2 bâton de va
nille comme stipuler dans la recette. Vous pouvez aussi prendre de la pâte de vanille si ça vous tente.
Je n'ai utilisé que des oeufs de ~53g pour cette recette.
Pour les "chiffon cakes", au lieu de prendre de la farine à gâteaux, j'ai pris de la farine simple.
L'huile de colza peut être remplacée par de l'huile d'arachide, de tournesol ou par tout autre huile au goût neutre.

Mon zeste d'orange provenait d'un paquet Dr. Oetker "Finesse: Zeste d'Orange Rapé".
Pour les moules, il vous est possible d'utiliser n'importe quel récipients résistants à la chaleur (tasses, bols, etc...) pourvu qu'ils puissent contenir l'équivalent de 210ml/g et qu'ils ait la même taille que le "Custard"...
Pour mes "Chiffon Cakes", j'ai utiliser un moule à muffins/cupcakes
Ne cuisez pas trop les "chiffon cakes".

Idées de présentation:
Avez-vous vraiment d'en ajouter une couche?!? Je doute fortement que vous puissiez manger autre chose avec ce dessert car il est déjà suffisamment indécent comme ça. Vous risqueriez de vous rendre malade!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


This week, Luna and Amar at "" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #125...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed informations.

!!!!NO COMMENT!!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007


I am not a very complicated person as I enjoy every season and welcome every changes with open arms. But, while I can say that I love them all, I can't deny the fact that autumn (with spring) occupies an important space in my heart and is one of my favorite seasons!

There is something unique and so magical about fall. The crisp air smells of dead leaves, mushrooms and chimney fires, everything is bathed in an eery and tangerine sunlight, the birds sing more cautiously as if they are afraid to disturb the serene atmosphere all around us and nature, although dressed in it's most fiery and colorful arrays is more discreet and less blantant than it was a few weeks ago when summer was still occupying the front stage...

I cannot stop raving about that marvelous season! I hope that you'll also enjoy it through the lens of my camera (click on the pictures to enlarge).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


It is no secret for those who know me that I love baking and eating a certain delicious ring-shaped Jewish bread called "Bagel" (pronounce "bay-gull"). It is a traditional speciality which never fails to make me salivate and crave for more!!!

Although I had already blogged about this
delightful bread two years ago (see post), I thought that I could once again talk about it by writing about how it is generally prepared and served in the delis (delicatessens) throughout the US and Canada...

Those "Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagels" are undoubtedly some of the best sandwiches I've eaten so far. The bread is awesomely chewy, dense and tastes like heaven. The rich, velvety and soft cream cheese filling adds an incomparable smootheness and a luscious flavor of cream. The salmon and it's tangy touch of lemon juice brings some contrast with it's luxuriant, yet delicate flavor and it's exquisite smoke taste that revives the overall flavor ever so magnificently.

It is incontestably the king of all sandwiches and will rejoice any foodie who adores gourmet food!!!

The Bagel

I stopped to pick up the bagel
rolling away in the wind,
annoyed with myself
for having dropped it
as if it were a portent.
Faster and faster it rolled,
with me running after it
bent low, gritting my teeth,
and I found myself doubled over
and rolling down the street
head over heels, one complete somersault
after another like a bagel
and strangely happy with myself.

~ By David Ignatow ~

~ Smoked Salmon Bagels ~
Recipe (only the bread) taken from Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno's
"Ultimate Bread" cookbook and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Serves 4.

300-400g Cream cheese (see infos)

5-6 Tbs Fresh chives, chopped
400g Smoked salmon (lox), thinly sliced
1 Lemon
8 Bagels (see recipe)

1. Mix together the cream cheese and the chopped chives.
2. Cut each bagel through the middle.

3. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on both sides of the bagel.
4. Top each bottom half with 1/8th of the salmon.

5. Then sprinkle with a few drops lemon juice.
6. Finish by flipping the top half of the sandwich over onto the bottom half.
7. Serve.

I bought Philadelphia cream cheese.

If you want, you can toast the inside cut edge of the bagels under a preheated grill before you spread the cream cheese mixture.
Instead of using chives, you can top the salmon with sliced onion roun ds before flipping the top half of the bagel over onto the bottom half.
You can add some fresh or dried dill to the cream cheese, if you desire.

Serving suggestions:
It is so heavenly that there's no need to add anything superfluou
If you really need something to accompany your bagel sandwich, then serve with a sliced tomato or slices of cucumber.


~ Bagels Au Saumon Fumé et Au Fromage Frais ~
Recette (seulement le pain) tirée du livre
Ultimate Bread" d'Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Pour 4 personnes.

300-400g de Fromage frais

5-6 CS de Ciboulette, hachée
400g de Saumon fumé, en tranches fines

1 Citron
8 Bagels (voir la recette)

1. Mélanger le fromage frais à la ciboulette hachée.
2. Couper chaque bagel dans le sens de la largeur.
3. Tartiner le mélange fromage frais/ciboulette sur chaque moitié de bagel (16 en tout).

4. Sur chaque moitié inférieure, déposer 1/8 ième du saumon fumé.
5. Arroser le saum
on d'un peu de citron (quelques gouttes suffisent).
6. Couvrir chaque moitié inférieure par la moitié supérieure (dessus) du bagel et refermer.
7. Servir.

Pour le fromage frais, j'ai acheté du Philadelphia cream cheese.
Si vous le désirez, vous pouvez griller chaque moitié de bagel sur le côté intérieur (avant de tartiner le fromage frais).

Au lieu d'utiliser de la ciboulette, vous pouvez prendre des rondelles d'oignon que vous placerez sur le saumon fumé, avant de refermer le sandwich.
Vous pouvez aussi ajouter de l'aneth séchée ou fraîche au mélange fromage frais/ciboulette.

Idée de présentation:
Ce sandwich est tellement délicieux qu'il n'a besoin d'aucune fioriture superflue!!!
Si vous voulez vraiment l'accompagner d'une crudité, choisissez une tomate ou du concombre en tranches.

Monday, October 22, 2007


One day in August, after having seen an interesting Reunionese recipe (see link), I left a comment on Murielle's blog ("Couverts Et Découvertes") and innocently commented on the fact that it was a pity I could not make it because I didn't know where to find the "dried smoked shrimps (Chevaquines)" that she used to create her dish. To my surprise, she kindly offered to send me some in order to test that very special recipe from her childhood!

So, a few days later, I was all excited when I discovered her promised packet
in my letterbox! I was so happy and thrilled! I was going to be able to test her "Rougail De Chevaquines" that had made me salivate and dream while sitting at my computer...

Thanks for having given me the opportunity to discover and taste the food that your grandmother made when you were a child!!!

A "Rougail" is generally a condiment that accompanies the traditional Reunionese curries ("carry" in French). It is made with diced tomatoes, pounded ginger, chopped o
nions and chilies. Certain fruits and vegetables can be added to the mixture. When shrimps (fresh or dried), meat and sausages are added to the sauce, it then becomes a dish and no more an accompaniment...

This "Dried Shrimp Rougail (Rougail De Chavaquine)" is a wonderful dish that contains all the magical creole savor from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. It is simple, yet exotic and unique as well as very special. I am aware that, when trying it for the very first time, some people will not like it because of the very strong and pungent taste of the dried smoked shrimps that add a peculiar and alien flavor which could leave you perplexed, but which you might learn to like! The acidity and sweetness of the tomato counterbalances the shrimpy and smoky aromas of the dish in a harmonious way and makes their specific taste all the more approachable. The chilies, an incontrovertible ingredient of the creole cuisine, add a gorgeous fiery and spicy touch that'll instantly wake your tastebuds and bring some warmth to you palate.

At first glance, this dish might seem very modest, but it is a deceiving impression. Nothing about it is common or mainstraim. You will be astonished to find out that it is multifaceted and complex in flavor! A taste experience that you'll not regret!

~ Dried Shrimp Rougail ~
Recipe by Murielle Khamouguinoff (Samania) at "
Couverts & Découvertes" (France) and very slightly adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Serves 2.

100g Dried smoked shrimps (chevaquines)
1 Onion, chopped

3 Tomatoes, diced
2 Tbs Oil
2 Bird's eye chilies (see link)

1/2 Tsp Sugar (optional)
1/2 Tsp Salt (or to taste)

Some water

1. In a sieve, rinse the shrimps well, until all the sand has been washed away.
2. Strain well.
3. Heat a pan (or frying pan), add the oil and the dried shrimps. Fry for about 1 minute.
4. Then add the chopped onion and stir-fry over low heat until translucid.
5. In a mortar, pound the chilies with the salt.
6. Add the diced tomatoes, the sugar and the chili mixture to the onions/shrimps in the pan.
7. Let simmer over low heat for about 10-15 minutes while constantly stirring (add some water if necessary).

8. Serve.

The "Dried Smoked Shrimps" come from West Africa. You should find them in any good African supermarket.

You might find that the "Dried Smoked Shrimps" have a strong flavor., so you may want to divide the quantity of shrimps used for this recipe.
If the "Bird's Eye Chilies" are too hot for you, replace them by any other chili (mild) of your choice or by a few drops Tabasco/chili sauce...
The "sauce" should have reduced and thickened a bit, but should not be too dry.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with Basmati rice, coconut rice or parboiled rice and wi
th cucumber salad and/or lentils/beans/split peas.


~ Rougail De Chevaquines ~
Recette par Murielle Khamouguinoff (Samania) "Couverts & Découvertes" et adaptée par Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Pour 2 personnes.

100g de Chevaquines
1 Oignon, haché

3 Tomates, coupées en dés
2 CS d'Huile
2 Piments oiseaux ("zoiseau")
1/2 CC de Sucre (optionel)
1/2 CC de Sel (ou à volonté)
De l'Eau

1. Laver les chevaquines à l'eau claire dans une passoire très fine plusieurs fois afin d'enlever le s
able résiduel.
2. Bien égoutter.
3. Faire chauffer l'huile dans une marmite (ou une poêle) et faire revenir les chevaquines pendant 1 minute.

4. Ajouter l'oignon émincé et faites revenir doucement.
5. Dans un mortier, piler les piments avec le sel.
6. Ajouter les dés de tomates ainsi que le sel pilé avec les piments et le sucre.
7. Laisser cuire
à feu doux pendant 10-15 minutes, en remuant régulièrement (ajouter un peu d'eau si nécessaire).
8. Servir.

Ces "Chevaquines" sont des crevettes séchées et fumées qui proviennent d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Ghana, Congo, ...). Elles devraient être trouvables dans tout bon magasin d'alimentation africaine.
Ces crevettes pourront vous paraître fortes de goût, alors il vous est possible de diviser la quantité utilisée.
Si les "Piment Oiseaux" sont trop forts pour vous, prenez plutôt des piments plus doux ou alors ajoutez quelques gouttes de Tabasco/sauce aux piment
La sauce devrait avoir un peu réduit et épaissi, mais ne pas être trop "sèche".

Idée de présentation:
Servir avec du riz Basmati, du riz à la noix de coco ou du riz "parboiled" et avec une salade de concombre ainsi que des lentilles/haricot secs (cuits, bien sûr)/pois cassés.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


This week, Samatha and Tigger at "Tuxedo Gang Hideout" (USA) are happy to announce that they are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging #124...

To submit your kitty picture(s), you can either leave a message in their blog's comment section (with your permalinks) or contact them via e-mail without forgetting to give all the needed informations.

Fridolin is again being a fussy high-nosed and snotty kitty when it comes to food.
Aaaaarrrggggghhhhh, someimes, I could really strangle him!!!
Lately, he's been ignoring the food that he had gobbled like crazy a few days ago...
He licks the sauce/jelly, leaves all the pieces of meat and is a very messy/dirty eater.
Because of him and his king-like, we had to buy new tins in order to please his saintety.
Thankfully, today, he ate everything that was in his plate, phew!

Friday, October 19, 2007


If one can affirm that summer 2007 was rotten, cold, untinteresting and boring weather-wise, the same can't be said about autumn (at least, until now). Since fall started, we have been blessed by it's mildness. We are now enjoying a series of warm, dry an sunny days. Marvelous!

With the trees turning more and more fiery everyday and the stupendous October light that ignites everything, the landscapes are magnificently ablaze from morning to evening...

Leaf Blankets

Leaves are falling, soft as snowflakes,
Red and yellow, gold and brown;
The breeze laughs gaily in the treetops,
Shaking all the color down.

Leaves are covering the gardens
As my blanket covers me.
When cold winter comes, the flowers
Will be warm as warm can be.

~ Irene B. Crofoot ~

I love that fascinating season and I hope that you'll have fun browsing through my pictures (click on the photos to enlarge)!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Every week, Ruth at "Once Upon A Feast" from Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) organizes an event that takes place on Fridays. It's called "Presto Pasta Nights" (see infos and rules). The 34th edition is already on it's way and as you have maybe guessed, it's all about pasta!

Ruth's aim is to host a weekly round-up of the recipes that we, foodbloggers, have created/made and want to share with others via her great blog. Isn't it an awesome idea? Well, get cooking, folks!

For my 4th participation, I wanted to make a single pasta dish that would be baked in the oven, emblematic of autumn and comforting like medecine for the soul. After a lot of thinking, I came to the conclusion that I was craving "Macaroni Cheese" since long and that it was something that would go perfectly well with the season. As I had no macaronis at home and didn't want to do anything classic, I came up with a gorgeous and non-conventional idea. Why not create a pasta bake/casserole that would be made with pumpkin and which would be different from your usual "Macaroni Cheese"? Let's change our habits, I thought! A recipe was born...

This homely "Pumpkin Pasta Bake With Speck" has a groovy fall spirit. It is rich and hyper fulfilling... The bechamel sauce adds a wonderful onctuosity to the pasta, the delectable sweetness of the pumpkin contrasts amazingly well with the saltiness of the other ingredients, the rosemary brings a fantastic fragrant dimension/twang to the recipe, the "Speck" boosts the overall flavor with it's meaty smockiness and the Gruyère accentuates the dish's ampleness...

There's only good stuff here! Perfect and scrumptious! Isn't that just simply the best you can ask for?!!!

~ Pumpkin Pasta Bake With Speck ~
Recipe by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums

Serves 4.

250g Dried pasta shells

150g Speck/Lardons (see link1 & link 2), finely cubed/sliced
1 Big onion, chopped
3-4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs (or more to taste) Rosemary, chopped
600g Pumpkin, finely cubed

150-200g Gruyère cheese (see link), grated
Breadcrumbs, for the topping

Ingredients for the bechamel sauce:
50-60g (1/4 Cup) Unsalted butter
30g (1/4 Cup) Plain white flour
500ml Hot milk
A pinch grated nutmeg
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. Cook the pasta as mentioned on the packet.
2. Drain and rinse well with cold water, until the pasta are cold.

3. Set aside in a big bowl.
4. In a frying pan, fry the "Speck" until golden.
5. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary. Stir-fry until the onions are translucid.
6. Then add the cubed pumpkin and stir-fry for another 5 min
7. Remove from the heat and add contents to the bowl.

Method for the bechamel sauce:
8. Melt the butter in a saucepan. When it bubbles/splutters, add the flour and roast (but dont let it brown).
9. Add the milk and whisk until the sauce starts to thicken.
10. Cook for another 5-10 over low heat while constantly stirring.
Salt and pepper to taste and finally add the freshly grated nutmeg.
Method (final):

12. Pour the bechamel onto the contents of the bowl, add 2/3 of the grated cheese and mix thouroughly. Rectify the seasoning.
13. Put this mixture into a greased oven dish.
14. Sprinkle with the leftover cheese and breadcrumbs.

15. Bake at 200° C (400° F) for about 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the sauce starts to bubble.

I used "Gnocchi" pasta, but you can use any other pasta sh
ells like "Conchiglie" or "Orechiette".
It is possible to replace the "Speck (Lardons)" by cubed ham or bacon.
You can use eithe
r fresh or dried rosemary.
I chose a vegetable-tasting pumpkin such as "Jack-O-Lantern" for this re
cipe. It should not be too sweet and it's flesh should stay firm when cooked (not mushy)...
If you don't find any "Gruyère" cheese, then "Cheddar", "Comté", "Monterey Jack" or any good hard cheese with a strong flavor will do.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve the pasta bake with a salad (beetroot, celery root, endive, etc...) or any vegetable of your choice (brussel sprouts, carrots, fennel, etc...).
You can even make a tomato sauce as accompaniment to this pasta dish.


~ Gratin De Pâtes A La Courge ~
Recette par Rosa @ Rosa's yummy Yums

Pour 4 personnes

250g de Pâtes (type coquillettes)
150g de Lardons

1 Gros onion, haché
3-4 Gousses d'ail, hachées finement
1 CS (ou plus) de Romarin, haché

600g de Courge, coupée en macédoine
150-200g de Gruyère, râpé
Panure (pour le dessus du gratin)
Ingrédients pour la sauce bechamel:
50-60g (1/4 de Tasse) de Beurre
30g (1/4 de Tasse) de Farine
500ml de Lait chaud
1 Pincée de noix de muscade râpée
Sel, à volonté
Poivre, à volonté

1. Cuire les pâtes comme indiqué sur le paquet.
2. Egoutter les pâtes et les rincer à l'eau froide jusqu'à ce qu'elles soient froides.
3. Mettre dans un grand bol.

4. Dans une poêle, faire revenir les lardons jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient dorés.
5. Ajouter l'onion, l'ail et le romarin. Faire revenir jusqu'à ce que l'onion soit translucide.
6. Ajouter la macédoine de courge et faire revenir/sauter pendant 5 minutes en remuant bien.
7. Retirer du feu et ajouter ce mélange aux pâtes dans le bol.

Méthode pour la sauce béchamel:
8. Dans une casserole, faire fondre le beurre puis, une fois qu'il crépite, ajouter la farine en une seule fois et bien mélanger à la spatule en bois ou au fouet. Cuire quelques minutes (il ne faut surtout pas laisser brunir).
9. Verser le lait chaud et bien mélanger au fouet jusqu'à ce que le mélange épaississe.
A température basse, laisser cuire 5-10 minutes en remuant constamment.
11. Saler et poivrer à volonté et ajouter la noix de muscade râpée.
Méthode (assemblage):
12. Verser la sauce béchamel (tiède) sur les pâtes dans le bol, ajouter les 2/3 du Gruyère et bien mélanger. Réctifier l'assaisonnement.

13. Mettre ce mélange dans un plat à gratin graissé.
14. Saupoudrer le dessus avec la panure et le reste du fromage.
15. Cuire à 200° C (400° F) pendant 40-45 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce que le dessus soit doré et que la sauce fasse des bulles.

J'ai utilisé des pâtes de type "Gnocchi", mais vous pouvez utiliser d'autres pâtes coquilles telles que les
"Conchiglie" ou les "Orechiette".
Vous pouvez remplacer les lardons par du "Bacon" ou du jambon fumé.
Prenez du romarain séché ou frais.
Comme sorte de courge, j'ai plutôt choisi une variété pas trop sucrée (au goût prononcé de légume) et qui reste assez ferme à la cuisson (par ex. courge musquée)...
Le "Gruyère" peut être remplacé par du "Cheddar", du "Comté", du "Monterey Jack" ou un autre fromage à pâte dure qui a du goût.

Idées d'accompagnement:
Servir avec une salade (betrave, céleri rave, endive, etc...) ou le légume de votre choix (choux de bruxelles, carottes, fenouil, etc...).
Ce gratin peut aussi être accompagné par une sauce tomate.