Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mashed Garlic Pumpkin


Here’s a post for all my old friends who used to think my life is glamorous.   We have finally gotten there!  Back when we lived in Paris, I remember friends exclaiming, “Paris! That is so wonderful.  I have always wanted to go to Paris!  What do you do there?”  The answer to their question was, “Well, Mondays I do laundry, including the ironing.  Tuesdays I clean downstairs.  Wednesdays I clean upstairs.  Thursdays the bathrooms get cleaned and Fridays are always bed linen changing and washing days.”  And everyday, of course, I was caring for my two little darlings.  Changing diapers, nursing the baby, potty training, getting spit up stains out of my t-shirts and cooking, always cooking.  Such a glamorous life I led!

But now, in truth, I can say that this last week has been pretty cool.  No family responsibilities (except a baby sitter for the hound) and besides the fact that we flew economy class, the jet-setting started on Thursday with a dinner dance next to the pyramids in Egypt.  Beer and wine were served from 6 p.m. (and we brought some champagne and cocktails of our own) with the pyramids in full view!  Everyone was in tuxedos and lovely gowns just like the beautiful people.   We were the beautiful people! (Except for not being skinny and rich.)

Look!  One of the pyramids in the background.  Is that cool or what?!

Then the party went inside to the hotel ballroom, where we were served a sit-down meal and entertained by three or four live bands in succession.  We ate, we drank, we danced!  Then around 11:30 p.m., we headed home to change our clothes and collect our luggage.  We checked in for our flight to Bologna via Istanbul then hung out in the executive lounge (That Star Alliance gold card comes in handy!) until the flight was called.   Mere hours later, we found ourselves on a sleek train from Bologna to Venice, and then on a water taxi to the Splendid Hotel.  We enjoyed the sightseeing and reveled in the delicious meals that Venice offers.  The hotel even had complimentary Prosecco – Italian sparking wine - at every breakfast.  Splendid indeed!

The Grand Canal in Venice, taken from the Rialto Bridge
After two wonderful days in Venice, we rented a car and drove down the coast roads to Ravenna for work (dear husband) and more sightseeing (me) and more delicious meals and wine (both.)

The altar: Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna


Then we were off  to Istanbul for a gorgeous seafood dinner Tuesday evening at Afrodite Restaurant in the historic area of Kumkapi, and a Wednesday shipyard visit (him again) and more sightseeing and shopping (me.)  

The view from our hotel room in Istanbul. 
I am thinking that this is what my friends imagined I did all these years.  Anyway, it certainly feels like a dream.   We arrived home today almost a full week after our whirlwind departure from the pyramids, exhausted but happy.  Some work, some play but, all in all, a great week. 

Here’s a quick easy dish that is delicious eaten with a spoon right out of the pan (me) or as a side dish.

Ingredients
1 1/4kg  or 2 3/4 lbs pumpkin
Olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic
Sea salt
Black pepper

Method
Preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F.

Cut the peel off of your pumpkin and cut it into chunks.  




Put the chunks into your baking pan and drizzle liberally with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss then distribute the chunks evenly around the pan. 




Meanwhile, in a small bowl, drizzle your garlic with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside.


Roast the pumpkin for about 30 minutes.


Add in the garlic, toss the pumpkin around, and roast for a further 30 minutes.  You want some browned bits but you don't want the garlic to burn and turn bitter so keep an eye on it.  



Using a potato masher, mash the pumpkin and garlic as smoothly as you like.  I like to mashed the garlic thoroughly but leave a few small bits of pumpkin for texture.   Check your seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.




Enjoy!






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