I’ve had this post on my radar ever since I (figuratively) chained myself to a café chair writing a list of 100 blog post ideas last October. After Eat Drink Blog in Canberra I had a very honest conversation with myself about what I loved about blogging and what I could realistically commit to in order to take my humble little blog to the masses.

One of those realisations was that I needed to stop procrastinating, sporadically posting and generally bah-humbugging about my passion, food. It was a go big or go home moment, consequently leaving me glued to my laptop, chain-drinking coffee until I had my rather dubious plan of the next year’s posts.

The first 30 or so flowed quite easily, cementing a rather large amount of half written and eaten ideas floating around in my scattered mind. The next 40 however were painstakingly teased out through quite an amusing game of I Spy around the café. I sat there scanning the cafe’s interior, desperately searching for anything to spark my imagination (read: I wonder if there exists an edible form of lilies).

It may have been the caffeine induced delirium, but after the crap ideas had floated out of my brain and onto the screen, purely for quality control purposes, I started to reach a deeper place in my subconscious. To the surface came were real ideas, good ideas in my opinion, but most importantly they aligned with the very reason I was even slugging it out on my Saturday afternoon.

They were all about soul connecting food memories that instantly transported me to a place where I was inspired, safe and felt humbled to know those around me. DFT is underpinned by the memories that makes up the web of my family tree, biological and created.

The idea to recreate my own version of the kabocha squash toast from the iconic ABC Kitchen in New York was one of these first ‘good’ ideas. I ate this as a starter on Thanksgiving on classic Manhattan chilly evening believing I was mad not to eat squash on such a traditional holiday. It didn’t disappoint. I often refer, albeit joking, that this was the meal that changed my life. Yes, the dish was pretty damn delicious but it was also a moment where my passion for restrained respect for local produce was ignited, shared with one of my closest friends.

Simple food, DFT memories.

I look forward to bringing you into my world a little every Wednesday.  I’ll be continuing to share the food I love to eat, introduce you to some of the people who so graciously step in as hand models and grocery shop emergency – trippers. If you’d like to keep track, please feel free to head over and subscribe.

Pumpkin and fresh ricotta toast with candied maple seeds
For the pumpkin
1/4 pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
2. Roughly chop your pumpkin and toss with olive oil, chilli and salt
3. Transfer to a lined baking tray and roast for 10-15 mins, until tender
4. When slightly cooled, mash with a fork then cover and keep warm

For the small batch ricotta - make 30 minutes – 1 hour before required
Adapted from this recipe
2 cups full fat milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Heat milk over medium heat in a saucepan until about 100 degrees C
2. Once warm, add the vinegar and salt and stir to combine
3. Leave untouched for 10 minutes. The milk should have separated into curds (chunks) and whey (liquid). If it hasn’t, add a little more vinegar and leave for another 5 minutes
5. Drain mixture into a cheesecloth over a bowl and hang over a wooden spoon for 30 minutes to allow the whey to drain

For the maple candied seeds 
2 tablespoons pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or a combination of both
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, for finishing

1. Over medium to high heat, toast seeds in a small frying pan until starting to brown. Meanwhile line a plate with baking paper
2. Working quickly, add vinegar and maple to the seeds and stir to combine.
3. Let bubble for 20-30 seconds, watching carefully as it will burn
4. Immediately transfer to the baking paper and sprinkle with salt.

To assemble
2 slices sourdough bread, toasted
Handful of fresh or dried sage

1. Spread toast with pumpkin and top with ricotta, sage and seeds

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