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New and improved! – but if it ain’t broke…

I tried multiple times over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to post a collection of my kitchen pics. Each and every time, I was foiled at the last minute with the message “There was a problem with your post. Please try again later.”

The whiz kids over at Facebook have been “improving” things, putting together a new look and working towards integrating Instagram and Facebook so we “can manage them together for a smoother experience”.

With no reason as to why my post would not complete, I can only assume that by not already jumping into the new format (which I don’t want to do anyway), I am bucking the system.

I can get used to changes, and I understand technology advances and we have to go with the flow for the most part. But to me this is like being forced to use an alternative ingredient in a recipe when I like the original combination just fine. I don’t want avocado brownies, I want brownies with brown butter and melted chocolate!

Does anyone else feel this way? Am I the only one who doesn’t want to adapt every time something shifts? Couldn’t we have the option to stick with a classic now and then? You can have your avocado brownie, I just want mine the regular way.

In the spirit of traditions and preserving something of nostalgia, I am posting my pictures here. Perhaps this is a sign that I should be blogging more and stepping away from Facebook as a Gourmande. I just hope there will still be some engagement.

Brunch on the deck in October! Talk about the good life #blessed
There is nothing like garden tomatoes, basil and greens to honour the hard work spent in the dirt. It was worth every blister, callus, broken fingernail and tired muscle.
A year ago this weekend we headed to Morocco for the trip of a lifetime, our 20th anniversary celebration. We won’t be travelling to exotic places anytime soon, but we can bask in the flow of their flavours.
One of the great things about travel is coming back to appreciate what we have at home. Pairing a favourite #BCwine from Tantalus Vineyards with an exotic meal was the perfect foundation for the evening.
This time of year is all about preserving the bounty – we have frozen and dried and canned – chutneys, compotes, sauces, pickles… It will cheer us during the dreary days in winter.
Baking sourdough bread has become my meditation. This lovely addition to my collection of accessories for the baking process makes me smile every time I use it – thanks, Your Green Kitchen
The last fruit to be harvested is the quince. I know when they are ready when they seem to glow from within.
Ella has a great nose for ripe fruits and veggies. She helped me choose the pumpkins for our Thanksgiving dessert.
Thanks to the wonderful team at Paynter’s Market for such delicious ingredients! 😋
Thanks to Mumsy for such a great recipe –her pumpkin cheesecake tastes as good as I remember from my childhood!
Having only two people at our table, a Thanksgiving feast was not practical. The last big cooking task then, was to mix the Christmas cake ! I chose Mary Berry’s recipe this year, having seen her make it in lockdown.
This was a full family effort, with everyone there in spirit. I managed to have a group call with my brother and his lady in Vancouver and my mom in Mexico. We all made our wishes as I stirred the batter, and shared virtual hugs – and a few nostalgic giggles – to seal the deal. The crowning glory for the cake was the Courvoisier cognac that came from my late Daddy’s liquor cabinet.

You gotta have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving – at least I do

I love pumpkin pie. Turkey is nice, homemade stuffing can be delicious, and good gravy is an art. I like the variety of flavours on a Thanksgiving plate with all the side dishes, but my true passion has always been pumpkin pie. It is one of the foods that got me cooking.fall pumpkin cart Paynters Market

You see, my Mom hated making pastry. As a result, she avoided it whenever possible. She is also not a real fan of pumpkin pie in particular, so when one year she mentioned not making it for Thanksgiving I stepped in to avoid a serious break in tradition. (I think I was 12.) I offered to make the pie. I figured, how hard can it be? Well, pastry is something that I don’t mind. My Mom says the talent of achieving tender flaky pastry is one that skips a generation. I think she was just buttering me up, although that never occurred to me at the time. The pastry was easy enough; it was the scalding of the milk was what scared me. But I pulled through, and followed the recipe. Then, after tasting the filling, I took my first leap as a gourmand and kicked up the spices a notch. The rest, as they say, is history.

When we served up the pie that night after dinner, it sliced up beautifully. I was amazed at how the custard held its shape and yet tasted fluffy. The spice and sweetness were well balanced, and the pastry was rich and flaky. I was pleased, and when my Mom said it was the Best Pumpkin Pie, Ever I was over the moon. And I never looked back, baking up a storm from that autumn onward. When I had to make traditional Thanksgiving dessert for the film crews during my movie catering days, I confidently pulled out my old favourite, and it was always a hit.

pumpkin pie Happy Gourmand

I don’t know if this recipe will cause an epiphany at your house this Thanksgiving, but it’s easy enough to do and it has character. I hope you can enjoy it half as much as I do 🙂  I am truly grateful I am able to share it with you.

Oh, and for those who might like a gluten-free version or who don’t like pastry, you can make the filling in ramekins or other ceramic or glass dishes, it makes a lovely dessert. Just watch the time as smaller containers will cook faster.

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