Sometimes, you just want to rant and rave, to say and sprout. Sometimes, you want to proclaim and exclaim, to let your heart out. And sometimes, there's none of that. When the words run dry and conversation halts, with that palpable silence hovering somewhat awkwardly in the air, or sometimes, when the silence actually is comfortable, like those of midnight car rides where you look out to the leitmotif of lights and sit quietly to ruminate.
And this, is where I begin. Quiet silence, I call it. Quiet silence, who lets herself in when everyone remains motionless, listening to the dim roar of noise outside, and think - of nothing in particular. It's nice, that, when you let your mind skim over thoughts and reflect (not too deeply) of the time gone by and time to come.
December is the perfect time for that, being the last chilly month of the year, when everything seems to slow down (or go by too quickly) and you're cooped up at home watching the rain fall. You make a warm mug of tea, think of what you've done this year, your achievements and failures, finish your tea, and curl up feeling rather satisfied with a book or a movie.
And sometimes, when you've had too many a cup of tea, you lie awake in bed at night, hearing the carols come in from the window and try to let the darkness consume you. Thoughts come and go then, swift as a sparrow, but for long enough for you to identify that it's a sparrow. And I, was thinking of pumpkin. It's queer, how they are available all-year round, but December is when their mellow orange shades start to pop. They're foods of warmth, foods of comfort, the bright color in the slightly dreary palette of winter months.
I like pumpkin - it's silken creaminess, rich and warming colors and earthy flavor. I like how it pairs itself so nicely with spices sweet and sharp, and how it can fit itself so well into any meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner. And most of all, I love it for it's ubiquity - how it's so blatantly present yet well-hidden. How it camouflages itself into almost any dish and you only realize it's in it when you ask the host 'what is in this dish?'
In pumpkin pie oatmeal, you get the crispiness of the baked crust, along with the filling-ness of it in a cake-ish form. It's crisp out, but slightly mushy in. With a simple yet creamy 'eggnog' milk on top, that's alcohol-free for breakfasts and takes less than a couple of minutes to whip up, it transforms into a nourishing breakfast which provides energy for the day ahead.
Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal with (Vegan) Eggnog Cream
makes enough for one
1/2 c oats
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon + nutmeg will suffice)
3 tbsp pumpkin puree
2-3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/3 c milk
1/2 tsp rum extract
1 tbsp vanilla pudding mix
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. Stir all the ingredients for the oatmeal (except pepitas) together well until it is a smooth mixture that is slightly damp. For the milk, add 2 tbsp in first and then the third if it is too dry.
3. Transfer to a greased baking dish and press the pumpkin seeds in gently.
4. Bake for 20-25 mins, until solid.
5. Meanwhile, whisk together all ingredients for the cream together well.
6. Remove gently and pour over cream. Serve and enjoy.\
- to be continued -