The past week has been a quiet one, to say in the least. The house is strangely silent with only two souls within it, with the television being our nightly soundtrack. We lead an uncomplicated life, eating noodles cooked in fifteen minutes, finishing them half as quickly, going out shopping, staying in watching Modern Family. It's a simple existence.
But it is insufficient. Give me sustenance, I say. Let me do something, something filling - filling the soul, body and mind. Let me enjoy the simple repetition in routine, let me relish and relax in it.
And I did.
I live my life in routine; I am a creature of repetition, comfortable in repeating my dos and don'ts. I do what I have done before, take the steps that I've taken in time past. As such, Thursday is as it always is, to the bakery and back.
It drizzled then, dainty glass beads which fell and shattered on the concrete pavement, with petrichor replacing the asphalt scents in the air. I inhaled deeply as I walked, cautious with every step taken. Right. Left. Right. Left again. The three hundred and twenty two steps taken are the same as those every week. It was raining, you see, so I entered the bakery with mist spreading on my glasses, the fragrance of freshly baked pastries and breads interspersed with soups and meats.
As I said, I'm a creature comfortable in repetition. So, I went up to the counter, speaking to the same server as I did seven days ago, ordering the same thing as I did seven days ago.
Man, that pumpkin soup, it was good. The type of good that warms chilly fingers and toes, pepper liberally sprinked on top, pumpkin cubes hovering within with bread to sog the orange up. The archetype of comfort food, if I might say so.
But pumpkin, it's not just for soup. It's for bread, too.
And so I returned home, cranked on the oven, and took out the mixing bowl. You know the rest of the story.
What I have here is simple stuff. Stuff, an ambiguous word, but I remain firm in what I say. Stuff. This loaf was quick, unpolished, uncomplicated. The idea is straightforward - flour, eggs, pumpkin baked with a touch of cream cheese, to produce a not overly moist loaf ideal for spreading something on. A flavoured, crumbly bread, no?
It's your choice, of course, if you were to opt to add nuts and dried fruit, or to have chocolate inside, even. After all, what I have here is something for you is a rough-hewn idea to play around with, not a fixed recipe for pumpkin bread. Enjoy.
Cream Cheese-Swirled Pumpkin Bread
makes a 21 x 9 cm loaf
2/3 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c sugar / maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice / nutmeg + cinnamon
3 tbsp. cream cheese
1. Preheat oven to 170. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt and spice.
2. Add in pumpkin puree, milk and eggs. Mix to form a smooth consistency.
3. Pour into a greased 9 x 23 cm baking dish and scoop softened cream cheese on top.
4. Using a knife, swirl the batter and cream cheese.
5. Bake for 40 minutes, until top is bronzed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6. Let it cool for 15 minutes before removing and slicing. Enjoy.
- to be continued -