it’s still drizzling outside and so cold! I wish I had posted this earlier. I’ve noticed many people sniffling around as the temperature fluctuates at unexpected degrees during the day and the night, let alone the surprisingly cold weather last week. So I did some baking to warm up the house as well as the body. But maybe it was too late that I did it! So what did I bake? Pumpkin!
I don’t see why I can’t indulge in pumpkin outside its season , especially if you’ve got fresh cut pumpkins stored in the freezer from the last winter. I was also given a whole fresh Japanese pumpkin recently so I had to get rid of the old ones. I freeze many things for survival; I even started to freeze cheese, I mean French cheese, which I used to consider as a crime, killing the goodness in it. But hey, we adapt or we die, and it’s been feeding my craving for French cheese every now and then.
There was a small dinner gathering
last week two weeks ago and I made these pumpkin muffins for a dessert and made another batch because they were so good.
What makes my muffins from many other pumpkin muffins is the lightness and the spice. This recipe calls for only 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of butter, and lots of spices known as aphrodisiacs. Don’t jump to the assumption about my obsession with aphrodisiac foods. The fact is that I just love the aroma of the spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Despite the small quantity of sugar, they were so sweet and it was because of additional 1/4 cup grape molasses.
I don’t know how I got to love these spices but as for the power of ginger, I have personal experiences of relieving nausea and curing a common cold. I used to keep crystalised ginger in my pantry for emergency home-remedy and whenever I felt queasy or was coming down with a cold, I snacked on it. It was quite handy to have it but I haven’t really looked for it here. Instead, I grate dried ginger on my morning toast with honey; pieces of dried ginger are a must in the pantry as are the cinnamon sticks.
The effect of ginger, the elevation of heart rate and body temperature, which is mostly likely to stimulate the circulatory, has been well-documented throughout the history of different cultures. Of all the legendary stories, the most interesting was that the Portuguese fed ginger to their slaves in West Africa in the hope of increasing the slave population, and additionally, even the Koran mentions that the spice will be served at feasts in Paradise.
What better way is there to liven up my life other than eating this delicious and healthy spice muffins? I enjoyed eating it with mint tea before bedtime, getting warmed up and relaxed by the spices. I still have some more pureed pumpkin left after making the muffins and I’m thinking of making pumpkin no-knead bread, unless another idea comes to me.
Tips: Pumpkin is good when you feel tired as it gets rid of toxins in your body by activating the function of the kidney and liver. That’s why in Chinese medicine pumpkin extract or concentrate is recommended to women after giving birth as well as people suffering from fluid retention. You know what? Health-obsessed Koreans start the day with onion juice on top of pumpkin and other vegetables and fruit. Onion juice doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds though. 🙂
Pumpkin Orange Muffins
Ingredients (makes 12)
1 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
(or ground nut powder – almond, pumpkin seeds, linseed,etc)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp grape molasses
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp orange zest, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 175’C (350F) and grease the muffin moulds.
2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until very frothy, and continue to whisk with butter and molasses.
3. Stir in the pumpkin puree and shift in the dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined.
4. Fill the moulds 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 mins.
5. Let the muffins cool for 5 mins and transfer onto a cooling rack.
(I’m sure only 11 out of 12 will make it to the rack because it’s too good to resist eating it straight out of the oven!)