If you’re looking for the perfect fall recipe, look no further. Once I spotted this recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s site, I knew I had to make it. Nevermind that canned pumpkin basically doesn’t exist here in Amsterdam, which meant I had to make my own from scratch. And maybe after finally finding a pumpkin and roasting it, draining it, and pureeing it, I discovered that the pumpkin I bought didn’t make quite enough puree for the recipe. Of course. So KC kindly went back to the store and bought another pumpkin, which I then roasted, drained and pureed, yet again.
The good news is that this mishap means I have enough puree to make two loaves now, which is great since the first loaf is shaping up to be gone by the end of the day… Loaf pans are also weirdly tough to track down here. (Well, bakeware in general seems not as readily available as it is in the US, but maybe I also just don’t know where to shop yet.) I finally found a pan at a large department store over the weekend, though it is a bit of a different shape than the loaf pans we have in the US — much longer and skinnier. Honestly, I can’t recommend this recipe enough. I mean, Smitten Kitchen recipes tend to be Ina-level successful, so I figured Deb wouldn’t steer me wrong here. But really, if you like pumpkin bread — this is the jam. It comes together quickly and makes the whole house smell like fall while it’s baking. What more could you want? You can find the recipe for the Pumpkin Bread here, and the recipe for homemade pumpkin puree below:
Homemade Pumpkin Puree
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cut pumpkin in half and remove the stem. (Put your back into it — it’s tough!) Scoop out the seeds, then place pumpkin cut-side down on a baking sheet wrapped in foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes to an hour, until the skin and flesh are easily poked with a fork. (Cooking time will vary based on size and type of pumpkin.)
- Let cool, then scoop flesh into a fine mesh strainer and let sit over a bowl to drain some of the liquid.
- Once drained, blend the flesh in a food processor or in a bowl with a hand blender.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to one week, or in the freezer up to three months.
*If you have a large/tough pumpkin, you can speed up the roasting process by cutting it into pieces prior to roasting. This does make scooping the cooked flesh out a little more tedious, so consider peeling the pumpkin first if you’re going to go this route.
After seeing this cake on another blog, an immediate craving for fall baked goods set in. Baking here in Amsterdam is tricky, as I don’t have a mixer or a lot of bakeware, plus the Dutch seem to lack a lot of common baking items in readily available places like the grocery store. Not to mention that brown sugar doesn’t exist here. Instead they have something called basterdsuiker, which is not the same thing (and I’m just gonna go ahead and hold my thoughts on the name).
This cake, luckily, uses really common ingredients, and even though the recipe calls for a 10″ cake pan, I thought my casserole dish would work fine for the size, which it did.
This cake is as perfect for breakfast as it is for a mid-afternoon snack, so if you have a brunch coming up — this might just be the perfect thing. It keeps well overnight covered in foil as well, so feel free to make it ahead — it’s fairly sturdy. It’s also pretty foolproof, so it’s a great one to get little hands involved in if you have some kiddos who want to join in the baking process.
Olive Oil Apple Snack Cake
from Sunday Suppers via Wit & Delight
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- zest of one lemon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 medium apples
- juice of one lemon
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 10″ cake pan, springform pan, or 12″ x 8″ casserole pan.
- Whisk together eggs and sugar, then stir in olive oil, milk and lemon zest until combined.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring just to combine (don’t overmix).
- Peel apples and slice thinly, then toss in lemon juice to keep them from browning.
- Pour batter into your prepared pan and top with sliced apples.
- Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Tent with foil if top is browning too quickly (check it at about 30 minutes — you’ll likely need to add the foil then.) Let cool completely in the pan before serving. Cover with foil or plastic wrap to store.
We’re well in the thick of fall weather in Amsterdam, so I’ve started thinking about what I want to put on my fall bucket list this year. Since Halloween isn’t really a thing in Europe and Thanksgiving obviously doesn’t happen here, the Christmas season starts a bit earlier here than it does in the states. We will probably start in on our Christmas prep beginning in early November, especially since we will be flying back to California in early/mid December to spend the actual holiday with family — so don’t be surprised that a lot of the below is very Christmas-centric. Here’s what I’ve come up with for my list so far:
- Vote! I have actually already gotten and filled out my ballot, so I just need to get some international postage and send this bad boy off. Trump all the way! (Kidding guys, OBVIOUSLY. Barf.)
- Make a delicious scent on the stove so the whole apartment smells like the holidays. (And then post the recipe so you all can make one too!)
- Make homemade enchiladas, since I was able to track down green enchilada sauce at the international store nearby.
- Figure out if there is any Halloween activity to take Prim to in Amsterdam. So far I’ve come up with nothing, but we’re still planning to have her dress up!
- Celebrate Thanksgiving. Right now it looks like we will be heading to a local restaurant that supposedly does an American-style Thanksgiving dinner. (Because I’m not about to scour Holland for turkey and all the trimmings to make an entire Thanksgiving feast solo at 27 weeks pregnant. No thanks.)
- Make beef stew, which means making beef stock from scratch. Looks like a trip to the butcher is in order.
- Visit the Amsterdam Christmas markets.
- Take a trip with KC and Prim to visit another country’s Christmas markets. (Right now the tentative plan is to head to Austria to hit Vienna’s!)
- Pick up some Dutch goodies to bring back to California for Christmas. (Ummm probably not anything featuring Zwarte Piet though…)
- And finally, the biggie: KC and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this December (and 12 years together in total — holy moly) so we are planning on taking a little babymoon/anniversary trip to Paris together… without Prim. This will be the first time I have left Prim overnight ever, so I’m simultaneously super excited and totally nervous at the prospect.
What’s on your list this year?
Previous fall bucket lists: 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Since arriving back in Amsterdam a little over a week ago, it has felt like full-on fall here. Fall is one of my most favorite seasons (summer is my least favorite — yes, really), so I have been reveling in the colder weather and cozy evenings at home. I’ve jumped right into my arsenal of soup recipes, and have already made Potato Leek twice (!) and lentil once in the past week alone.
Coming back to Amsterdam after being in California felt a little more like returning “home,” though I will admit that I still don’t totally feel like this is our home yet. The fall weather certainly helped my mood upon returning, as did walking the Albert Cuypmarkt with KC, Prim, and some fries (yes, with mayo) from a local vendor.
We’ve also gotten back into biking around the city, which I just love. We biked to the center this past weekend to buy a new frying pan (our lives are thrilling), and the fact that it went from sunny to raining over the course of our trip didn’t bother us in the slightest. There’s something about biking home in the rain that really makes you feel like you’re a local here. Plus, I’m getting so much more comfortable riding with Prim on my bike now, which is lucky for her since she sits behind me on my bike — not in front like on KC’s, which is pretty chilly right now! (I will admit that I thought the purchase of this most adorable fall coat for P was a little frivolous when I bought it amidst the 90-degree heat in California, but man are we getting a lot of use out of it here in Amsterdam!)
KC and Prim came down with the stomach flu last week, which certainly put a damper on things. I will say though, I’ve never felt better about my decision to register for three crib sheets and two mattress protectors as I did last Thursday night. And I’m even more glad that I decided to wash all of our laundry back in California before we flew back to Amsterdam, because adding that to the pile of sheets, towels, and sick bedding would have been nuts. (I’m definitely looking forward to returning to the land of normal-sized washers and dryers in 2018. These tiny Euro appliances kill me.)
PS: Does the stomach flu only strike kids at night? It’s terrible no matter what, but I swear child illnesses have some special incubation period where they specifically take hold after you’ve gotten your kid to sleep for the night. The worst.
I’ve written about my fall bucket list a little earlier the past two years (here’s 2013’s and 2014’s), but the weather has been so hot an un-fall-like (that’s a word, right?) that I honestly haven’t really gotten into the fall spirit too much until now. Now that it’s feeling a little cooler and I’m getting into holiday mode, here’s what’s on my fall bucket list this year:
- Make an advent calendar for Prim
- Order new Christmas stockings for our little family of three!
- Find a dress to wear to holiday parties (since none of my dresses really fit… oh heyyy new postpartum body)
- Start Prim on solid food (omggg how is she almost 6 months already??)
- Take a family picture for our holiday card
- (And on that note…) Send out holiday cards
- Take pictures with Prim in rain gear once it actually starts raining. (Hellooo El Niño..?)
- Go out to a Christmas movie with KC (I’ve got my eye on this one and this one)
- Indulge in some crab in the fireplace at Camino. (Once they hopefully lift the health department warning! Boooo)
- Introduce Prim to the wonders of Christmas music (I can’t wait!)
What’s on your fall bucket list this year? Rain dances until El Niño actually shows up? Fires in the fireplace and lots of spiced baked goods? How magical.