Wednesday 31 October 2012

Pumpkin damper and vegan mofo reflections

As All Hallows Eve approaches, I am pleased to present you with a spooky pumpkin damper.  Actually I am more delighted that it tastes like the damper that my mum used to make than I am impressed with the scary visage.  Halloween is not a tradition that I grew up with but damper is.  This is also the last Vegan MoFo post for 2012 so I will round up the month of vegan food with some reflections and photos of recipes that I never got to post.

Broccoli bean cheeze burgers.  Adapted from Healthy Happy Life - Not bad but not sure it was the finest moment with my Chickpea and Hemp Seed Cheeze
In some ways, Vegan MoFo 2012 was easier than last year.  I knew the drill.  I prepared.  I was even able to finally return to ideas from last year's mofo.  This year we regularly buy soy milk and Nuttalex margarine rather than cow milk and butter, so it was easy to make dairy-free recipes.  I have had more success with vegan cheese that was also fun to experiment with.  Baking without eggs is still a challenge (especially in pancakes), but it is becoming easier.  A few friends doing Vegan MoFo also made it easier.

Broccoli and Tofu Cannaloni from Veganise This!  I liked the better the second night but still was a little unsure about the uncooked broccoli in the filling.
In other ways, this year was harder.  I seem to be busier than ever.  Work is hectic as we prepare for a big event.  My computer started to play up on me.  Sylvia and I have been poorly.  Spammers have been getting worse.  I have struggled to keep up with reading and commenting on other blogs.

So it is an achievement that I managed to upload 26 Vegan MoFo posts in October.  Not as impressive as last year's 31 posts but far above the minimum 20 posts that I had been aiming fot.  As you will see by some of the photos in this post, I had more recipes and ideas than I had time and energy to write up.
 Cheezy crackers - I combined Don't Fear the Vegan's Cheesey Crackers and my Polenta Parmesan Crackers.  I liked them but these were a little crumbly. 
Other highlights included:

Salad of  cucumber, roast beetroot, avocado, spinach, capsicum and corn, dressed with chocolate vinaigrette and some vegie fingers from St Kilda Farmers Market.  Delicious.
Now that Vegan MoFo is over, I anticipate that my blog will quieten down.  We have a big event coming up at work soon and then we are heading to Scotland for 3 weeks starting the last week of November.  That means we will get home just in time to panic about Christmas in Australia.  It all seems a little overwhelming right now but I can't wait for our Scottish holiday.

Given that I will be busy, I have decided to turn on the captcha code for comments.  Apologies to those who do comment regularly.  I hate trying to decipher Google's captcha code myself.  But I am getting so much spam that it is making it harder to moderate comments.

More salad with  chocolate vinaigrette.  This time black beans, cucumber, avocado, baby spinach and red capsicum.  Great with pizza. 
And finally I return to the recipe. For those who aren't familiar with damper (see below picture), this is traditional Australian bush food.  The sort of thing a swagman would cook over his campfire to eat with billy tea.  I found the recipe in a cookbook I picked up at a school fete on the weekend.  It appealed because it was simple and it was a great way to use up the rest of my huge tin of pumpkin puree.

I have only made damper once before in the early days of my blog. The buttermilk and lemon myrtle damper was too fancy and more interesting than authentic.  (Many damper recipes that I see seem to more scone or bread than proper plain old damper.)  Adding pumpkin is not at all authentic.  Yet it filled me with nostalgia.  Ripping chunks of damper from the loaf was exactly what we used to do with my mum's damper.  And though there was a slight taste of pumpkin, the damper tasted plain enough to remind me of my mum's.

Sylvia proved that she is an Aussie kid and wanted it spread with some vegemite. E was just glad to have some fresh bread of any sort.  I loved some damper with my vegie soup for dinner.

More pumpkin recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe

Pumpkin Damper
Adapted from Australian Women's Weekly BBQ Cookbook via Recipes from the Childish Plot (Spensley Street Primary School, 2011)

350g white self raising flour
scant 1/4 tsp salt
20g butter or margarine
1 cup mashed pumpkin
4-5 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 220 C and lightly grease an oven tray.  Rub butter into flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add pumpkin and slowly add water until you have a soft sticky dough.  Lightly knead on a floured surface.  Shape into a circle about 5cm high and place on greased tray.  Score with a knife a few times. Bake at 220 C for 10 minutes and then bake for another 20-30 minutes at 180 C (See note).

NOTE: the recipe didn't say how to tell it was ready.  I found that I could see where the crack was that it wasn't quite cooked inside.  I returned it to the oven for 20 minutes.  Next time I might baked it at a higher temperature for longer before turning down the oven (but my oven is quite slow at the best of times).  Apart from looking at and tapping the damper, I suggest being alert to when it smells cooked.

On the Stereo:

This post is part of Vegan Month of Food October 2012.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my Vegan MoFo p


  1. Your spooky damper looks terrific! And I gather that you've completed Vegan Mofo under a lot of pressure - congratulations. Since I don't imagine we'll see each other in the meantime, I wish you all the best for your travels later in November.

    1. Thanks Cindy - the spookiness was a surprise - I carved a pumpkin face that looked ok but when the mouth split it looked really spooky. And thanks for the well wishes - the time up until our trip is starting to look quite full

  2. Wow, you will be busy - but must be exciting to be going to Scotland again. I love your scray damper - happy Halloween. Is Sylvia trick or treating?

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - Sylvia didn't trick or treat but she did go to the supermarket wearing green face paint - and i think if anyone gave her lollies she would have accepted them with delight (she did get a few aww-isn't-she-cute looks)

  3. Hehe I love your damper which is very skull-like with the two eyes! Happy Halloween! :D What does Sylvia think of it all?

    1. Thanks Lorraine - sylvia was asleep by the time the damper came out of the oven - a shame as she would have enjoyed it but she is very interested in the halloween thing - even asked tonight why it wasn't halloween any more!

  4. How much pumpkin did you put in that damper?

    1. Thanks Corrin - glad you let me know I had a typo - checked and realised I had written potato instead of pumpkin so have amended this in the post

  5. Congratulations on your posts this month Johanna - I have loved the recipes and reflections (well, I always do, but there have been more to enjoy this month!) and it has been nice doing MoFo alongside other Australians. This damper looks gorgeous and I am so excited that you are going to Scotland. It sounds like a perfectly timed break given everything else you have going on.

    (PS. I have been getting more 'anonymous' spam comments too. They get caught in Blogger's spam filter but still end up in my Gmail inbox, which is highly annoying.)

    1. Thanks Kari - I really like knowing a few friends who are doing mofo - glad you enjoyed my mofo posts. I can't wait for our trip as I am ready for a break.

      Re the comments - the spam goes into the filter but it clutters up my inbox too and today I found that a comment was missing that was in my email but I suspect I have deleted from the spam folder because there has been too much to sift through a check

  6. Congrats on the month Johanna, I've enjoyed all of your posts and I was so happy that you decided to sign up for MoFo again (at one point I thought you said you weren't going to). The pumpkin damper bread looks fantastic, did you see that we were both mentioned on MoFo round up today?

    Sorry you didn't love the cannelloni - I have found that because it's so finely chopped in the food processor, the oven seems to cook it.

    Good to hear you have a nice trip coming up, that's something to look forward to!

    1. Thanks Mel - I did decide against doing mofo at one stage and then changed my mind - glad I did as I enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know about the mofo mention as I hadn't seen it yet.

      I had wondered about trying the cannelloni again with cooked broccoli - I thought it was quite well chopped but maybe not chopped finely enough (or I could blame our oven which just doesn't cook very fiercely) - we quite enjoyed it and I think it got better each night as it cooked more


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