Just about to jump on a plane with Rosalind for our annual “romantic mini-break”.  Boys never take us on one so we take ourselves once a year.  We have done Wareham, France, Stroud, Berlin, Copenhagen and this year it is BUDAPEST.

So I am handing over the blog todat to a guest blogger.  The lovely Natalie Loader (seen earlier in this project dancing around a kitchen with a string of sausages in her hand) also known as Natalie Wood.  I heartily recommend you check out the photo of Natalie’s Pumpkin Pie here – it is a DOOZY!  Here is her report…

Testing this recipe has been on my ‘to do’ list since your email circulated as I can very rarely resist autumn vegetables such as pumpkin and sweet potato, especially in dessert form, but as with most of my ‘to do’ lists I just list rather than do.  However, I’ve very proud to be able to report that a very cheap deal on a pumpkin caused me to buy one and actually make the dish (and yay – I can finally tick one thing off my list!).  It was rather a labour of love – chopping, de-seeding and peeling a pumpkin is long and hard work and I needed a brandy to revive myself after the pumpkin had been prepared for cooking – that’s why Mae West probably suggest an indiscriminate measure of brandy – the quantity depends on how much of a pick-me-up you require!

Making the filling was a breeze and in the end I opted for 4 dessert spoons of brandy in the mixture (and the rest of the ‘glass’ in me).  I used a sweet butter shortcrust pastry for my pie case but the filling is so sweet that a regular shortcrust pastry would have been fine.

Mae’s recipe says to cook for 10 mins and then turn the oven down and cook for a further 30-40 mins but my silver [sic – steel] knife would not come out clean until after near 3 hours in the oven.  I don’t want to slander Ms West, but she wasn’t honest about how time-consuming this pie is.  Having said that, it is more than worth it!  It’s like an explosion of Christmas on your tongue – and having a dose of holiday cheer in October makes me not mind so much that everywhere has Christmas decorations out already.  I feel like I’m a better, less curmudgeonly person as a result.  This one will definitely be on my Christmas table this year.

The recipe made waaaay too much filling and topping for just one pie (and my pie was kind of big – I made it in a large casserole dish), and so I’ve refrigerated my left overs and will bake up a second pie at the weekend.  I may add more brandy, you know, just to see…

I attach a photo of my effort – I made little leaves out of the left over pastry (brushed with egg and sprinkled with brown sugar) and used them to decorate the pie in an autumnal theme.  For a bit of colour I added some dried cranberries.  It looks a bit 1970s, but I don’t care!

Best wishes,


Aw Natalie, I’ve never met you but I LOVE YOU!

Our next newsletter will be sent out automatically on 1st November and will include news about the lucky winner of dinner at Silver Screen Suppers Towers!!  I will be immersed in water somewhere in a Budapest spa pool…

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