Marvelous and meatless [Oriental-spiced Fig & Kabocha Casserole]

Hi there! Did you start the week well refreshed from your mini vacation [aka weekend]?

Being with friends, taking walks and enjoying nature are some of my favourite pastimes. All of these were part of my weekend so it’s safe to say it truly was a marvelous one.

MiMM_new

When a good friend of mine texted me suggesting a coffee date on Saturday I was all in. He just moved to another city so meeting up this soon again was a wonderful surprise. Despite the finicky weather we’ve had over here the past days we ignored the premise of rain and headed out for a nice long walk prior to having coffee. As we share the ‘addiction’ to being outside and moving we didn’t mind – and as my mum would say: we’re not made from sugar ;). Just as a random aside: has anybody else ever noticed that most of the time when you’re packing an umbrella you don’t end up needing it? It’s like a reverse magic spell.

Saturday walk

We had a great time catching up on the happenings since we last met and talking about almost everything. Even blogging – yes. He has a blog himself though isn’t posting regularly. Still, it was fun to have somebody understand the excitement.

As you noticed in the title I’m dancing on two partys at once today. Not only Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday but Meatless Mondays from A-Z, too. Technically, every Monday is meatless in this vegan household but this one is especially so because it’s my first time joining Heather’s link-up. How could I not with the next two weeks being dedicated to kabocha?!

Meatless Mondays

It’s not secret I’ve already gone kabocha-crazy these past weeks. Only now I was meant to come up with a new recipe to share. Even though my go-to kabocha dish would be a hearty stew I opted against this as my submission for MMAZ. It just seemed too … easy … uninspired … boring. However much I enjoy these savory bowls it’s good to break from the routine and go for a totally different idea once in a while. Letting myself be inspired by the ingredients on hand …

Fresh figs

Fresh figs

That’s what I really appreciate about blogging and these link-ups: they force me to get creative. Try something new. Maybe even tackle a fear [food] …

adding coconut oil

Coconut oil. So good.

Brainstorming ideas I quickly decided I wanted to go for something seasonal. Thinking of Fall. Thinking of my mum’s apple crumble …  But why let the apples have all the fun? Why not put a different spin on it? How about some oriental flavours? [Granted, though, this is totally inauthentic. I just associate different spices with certain cuisines .]Once I started I quickly added a pinch of this, pinch of that and: chickpeas.

Casserole

Pre-topping.

Yes, it might seem just a little strange [but good]. Trust me, though: the chickpeas add a great creamy texture, slight saltiness and complement the dish well overall. And hey, there’s dessert hummus so sweet chickpeas aren’t all that weird. If you’re still not convinced subbing some flaked or chopped almonds would be awesome, too.

pre-baking

I think I’m a little obsessed with my new baking dish.

Oriental-spiced Fig & Kabocha Casserole

  • 1 1/2 cups kabocha, cubed [140 g] – steamed to cut down the overall baking time
  • 1 medium to large fig [75 g], chopped but reserving some slices for the top
  • 2 tsps maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp [a pinch] each cardamom and ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsps chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp [or more, really] puffed amaranth
  • banana flakes [as much as you like]
  • 1-2 tsps coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a single-serving baking dish with coconut oil.

In a bowl combine the kabocha, chopped figs, chickpeas, coconut and spices. Add the maple syrup and stir well to coat every piece.

Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle with puffed amaranth and banana flakes. Top with flakes of coconut oil and arrange the reserved slices of fig. Dust with some more cinnamon and bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve and don’t forget the obligatory almond butter.

Kabocha drizzled

Sweet, creamy, crunchy … a little Fall treat, snack, dessert – whenever you feel like eating it.

I hope you’re all having an awesome start to the week and don’t forget to hop over to both Katie’s and Heather’s link-ups for more marvelous- and deliciousness. Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Being outside a lot enjoying a lovely Fall day.

What was your favourite part of the weekend?

Do you talk about blogging with your ‘real life’ friends?

Which dishes make you think of Fall?

Would you like some kabocha with your kabocha?

Alternative title: Trying to eat all the kabocha around while it’s in season and working on that pumpkin glow.

Okay, okay, I can’t deny that Fall’s offically taking over with leaves changing, the need to wear scarves again … and – to see the upsides as usual – the most amazing of Fall produce. Let’s celebrate What I ate Wednesday with the best vegetable of the season [and some really good sidekicks]. Thanks for hosting despite having your little one to care for, Jenn!

wiaw fall_Kabocha

Not to bug you too much with them but haven’t been able to get enough of my truffles lately. So if I’m supposed to show you what I’ve been eating the past week I have to include them. Sorry. Pre-breakfast chocolate? Can’t say I didn’t like it.

Truffle

Truffles aside, though, I’ve been having a lot of fun finally not only saving recipes to Pinterest  countless documents on my laptop but actually making them. And as you might guess from the post title there has been a lot of kabocha.

It's all about finding the perfect one  - and this one didn't disappoint.

It’s all about finding the perfect one – and this one didn’t disappoint.

First off was the Banana Kabocha Stew from my link post on Sunday.  Playing around with the recipe as usual I subbed my favourite legume for the black beans. Because I had a can to use up and to make up for last week’s chickpea-less WIAW – sorry I forgot to celebrate the birth of your little chickpea in style, Jenn! The pictures don’t do Carolyn’s delicious recipe any justice. If you had a look at the recipe you’ll notice that, yes, there’s something missing. I decided to do you a favour and take the picture before adding the cocoa – don’t leave it out. So back to the pot it was after the quick photoshoot because if the dish was great before the cocoa powder took it to the next level. Rich, flavourful and satisfying.

Kabocha Banana Stew

Keeping up with my goal of trying new recipes I opted against a repeat the next day [which actually happened to be yesterday] and spontaneously decided to have these Kabocha Squash Rancheros I’d been eyeing for a while. Or better yet: a modified version suiting the ingredients I had on hand and fulfilling my “I’m ready to chew my arm off” need. That’s why I steamed the kabocha [I know – roasting would have been ten times more flavourful and I’ll keep it in mind for non-hangry days] and used kidney beans instead of black ones once again. To be fair, though, black beans aren’t as readily available around here so I didn’t have any more on hand after my truffle-making.

Kabocha Rancheros

Inspired by this girl I also bought the first figs in a long time. Previously I couldn’t warm up to this fruit considering it – sorry! – watery, tasteless and a waste of money. However, while there might be some bad ones it’s really about how you prepare them. And Amy’s idea of using them as a pizza topping was absolutely amazing. Neither eating eggs nor having almond flour on hand I used my go-to pizza recipe changing up the toppings.

Fig Pizza

To end on a sweet note here’s my second batch of Jenn’s Banana Bread. Once more my pictures can’t hold a candle to hers but I’ll just repeat my mantra: it’s the taste that counts in then end – and that got a thumbs up once again.

Banana Bread

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: The best run in a while after listening to my intuition and taking several rest days in a row.

Which were some of the last blogger-inspired recipes or foods you tried?

Are you good at sticking with recipe or put your own spin on them? However good my intentions might be: I can’t help but play around with just about every recipe I try.

Fellow kabocha fans: How do you pick the best kabocha at the store?  Any advice on what to look for? I’ve found there to be immense differences in taste and consistency – it’s a bummer whenever I get a ‘bad’ one.