A postscript

"chefs are the kind of wizards who are bursting to share the many spells they’ve learned about food that they have transported from the pantry to the plate." Pooja Ramakrishnan/Medium


So I did it and it was good. No it was great. We gave it 4 and a half stars. Only because David has his benchmark 5 star dish - Robert Carrier's kebabs and it didn't quite match up to that. So 4 and a half stars from David for a dish featuring pumpkin - not his favourite vegetable - is praise indeed.


The photo is the finished galette as it came from the oven, still in the baking tray. Obviously something has leaked out in the cooking process and perhaps the vegetables look a bit overdone - they weren't. And perhaps I could have arranged the vegetables better - I just scattered the carrots over the pumpkin but I think I should have mixed them up a bit more. The pastry, however, was just perfect. I should have done as Ottolenghi suggested and made a second batch. Fundamentally it's a flaky pastry but flavoured with sage and with some polenta and wholemeal flour in the mix as well.


It was, as one of those other enthusiasts whose end results I posted yesterday, said, "a bit of a faff". And it took even longer than I had allowed because I somehow had not noticed a second chilling time of half an hour for the pastry. But it was a dull afternoon and it was a pleasure to make something so complicated and yet so simultaneously simple. Lots of steps but each one simple. And so very satisfying.


Things I learnt along the way. Well I stupidly turned my pastry over before giving it it's third roll - you fold it and roll it a few times like puff pastry - but only twice I think. Anyway I turned it over - because I thought that might even it up a bit, but a bit fell off the edge as I did so. It didn't really matter, but still - don't do it.


I needed rubber gloves to squeeze out the roasted shallots and the garlic, because it was so hot. I should probably have left them to cool, but, like I say, I was running out of time. I should probably have also waited for them, in their squeezed and chopped manifestation, to cool before adding to the 'mascarpone' base as it melted it a bit. And by the way banana shallots must be pretty big. I had to use six shallots to get to the weight as listed in the recipe. Again not a big deal. Maybe we don't have banana shallots here.


I had to improvise with that base, as I said yesterday - no mascarpone, so substituted Meander Valley's very thick pure cream plus a bit of yoghurt which worked well. I had considered using feta instead, and I might try it next time - because there will be a next time - the saltiness might be a good thing. Although feta doesn't melt in the same way as other cheeses.


Here it is ready to go into the oven and you can see from this that the vegetables were already sort of charred, so my recommendation would be to not overdo the preliminary roasting. After all they continue cooking in the pastry. And my worry about leaving the skin on the pumpkin was completely unfounded. It didn't matter at all and probably helped the slices keep their shape. And the pastry puffed up beautifully. The final cooking only took 20 minutes though, not the 30 recommended. Just keep an eye on it. And I should have left it to cool for longer than the 10 minutes I did - it's supposed to be 20 minutes - again because it was getting late. The base might not have been so runny if I had done as I was told. Not that it mattered I hasten to add.


There were a lot of different tastes going on in the whole dish - pumpkin, carrots, caraway seeds, sage and olive oil for the vegetables. Sage, polenta, sugar and salt in the pastry. Roasted garlic and shallots mixed with the cream and yoghurt for the base, and the whole finished off with orange and maple syrup. I have to say the orange was the dominant flavour but somehow, although it was sweet, it wasn't:

"Roasting our squash and carrots with a woody spice like caraway or a hard herb like sage, for example is something we do in our Butternut, orange and sage galette. Doing this keeps the vegetables' sweetness in check (rather than drawing it out, as a sweet spice like cinnamon would). ... Spreading the base of the galette with a layer of mascarpone also works." Yotam Ottolenghi/Ixta Belfrage/Tara Wigley


In spite of there being a whole bulb of garlic in there, plus all those shallots, their taste did not jump out at you. In fact it was just a rather magical and unique blended taste.


"This is not about the elevation of one ingredient … but about the coming together, mingling and exchange of flavour between groups of everyday ingredients. It’s about the sum being greater than the individual parts, and the magical transformation ingredients can go through with a bit of time, heat and oil.” Yotam Ottolenghi


Mine may not have looked as gorgeous as Ottolenghi's but then I don't have a food stylist and I'm not a professional food photographer, but nevertheless I was pretty pleased with how it turned out and the taste was - well - magical.


We only ate half of it. We are taking the other half to our son's house for a Father's Day dinner.

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