Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

I made some pumpkin bread last week and it was a big hit at work. Using pumpkin in baking is not a familiar thing for Australians, so after explaining that it's like a spice bread they give it a try and usually like it. Or love it in my case. I'm currently baking a second loaf to use up the rest of the canned pumpkin. Here's the recipe if you would like to make it for yourself:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350F/180C. Grease a 9 x 5 inch (8 cup) loaf pan.

In a medium size bowl whisk together thoroughly:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Combine in another bowl:
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl beat until creamy:
6 tablespoons butter
Gradually add and beat until lightened in color and texture:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Beat in one at a time:
2 large eggs
Add and beat until just blended:
1 cup pumpkin puree

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture in two parts, stirring until smooth. Fold in:
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raisins

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on a rack.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Once again Melbourne has been hit by severe thunderstorms this afternoon, which resulted in flash flooding and a lot of damage around town. The sky went black around 2:30 pm and it started to bucket down. The rain was so hard it was almost like a blizzard whiteout and we even got hail that was the size of quarters. The street outside my apartment flooded, as did a lot of places in the Melbourne CBD. Elizabeth Street turned into a river as you can see from this video. We received over an inch of rain in one hour (and about 0.7 inches of that was in 20 minutes), and the storm drains just couldn't cope. It has calmed down now, but more thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow.
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