Fifteen years ago I gave birth to my first child after a long labor and a forceps delivery. I remember the feeling that morning when I held my healthy, beautiful daughter for the first time: a sudden rush of love, a dizzying sense of being overwhelmed and at the same time, up to it.
I still feel that way many days.
I snapped this shot of K last night at the Black Olive in Kerikeri, right before K’s friends arrived for a birthday dinner (all of them dressed up, very 15 years old, so fresh and happy and giggly, with me playing the part of wise old matron. It’s a part I play happily.).
B. and I walked to the market at Town Hall yesterday morning, where we were hoping to find something perfect for K’s present. We did! We came away with a beautifully tailored dress and a pair of blue earrings. S gave her a mother-of-pearl shell she’d made into a necklace, and A gave her an origami box filled with beachcombing objects d’art.
It’s turned chilly in the mornings and evenings now, so to celebrate K’s autumn birthday, we’re having shepherd’s pie and for dessert, pumpkin custard.
New Zealand pumpkins are grey-green on the outside but with the familiar bright orange flesh inside. Here’s my latest recipe for pumpkin pie or custard from scratch:
4 cups roasted mashed pumpkin
2 13.5 oz (400 ml) cans coconut milk (or use homemade coconut milk)
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp nutmeg
Roast pumpkin wedges for 1 hour at 400 F. Scoop out pumpkin into large bowl and mash; measure out 4 cups. Mix everything with whisk until you’ve got a smooth batter. Pour into pie crust or bake without a crust for a nice pumpkin custard. 375 F for about an hour.