It dawned on me today, as I was sitting cross-legged on a quiet, sunny spot on the South Downs, my unkempt hair falling across my bare, shiny face, that I turn into a complete crusty when I’m in Eastbourne. It’s something about being so near to the Downs I think, and with these massive windows we have in our house it’s like I become a part of this windswept, weird landscape. There is not that much to do here, yet I am quite happy whiling away the hours cooking, walking and chatting to my parents. This morning my mum and I made pumpkin dumplings. I’m making yet another attempt at generally avoiding sugar and, yet again, my mum has tempted me away from my goal with these gorgeous little mouthfuls of sweet, nutty pumpkin dough. They are a different take on the Polish “lazy dumplings”, where we use white curd cheese instead of squash. Actually, yes this is a good point – you can use both pumpkin and orange squash for this – in Polish-speak they are considered the same thing.
Halve the pumpkin or squash, take out the seeds, pour over a little olive oil and bake in a very hot oven for about 40min, until you can easily take the flesh out with a spoon. You only need half for this recipe, it makes plenty of dumplings (enough for 4 people). So, allow it too cool a little then scoop the flesh out, add the flour, egg, half the cinnamon and the caster sugar and make the dough. If it’s too sticky, add some more flour. Right at the end work the crushed walnuts into the dough and roll it between your hands into a flat, snake shape like that up there. Cut it diagonally and cook in a pan of boiling, slightly salted water. When they pop to the top, give them one more minute, then remove them with one of those spoons with lots of holes in (what are they called again?), allowing as much of the water to drain as possible. Cook them in a large pan and in rounds, not all at once. Once done, place on a large plate with some butter over the top, so that they don’t all stick together. You can eat them immediately with brown sugar and more cinnamon, or re-fry later. Both ways are equally delicious