I am on the roll with the pumpkin spice but it’s autumn, the air smells lovely, tree leaves turn into a rainbow, and you can’t help but think, this is the best time of the year.
So why not indulge yourself with:
First of all – I actually use butternut squash instead of pumpkin as the latter can be stringy and less available.
To start with, you need to peel and chop butternut squash, steam it until soft and puree it in a food processor.
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup oil
1 cup date syrup
2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp all spice
1 tbsp orange zest
For the frosting:
1 1/2 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin tin with paper cups.
- Start by mixing pumpkin (or squash) puree with buttermilk, eggs, oil and date syrup.
- Sieve flour, spices and baking powder into the mix. Add lemon zest and gently mix.
- Scoop butter into the paper cups. Bake for about 30 min, until the toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave the cupcakes to cool.
- In the meantime make the icing. Mix all the ingredients, leave it in the fridge to set. Spread or pipe your frosting onto the cupcakes, sprinkle cinnamon on top.
To serve with it I am going to suggest not the easiest film to watch, but totally worth it.
Recent events and being an immigrant in a foreign country made me think of ‘La Haine’ (Hate).
I was brought up on British films, programs and books, so it was always kind of a dream for me to live in England, in a house with sash windows. I thought it would never happen, but it did. And I love it, although sometimes it’s difficult. You meet people who would love to close the borders, who make comments about ‘people coming to their country and taking their jobs’, etc. The less intelligent and less educated they are, the more vocal they are about it. I am proud of being Polish, but sometimes when people can’t figure out my accent and on introduction ask me where I am from, I say I’m from Iceland as not many Brits have been there and certainly none of them are going to speak to me in Icelandic to check out if I’m really from there. I don’t do that because I am ashamed of being Polish, I do that because I don’t want to listen to another person telling me how he or she perceives Poles and what they think of so many of us coming to the UK. I don’t want to hear ‘I know Polish’ and then listen to a few incomprehensible words they’ve mastered, usually some obscenity. I don’t mind people asking me questions about my nationality when it comes up in conversation and when people actually made an effort to have a conversation and meet me, without putting me in a box first. What also annoys me is that people, who have more narrow vocabulary than me and don’t understand the expression or word I used, try to correct me, saying ‘is it a Polish word?’ or laughing and trying to make me look like an idiot making out words because they don’t know what ‘melancholy’, ‘solipsism’, ‘narcissism’ means or never heard of the expression: ‘cooking the books’. I never used to treat people with disdain, but living among common folks changed me and now if I get a simple minded comment I talk back from my high horse. I don’t want to be that person, but I am. I can’t stand people anymore who can’t speak any foreign language and are not really that good in their own, acting patronizing towards me because being British makes them somehow superior and better than any other nation. Although I still love the majority of the beautiful nation who produced ‘Monty Python’ and my fiancee.
Back to the film. Many years ago I saw ‘La Haine’ at the film festival. I thought it was the best film of the year, because the images and atmosphere stayed with me for months.
It is a very raw film. It’s black and white, some of the footage was filmed on the street of Paris during riots, so it feels like a documentary.
The film was Mathieu Kassovitz’ debut and it was a very strong, fresh voice. It’s surprisingly well made and acted considering the low budget and young, unknown at the time cast.
My professor at University used to say ‘if people don’t have aesthetics, they won’t have ethic’. Which basically meant that if you put people in ugly, concrete buildings, squeezed like rats, you can’t expect them to develop high ethical approach to life.
In ‘La Haine’ this is the first issue. Three main characters live in suburbs of Paris, in a impoverished housing project, surrounded by immigrant families. They don’t have many opportunities knocking on their door, it’s difficult to get an interview for a job with not a typically French surname, and the police are always suspicious of anyone looking like them.
The film follows three guys in 2 days. The mood in France was dark, there were riots on the streets. Kassovitz captured it with a captivating and brutal honesty. Although many things changed (for starters, the guys from the film wouldn’t be friends anymore as there are more animosities between the Muslim and Jewish communities, which could clearly be seen a few months ago in Paris), the one thing remains – the frustration and not being able to belong. It reminded me a bit of Zadie Smith’s ‘White Teeth’.
So watch it, it is worth it.