There’s definitely some things I miss about home.
Steamy, luxurious baths not shared with dozens of other naked bodies. Warm, or just not ice-cold water in bathroom taps. Having an oven.
But one nice thing about living abroad is that you can really join with a community wherever you are—and here in Korea, we’re lucky to share our experience with plenty of other foreign teachers, including a considerable clan of friendly Canucks. And some are even kind enough to let you come over and play with their oven.
Earlier this week, I posted a photo on Facebook of a “mystery” Korean ingredient I’d been playing around with in the kitchen (and have continued to do so all week!). The best guess was butternut squash… and it was quite close!
This stuff, my friends, is actually pure Kabocha flour—dried, ground kabocha squash, full of beautiful beta-carotenes and vibrant colour. Kabocha squash tastes kinda like a sweet potato-butternut squash-pumpkin smash-up. The sweet and starchy squash is quite popular over here—it’s a common topping for pizza, often found in tempura, or served as a mashed veggie side. In the fall the grocery stores sell them in bulk, and in restaurants they’re usually served with skins intact, something I found quite strange at first until I realized the skin is edible, too. Hello, bonus nutrients!
The flour, which I picked up in the baking section of HomePlus was the special, nay, magical, ingredient in this sunshine-shaded cake.
And oh, the joys, oh, the solace, of an incredible—albeit out-of-season—baked treat, a taste of comfort served alongside a steaming cup of coffee. I think if I close my eyes and click my heels a few times I really might be home…
Makes one standard loaf or two small-sized loaves
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup kabocha flour (or pumpkin powder)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
7/8 cup water
2/3 cup sugar (I used cane sugar)
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
dark chocolate bar chopped coarsely
1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350F or 175C and grease your bread pan with coconut oil.
Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and walnuts (or whatever other add-ins you prefer).
Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth out with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick or fork comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool on a cooling rack.
Proceed to gobble the entire loaf (among friends…) in two days and don’t feel sorry.