Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Kiki's Delivery Service

Inspiration: Kiki's Delivery Service (Studio Ghibli)
Disney Date: Pumpkin Picking
Alternate Ideas: Play delivery person for a stranger, write & mail a letter, ride in a blimp, build a flying bike
Food: Pumpkin cranberry scones

Good evening!

Disney Dates is a day late according to our (admittedly poor track record) weekly updates. If you're interested, there's a method to the madness: as students, we get a discount at some stores on Tuesday  and others on Wednesday; what we need to make our DD food determines which day a new DD gets posted.

It's definitely important to be prompt and reliable. However, it's not like I get paid for this, and as students, we count pennies. So a 10% discount is indeed enough to sway our posting dates. Sorry. At least a) know you know and b) we'll always have something posted by Wednesday! 

Today I was a bit of a worrywart. Max biked downtown to cover a session at Parliament and I knew he went without a helmet. A student at our university was killed on her bike only a few days ago, and lately it seems like I've been surrounded by morbid signs (it was the 10th anniversary of my Grandmother's death this week; the student dying; some heart breaking blog posts I ran across, even Halloween) so I am apparently a little on edge. Anyway, I knew right around when Max should be home, so when he was late, I started to frowny face. And to bake. And to frowny face. Then he was later, so I started compulsively glancing out our kitchen window while being a frowny face and stirring. He was still late, so I texted him, and worried, and frowny faced and stirred. And then suddenly I glanced up and there he was, pushing the bike up our steps and smiling in the window at me. 
I love the rush of feeling I get when I see him unexpectedly- it's like a present for my heart. To top it off this time, though, he did indeed come bearing presents. He was late because he'd stopped off to buy me some lovely colourful flowers! 

The pumpkin farm! Pumpkins as far as the eye can see!
As if I need reminding, but he's a keeper.

Anyways, on to the business at hand- A Disney Date!! For this one, we matched a movie to the date rather than the date to the movie, which I'm ok with because I wanted to do this soooooo bad and it's VERY seasonal so, hah! We did it.

For this week's Disney Date, Max took me Pumpkin picking, for my first time ever! 

 While it's not my first time handling a pumpkin, or even picking one (at home we grow a few in the garden) it was  my first time making an event out of it. We haven't had the chance to carve them yet but heading out to forage the fields for your own pumpkin was a dream of mine! 

Pumpkin Commandments & me practicing my Jack'o Lantern face!
We headed out on the weekend, so the fields were busy. The farm we went to wasn't messing about! They had 3 tractors pulling wagons of people to and from the fields, and it was pretty adorable to watch the families, especially with toddlers, picking their pumpkins. At $2 per person for the wagon ride (plus a free sucker!) It was hardly highway robbery. The pumpkins were cheap, too. They sold a huge variety, plus fruits and veggies (apples and mostly root veggies this time of year), and it was as much fun persuing the stranger squash's as it was picking pumpkins. Still, I'm very pleased with our adventure. We got some more delicious apple cider, too! 

Pumpkins as far as the eye can see!
Max & I with our trophies :)
Some of the stranger squash. What fun! 

We chose Kiki's Delivery Service as our movie because it's a charming movie about a witch, which could hardly be more Halloween appropriate. Plus, most of the Disney Disney movie (Studio Ghibli is now released by Disney in North America, so I feel comfortable including these films as Disney dates, but they aren't part of the strict canon) witches are not nearly as charming as Kiki. 

Kiki is a 13 year old witch apprentice who flies off on her broomstick with her black cat Jiji to spend a year away from home training to be a witch. Jiji, frankly, is probably my favourite- the sass of a witch's cat is fabulous. But the movie is full of amazing characters, as per Studio Ghibli, many of whom are somewhat mysterious but ever so enchanting none the less. Ghibli really does occupy a place in my heart similar to that of Disney, in the 'essence of my childhood' sense, but in a lot of ways I think they're actually even better. (Sacrilegious, I know.) The stories they tell resonate at all ages, are more epic in tone (not always, and not so much in Kiki, but in many others), always have strong, interesting, complicated women and often have them as the protagonist, something Disney has been sorely lacking until Merida; and usually has a message about the importance of the Earth and nature as well. With beautifully rendered at and moving stories with feminist and environmentalist undertones, is it really any wonder that I've loved these movies so much? 

Kiki's delivery service was incredibly fun to watch again, because it's been a decade! And it was the very first Ghibli movie I watched (Totoro came quite late in life for me). It was a lot like I remembered and every bit as good. I even got snivvly eyed during the last scenes with the blimp. Ahhhh, Ghibli! 

I love the portrayal of life as a normal witch. I remember watching, goggle eyed, as everyone was so accepting of a witch floating into town, like this happens everyday! Boy did I wish. Up there with getting a Hogwarts letter, it was. Since we were dealing with witches, pumpkins seemed like a great tie in. And since we had pumpkins, well, obviously the food needed to be related! 

In the movie, there's mention of a "herring and pumpkin pot pie", a specialty of one of the characters. Well, I doubt very much that there's an abundance of recipes like that floating around, and also, I don't want to cook something Max can't eat, so that was out. But pumpkin was endorsed, and so it was our theme of the day. 

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we did a lot of pastry recently with the apple dumplings (which may or may not have been made multiple times. Hehehe.) so we hunted around a bit for something that felt like fall. I was looking at soups, because it's really time for me to stop using this as an excuse to make as much dessert as I like, but....
So, this happened. Why are there no pictures of the finished product, you ask? Because I'm busy stuffing my face with the finished product, if you must know. Mwmwmamamwma. So good. 
I made scones instead. Oops. I'd like to say I have regrets, but I really don't.

We made pumpkin spice cranberry scones, to be precise, and they are precisely mind blowingly delicious. I'm loving the fresh cranberries in them more than I have ever loved cranberries before, but the sweet, smooth, warm pumpkin spice in the perfect moist and delectable scone form literally had me making inappropriate noises while eating. Best. Scones. Ever.

And because I'm the best blogger ever (RIGHT, eveyone?!) I will share the recipe with you. Modified from here


  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup demererra sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (a bit of ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, but mostly cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (so yes, quite a lot of cinnamon all around)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup milk, divided- see directions
  • 2/3 cup cranberries (fresh) 
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • milk to taste- add until smooth (1-3 tablespoons)

  • In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin and 1/2 cup milk. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Add cranberries. 
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Divide dough in half. Pat each portion into an 8-in. circle; cut each into eight wedges. Separate wedges and place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Brush with remaining milk.
  • Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks; cool for 10 minutes. Combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over scones. Serve warm. Yield: 16 scones of magical deliciousness
Nutrition: 1 serving has 338 calories, 13 g fat, 59 mg cholesterol, 348 mg sodium, 51 g carbs, 2 g fiber, and 5 g protein. Approx. It's a little off due to minor changes. 

See, this is why I need to stop making mainly desserts. Bad Sarah! 

Anyway, there you have: a recipe for as close as I've recently come to magic, and a new source of movie magic, if any of you are unfamiliar with Studio Ghibli. Go forth and snack on scones. Enjoy!

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