Sourdough pumpkin bread rolls and some autumn inspired poems and activities

One turns her back one minute and voilà summer’s gone!

Early autumn has brought with its mellow self a basketful (plastic bags are sooo ‘out’) of news and works that invited our family to play the ‘adapt as fast as you can’ game until we ..won. Of course. We became Masters of Darwinian evolution in just a handful of weeks, ha!

With husband often away, my new job at the Casa dei Bambini near our village as well as heaps of translation work, a hungry Diego (for ‘intellectual’ food – no worries, I haven’t stopped feeding him real wholesome food, haha) and the typical truckload of yummy harvest to be expected at this time of year, I really had to make good use of my wonderwoman powers and breathing techniques. BUT! Here I am: rather tired but certainly satsfied. Sharing everything with you proved to be compelling to say the least, though, which I apologize for and I hope a (huge) slice of one of these sourdough pumpkin rolls will help make up for it.

Yes, you heard me right: sourdough pumpkin bread rolls!

They are one of the first signs of autumn here in Italy (at least in my region), helpful in case one missed the other signs like the first browning and falling leaves or the cooler nights or shorter days…the usual. Pumpkin rolls just cannot be missed! Every respectful baker has them on display, golden brown, dotted with sultanas and oozing buttery sensuality from every pore of their soft leavened dough. Of course, I had to try making them myself 🙂 The first attempt took place 4 years ago back in Australia, where I was living at the time, during an aww-how-I-miss-home moment. I was the proud mother of a luscious sourdough starter back then, who was my partner in crime in dozens of rising-up-to-the-sky doughy marvels. With a couple of intercontinental moves and little personal earthquakes, my little acidic baby took on a very green and slimy look until we just mutually abandoned each other. So this time I went the quicker route and got hold of some dried sourdough starter from the shop and I have to say, the result was optimal… have a look for yourself.

panzalI will just say one thing (then you can find the recipe at the bottom of the post): try it drizzled with chestnut honey and have a cup of chai tea ready on the side. You might love me for a moment! This combo has been a true life saver during many afternoons… EDIT: In the recipe print out there is a missing ingredient: 100g of dried sourdough starter (or 200g fresh starter, reducing liquids approprietly though)

As for the autumn inspired activities, I will be honest with you: I have been fishing a lot from the ocean of ideas that’s Pinterest. Way too tired for any ‘hmm let’s come up with something creative’, I have put my residual energy into figuring out what it was that Diego needed most at this time and searched for relevant good ideas on the web.

Diego is now 18 months old and his fine motor skills are very good for his age. His gross motor abilities are about right whereas his language is probably the area in which he is a bit more ‘behind’. By saying this, I realize that every child has his/her own times for learning and I do not force him the least into an activity if he’s not interested just for the sake of ‘levelling’ him with his mates. Considering this though, has pushed me to rearrange his shelves to include now more flashcards/object sets for matching and language work, as well as new books. He now seems to be enjoying them and picks them up eagerly and the same goes for the flashcards. I have printed out images of leaves, of the wild animals of the countryside (after spotting hares and squirrels during our nature walks…), of autumn fruits and of different pumpkins (yes, I do love them).

To take advantage of the last mild days, I have some activities at hand for when we go outside: like scrubbing the pumpkins with one of those brushes for washing the dishes so then they are nice and ready to be popped in the oven as well as raking up leaves and as much walking as we can squeeze between his afternoon nap and dinner prep.  He still loves watering the plants outside and -ouch- plucking out the winter veggies … I need a scarecrow…ahem a scarekids! Haha joking of course…

We have been doing some ‘creative’ work, too, by making a centerpiece for our table with baby pumpkins, a candle (which he’s learning to blow, btw), tangerines (great peeling exercise) and some stones we found outside on which we glued some pretty fallen leaves.

In the house we’re doing plenty of pouring and crushing crackers with the pestle and mortar, as well as playing the ukulele whilst sitting on his rocking horse… don’t ask!

Here are a couple of pictures and, as promised, the recipe for the pumpkin rolls that I hope you will try and give me feedback on!


sourdough pumpkin rolls

EDIT: In the recipe print out there is a missing ingredient: 100g of dried sourdough starter (or 200g fresh starter, reducing liquids approprietly though)

Oh yes, the poems! Here is one in Italian, it’s by Gianni Rodari, probably the best writer of children literature in Italy. It’s called “Autunno”.

Also, here is a sweet one in English, gorgeously illustrated, too. It’s by Linda of Travel and Sing Check out her website, she does some really lovely illustration work.

poem-leafstoriesWhich are your favourite autumn poems?



  1. I have been trying to get Nonna to lend me her squash bread recipe but she cannot find it; so I am very much looking forward to making these! My only question: you mentioned dried sourdough starter but I don’t see how much to use? I’m not very familiar with making this type of bread…would it work with yeast if I can’t find the dried starter?


    • Hi Veronica!
      Oops, i must have deleted the starter from the ingredients list by mistake..well spotted! I used 100g of dried starter (but one can use 200g of fresh one, adjusting liquids accordingly) which you should be able to find in health food stores. It looks like normal flour! You can also use yeast, yes, but they will dry up faster and the flavour isn’t as ‘deep’. Still worth a try though! Where is your nonna from? Shame she lost her recipe, it’d be interesting to compare..but I’m happy to be of help 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and I’d love it if you let me know how they turn out!


  2. I think you know her… you lived in their old farm house in S.Vito 😉 She says ‘Hi’ by the way! This Thanksgiving weekend I will make them for the crew, and let you know the verdict after.


    • hahahahahaha oooooohh…. it’s YOU! Well, thanks for checking out the blog and for the greetings, tell her ‘mandi’ back 😉 Hope you are all doing great, hugs from the 3 of us!



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s