Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Squash





We grow a lot of squash, and have experimented with many varieties, but have decided now to stick with butternuts, for their good yield of orange flesh and ease of preparation. They, along with most of the winter squash family are usually good keepers, but this year we have lost quite a few and have resorted to freezing some which is pre-prepared.


We have found several recipes that make delicious use of this vegetable or maybe it's a fruit?





Bacon and Squash Pasta


Heat a heavy based pan, cook 140g chopped smoked back bacon for a few minutes in 1 tablespoon oil, add a small finely slice onion and a little more oil if required, and cook until the onion softens. Stir in 25g butter, 500g prepared squash and about 2 tablespoon finely shredded fresh sage. Mix well, season and cook for about 8 to 10 mins until the squash is cooked but not going mushy. Meanwhile cook about 400g penne or any other pasta you fancy, then drain and add to the squash mixture. Stir in about 25g grated parmesan or 50g grated mature cheddar and serve. You can add more cheese at table if you think it needs it. We don't think it does.This recipe will serve four, and is easily halved.





Spicy Squash and Carrot Soup

A medium size butternut squash and carrots equivalent to approx. three quarters of prepared weight of the squash. 2 onions. Lightly coat these vegetables, cubed, with olive oil and roast at the top of a hot oven until browned and a bit caramelised, (the carrots may not be fully cooked all the way through but can be finished later in the stock).


Scrape the browned vegetables into a large pan, and stir in 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and half a teaspoon ground chilli powder, you can add more later on, if it's too bland. Swish out the roasting pan with boiling water to make sure you have all the juices and add to the pan. Use enough stock to comfortably cover the vegetables, season if using fresh stock, you could add some mint and piece of lemon peel and cook until the vegetables are soft enough to puree, using a blender stick is easiest. You should have a thick mixture which can be diluted with milk or more stock to the right consistency.


If you want to make it spicier at this stage, cook more cumin and /or chilli in a little olive oil and combine with the soup. Half a teaspoon of ginger could be added to the original cumin and chilli.




Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Thanksgiving Recipes

The place settings we made for our Thanksgiving Party

Here at last are the recipes for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Chestnut and Apple Stuffing for the Turkey

Cut about 500g of bread into small cubes, spread out on baking sheets and dry in the oven, about 15 mins or so. Put to one side, while you cook two chopped medium onions and two big sticks of peeled celery in about 25g of butter until soft, season with salt and pepper. Add two peeled and chopped good desert apples, I used Cox's, and continue cooking until these are soft, not mushy. Tip into a large bowl, add the bread cubes, but use your judgement about whether you need all of it, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, a 240g pack of coarsely crumbled dry-packed cooked chestnuts and 250g ready to eat dried prunes, quartered. Add two beaten eggs and enough stock, turkey or chicken, to well moisten, but not wet.

About 4 cupfuls of this mixture went into the neck end of the turkey, the rest went into a buttered dish and was baked covered for 25-30 mins and then uncovered and baked until golden, about another 20 mins.

Cranberry, Recurrant and Walnut Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries, one and a quarter cups of sugar, 1 cup red currant preserves, (use a small jar of redcurrant jelly), 1 cup water, 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts and two tablespoons grated orange rind.

Combine cranberries, sugar, redcurrant jelly and water in a large pan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and then simmer uncovered for 20 mins. Skim any foam, remove from heat and add walnuts and orange peel. Refrigerate overnight, covered. Delicious!!

This recipe is from Martha Stewart's book "Entertaining", which I bought in the 80's

Also from the same book:-

Cornbread

1 loaf or 36 tiny muffins

Combine one and a half cups yellow cornmeal with one cup plain flour, (Imogen used spelt), a third of a cup sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

Mix together one and a half cups milk, threequarters of a cup of melted butter and two eggs, and stir into the dry mixture. Pour into a greased loaf pan, 2lb size, but it will be a fairly shallow loaf, or 36 mini muffin pans. Bake at 200c 35 - 40 mins for the loaf, 18-20 mins for muffins. Leave in pan for 5 minutes or so and then turn out on a wire rack to cool.