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Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Scones

‘These tasty savoury scones are best eaten warm with lashings of butter, or they can be served with prosciutto slices for a weekend brunch’, states Jacque Malouf. They’re also very good for dinner alongside an array of Canalside roasted vegetables.

Pumpkin, Cheese and Rosemary Scones
Makes about 8 scones

Ingredients
250g pumpkin or squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
60g cold butter, cut into small cubes
180ml buttermilk or yoghurt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
100g sharp cheese (feta, cheddar, goat, as you prefer), cut into ½-inch cubes

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the squash or pumpkin on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, and then toss with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-50 minutes, or until the squash is tender and lightly caramelised. Set aside to cool. When cool, chop the squash into ¼-inch cubes.

Increase the oven temperature to 225C and butter a baking tray.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Rub in the butter until the mixture has an even consistency, like fine breadcrumbs.

Fold in the buttermilk, rosemary leaves, cheese, and cubed squash or pumpkin.

Knead gently in the bowl and then tip onto a floured board. Gently roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut into scones using a 2½-inch cutter.

Place the scones on the baking tray and bake for 12 minutes. Remove to a rack and eat warm or cold.

Recipe adapted from Jacqui Malouf, Breakfasts (2005).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Dips

What could be more 1970s than a dip? Bowls of sour cream blended with onion soup mix, or pink concoctions featuring a lot of mayonnaise served with crisps may have a retro appeal but here is an up-to-the minute dip you can serve without a heavy dose of irony. It features roasted pumpkin or butternut squash, toasted nuts and a zing of fresh mint. Spread it on triangles of toasted pita, or thin slices of toast. It also freezes very well, in case you don’t eat it all in one go.

Vaguely Greek Squash and Walnut Dip
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients
1 kg pumpkin or winter squash
35g walnuts or hazelnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (or the equivalent in tiny Canalside onions), finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely-chopped mint
1/8 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
40g parmesan cheese (or other sharp, hard cheese)

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cut the squash or pumpkin into large pieces, remove the seeds (you can keep these to roast as a nibble), and peel.

Place the squash on a baking tray, put in the oven, and roast until it’s very tender—between 40 minutes and an hour. Turn it occasionally if you remember, so that it browns a bit on all sides. When it’s soft, remove it and let it cool.

Turn the oven to 150C and put the nuts on another tray. Once the oven has cooled down put the nuts in and toast them for 5-10 minutes, or until they smell fragrant and are ever so lightly brown.

Heat the oil in a small pan over low heat and add the onion. Cook it gently until it’s very tender, sweet and lightly caramelised—about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Combine the onion, cooked squash, nuts, mint, nutmeg and cheese in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender (or food processor) until the mixture is pleasantly smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on little pieces of toast, or crackers.

Recipe adapted from Martha Rose Schulman in the New York Times (2012).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Bobbie Griffith’s Pumpkin Muffins

Bobbie Griffith was, I think, my second cousin twice removed, or something like that. Anyway, she lived in Wisconsin and this is her recipe for pumpkin muffins. They’re spicy and comforting, and easy.

Shaker Style Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12

Ingredients
2/3 cup soft brown sugar, packed into the cup
¼ cup treacle
½ cup butter at room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée (see below)
1½ cups plain flour
¼ cup oat bran (or use 1¾ cups plain flour)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 180. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper muffin cases.

Cream the sugar, treacle and butter together until very light and fluffy. If you use an electric mixer you can leave it to do its work for as long as five minutes if you like. Add the eggs and pumpkin and blend well.

Combine the flour, oat bran (if using), bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin batter and mix only until blended—don’t overbeat.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted into the centre of a muffin. Let cool a little before eating.

To make puréed pumpkin or squash
Preheat the oven to 190.

Slice your pumpkin into large wedges and remove the seeds. Place it on a baking sheet and roast until it’s cooked and tender throughout. Depending on the size of the wedges this should take between 15-30 minutes. Peel the squash and mash or purée with a hand blender until smooth. You can freeze any extra.

Pumpkin muffins

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Comforting Winter Meal

Spiky mustard and capers bring a little bite to the smooth, roasted squash, the crispy cabbage and unctuous cheese. A topping of crunch breadcrumbs finishes things off. You’ll feel properly nourished with this one-dish meal.
Anna Jones describes this dish as having ‘simple British flavours’. That set me thinking about the origin of the ingredients. Caraway and mustard seeds have been eaten in Britain since the Middle Ages, but squash didn’t reach these shores until the sixteenth century, when European sailors brought it back from the Americas, together with tomatoes, chile peppers, and much more, including (of course) potatoes. Savoy cabbages—‘Savoy coleworts’ as they were called in one English herbal—probably reached England from Holland around the same time.

Cheesy Roasted Savoy Squash with Crispy Breadcrumbs
Serves 4

Ingredients
For the Veg

About 800g squash or pumpkin
About 400g Savoy or other cabbage
Olive oil
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
50g dry bread (ideally rye)—about 2 thin slices—or use chunky breadcrumbs if you have some to hand
2 tablespoons capers
100g sharp cheese such as cheddar, crumbled

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 220C.

Remove the seeds from the squash or pumpkin and slice into 2cm-thick wedges. Peel the slices if that’s what you prefer. Cut the cabbage into 8 chunky wedges.

Place both on a large oven tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil and the caraway seeds. Spread them out so they will crisp up in the oven. You don’t want them to steam in a big heap.

Roast for about 35 minutes, until the squash is soft and the cabbage is golden and crisp and charred a little at the edges.

Meanwhile, make the caper breadcrumbs. Wizz the bread in a food processor to reduce to chunky, rough breadcrumbs. You don’t want a fine powder. Place the crumbs on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, and toss with the capers, salt and pepper. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes or until they look pleasingly crunchy. Watch out that they do not burn. Set aside.

Make the dressing by shaking all the ingredients together in a jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

To serve, tumble the squash, cabbage and cheese on a platter. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Top with the breadcrumbs and bring to the table.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Modern Cook’s Year (2017).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A latke by any other name. . .

Nigel Slater calls these crispy little pancakes ‘rosti’ but when I brought them to the dinner table Matt quite rightly greeted them as latke. I think in Korean their name is neulgeun hobakjeon. Or you could just call them crispy squash pancakes.
Serve these with salted, dill-spiked yoghurt and a sharp, bright pickle. One of Erica Moody’s beetroot sauerkrauts would be ideal. Or a green salad, the little black dress of all dinner menus.

Crispy Pumpkin Latke
Serves 3

Ingredients
500g pumpkin or winter squash (weigh after peeling and removing the seeds)
3 eggs
4 tablespoons plain flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil for frying

Preparation
Grate the pumpkin using a fine grater. Combine the grated pumpkin with the eggs and flour. The mixture will be thick.

Divide the mixture into 6 parts and shape each into a pancake no thicker than about 2 digestive biscuits.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in one or two frying pans (depending on how fast you want these to be ready). When the oil is hot begin cooking the pancakes, pressing the pancake down a bit with a fish slice to flatten it out a little more. Fry until the underside is golden brown and crispy, and then flip over to cook the other side. The whole process will take about 5 minutes per pancake.

Serve with salted yoghurt, etc., as suggested above.

Recipe adapted from the Observer Food Monthly, 15 Oct. 2017.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Squash and Pink Peppercorns

‘Wow—that looks delicious!’, exclaimed a friend as we unpacked our lunches yesterday. It was. The ribbons of orange squash soften in lime juice spiked with the sweet spiciness of pink peppercorns. (These are essential; substituting black pepper will not work.). You can make this well in advance if you like.

Anna Jones recommends serving with tofu crisped in a pan with honey and soy, and brown rice, to make a dinner.

Squash and Pink Peppercorn Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients
500g pumpkin or squash, peeled and deseeded
1 lime
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
Big handful of mint, dill, parsley or coriander, roughly chopped

Preparation
Shave the squash into thin ribbons, using a vegetable peeler or whatever specialist gear you happen to have. Place the ribbons in a bowl.
Zest the lime over the ribbons, squeeze in the juice, and toss together with the salt.
Put the pink peppercorns in a mortar and crush them roughly before adding to the salad.
Stir in the herbs and serve.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Modern Cook’s Year (2017).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: That Squash You Got in the Share Several Weeks Ago…

Is it still sitting about in your kitchen? Here is what to do with it.

Anchovies, capers and cheese combine with the soft, unctuous texture of the squash to make a thick, salty sauce for pasta, or serve it as a main course with a vibrant multi-coloured salad of greens, red radicchio and herbs. It’s good hot or cold. This Italian recipe from Apulia can be prepared with winter squash such as the little greeny-orange one we got a few weeks ago, or a butternut, or a pumpkin.

Winter Squash With Anchovies, Capers, Olives and Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 pounds winter squash or pumpkin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, an chopped if large
½ cup black olives
2 tablespoons grated strong-flavoured, hard cheese
freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Peel the squash if you like, or leave it unpeeled, as you prefer. Cut it into 1-inch chunks.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet and add the onion, garlic clove, anchovy fillets and capers. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the squash, stir together, add about 1/4 cup of water if the pan seems dry, and cover. Cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Add the olives and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for another 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with pepper.

Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle on the cheese and serve.

Recipe adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, New York Times Cooking.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Salad Dressing for Salt Fiends

This is pretty addictive. It delivers a big dose of umami and makes an outstanding dressing for robust vegetables. I’ve been eating it on a salad of finely shredded red or white cabbage, grated carrot, and chopped coriander. It would be good on grilled tofu or fish, or roasted butternut squash. Or use it as a dip for whole potatoes—the little ones we’re getting in our shares—roasted at 200C for 30 minutes.

Miso-Tahini Dressing
Serves 2

Ingredients
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Preparation
Combine the ingredients and blend well, using a fork. Taste to see if it would benefit from a little more vinegar. The mahogany-dark dressing is now ready to use. This makes enough for half a small cabbage, shredded, together with several grated carrots.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Squash for Lunch

One of the wonders of the modern culinary world is the discovery that we can eat raw squash. Thin spiralised ribbons of raw courgette, butternut squash and carrot started to appear in cooking blogs some time around 2013; and now they’re everywhere. But you don’t need a spiraliser to make Canalside squash into a quick salad for lunch. Here’s how.

Squash, Avocado and Pumpkin Seed Salad
Serves 1.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon blackberry vinegar, or any other fruit vinegar, or, failing that, cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 tablespoons rapeseed oil
100g raw squash
all the salad from your Canalside share
1 small, ripe avocado
a big handful of pumpkin seeds

Preparation
First prepare the dressing: in the bowl out of which you wish to eat the salad place the vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking all the while with a fork. Taste and see if you’d like to add a little more vinegar, or oil, or seasoning. Then set aside while you prepare the salad.

Peel the squash, using a sharp knife. Then, using a vegetable peeler, shave off thin strips of squash until you’ve shaved it all, or you’re left with a piece that is too tiny to manipulate any further. Eat this tiny piece while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Put the washed salad leaves in the bowl. Top with the shaved squash ribbons. Open the avocado and scoop out the flesh. Cut it into generous chunks and add them to the salad.
Heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat (you don’t need to add any oil). Add the pumpkin seeds and toast them, stirring frequently so that they don’t burn. They will soon start of pop and jump about in the pan. As soon as they do, tip them onto the salad. Toss and eat.

Dom’s Recipe of the Week: Frittata from the oven

This is a great way to use up odds and ends of fresh veg, and leftovers too. You can use more or less whatever you fancy from the list, though I do think some kind of onion is essential. As the egg is poured straight into the roasting dish full of hot veg, you don’t need to fry this frittata at all, but it helps to have a heavy ceramic or cast-iron dish, which retains the heat well. And the eggs should be at room temperature, not cold from the fridge.

Oven-roasted roots frittata

Ingredients

About 600g mixed winter veg, such as onions, carrots, squash or pumpkin, parsnip, celeriac, beetroot, jerusalem artichokes, black spanish radish, potatoes
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
7 large or 8 medium eggs
A handful of mixed herbs, such as curly parsley, chives and thyme, finely chopped
About 20g Parmesan, hard goat’s cheese or other well-flavoured hard cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Meanwhile, prepare your chosen veg: peel shallots or onions and quarter or thickly slice; peel carrots and cut into 5mm slices; peel squash or pumpkin, deseed and cut into 2–3cm cubes; peel parsnip, celeriac and beetroot and cut into 1–2cm cubes; cut potatoes into 1–2cm cubes.

Put all the veg into an ovenproof dish, about 23cm square. Add the garlic, oil and plenty of salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the veg are all tender and starting to caramelise in places.

Beat the eggs together with the chopped herbs and some more salt and pepper. Take the dish from the oven, pour the egg evenly over the veg and scatter over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for 10–15 minutes until the egg is all set and the top is starting to colour. If your oven has a grill, you can use that to accelerate the browning of the top.

Leave to cool slightly, then slide the frittata out on to a plate or board. Serve warm or cold. Perfect lunchbox fare…

Thanks to River Cottage

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