Monday, 27 July 2015

Tree hugging, afternoon tea and twice baked butternut squash

Playing in these gardens again thanks to Hannah having an unexpected free weekend and time to visit. I know there are too many flower photos...but I can't help myself.  The colours were amazing. Some blossoms looked as though they were washed with Day-Glo paints. A bit too bright for me. It's  all the subtle dusty powdery pom poms...and the feathery PINK GRASSES that I love...Oh and the kitchen gardens and tea on the verandah...

...and another thing I love, is when instead of your daughter phoning to ask for recipe ideas, that you phone your daughter asking her for them...Not that I object to the calls and questions (I love them) but it's so nice that I can do the same too...The worm has turned. This is Hannah's twice baked butternut squash recipe :  (requested by the lovely Emily)

Ingredients for two people, or one extremely hungry one:
  • One medium sized butternut squash 
  • A little coconut oil or alternative
  • Garlic cloves...the more the merrier...two or three cloves in each half are perfect
  • Sea salt and crushed black pepper
  • A fresh chilli or dried crushed chilli flakes
  • A couple of spring onions (scallions)
  • Fresh coriander or any other herb/s of choice or whatever's growing.
Filling ideas:
  • Hannah's favourite filling is a combination of grated carrots, diced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and finely sliced spring onions plus salty feta or cheddar cheese. 
  • Seasonal vegetables. This works well with sautéed leeks , caramelised red onions or baby spinach leaves. 
  • Mediterranean roasted vegetables work well too eg tomatoes and sweet peppers(capsicums). It's a great way to use up any left over roasted vegetables, quinoa, couscous or any other tasty ingredients that you have hiding in the fridge. 
  • a little more coconut or olive oil, seasoning and garlic. 

  • Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 220c/425f/g7 (fan 200c)
  2. Halve the butternut squash and remove the seeds and any fibrous bits and put to one side.  (You may like to plant the seeds in your garden. I did and now have little butternut squash plants in the vegetable patch that will hopefully produce homegrown squash...)
  3. Place the squash in an ovenproof dish.
  4. Score the flesh diagonaly. Turn and do the same in the opposite direction making criss-crosses. 
  5. Spoon a little of the oil and seasoning over chopped chives or spring onions, rubbing in well to ensure that the flavour penetrates into the flesh. 
  6. Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or so depending on the size until the flesh is tender. You can test by inserting a knife. 
  7. If like Hannah, you want to use fresh and not cooked vegetables for the second baking, either grate or finely chop or shred them so that they will cook in the time it takes to heat the squash up again.
  8. Whilst the squash is cooking prepare the ingredients for the filling. You may like to roast vegetables in a separate dish at the same time, seasoned well and drizzled with a little oil. 
  9. Alternatively slice the onions finely and caramelise  or cook spinach etc in a saucepan on the hob. 
  10. Once the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Score inside the flesh about a centimetre from the edge so that it doesn't break up. Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl. 
  11. Mix with the other cooked ingredients. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  12. Fill the centre with the mixture.
  13. If using topping of breadcrumbs/herbs or cheese, crumble this over the top. Return the dish to the oven and cook for a further twenty minutes or so until heated through again and the topping is golden brown. 
Hannah likes to serve these with strips of chicken breast that she marinates in lemon zest, chilli, garlic, spring onion and yoghurt, whilst the squash is cooking for the first time. She panfries these whilst the squash is baking for the second time or it's nice just with a fresh leaf dressing with your favourite dressing. 

If you can't have afternoon tea on the garden terrace at Hergest Croft it's just as good at home, here are some of my favourite bakes:

What's your favourite bake when you manage a sneaky  afternoon tea or coffee?