Hasselback Butternut Squash with Honey, Sage and Chilli.

My Instagram feed is looking a little orange lately, it comes with the territory during the autumn months with the abundance of root vegetables available and I love their comforting flavours. This roasted hasselback butternut squash has been making a regular appearance on our table lately and with good reason – it’s simple, fuss free and goes wonderfully as a side or as a main in it’s own right.

Ingredients 

1 butternut squash

1 tablespoon chopped sage

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

2 tablespoons honey

25g butter, diced

1 pinch salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 200c

Slice the squash lengthways before using a spoon to scrape out the seeds, then top and tail before peeling with a potato peeler – this is fairly time consuming but worth it to get a lovely smooth base. Then place them flat side down on a lined baking tray.

Using a sharp knife carefully cut very thin slits across the squash – making sure you only take the knife a third of the way down so as not to break them, you can score the rest of the way down the sides with the knife afterwards.

drizzle the honey over the top of the squash and rub it in with your hands to make sure it is completely covered, then evenly distribute the diced butter so that it soaked into the slits as it melts and sprinkle the chopped sage, chilli and salt over the top.

Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your squash, and serve. See – I told you it was easy!

 

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Cinnamon and Pumpkin Scones with Dark Chocolate Chips

I was tagged in an Instagram post recently by Food Lover Magazine. They,  along with the Trewithen Dairy in Cornwall were launching a Scone Revolution and wanted to see what scones people were coming up with which I thought was a fantastic idea. Inspired by this and the four tins of Libby’s pumpkin puree in my cupboard, I thought I’d have a go at creating an Autumn themed scone. And after three attempts (too claggy, too flat, too ‘clovey’) this is my finished effort.

I had planned on having this with clotted cream and chocolate ganache but swapped the ganache out for honey at the last minute and I’m so glad I did – it works perfectly with the cream and the spices. It’s a super easy method and great for getting kids involved in the kitchen. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients

300g Self Raising Flour

75g Soft Brown Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg

110g Butter (cold, cubed)

1 Egg

150g Pumpkin Puree

1/2 tbsp Milk

1 tsp Vanilla

100g Dark Chocolate Chips

Milk mixed with mixed spice to brush over the scones before baking

Method

Using a stand mixer or using your hands, mix or rub together the flour, spices sugar and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg along with pumpkin and the milk and mix until it starts to come together, then add the chocolate chips and mix for another few seconds.

Tip out onto a well floured surface and knead three or four times before rolling out to about an inch thick and cutting out  using a 2.5 inch cutter. Bake at 180c for 20-25 minutes.

 

Serve with clotted cream, some local honey and a huge pot of tea. Don’t forget that it’s cream before preserve in Devon and preserve before cream in Cornwall!

 

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Carrot, Apple and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Christmas has been and gone and it really was lovely, but we are nearing the end of January now (which, for the record always feels about six weeks long) and as we tick over into February, I am always desperate for Spring to arrive. I have spent much of this month wondering when the days will get longer (soon), when will we start walking to school in warm early spring sunshine (er, that’s never happened) and when will Winter runs not be spent soaking wet, freezing cold and fighting gale force winds (hmm, again…).

As a small time food blogger with all the patience of a three year old, one of my ’issues’ with this time of year is the lack of daylight (first world problem anyone?) – that orangey-yellow pixelated light that is cast over all photos taken after 3pm drives me a bit mad, which is silly really because all moaning aside, Winter is beautiful –  particularly in this part of the world, where the low light over the sea gives the waves that amazing off white hue, and the shops are full of glorious root vegetables and greens. Plus, Winter was made for slow cooking, baking, soups, stews and feel good food and there is nothing not to like about that…

Below is the recipe for my current favourite soup – carrot, butternut squash and apple with thyme. I like it with a slab of warm, buttered sourdough and at least three holiday magazines. It’s dead easy – let me know what you think.

 

1 x small butternut squash

7-8 decent sized carrots

2 apples (whatever is loitering in the fruit bowl)

Fresh thyme

1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)

Vegetable stock – 600ml

Salt and pepper to taste.

Creme fraiche

 

Halve and drizzle the squash with olive oil before baking in a low oven with a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf – time will vary depending on the size of the your squash.

In the meantime peel, chop and boil your carrots and apples in the vegetable stock, making sure to add the apples towards the end of the cooking time.  

When everything is cooked, add in your roasted butternut squash and some more thyme before whizzing everything up in a blender. At this point you might want to add more stock or water depending on how thick you like your soup – I like mine quite thick. Season to taste, sloop into a bowl, then shake on some thyme leaves and a good sized spoonful of creme fraiche.

Best enjoyed after a freezing cold dog walk while someone else is bathes your sodden, muddy dog.

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My favourite Autumn Foods

It’s no secret that summer is my favourite month and whilst the darker evenings and cooler weather do make me feel a bit sad, there is no denying that the silver lining is autumnal food. Berries, butternut squash, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and apples are among the highlights, plus from September it’s acceptable to turn all fruit into a crumble and smother it with hot custard which can only be a good thing.

So while I dig my wellies out of the cupboard and try and come to terms with cold, rainy dog walks, here are my favourite autumn foods. I’d love to hear what you look forward to eating at this time of year – let me know!

 

Blackberries

So versatile, so easy to find and a really lovely way to get kids involved in the kitchen – lots of our family walks end with a bit of blackberry picking before we spuddle home and turn them into whatever takes our fancy. Blackberries are staggeringly good with game but lately we have been making blackberry Friands – my current favourite recipe is here.

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Game

It’s probably the first thing that springs to mind when you think of autumnal food – and I couldn’t leave it off my list as game season is something I really do look forward to, however it deserves a post of it’s own so so it’s just a fleeting mention until the October blog.

 

Pumpkin

Gorgeous stuff – roasted with chilli, a rich addition for stews and amazing with sage and bacon as a soup. I like it in a bundt cake with dark chocolate and clementines – Nigella’s recipe here is a good one, I usually add the chocolate chips and switch out the icing for a clementine glaze.

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Stew

The stuff of childhood nightmares (especially if it was made with sausages – sorry mum!) but as an adult I love them. The more herbs the better and if it’s chicken then a huge dollop of dijon mustard always goes into the pot as well. I’ll be popping my own recipe on the blog soon so keep an eye out for it!

 

Leeks

We eat leeks a lot – as a base for many dishes,  baked in a cheese sauce with a roast dinner, with potatoes in a variation on the classic boulangere and lately we’ve been eating them poached with a pangrattato. Try it – they are absolutely delicious. Recipe here.

 

Root vegetables

Proper winter fodder – root vegetables lend themselves brilliantly to soups, stews, roasts, and absolutely anything that needs to be slow-roasted. We usually have a veg box delivered during the winter months and I love having a good dig through the box to see what we’ll be making that week. Try the Riverford website for a plethora of great recipes for your veg box contents

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Chestnuts

The ultimate autumnal side-kick! Chestnuts add depth, texture and a really delicious earthy flavour to stews. They are also an amazing partner with chocolate, cherries or pears. Try this chocolate and chestnut torte from Delicious magazine here.

 

Apples

Apples are so commonplace that I think we all take them a little for granted, however they are a cheap and delicious fruit that goes with so many things – perfect roasted with pork and parsnips and my personal favourite – tarte tatin. Raymond Blanc’s recipe here is the best I’ve tried. 

 

Mulled cider

Mulled cider is a real autumn treat and as we’re in Devon there’s no excuse not to use locally produced cider! Gorgeous on bonfire night with sausages, baked potatoes and s’mores – this recipe from River Cottage is cracking.

There is a lot more about autumn food to love – pies, crumbles, custard and soups – what’s your favourite?

 

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Horn & Cracker