Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup & Rosemary – Farmer’s Market Wednesday

IMG_0517OK, its Tuesday. But I’ve only just got round to it. Luckily for me, the squash kept. I’ve never cooked acorn squash before, but I love squash and they’re seasonal so therefore very cheap at the moment. I was really stuck with what I was going to do with it and was on the brink of stuffing it (maybe next week) but I noticed that a lot of people baked theirs simply with sugar and maple syrup. Given I bought a bottle of syrup on the weekend, I thought I would give this a go, but with rosemary and black pepper to make it more savoury. Serves 2 as a very substantial side dish.

  • 1 acorn squash

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 heaped tsp butter
  • 1 tsp very, very finely chopped rosemary
  • a lot of turns of the peppermill
  • salt
  • half kettle of boiling water

Preheat oven to gas 6.

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Firstly cut your squash in half with very large, very sharp knife or cleaver from the stalk to the base. If the halves won’t sit upright by themselves, you can cut a small slice off the bottom of them, so they behave better. Remove the seeds and innards from the squash and with a small sharp  knife, score lines into the flesh length and width of the flesh so the maple syrup mixture soaks in. In each cavity put a tablespoon of maple syrup, a teaspoon of butter, and then sprinkle on the rosemary, salt and pepper all over the inside. Put the halves on large roasting tin, and pour an inch or so of boiling water into the pan. Put into the oven and cook for about an hour and a half, depending on the weight and size of your squash.

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You will notice that mine has, errr, caramelised on top. I think that was because I was basting it with the maple syrup mixture all the way through, and it simply took too long. Ah well, better to meet with triumph and disaster just the same. In case you are wondering, yes, it was really delicious, despite looking a little black in patches. In future though, I would cover it with foil after an hour or so, so it doesn’t catch again.

Special Breakfast Pancakes

Ok, so its not dinner. I would, of course, eat this for dinner though.

For some people, this a special breakfast would not make. For some people like morning people, supermums, domestic gods and goddesses alike, pancakes on a weekday morning must be a breeze, a mere flick of the whisk. In this household however, breakfast is a sonambulist’s territory. Toast is made rubbing sleep out of eyes, coffee is perculated as we stumble around and the radio provides the only conversation of any meaning. Greedy boy, the only one even half awake, is not in the mood for much – and toast is not much of a culinary challenge. Besides, before long  it will be one he will take on for himself.

Back to the pancakes. They are a simple enough recipe. And they are not special in themselves (Although throw in a couple of blueberries to the batter and they might be, if blueberries float your boat). What makes them special in my view are: The best quality bacon, streaky and good quality canadian maple syrup. And in this house, the percieved effort for a special person’s birthday, makes them special.

pancakes

First consume your caffeine beverage of choice, and turn on the radio.

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scant tsp caster sugar
  • 300ml buttermilk (or just go ahead with ordinary milk)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • butter and vegetable oil for frying

Now, I just put all the ingredients except the melted butter in my blender goblet and whizzed to a batter, but if you don’t have a blender (or it isn’t 6am) you can simply put the dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre of it. Mix the egg and the milk in a jug and slowly, slowly pour into the well, stirring the flour in gradually. Mix in your melted butter. If adding fruit (and I would only really add berries, cut to garden pea size) do it now.

Put your bacon on.

Heat a dot of butter and a teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick pan. Drop a heaped tablespoon of batter into the pan, wait until it settles into a pancake and then put another tablespoon in, and then another, until you are cooking up to three pancakes in a batch. Cook on a low to medium heat for about 3 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble on top. At this point you can check to see whether the pancake has browned underneath by lifting up the side a bit. If browned, flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the otherside. Slooooowwwwwly. Or you will get a burnt outside and an uncooked middle. And that doesn’t exactly say ‘Happy Birthday!’

I would keep the cooked ones under a clean tea towel on a warmed plate while you cook as many pancakes as you like. Serve with the bacon and a generous side of maple syrup.