Lads, it’s literally my favourite time of year for so many reasons. Autumn I am more than ready for you!
Firstly, in my opinion, it is the most beautiful time of year in Ireland. Orange, brown and red scatter the paths, roads and fields. A sight to behold and a background that any photographer would appreciate. It’s nature at it’s best. I also have a bit of a thing about sounds. Peter slags me about it all the time. We’ll be watching a movie and I may have strategically zoned out for the parts that contain fighting and violence but I’ll zoom right back in for a “good sound”. A horse walking, water lapping or food cooking to name but a few. Anything that sizzles, crunches or chimes. I love a good sound. Well, you can only imagine how I feel about the sound of crunching leaves. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. Fresh air and autumn leaves – need I say more.
Another thing I just adore about Autumn is the food. I happen to love Pumpkin Pie. A Canadian friend was always posting photographs of her homemade pies and I just had to give it a go. So in the Autumn of 2014 I followed her recipe and it was absolutely unreal. Friends and family agreed. This just happened to be the very week that I found out I was pregnant (and almost eight weeks pregnant at that). For a good two years I associated the look, colour and scent of anything pumpkin with a churning stomach. It reminded me so much of that week and how nauseous I felt in early pregnancy. It didn’t last though and I am determined to recreate it this month. Watch this space.
Autumn food is just the best. It’s soup season once again and I am forever drawn to butternut squash. It’s got such a lovely mild flavour. Somewhere in between carrot and turnip. I love it’s vibrant colour and it’s actually incredibly versatile. It makes the nicest soup and at the same time is so good roasted and served in a salad with feta cheese and any kind of nuts and seeds. One of my favourite salads is a butternut squash and halloumi salad from The Lovely Food Company in Terenure. It is off the charts good.
Anyway, the reason why you are here. The cutting of the butternut squash. I have realized that this is a big reason why a lot of people do not put a butternut squash in their trolley. It is a nightmare to cut. It has the toughest skin and you will feel the absolute rage by the end of the procedure…. nightmare. I am here to rock your world and give my butternut squash hack. It is a total game-changer and you are absolutely totally and utterly welcome. I wish I came up with it myself but I saw it a few years ago on a Jamie Oliver show and I am eternally grateful for it’s discovery.
So – how to cut a butternut squash?
Answer : DON’T
No literally, don’t. There is no need.
Simply cut the entire thing down the middle, scoop out the seeds and lay it on it’s back (sounds a bit naughty). Leave it flesh side up and pop it in to the oven for an hour on a medium to high heat. That’s it! In on hour your house will smell INCREDIBLE and you will literally be able to spoon the butternut squash out as though it were butter. It goes so soft, so silky, that it will actually be difficult to differentiate between the squash and the skin.
Simply scoop or cut it out in desired amounts or shapes. Serve in a salad, as a side dish with your dinner or do as I did below and make it in to a soup.
Along with the squash I added a few things to the tray after 30 minutes. A whole quartered onion alongside a chopped red pepper and three full cloves of garlic (in the skin). I forgot about it for half an hour and when it finished I added everything to a pot (squeeze the garlic out of the skin. It goes ooozy and like a puree. Roasted garlic is a thing of beauty) with some stock and seasoning. I then blitz and have a nice big pot of delicious roasted butternut squash soup.
You are welcome.