Friday, November 20, 2009


I have never enjoyed shopping for my dinner more than in the last few weeks. The air is crisp…at least in the morning, and the farmer’s market stalls are groaning with root vegetables, cabbages, beets and potatoes. Apples are in abundance and are so juicy; the pears are still a little hard and would probably hurt your gums. I am still finding quince and even some sweet plump figs in small baskets tucked here and there. I also spotted some chestnuts that were quite large and firm, just ready for roasting. But what caught my eye are the squashes; the tiny crinkle-edged patty pans, the striped delicata, long-necked butternuts and others as fat and round as a football. I tend to prefer moderately sized fruit, squashes whose skins a thin enough to cut without resorting to an axe and small enough to bake within an hour. I usually make a soup of some kind or purée for a later use or simply roast them with butter and thyme.

A roast pumpkin is a side order rather than a main dish, though it would be lovely with brown rice and a thick tomato sauce, or incorporated into a savory bread pudding, even some caramelized sausages alongside would be a welcome combination for a cold night.


Roast squash with thyme

4 small to medium squash
2 Tbsp. butter
A glug of olive oil
Fresh thyme

Set the oven to 350°. Cut the squashes in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds from the center. Lay the squashes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Cut the butter into thin slices and put a slice in the center of each squash, together with a little olive oil, a good pinch of thyme leaves, a sprinkling of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Roast for an hour, checking them occasionally to see how they are doing. You want them to be sweet smelling and the flesh to be totally tender when you pierce it with a knife.

Serves 4

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