It’s been raining a lot over here. Threats of typhoons, gloomy weekdays filled with the incessant patter of raindrops, grey skies, wonky dsl...the usual ways the rainy season makes its presence felt. Today’s different though...the sun is out (for now) where I live and I’m once again in a skirt and tank top, trying to keep cool.
Crazy weather. Determined to drive me mad. Lulling me into cozy thoughts of soup and stews, and then driving me headlong into the arms of fresh fruit and salad. Eating seasonally means a different thing every day over here, a challenge that is just a bit too much for me right now.
I seek refuge in the embrace of a very autumnal dish. Autumn is a season absent from our calendar and I find every opportunity to flout nature and enjoy it on my table, if not in my weather.
Crazy, perplexing, faithless weather. You deserve my rebellion.
The weather aside, I am loving the local farmers who have started growing butternut squash. I find it at the markets more often now, and I make sure to buy some when I see it...no matter what the weather is like. In my favourite herb stall, at my Saturday market a while back, I found some gorgeous specimens. After much dithering about the size (I only have two mouths to feed after all) I finally succumbed to a 3-kilo beauty upon the urging of my friend M, who assured me that I could just cook and puree what I couldn’t use then freeze it for later consumption. Which is exactly what I did after enjoying the squash as a centrepiece on our dining room table (whole pumpkin is such a joy...you can keep it as decoration for the longest time while you ponder how you want to prepare it...not to mention the possibilities if you happen to have a fairy godmother!).
I divided the squash in half: Half I roasted and pureed, and stashed in my freezer for emergency butternut squash soup. This is what happened to the other half.
Honey and Thyme Roasted Pumpkin
(adapted from Maple and Thyme Roasted Pumpkin, Donna Hay Magazine, issue 38, page 100)
- 4 wedges of butternut squash, about 700 grams total weight
- a scant 1/4 cup honey
- 70 grams butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup pili nuts, blanched and peeled
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the honey, butter, thyme, and nuts in a bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste – it should have a sweet-salty flavour balance.
- Arrange squash wedges in a roasting pan, or any sort of pan where they’d fit. I used a pyrex pie dish and that worked fine.
- Pour the honey-nut mixture over the squash, dividing evenly between their little hollows.
- Roast in a 200C oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
- Serves 4 as a side dish.
The original recipe used golden nugget pumpkins (instead of butternut squash), maple syrup (instead of honey), and almonds and pecans (instead of walnuts and pili).
If there is someone out there who can resist a golden, caramelized wedge of butternut squash, softly roasted and topped with sweet sticky nuts...well, you are a stronger person than I. This dish was so divine that the weather made no hee-haw to me whichever way its inconstant winds wanted to blow. Rain or shine, wet or dry, sometimes you just need to close your window and do what you want.