So its now about 4pm, rummage through fridge..look in freezer…hmm what to make that mum will eat. Mr butternut is squash poking out its smooth egg shaped head from the fruit bowl..really fancy squash now…what the hell to make with it. Especially when mum bless her is a meat and potatoes kinda girl.
Re-check fridge..hmm oh and half a block of red Leicester, albeit from Iceland and one I wont hurry to buy again but made sense at time of purchase. Also note some lovely quality bacon thats for the Bourginnon recipe, and a punnet of wild mushrooms also intended for the it. Realise I am about to not be at home for the next three nights due to work schedule and prior dinner plans and the lovely mushroomies wont hang around that long.. so how to combine mr squash and wild mushrooms. Bearing in mind I am surprisingly unfamiliar with cooking both ingredients. Google shows some rather interesting recipes, including a curious sounding wild mushroom and squash bread and butter pudding but mother sounds less than enthused at this suggestion when I quickly phoned her, and even I am a bit hmm… thoughts go down lasagne route, but have to bear in mind will be cooking dinner at mums house, complete with tiny kitchen and work space of a postage stamp. But it does have a gas oven! Another thought was some kind of lasagne but it just seems too much effort, not to mention washing up and its now nearly 4.30pm, mum likes to eat about 5.30 with Neighbours.
Consulted several cook books too, still nothing quite fits. Rifle through brains, remember having a lush chilli stuffed squash many moons back, albeit not about to make chilli but then thought hmm bacon and cheese…hmm indeed.. and so this dish was born. I am also super pleased to say mum ate everything without complaint, and I rather liked this one too!
Whilst the squash is the star of the plate, a real credit must go to the potatoes. For such a simple dish, it was quite beautiful and was born out of trying to find something to do with the wild mushrooms. I urge you to try it. Since have repeated with smaller baby potatoes and equally good. Just cover your eyes when you add the butter. It is borrowed from Simon Hopkinson's Week In, Week out book. Trust me you can't taste the lemon, it just adds a wonderful note to the potatoes.
One medium sized butternut squash – nicely shaped enough to lay flat when baked
Handful grated red Leicester or similar cheese
3 rashers good bacon, roughly chopped
2 tbsp grated grana padano
3 tbsp double cream
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp sunflower oil (mum had no olive oil..)
Stab your squash all over with a sharp knife. Microwave for a good 8 minutes or until a knife goes through very easily. Allow to cool slightly before handling carefully.
Heat the oil and fry your onions and bacon until golden, softened and cooked through but not too brown. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Once the squash is cool enough to handle, pre-heat oven to gas 5. Halve it lengthways and using a knife and spoon, carefully remove and discard the seeds, then scrape out all the lovely flesh into the bowl with the bacon in. Add ¾ of the cheeses, thyme leaves and cream, mash up well using a fork, season well to taste. Loosely pack back into the shells, top with remaining cheese, and bake for a good 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Wild Mushroom Potatoes
Mum told me on the phone they were salad type potatoes. On arrival, well more new potato but still workable...
4 large new potatoes
200g wild mushrooms
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp butter
lemon juice - about 1/2 tbsp
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Place the potatoes in a suitable dish, stab them a few times, cover and microwave for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Cool slightly, and try to slice into 1/3 cm slices. Alternatively steam them.
Using the bacon frying pan, heat a little more oil, fry the potatoes until lightly golden, stir in the mushrooms, wilt in for 2-3 minutes, turning gently
Add a good knob of butter to the pan, squirt over a little lemon juice and season, Season to taste, sprinkle over the parsley and serve immediately.
Moral of the story: Great quality ingredients and an inquisitive mind will always make
Many thanks to Jen at Golin Harris and Knorr for the ingredients