My 3 favourite things about Autumn (that’s Fall to all people west of the Atlantic!)
1. Dublin Marathon
2. Leaves (because c’mon, so much fun they create. You can kick them, throw them at your friends, make beards out of them, gather them up into huge piles and then jump right into them, bury your brothers under then…the list is endless but really they always just end up making me feel like a kid again. If you aren’t already in on the leaf-hysteria, then I’m very sorry for your loss and heartily recommend you get yourself and your boots out there and bring some friends)
3. Butternut Squash.
In fact, if I was being totally honest, I’d probably put Butternut Squash at the top of the list. I love the stuff, cannot get enough of it. If it could walk, talk and hold my hand, I’d probably marry it. But then again, if that were the case, I’d probably end up roasting it in a 220 degree fan oven, seasoning it in olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper and scoffing the lot. So on second thoughts, there may not be the makings of a good marriage there after all and there could be criminal repercussions, though it would taste sinfully good.
A lot of people I know have either never tried Butternut Squash, some have no idea what it is and others are quite intimidated by it and have no idea how to approach one. I am a self-confessed latecomer to the Squash, only discovering it’s orangey existence while in my last year in college. Since then, I have more than made up for our lost time together and I truly believe that I may now be largely singularly responsible for supporting the importation of Butternut Squash plants to the island of Ireland. I buy a lot of this stuff. It’s just so damn good AND it’s a vegetable which means it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals and all sorts of goodies that provide excellent nourishment for the bod.
Here’s what one unadulterated Squash looks like:
Enough about selling the Squash to you! If you have eaten it before, then you already know how good it is and you don’t need me to bang on at you about it. If you haven’t, then go get some, come back and try this recipe. It’s yum. This is my favourite lunch at the moment for days when I’m at home and have the time to make it. You can eat this cold either if you wanted to bring it as a packed lunch somewhere – doesn’t have to be to work – any day trip you fancy! I got the idea for this recipe from a brunch I had at Bibi’s in Dublin. I thought it was yum and really different so I’ve since experimented with the recipe quite a bit, trying various flavour combinations but I finally settled on this one. The nice thing about this is that it works as a hearty brunch, lunch, light dinner or supper. Whatever you’re having yourself.
Butternut Squash Eggs
Butternut squash (I’ll leave the quantity up to you…)
Greek yogurt 100g
Clove of garlic
Eggs x 2
Red chilli x 1
Butter x 2 tsps
1. Turn on the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
2. Peel the squash with a regular peeler. Mind your fingers when doing this. You’ll need to hold the Squash firmly and be tough with your peeler. Don’t be a wuss here. You can leave the skin on either if you prefer. It’s perfectly edible and adds a chewy texture. Up to yourself.
3. Slice the Squash into thick slices, however you like, just make sure they are roughly the same size to ensure even cooking.
4. Lightly grease a baking tray with some olive oil and place the squash on it. Spread the slices out so that they are not touching each other. This allows them to roast nicely and go nice and chewy, rather than sweating and going all mushy, which is not what we are going for here. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until nicely soft and caramelised on the outside.
5. Crush the garlic and mix it into the yoghurt. Set aside.
6. To make the chilli butter, simple dice the chilli very finely and mash it into the butter with some salt and pepper. It’s handy to use a ramekin for this. If you like, you can also mash in some finely grated lime zest.
7. When the squash is ready, turn the oven down to keep warm. Get a pan of boiling water going, swirl it around with a spoon and crack your egg into the whirlpool. When the white of the egg is cooked, your egg is ready. You want the yolk to still be lovely and runny so that it creates a sauce for the dish.
8.While the egg is cooking, you can get everything else ready. Get a dish and spoon the yoghurt onto the centre of the plate. Arrange the Butternut Squash slices on top of the yoghurt and season. Zap the butter in the microwave to melt it. When your egg is cooked, carefully remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on top of the squash. Cook the second egg and place it alongside egg no.1. Pour over the chilli butter and sprinkle over the fresh coriander, some seasoning and top it off with some fresh rocket.