Archives for posts with tag: squash

Custardy Squash Prune Barberry Squares

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Custardy Quince Squares

Gratitude to the culinary grace of cookery writer Dorie Greenspan for these wonderful Custardy Apple Squares. She writes that she sees the recipe in the link as a “back-pocket recipe.” In the few weeks this recipe has been in my life, I’ve come to consider it a “back-pack” for the ways that it can travel, light and flexibly, be adapted to ingredients on hand, rise to an attitude of perfection or laziness as befits one’s mood, and sit somewhere on a continuum of cake, tea time snack, and pudding (in the various British senses).  And it doesn’t seem to go wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a story of something nice I made from desperate leftovers populating the refrigerator, with a non-recipe “methodology” I experiment with a lot…  If you are turned off by smelly fishes and even the idea of “herring sauce”, please you really must read on…

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Spicy Pumpkin Vinegar, made from pulps I could have thrown out.  A glorious enzymatic condiment for brightening, souring, finishing and … drinking!  Pumpkin Scrap-cum-Vinegar plus Fermented Chilli Pepper Skins is a match made in heaven…  or Upcycling Kitchen-Counter-Culture paradise, at least…


Once upon a time we carved a pumpkin for Halloween, and instead of roasting the seeds, I fermented them for a scrap vinegar.  This is such an easy thing to do.  Cover your fruit scraps (in this case, the scooped-out pumpkin seeds embedded in the stringy stuff) in about triple the volume of water.  Add a tablespoon or two of sugar, which will inspire an alcoholic fermentation; keep stirring, periodically exposing your mixture to air, and  you will get acetic acid fermentation– that easy.  (The link above will give more detail if you don’t believe me.)


A.K.A. Pumpkin Wild Vinegar, after lots of stirring and bottle-burping and exposure to air, and time:


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I thought I’d share an aspect of my “approach” to daily meals.

Friends were coming for dinner; there would be seven of us.  I roasted a chicken with lemons and garlic and paprika and fennel seeds and this wonderful Palestinian za’atar.  I baked a squash, made brown rice (which I had duly soaked), a black-eyed pea salad with parsley and garlic and olive oil and scrap apple vinegar, and steamed kale with similar.  A sliced avocado decorated the platter that held the chicken. There was some leftover lemony tahini sauce, and I did make a kind of gravy / sauce, with the carmelized bits from the bottom of the roasting pan, and some ancient sweet wine from the bottom of a bottle.

After supper, the bones of the chicken simmered in the extra bean water, with some various scraps of carrot and leek and parsley stem, the seeds and pulp from the squash, and the roasted lemons complete with rind (I like a little bitter, and the acidic nature helps the bones release their minerals).

In the photo above are the leftovers, which I added in the morning to that broth, which I’d strained, reserving the kale for the last minute.  I chopped a carrot for sweetness, shredded half a swede/ rutabaga because it was there, chopped some celery by habit, squeezed in some tomato puree/ paste for the pleasure of squeezing a tube and and for the colour, and served with black pepper and parmesan at the end.


Soup: I make it constantly, usually with leftovers as a main ingredient, exploring inspirations from world cuisines, basing broths on meat stocks or vegetarian stocks and often fermented brines.  I have herbs from the summer preserved in salt, and a lacto-fermented “bouillon” (posts to follow) that I can call upon for oomph.  Then grains, legumes (red lentils an obvious favourite), root vegetables, greens, ginger, spices — sometimes finishing with miso or fermented veg in one form or another, usually sauerkraut.  Fresh herbs if they happen to be there.  It’s not so much rules as a sense of freedom.  Which is a reason I don’t like recipes or the idea of “the best” this or the best that, and ask you to trust your own impulses.   Use what is on-hand as your inspiration, though of course you can plan what to have on-hand.  Food made with love will be received with love– generally.

This one was quite minestrone-esque, and amazing to me because basically it was a pretty direct transformation of the meal the night before, with a few hearty brighteners.

Three Sisters

Last night I stayed up late baking for this morning, three cakes for the launch of a community kitchen venture I will write about soon. I’d been inspired by the idea of the Three Sisters of Native American growing– corn and beans and squash.

A cornmeal (or polenta) cake with blackberries my family picked; Vegan Black Bean Brownies that were equally delicious and weird– hard to get a grasp on; and a moist, dense Pumpkin and Apple Cake, that I made with gluten-free flour and roasted, very orange and dense squash that I pureed through a food mill. The internet is so vastly full of ideas when you need them. Ask me and I can give you any particulars…

I am entranced by the idea of cakes with vegetables– of course carrots and courgettes and marrows, and all the chocolate beetroot cakes — though I want to try the squash cake above with that rosy beet instead, to play and shine the earth of beet rather than hide it behind the dusky sweet chocolate. Parsnips too intrigue, and there’s that world of sweet pies and tarts that have spinach or swiss chard with raisins and custard, or not… and would love to try these with nettle leaves some day. You could imagine savoury cakes and loaves too, playing with the sweet form with usually salty ingredients, but what I feel like exploring first is just how far you can take veg into a sweet cake. Going to do a little research– I’m sure there’s loads to be discovered.

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