img_8542Do you need some butternut squash scones in your life? Here’s a pop quiz to help you figure it out. Do you a) Cast about at 10 am for something to have with a cup of tea? b) Feel like sometimes food should comfort and cosset you, in the way that a hug from your Granny once did? c) Have half a butternut squash left in the fridge after roasting the rest to go in a hipster quinoa salad to take to a picnic on Saturday? d) Have a 33 week gestation stowaway in your middle who is now the size of a butternut squash, and feel like you should make something to celebrate her? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, or you just fancy something to stock the freezer with, eat slathered in good quality butter or strained yoghurt, feel like getting your hands a little busy with some rustic baking, or are looking for a way to experiment with high fibre spelt flour, then skip straight to the recipe at the bottom. If you have time for context and prattle, read on.

These scones have been excellent company for the past few days. Once again Will and I have been flying solo. Hopefully this will be the last venture for a while. The stowaway has been playing tricks on me late at night, with painful braxton hicks and highjinks that cause me to reach out for my phone in the dark to calculate just-how-long the commute back from Bangalore or Singapore would be if I needed to put out an emergency beacon to The Hungry One. When we’re on our own, Will and I slip into a casual routine. I eat chaotic tumbles of things with quinoa and kale out of bowls at the same time as he eats his dinner. We’ll share a bowl of yoghurt and sliced mango for dessert and I’ll often fold washing while keeping an eye on him in the bath (these days he insists on taking his goggles in with him and practicing his swimming). I turn out the lights and slip upstairs with him at storytime. When he finally consents to slumber I usually hunker down with the laptop in bed and watch a little bit of a female-centered box set that The Hungry One would have little appetite for, while scrolling through ASOS, putting things in shopping carts which I will never check out. In the mornings Will and I huddle in the big bed together with banana/cacao/ chia smoothies and tea. Will gets the iPad. I get my book or the newspaper and we loll about for a bit. It’s the slack-life. There’s no real set routine and lunch is just as likely to be a collection of flax crackers and dip as it is a scone and another cup of tea.

The thing I love about these scones is that they too don’t really fit to a set routine. They’re not quite sweet and not quite savoury. Many pumpkin scone recipes (including those from famed Australian Lady Jo Bjelke Petersen)  include up to half a cup of sugar in them. Yet I think the natural sweetness of butternut squash, plus a little pleasing pop of sultana or raisin is all that’s needed. The rosemary is in there because it’s such an amiable friend to butternut squash and adds such a lovely aroma when baking. You could press these out into traditional rounds, but I think the easiest way is to cleave them into segments from one large mass- this helps prevent the overworking of the dough which can be an enemy to a light and fluffy scone. These are best warm, smothered in strained Greek yoghurt or butter, but would also be shining with goat’s curd and honey, or cream cheese.  You could just as easily cut them into tiny circles and reduce the baking time by half for bite size Christmas canapes- with that in mind, some glazed ham and a spicy chutney would also be a novel topping.

Some of these are being consumed as I type this (crumbs on the computer and all). And some are going into ziplock bags in the freezer to tide us over when our little butternut squash comes into the world, the slack life comes to an end – and things get much, much busier.

Here are a few other things that are going on

Eating: Oat flour, allergy friendly banana blueberry muffins.

img_8496Some of these have also made it into the freezer stash and some were taken to the park last Friday afternoon for a picnic with some of Will’s best buddies – one of whom has severe allergies. I developed these muffins so there’s something that they can both eat and share which doesn’t have so much sugar that he bounces off the walls until 10 pm and has no dairy, egg or nuts in them. Meanwhile, I love them with a weak latte at 9.15 am at the park for second breakfast. They’re a simple mash and mix, so are a good shared project with little hands.

Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:
420 g mashed banana (or 370 g mashed banana plus 1 tbsp chia seeds and 3 tbsp water),
80 ml coconut milk
3 tbsp honey or rice malt syrup
1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
260 g oat flour
2 tsp bicarb soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Method
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with patty cases. In a bowl mix together all of the wet ingredients. Fold in the dry until well combined, then fold in the blueberries. Use an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter into the patty cases. Bake for 20 minutes, until brown and a skewer comes out clean. These will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Buying: There are things that are less fun in life. Buying toilet paper is definitely one of them. Lugging it home from the shops is a veritable pain in the proverbial. Thank heavens then for Who Gives a Crap. Not only do they deliver toilet paper to your door in Australia, but they use 100% recycled fibres and donate 50 % of their profits to help build toilets for the developing world. Yes, I’m in full scale nesting mode.

Also; Benefit’s ‘They’re Real’ mascara. A few years ago I had eyelash extensions put on for a wedding and a lark. I loved them- until I didn’t- as they grew out they flapped against my cheek and made it difficult to swim, shower or cry without dabbing at my face like a precocious beauty queen. Then one night in the bath in a tinted hormonal rage, I ‘accidentally’ pulled them out. And with them came most of my eyelashes. Don’t be me. Since then my eyelashes haven’t quite been the same. Benefit’s ‘They’re Real’ mascara is one of the best lengthening ones I’ve found. Yes, it requires proper makeup remover to take off, but it also doesn’t really smudge when swimming, so that’s a plus.

Listening: David Gray, White Ladder. This album was the soundtrack to my late teens and early 20’s. Ambitious dinner parties, wistful evenings with wine that was beyond my budget out on the balcony were all spent listening to this. It turned up on my Apple Play suggestions the other week and now I can’t stop hitting ‘repeat’ on it. It takes me back to some golden times when I really thought anything was possible.

Writing:  My most recent piece for Harris Farm was ‘Salad Dressing 101 – Plus Three to Know by Heart’ including my go to recipes for tahini yoghurt, miso dressing. Plus a secret ingredient in most great salad dressings that you probably didn’t see coming. See here.

Reading: This piece from Jane Cadzow on Pete Evans, Paleo Evangelical. An entertaining read with some great questions being posed. As much as I ascribe to a lot of the underlying tenets of a Paleo ideology (let’s eat less processed food, let’s eat ethically raised meats and sustainable fish) I doubt I’ll ever go full Paleo. For one, I’m in a fortunate position where my body can handle both dairy and legumes and I love them both. For two, I find there is a very awkward overlap of scientific suspicion among Pete and members of his ‘Tribe’ (his word, not mine), with with the kind of distrust of authority and faith in ‘Internet Information’ that chases after conspiracies and shimmies into the kind of thinking that disputes everything from climate change to the importance of immunisation for herd immunity (a topic I can get very strident about, if given the right circumstances).  

Ogling: This little face.

img_82651We volunteered to help test some new machinery for a local business in Freshwater ‘Womb with a View‘ – which allows for a 4D glimpse into what your still-cooking bub-to-be might look like. It seems like little miss has inherited my cheeks.

Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Raisin Spelt Scones

img_8542Makes 8 scones

Shopping/foraging

img_85211 cup/240 g butternut squash, peeled and cubed.
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
1 egg, beaten
2 cups/ 300 g spelt flour
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup/ 70 g raisins
1 tbsp milk, for brushing

Here’s how we roll

1) Steam the butternut squash pieces until soft. Allow to cool and then mash.

img_85222) Preheat the oven to 220 C/ 450 F and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Combine the cooled mashed butternut squash with the egg, oil and chopped rosemary. Stir well to combine.

img_85253) Sift the baking powder into the flour. Add the remaining ingredients and use your hand like a claw to just combine.

img_85264) Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and just bring it together with your hands. Try not to knead it too much as it can become tough. Pat it into a round, approx 3 cm high.

img_85285) Cleave the dough into eight segments using a knife or a pastry cutter.

img_85296) Transfer the pieces onto a lined baking tray and brush the tops with milk. Transfer into the oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden on top and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

img_85307) Eat warm with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, cream cheese or spread thickly with butter.

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Previously in Poppyseed to Pumpkin

Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far. (Nb, you can also see the poppy seed to pumpkin process in the app, or ebook from my first pregnancy with Will, or read about it on the blog here.)