Posh squash nosh…

by Miss South on December 31, 2010

The festive period is just the time for some serious indulgence, but you don’t need to do it all on Christmas and Boxing Day. New Year needs something to make it more alluring in my household and the idea of staying in with a bottle of fizz (or two) and some delicious mini munchkin squash fondue makes me want to stay up late…

Mister North and I cooked these to accompany a fantastic foie gras and pheasant feast the other week and they were so good, I’ll be making them again to indulge in as the clock strikes midnight. They are incredibly easy and would make a divine dish for any number of people with their individual feel. You could use any type of cheese for them, but we pushed the boat out and used a truffled brie from Hartley’s Crumbly Cheese stall in Todmorden Market…

Inspired by a recipe in Rachel Allen‘s Bake book and adapted by her from a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall idea, I’ve made this my idea of heaven by using the mini Munchkin squash from my own garden and filling them up before blasting them in the oven and serving with little nibbles of sourdough bread. They are indulgent, moreish and super easy to make (even if you’ve already had quite a lot of fizz)  and make a lovely difference from the various sweet Christmas treats around.

You can use any round squash or pumpkin you happen to have, but I do love the greed factor in the individual ones. Chop the top off to make a good sized lid and then scoop out all the seeds, taking care not to poke any holes in your pumpkin. Brush the inside of it with a slight brushing of oil and add a teaspoon (more if using the larger squash) of cream and then fill up with your cheese of choice. I used the aforementioned truffled brie, but this would be brilliant for leftover Christmas stilton. Make sure it’s well filled, but not so stuffed it will bubble over in the oven and waste good cheese. Season well and place the oiled squash lid on firmly and pop in the oven at about 180 degrees and cook for about 15 minutes or until the squash is soft and golden and the cheese is bubbling.

Try and wait just long enough that you don’t burn your mouth so much you can’t belt out a chorus or two of Auld Lang Syne later and then start dipping into the soft sweetly infused cheese with bread, crackers, leftover roast veg or anything else you can think of. Just leave a tiny bit in the bottom to get the full effect when you scoop out the yielding and delicious squash onto you bread and devour joyously.

These little squash look adorable and would be a lovely thing to serve to lots of people if you have people round and fancy a doing dips and chips but need something warmer than a tortilla chip and some hummus. They’re easy to make and can be done well in advance, just needing popped in the oven when the time comes. In fact, do a selection of them and create your own fondue fabulous cheeseboard in front of the fire and then feel smug as you tuck in thinking of all those poor people in the taxi queue…

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