We have a working fireplace! Well, we have what looks like a working fireplace, since we’ve in all honesty done nothing but look at it intently, and smugly, in that we-have-a-working-fireplace kind of way, meanwhile being somewhat too intimidated to actually put a fire in it. But we will be lighting that sucker this Friday when we have our first real dinner part-ay in our new abode, and I’m already thinking of all the things one could possible roast on that fire, like chestnuts and maybe marshmallows. Of course it takes the sometimes more grounded Mr P to point out the obvious: our living room is not, in fact, a camp ground; and we are not, in fact, camping. Oh, ever Mr P-for-practicality. Be that as it may, I’ve gotten a bit of my food bite back again, which has been hiding under the bed in terror of the new kitchen for most of this last month. So lets hope I can whip up something other than the more basic fare we’ve been existing on for four weeks. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that in the least, mind you.) At least one fire has been lit, so to speak.
In the bit of cooking I have been doing this month, there seems (as always, non?) to be a theme. I seem to have gone Butternut Bonkers. And if I’ve posted three things on the blog, you just know we’ve had them coming out the ears: mashed, souped, roasted, steamed and baked. But a bread pudding, I hear you ask? A bread pudding is, well, Pudding, non? Well, and what of it? What if I want to start a revolt of the cooking class and take a perfectly good after-dinner sweetness and turn it into the main attraction? What are you going to do? Puree me? Ha! Actually, the ever experimentally-minded Mr P left not a single crumb in the casserole dish, an amount I was sure would leave me lunch-overs for at least two afternoons, assuring me of the success of a savoury bread pudding served up on a chilly, early Winter night. (Please note that it’s not yet “Winter night”, but “Early Winter night” ahem.) Go on, give it a try. You know you want to!
*note: I only used a ¼ of a large butternut, which probably explains why I’ve had so many meals of the squash recently.
**I used a combination of breads for this recipe: Olive, Whole Wheat and Sun-dried Tomato, cut very chunky as you would a baguette.
Butternut and Kidney Bean Bread Pudding
¼ large butternut, peeled, seeded and chopped into large 1 inch cubes
6 – 8 slices slightly stale bread of your choice (see ** above) torn into chunks
1 onion, halved and thickly sliced
½ half a can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground sage
pinch dried thyme leaves
white pepper to taste
⅓ cup grated Mozzarella
– heat the oven to 350˚F
– steam the butternut for about 10 mins, until tender but still firm
– grease a casserole dish and arrange bread and onions and butternut in it
– top with kidney beans
– in a bowl, beat eggs, milk and herbs & spices
– pour egg mix over bread and leave to sit for about 5 mins.
– top with cheese and bake in the oven until set, about 45 mins.