vegetables are a thing of beauty to me. i love photographing them, and they whole-heartedly lend themselves to home decor around my digz. in the spring, summer, and fall you’ll find daily studies in still life on my counters, tabletops, and sills. as an otherwise visual minimalist, my vegetal presentations border on the ornate. though my muses are whittled down in the slowest coldest months – namely those of the allium and cucubits species, and the winter forms of those even – my displays are most certainly not. ornate, in fact, turns toward the baroque in a visual cacaphony of other-wordly shapes and colors.
the cast morphs away with winter’s meals. the last ones standing morph as well; the bright eggshell blues, deep oranges and forest greens fade to more soothing shades, and taught october skins mottle. by february and most certainly march, i’m scrambling to put them to good use before the last curtain falls.
and then they offer up a glorious encore. squash guts. the blazing sun of summer sprawled about my kitchen sink! a beautiful reminder that summer, in fact, is right around the month of may. which is just around the month of april, which is just after the month that we are in today!
i must admit this was my first endeavor into farl making. there’s nary a drop of irish blood in this cat. but nigel enticed me with his reflection on bread-making and wonderful prose. so i made it – or something very close to nigel’s version. it’s basically akin to a potato pancake and is much more a savory than a sweet. it’s moist and filling in a light-but-still-stick-to-your-ribs kind of way. traditionally farl is served with bacon, sausage and eggs. the minute it came out of the oven we sliced it up and ate it with chunks of sharp english chedder. it worked – immensely. the last two slices standing made a perfect accompaniment to a green bean curry on the following night’s supper.
adapted from the guardian
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup roasted* and mashed winter squash
1/2 cup warmed milk
1 egg, whisked
2 whole allspice berries, crushed to a powder with a mortar & pestle
butter or oil** for pan
medium skillet with oven proof handle
- preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- mix flour, salt, powdered allspice, and baking soda together. drop in the butter and use the old fashioned two-knife method (my mom is a wiz at that!) or use a dough cutter (i love mine!) or get your hands in there and rub the whole lot between your palms. you want to incorporate the butter into the flour. add the squash and stir it in, if you are using the dough cutter it’s good for this too.
- pour in the whisked egg and warmed milk and stir until combined.
- place skillet on medium low heat and coat with butter or oil. when oil is warmed drop the dough into the skillet and spread evenly. cook just until the bottom begins to set – about 3 minutes.
- place skillet in oven and bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the center looks fully baked.
- slide it directly onto plate or cutting board, let cool slightly, and slice.
the pumpkin lends its natural sweetness which rendered this version of farl perfect with sharp cheese, but i can imagine it anywhere a flat bread would come in handy. enjoy!
*to roast squash – cut in half, scrape out seeds and strings, brush a neutral oil around the flesh. turn cut side down on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven until soft. let cool and peel away the skin.
**i’ve been using this squash seed oil for any baking with squash lately. i highly recommend it!