Monday, October 31, 2011

Sandy's Super-Scary Squirrel

Just in time for this weird and spooky time of the year, a super-scary squirrel has surfaced in our neighbourhood. Every night my friend Sandy keeps putting out pumpkins - some of them as big as 6lbs - in her porch display... to find they have been eaten through by the following morning. Day after day. Poor Sandy is running out of patience and pumpkins.

Cheeky squirrel
What Super-Squirrel ate this morning for breakfast 
This afternoon I drove around and caught sight of the culprit - a squirrel. Not a big tubby guy, but actually a quick-as-you-can chap who was munching with all his might, then scarpered up into the trees.

Saturday night we spent a pleasant evening sipping red cocktails under a pink sunset keeping a vigilant watch for Scary Squirrel.

Sandy, Mike'n'Kenny and Buster watching for Scary S.
I would write about what my kids are wearing tonight but they are actually cast to the four winds. Harley, 14 and Jackson, 12, took off with their friends after school and we won't see them until the end of the night. Think Harley is some kind of Hawaian-shirt guy, Jackson is building something with his friends from boxes, Tallulah is a vampire soccer player and was in two minds about me coming along. Cy (aka Bart Simpson) is trick or treating with his mates.

Pirate Wendy with Tallulah and friend Ariana
So after years of Halloweens, driving them around to parties and parades all day, being subjected to equal measures of sugar highs, meltdowns and costume dramas, I now find myself slightly redundant. Halloween still kills me though -  you're smiling all day as a gorilla opens your car door at school, Spock drops his kids off next to you, an I-phone walks past with two Dead Riding Hoods and crazy bunnies pack your groceries.

Speaking of pumpkins (as you do) most are not that great to eat. Butternut squash is way better. It's about time the Idle Hostess (moi) shared another of her recipes. I make this so often there are groans (and not of delight) from my guests when I bring it out. New recipe or new friends required - what do you think?

Quick and Dirty Roasted Veges:

1. Butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, sweet potato ("kumara" to the Kiwis), onions, pears, lemons, cloves of garlic with shells on. Warning: this is a "Looks ugly tastes great" dish.

2. Chop veges and pear into big slices or chunks (You have to say "choonks" with a Mancunian accent just like my Grandma's) or slices. Butternut squash and kumara are a bugger to peel so buy the pre-prepared bags from Trader Joes. Failing that, leave the skin on - the meal becomes a fabulous interactive experience for your guests. My guests also compete for how many produce stickers they can find in the dish.

3. Squeeze loads of lemon all over it, glog a log of oil, salt and pepper and put in oven at 250C for three hours (or just blast it at 350 if you can't be arsed hanging about)

Cy insists on helping me squeeze lemons...
...and discovers they don't mix well with cuts
The pears, oil and lemon make a goopy syrup and cooking whole garlic cloves produces a sweet paste you can push out with your knife. If you've made too much, whack it into the cuisinart next day and heat with a dash of milk for a great soup.

Or...just leave it out for Sandy's squirrel.


  1. 3 points your top, that recipe is great and I always mush up the leftovers to make soup, and who knew your Grandma was from Manchester!

  2. Redundant at Hallowe'en? How could that be possible? Oh, wait; they're not 6 and 4 any more, are they. Ah, yes, but. . . .

    Interactive experience with the vegetables, you say. Well, that's one way of putting it.

    Happy Hallowe'en, m'lady.

    From ghoulies and ghosties,
    And lon-leggedy beasties,
    And things that go bump in the night,
    Good Lord, deliver us.

  3. That squirrel has some appetite!! Love all the photos and costumes:)

  4. Oh my gosh--- the story about the squirrel kills me. It is seriously hysterical.

    As for the roasted veggies-----yum! This is one of my favorite things!!

  5. OMG, that looks SO good. I am going to have to try this recipe for sure. I feel your pain as for the first time ever I was redundant last night as well. It's a big shock to be left in the dust.

  6. Jody, that squirrel has scared me too! Wow, those are some pretty big bites!
    You have also made me so insanely hungry for veggies--and for some reason my beautiful Bosch is on the blink and I have no clue about who fixes these things. Hope your Halloween was great!

    xo Mary Jo

  7. I cannot believe the squirrel in imparting that much damage. Amazing.

    As is the roasted veggies. All veggies taste great roasted and I love this combo!

  8. Nope--if I made that there wouldn't be enough left for Sandy! This recipe looks fab! I adore roasted veg and especially butternut squash. Off to print this out...

  9. haha - Franks greatest nemesis the squirrel - you have got to admire the little buggers and that one wont be so little for so long at this rate x

  10. I had forgotten about the squirrels we used to get. Little buggers. And those veggies sound amazingly yummy!

  11. Ahhhh, squirrels!!! We don't have much of a problem with them here. We worry more about raccoons.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  12. Oooh what a little rascal, huh???

    I've been loving roasting veggies the past few weeks. There's no better time of year to do it :) xoxo

  13. You've got me wondering about your accent now. You write with such Brit expressions ('bugger' being one of them!) so I'm guessing that you now sound like a Kiwi with a British/American influence and some Northern phrases thrown in?!

  14. Wooo, scary squirrel!! What a terror.

    I saw a few kids dressed up as we drove through a village in Provence but Halloween in France is a bit of a non-event. My kids don't even get to celebrate it with their dad who doesn't like it (too Anglo-Saxon probably). They are furious!

  15. Lovely photos, sweetie! I love roasted veggies!! The squirrel left such a mess..Funny!


  16. Hah! Any recipe that contains the instruction "or just blast it at 350 if you can't be arsed hanging about" is a winner as far as I'm concerned.

    Doesn't look like the squirrels will get a look-in around here :)

  17. Your Halloween sounds positively perfect; and I LOVE the roasted veggies recipe. Yum! :)

  18. So funny the squirrel story. Thank you for the veggies recipe, I seldom eat meat (and only organic chicken and fish) and I'm very happy whenever I find something new to try out. Love your kitchen, the colour palette is so beautiful, and your outfit! Hope you're having a wonderful autumn week! :)

  19. Jody- The stinging-lemon-juice-photos are too much. So funny!!!!

    Did you actually have someone capture it on film or did you have a sly reenactment done. (Nothing wrong with sly reenactments in the blog world, right? I make my kids do it all the time.)


  20. I have never seen a squirrel do that much damage to a pumpkin! Luckily ours are busy gathering acorns, so our pumpkins have been spared. Love the image of your son helping you in the kitchen. Sweet memories in the making. :)

  21. yeah, we left our pumpkins inside until the day of's not as fun, but i didn't want them to get eaten! also, i love the idea of a soccer playing vampire!

  22. Yes... Halloween is such an interesting- happy, but TIRING day. It always takes me a couple of days to recover, and then when I finally do- and open my computer to do a little blog catchin' up (as I am right now), I see all-things-Christmas... and then I'm tired all over again.

    I need a little of Sandy's stamina :).

  23. roasted veggies are the best. we have some raccoons that have been around and got in to some of the pumpkins...that little squirrel really got into it! love the outfit!

  24. Hallowe'en is clearly more of an event in your part of the world! Thanks for visiting me: I'll be trying out your recipe - I peel pumpkins of whatever type once I've cut them into chunks cos then you can just slice it off, works for me!

  25. We have the same problem with squirrels eating our pumpkins!! It drives me crazy. In fact, I didn't even try to put any pumpkins out this year... it was sad :( haha

    Have a great weekend!

  26. How funny! love this post- love your outfit!

  27. Awww, I love squirrels!! Can you actually tame a squirrel?

  28. Wow! That's one cheeky squirrel, glad he's in Oakland and not Napa!

  29. What does a squirrel with a pumpkin fetish eat when it isn't Halloween?!

  30. I LOVE roasted veggies this time of year and parsnips are a favorite of mine. Haven't had them in ages so thanks for the reminder. And that squirrel photo is killing me.

    By the way, one of my best friends grew up her in Northern California and is now living in NZ with her kiwi husband and raising their three girls there. I'm dying to get there one day soon for an extended visit. It sounds like a little slice of heaven.


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