Begin with the squash. Heat the oil and half the butter in a small frying pan, add the squash and fry gently for a few minutes, until it begins to take on a hint of colour. Add the garlic and sage, season with salt and pepper and sizzle gently until the garlic just begins to colour. Then quickly add 2–3 tbsp water to stop the garlic browning any more. Partly cover the pan with a lid and let the squash finish cooking in the steam from the water - it should be completely tender within about 10 minutes. Add a little more water if the pan becomes dry.
Tip the squash and any liquid into a blender or food processor, along with the rest of the butter, and blend until smooth. If it doesn’t quite come together, add a dash of hot water to give a thick creamy puree. Taste and adjust the seasoning and keep warm.
To cook the scallops, put a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes, turning the pieces over as they start to crisp up. When the bacon is cooked, transfer to a warm plate. Keep the pan over a medium-high heat. Season the scallops and add them to the hot frying pan. Cook for about a minute, until golden brown underneath. Turn them over and cook for a minute on the other side.
Immediately transfer the scallops to warmed serving plates. Add 2 rashers of bacon to each one. Put a good dollop of mushy squash next to the scallops, trickle with a little extra virgin oil, plus the juices from the scallop pan, and grind over some pepper. Serve straight away.
River Cottage Winter's On the Way is out now on DVD.