» Squash

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Comforting Winter Meal

Spiky mustard and capers bring a little bite to the smooth, roasted squash, the crispy cabbage and unctuous cheese. A topping of crunch breadcrumbs finishes things off. You’ll feel properly nourished with this one-dish meal.
Anna Jones describes this dish as having ‘simple British flavours’. That set me thinking about the origin of the ingredients. Caraway and mustard seeds have been eaten in Britain since the Middle Ages, but squash didn’t reach these shores until the sixteenth century, when European sailors brought it back from the Americas, together with tomatoes, chile peppers, and much more, including (of course) potatoes. Savoy cabbages—‘Savoy coleworts’ as they were called in one English herbal—probably reached England from Holland around the same time.

Cheesy Roasted Savoy Squash with Crispy Breadcrumbs
Serves 4

Ingredients
For the Veg

About 800g squash or pumpkin
About 400g Savoy or other cabbage
Olive oil
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
50g dry bread (ideally rye)—about 2 thin slices—or use chunky breadcrumbs if you have some to hand
2 tablespoons capers
100g sharp cheese such as cheddar, crumbled

For the Dressing
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 220C.

Remove the seeds from the squash or pumpkin and slice into 2cm-thick wedges. Peel the slices if that’s what you prefer. Cut the cabbage into 8 chunky wedges.

Place both on a large oven tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil and the caraway seeds. Spread them out so they will crisp up in the oven. You don’t want them to steam in a big heap.

Roast for about 35 minutes, until the squash is soft and the cabbage is golden and crisp and charred a little at the edges.

Meanwhile, make the caper breadcrumbs. Wizz the bread in a food processor to reduce to chunky, rough breadcrumbs. You don’t want a fine powder. Place the crumbs on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, and toss with the capers, salt and pepper. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes or until they look pleasingly crunchy. Watch out that they do not burn. Set aside.

Make the dressing by shaking all the ingredients together in a jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

To serve, tumble the squash, cabbage and cheese on a platter. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Top with the breadcrumbs and bring to the table.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Modern Cook’s Year (2017).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A latke by any other name. . .

Nigel Slater calls these crispy little pancakes ‘rosti’ but when I brought them to the dinner table Matt quite rightly greeted them as latke. I think in Korean their name is neulgeun hobakjeon. Or you could just call them crispy squash pancakes.
Serve these with salted, dill-spiked yoghurt and a sharp, bright pickle. One of Erica Moody’s beetroot sauerkrauts would be ideal. Or a green salad, the little black dress of all dinner menus.

Crispy Pumpkin Latke
Serves 3

Ingredients
500g pumpkin or winter squash (weigh after peeling and removing the seeds)
3 eggs
4 tablespoons plain flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil for frying

Preparation
Grate the pumpkin using a fine grater. Combine the grated pumpkin with the eggs and flour. The mixture will be thick.

Divide the mixture into 6 parts and shape each into a pancake no thicker than about 2 digestive biscuits.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in one or two frying pans (depending on how fast you want these to be ready). When the oil is hot begin cooking the pancakes, pressing the pancake down a bit with a fish slice to flatten it out a little more. Fry until the underside is golden brown and crispy, and then flip over to cook the other side. The whole process will take about 5 minutes per pancake.

Serve with salted yoghurt, etc., as suggested above.

Recipe adapted from the Observer Food Monthly, 15 Oct. 2017.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Squash and Pink Peppercorns

‘Wow—that looks delicious!’, exclaimed a friend as we unpacked our lunches yesterday. It was. The ribbons of orange squash soften in lime juice spiked with the sweet spiciness of pink peppercorns. (These are essential; substituting black pepper will not work.). You can make this well in advance if you like.

Anna Jones recommends serving with tofu crisped in a pan with honey and soy, and brown rice, to make a dinner.

Squash and Pink Peppercorn Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients
500g pumpkin or squash, peeled and deseeded
1 lime
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
Big handful of mint, dill, parsley or coriander, roughly chopped

Preparation
Shave the squash into thin ribbons, using a vegetable peeler or whatever specialist gear you happen to have. Place the ribbons in a bowl.
Zest the lime over the ribbons, squeeze in the juice, and toss together with the salt.
Put the pink peppercorns in a mortar and crush them roughly before adding to the salad.
Stir in the herbs and serve.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Modern Cook’s Year (2017).

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: That Squash You Got in the Share Several Weeks Ago…

Is it still sitting about in your kitchen? Here is what to do with it.

Anchovies, capers and cheese combine with the soft, unctuous texture of the squash to make a thick, salty sauce for pasta, or serve it as a main course with a vibrant multi-coloured salad of greens, red radicchio and herbs. It’s good hot or cold. This Italian recipe from Apulia can be prepared with winter squash such as the little greeny-orange one we got a few weeks ago, or a butternut, or a pumpkin.

Winter Squash With Anchovies, Capers, Olives and Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 pounds winter squash or pumpkin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, an chopped if large
½ cup black olives
2 tablespoons grated strong-flavoured, hard cheese
freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Peel the squash if you like, or leave it unpeeled, as you prefer. Cut it into 1-inch chunks.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet and add the onion, garlic clove, anchovy fillets and capers. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the squash, stir together, add about 1/4 cup of water if the pan seems dry, and cover. Cook, stirring often, for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Add the olives and continue to cook, stirring regularly, for another 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with pepper.

Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle on the cheese and serve.

Recipe adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, New York Times Cooking.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Salad Dressing for Salt Fiends

This is pretty addictive. It delivers a big dose of umami and makes an outstanding dressing for robust vegetables. I’ve been eating it on a salad of finely shredded red or white cabbage, grated carrot, and chopped coriander. It would be good on grilled tofu or fish, or roasted butternut squash. Or use it as a dip for whole potatoes—the little ones we’re getting in our shares—roasted at 200C for 30 minutes.

Miso-Tahini Dressing
Serves 2

Ingredients
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Preparation
Combine the ingredients and blend well, using a fork. Taste to see if it would benefit from a little more vinegar. The mahogany-dark dressing is now ready to use. This makes enough for half a small cabbage, shredded, together with several grated carrots.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Squash for Lunch

One of the wonders of the modern culinary world is the discovery that we can eat raw squash. Thin spiralised ribbons of raw courgette, butternut squash and carrot started to appear in cooking blogs some time around 2013; and now they’re everywhere. But you don’t need a spiraliser to make Canalside squash into a quick salad for lunch. Here’s how.

Squash, Avocado and Pumpkin Seed Salad
Serves 1.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon blackberry vinegar, or any other fruit vinegar, or, failing that, cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 tablespoons rapeseed oil
100g raw squash
all the salad from your Canalside share
1 small, ripe avocado
a big handful of pumpkin seeds

Preparation
First prepare the dressing: in the bowl out of which you wish to eat the salad place the vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking all the while with a fork. Taste and see if you’d like to add a little more vinegar, or oil, or seasoning. Then set aside while you prepare the salad.

Peel the squash, using a sharp knife. Then, using a vegetable peeler, shave off thin strips of squash until you’ve shaved it all, or you’re left with a piece that is too tiny to manipulate any further. Eat this tiny piece while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Put the washed salad leaves in the bowl. Top with the shaved squash ribbons. Open the avocado and scoop out the flesh. Cut it into generous chunks and add them to the salad.
Heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat (you don’t need to add any oil). Add the pumpkin seeds and toast them, stirring frequently so that they don’t burn. They will soon start of pop and jump about in the pan. As soon as they do, tip them onto the salad. Toss and eat.

Dom’s Recipe of the Week: Frittata from the oven

This is a great way to use up odds and ends of fresh veg, and leftovers too. You can use more or less whatever you fancy from the list, though I do think some kind of onion is essential. As the egg is poured straight into the roasting dish full of hot veg, you don’t need to fry this frittata at all, but it helps to have a heavy ceramic or cast-iron dish, which retains the heat well. And the eggs should be at room temperature, not cold from the fridge.

Oven-roasted roots frittata

Ingredients

About 600g mixed winter veg, such as onions, carrots, squash or pumpkin, parsnip, celeriac, beetroot, jerusalem artichokes, black spanish radish, potatoes
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
7 large or 8 medium eggs
A handful of mixed herbs, such as curly parsley, chives and thyme, finely chopped
About 20g Parmesan, hard goat’s cheese or other well-flavoured hard cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Meanwhile, prepare your chosen veg: peel shallots or onions and quarter or thickly slice; peel carrots and cut into 5mm slices; peel squash or pumpkin, deseed and cut into 2–3cm cubes; peel parsnip, celeriac and beetroot and cut into 1–2cm cubes; cut potatoes into 1–2cm cubes.

Put all the veg into an ovenproof dish, about 23cm square. Add the garlic, oil and plenty of salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the veg are all tender and starting to caramelise in places.

Beat the eggs together with the chopped herbs and some more salt and pepper. Take the dish from the oven, pour the egg evenly over the veg and scatter over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for 10–15 minutes until the egg is all set and the top is starting to colour. If your oven has a grill, you can use that to accelerate the browning of the top.

Leave to cool slightly, then slide the frittata out on to a plate or board. Serve warm or cold. Perfect lunchbox fare…

Thanks to River Cottage

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Splendid Curry from Meera Sodha

Another recipe from Meera Sodha’s prize-winning Fresh India. The coconut milk gives a deep, creamy richness to the dish. This makes a good dinner with rice.

Pumpkin, Black-Eyed Bean and Coconut Curry (‘Olan’)
Serves 4

Ingredients
For the curry
1.2kg pumpkin or squash
coconut or rapeseed oil, to drizzle and fry
1 tablespoon garam masala
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 green finger chillies, slit lengthways
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 400g tin of black-eyed beans, drained, or about 2 cups of beans you’ve cooked yourself
150g fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges, or 1 400g tin of tomatoes
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 400ml tin of coconut milk
For the curry leaf tarka
10 curry leaves

Preparation
Heat the oven to 200C.

Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then cut it into crescents around 2cm at the widest part. Transfer to a big bowl, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with the garam masala, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Toss to coat evenly, then arrange in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, or until soft and tender.

Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the chillies and onion. Cook for 12 minutes, until the onion is soft and golden, then add the garlic. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the beans and stir to mix together. Add the tomatoes. If you are using tinned tomatoes (not Meera Sodha’s recommendation but that was all I had to hand and it was still delicious)—if you’re using tinned tomatoes add about ¾ of the tin first; you might not need the entire tin. Cook for 5 minutes until soft and jammy around the edges. Add a bit more tinned tomato if you think the sauce can absorb a bit more and cook for a few more minutes.

Next, add the turmeric, ⅓ teaspoon of black pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and the coconut milk. Tip the roasted pumpkin into the pan and stir to mix. Cover with the lid and leave to heat through for 5 minutes. Check for salt and chilli, adjusting if you wish, then transfer to a serving dish.

If you like, finish off the dish with a curry-leaf tarka: put 2 tablespoons of oil into a small frying pan over a medium to high heat. When hot, throw in the curry leaves and let them crackle and turn translucent in the oil. Pour over the pumpkin, then serve.

(Recipe adapted from Meera Sodha, Fresh India.)

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Roast Anything with Anything Pesto

Roasted vegetables dotted with cheerful, green pesto. Delicious for a mid-week dinner. It’s nice served with brown rice, or any other grain you might have lying about, but it’s good on its own as well. I suspect it would be tasty tossed onto pasta.

Roasted Anything with Anything Pesto

Serves 2

Ingredients

Roast Vegetables

A mixture of root vegetables and/or pumpkin. For two people one of those little Canalside squashes, 2 medium potatoes, and 4 large carrots would be fine, for instance.
shell of a squeezed-out lemon, if you happen to keep such things around.
Olive oil to drizzle
Salt and pepper to taste
Any twigs of thyme or rosemary that you happen to have to hand
1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled

Anything Pesto

1 handful of packaged pumpkin or melon seeds, or pine nuts, or almonds, or a mixture. I think you could add sunflower seeds, as well.
1 bunch of any fresh herbs. A mixture is fine and the quantity isn’t crucial. I used a blend of parsley and a little dill.
any feathery carrot tops
Olive oil
1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

Optional Toppings

Capers
hard cheese, grated or chopped into little cubes
Home-made roasted squash seeds (see below)
Yoghurt

Preparation

For the Roast Vegetables

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Scrub the root vegetables and peel them if you prefer them unpeeled. Cut them into bite-sized pieces. Ditto the squash or pumpkin, if you are using it. After you cut it open remove the seeds and set them aside for use in the pesto.

Place all the vegetables in a roasting tin and toss them together with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice the lemon shell into thin shreds and add this to the tray. Scatter any thyme or rosemary over the top. Place the unpeeled whole head of garlic in the tray as well.

Put the tray in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender when you poke them with a fork. Toss them periodically so that they roast evenly.

For the Squash or Pumpkin Seed Garnish (if used)

Once you’ve put the vegetables in the oven you can prepare the fresh pumpkin seeds. Wash them carefully and pick out the seeds from the tangle of pumpkin fibres. Place the cleaned seeds on a baking tray and put them in the oven as well. Roast them for 10-15 minutes, tossing occasionally. They should begin to turn golden. At that point take the tray out of the oven and toss the seeds with a little more olive oil and salt. Put them back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes. They should now be crisp and toasted. Set them aside to cool. Nibble a few while you prepare the pesto.

For the Nuts or Seeds for the Pesto

Place the nuts or packaged seeds on a baking tray and put them in the oven to toast. Check them after about 3 minutes as pine nuts in particular burn easily. Once they start to turn golden remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.

For the Anything Pesto

Blend the herbs and carrot tops (should you have any) in a hand-held blender, or, if you are feeling energetic, pound them a bit at a time in a mortar and pestle.

Add about the toasted nuts/seeds, and blend/pound some more to make a thick, herby paste.

Find the roasted head of garlic and squeeze out the now-tender garlic from each clove. Add this to the pesto and blend. Thin the pesto with olive oil until it reaches the consistency you like.

Grate in the zest of the lemon. Juice the lemon and add some juice to the pesto, along with some salt and pepper. Add a pinch of pepper flakes if you like.

Now taste it: does it need more lemon juice? More salt? More oil? Adjust the flavours and consistency until you are pleased with the result.

To Serve

Arrange the roasted vegetables on a platter. Dot or pour the pesto over the top and garnish as desired with capers, cheese, or your home-made roasted pumpkin seeds. Serve, if you like, with a bowl of salted yoghurt on the side.

You can serve this together with rice or another grain if you like. Perhaps you have some leftover rice in the freezer?

(Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Guardian.)

Rebecca’s recipe of the week: Tea-time Treats

Canalside pumpkin or squash is delicious in cake. The moist and tasty result is similar to banana bread, but (surprisingly…) without the banana flavour.

Brown Butter Spice Bread

130g puréed roasted pumpkin or squash (see below for instructions)
115g unsalted butter
170g wholewheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
140g caster or muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
60ml milk
30g sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1.5 tablespoons sugar (for the topping)

To make puréed pumpkin or squash:
Preheat the oven to 190C. Slice the pumpkin into large wedges and remove the seeds. Place it on a baking sheet and roast until it’s cooked and tender throughout. Depending on the size of the wedges this should take between 15-30 minutes. Peel the squash and mash or purée with a hand blender until smooth. You can freeze any extra.

To make the cake:
Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat until it’s brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. You want the butter solids nicely toasted, but not scorched. Set aside and allow to cool but don’t let it solidify. Get on with making the rest of the cake while it’s cooling.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and flour a rectangular loaf pan.

Sift the flour, baking soda, spices and sea salt into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together the squash or pumpkin, sugar, eggs and milk. Whisk in the cooled but still-melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Fold in most of the almonds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the top with the extra 1.5 tablespoons of sugar and the remaining almonds.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the edges have browned and the centre of the cake is well set and a cake tester comes out dry. Do your best to avoid over-baking; part of the charm of this cake is its moistness.

(adapted from 101 Cookbooks.)

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