Tag Archives: butternut squash

butternut squash, red pepper and feta quichelings

squash, pepper and onion quichelets

I had a party to go to last night, and wanted to make a contribution to the festive board. Looking at the ingredients in the fridge and freezer,  I settled on squash and red pepper filo parcels. There was no feta in the fridge, but no matter – I hurtled up to Jacksons to buy a block, to find that the normal budget one had been replaced with an oak-aged one, at over twice the price. Still, time beggars can’t be choosers, so I paid me money.

The squash went in the medium slow cooker for about 5 hours, with a heaped teaspoon of Ras el Hanout, and about half a glass of white wine. A brace of slightly wizened peppers (one red, one yellow), were sliced thinly, together with an onion similarly sliced, and placed in the baby slow cooker for about three hours. I added some olive oil and cumin seeds to these. The filo pastry was removed from the freezer.

At about 5.30, I descended to the frozen wastes of the kitchen to make the things; I mixed the ingredients together, with about half the block of the fairy dust feta cheese, diced into small cubes. I oiled a baking tray, opened the filo, and started. And darlings – a disaster. The pastry had been in the freezer a fair while (understatement), and had completely dried out. Pete hurtled back to Jacksons, but filo had they none. Indeed, ready made shortcrust had they none. By now it was 5.50 – scream.

So into the food processor went 8 oz plain white flour, a good pinch of salt, 2.5oz of baking marg and 1.5oz of Trex (I really do recommend Trex for pastry, it makes a lovely short crumb). Added a tiny dribble of cold water, then summoned Pete to roll it out. as he is much better than I at such things. In the meantime, I beat a couple of eggs and stirred them into the squash mixture, along with some black pepper.

Into the oven (preheated to 180C fan) went about 20 baby quiche, and we watched them with some trepidation. They had about 20 minutes, so I even got time to cool them a bit before our lift arrived. And readers – they were gorgeousI shall make them, or something similar, again.

Although they weren’t the filo parcels I was hoping for …

 

barley and butternut squash risotto

barley

image from Real Foods

 

I’ve been meaning to try this for ages, so here you go.

1 cup barley (you should strictly speaking, use pearl, but I used what was in the cupboard, and it was fine)
1 butternut squash, peeled (ugh) and diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 cups water
1 chicken stock cube (or use stock, if you have it handy)
1 shallot, finely sliced
some thyme, fresh or dried
about ½ small glass white wine (or cider would work, or vermouth)
some feta cheese (optional)
seasoning

Soften the shallot and garlic in a little oil or butter, add the thyme, (or sage, in our case, as Pete had a mad moment and picked the wrong herb from the garden),  and then the barley. Cook  until the grains are toasted.

Put that in a slow cooker on high, add the squash and the water/stock cube, bit of salt and black pepper.  Leave well alone for 4-5 hours.  At that point, I thought it looked a bit dry, which is when I added the wine, and ⅓ of a block of feta cut into cubes, and left it for another hour or so.

Feel free to garnish with flat leaf parsley; having sallied up the road to buy a huge bunch (because the Indian and Continental don’t sell small ones), I completely forgot, so will have to think of something else to use it up.

Very nice indeed., and a great alternative to a rice risotto for those of us who aren’t supposed to eat many carbs. Um.

This was supposed to feed three; it fed two greedy folk, with a bit left over, which went into the soup pot.

 

a butternut squash

image from Wikipedia

I love butternut squash. It has a lovely texture, and works in so many things: risotto, roast veg, Thai currys, soup, etc. But there’s no denying that it’s a faff to deal with due to the peel. So I did a little experiment.

I wanted some soup to come home to on Saturday, and astonishingly, there was no mongrel soup on the go (which I must address). And there was a squash in the fridge. I cut the top off the squash, and then chopped the rest in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it in the medium slow cooker with about ½” of wine (all there was left in that bottle, although obviously in this house, other bottles were available). I then added about 1″ further of water. Switched it on, went away. Returned after a couple of hours and added a diced and peeled Bramley, because it struck me that it would work rather well.

In the small slow cooker, I put a big onion, chopped, three cloves of garlic, and some chopped sage leaves from the garden. Half of this mixture went to make sage and onion tear and share bread (which I baked in the Remoska when we got home),

After four, or maybe five, hours, the squash seemed well cooked, so I scooped a bit out, and lo – even the skin was really soft. So I put it, the apple, the onion and sage mix, into the food processor and blitzed it all. Returned it to the pot with a bit more water, tasted it, and decided it needed some toasted cumin, which Pete obligingly provided. Switched the slow cooker onto medium, and it was all done and dusted when we got home, just half an hour to bake the bread. Splendid.

And then …

I had planned to make Anjum Anand’s Gujarati lamb on Sunday, and had removed half a shoulder of the relevant beast from the freezer. I usually add a squash to this, because the texture is so nice, but there was a bowlful of soup left and it seemed rude not to use that instead. So instead we had a kind of use it up Gujarati lamb, which went like this.

one shoulder of lamb, browned on all sides.
one onion, finely diced
some garlic (I used about six cloves) and a big piece of ginger, made into a paste with some water
a couple of handfuls of dessicated coconut
ground cumin, coriander, turmeric
some chilli flakes
leftover butternut squash soup (I accept that most of you won’t have this to hand)
some chickpeas (I always used dried, so had them cooking in the small slow cooker while this was going on)
lemon juice – about a tablespoon’s worth
salt and black pepper

Soften the onion in some vegetable oil, then add the garlic/ginger paste and fry for about three minutes. Tip in the spices (quantities here are very individual – we like our foot spicy). Fry a bit longer. Put the lamb in the slow cooker, tip the onion mix in, add the soup, and a little water if required – I wanted it to come about half way up the meat. I normally add sweet potatoes, but mine had gone mouldy (oh the shame).

Cooked it for about six hours (adding the previously cooked chickpeas about two hours from the end)  and it was just beautiful. We gorged on it, and there was plenty left for today’s lunch. And indeed there’s still a fair bit of the sauce left, so I shall be adding red lentils and veg to that, and making it into this week’s  mongrel soup.

So there you go – slow cook your squash, and no need to peel. Win win.

Malayasian-ish veg curry

We had a meal in the local Malaysian restaurant last week, and it was utterly delicious, so I thought I’d have a bash at creating my own. I didn’t bother looking up recipes – it’s more fun to try to recreate a dish, in my opinion.

In the fridge veg drawers was a load of stuff that really needed eating up, so I chopped up:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 leek
  • a bunch of lovely sweet carrots from my sister-in-law’s garden
  • half a yellow pepper
  • a butternut squash that was actually starting to go mouldy – oh the shame …

These were all hurled into the slow cooker. Then I fried off finely chopped garlic and ginger, and a chopped onion. Into the frying pan went a tin of chopped tonatoes, two dessert spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter (I think this might have been too much), some tamarind paste, cumin, coriander, allspice and cinnamon, black pepper.  Cooked the sauce down a bit, then left it to cool.

This morning, I heated it up again, then lobbed it on top of the veg and switched the slow cooker on while we were out for the day at Driffield County Show (cracking day out!).  There is a Smell from the kitchen, and I’m just about to put some rice on to accompany it for our supper.

pasta with butternut squash and feta

pasta with butternut squash

Using up: the other half of the feta, the other half of the squash, a lone rasher of bacon

Peeled the squash and cut it into cubes. Chopped an onion roughly, ditto some garlic, and a rasher of back bacon.  All in a frying pan with some olive oil, and some oregano from our herb garden.

Put a lid on the pan, and left for about 20 minutes.

Then cooked some 8 minute fusilli, drained it and put it with the vegetables (thus giving the veg about 30 minutes in all, to get the squash into that gorgeous disintegrating phase), and half a block of feta.  Stirred it all about till the feta melted, then served in bowls.