Tag Archives: Squash

Ruby Beetroot and Pear Chutney with Squash and Chickpea Curry and Flatbreads

18 Feb

It’s all about the Beetroot Chutney for me. I don’t even like beetroot. Well I don’t like the beetroot you get in jars, all pickled and vinegary. Leaching it’s dark pink juice everywhere and contaminating whatever else is on the plate. 

I am always willing to be proven wrong and to make a complete about-face and this is one of those occasions. I love this beetroot chutney. I love the colour, it’s ruby-red shining jewels flecked with intriguing dark spices is a beautiful thing. I love the flavour, it’s a sweet, spicy, dark and mysterious blend that enhances any curry (or cheese sandwich for that matter)!

The other thing I love about it is that it is really easy to make. I just bought some cooked beetroot (it comes vacuum packed). You can roast or boil it and peel it yourself  if you like.

Ruby Beetroot & Pear Chutney Recipe

makes about 1 jar, vegan

  • 2 cooked beetroot, diced
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored & diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp punch pooran*
  • 4 tbsp white or white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp white sugar

* Punch Pooran is a whole spice mix available from Indian supermarkets that gives a balanced flavour to any Indian dishes. Mine is from East End Foods.

Heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat and add in the whole spices. When they start to splutter add in the onion and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until it has thickened and looks like chutney. Pour into a hot sterilised jar (just put it through the dishwasher), seal immediately, leave to cool then refrigerate.

Serve with mini poppadoms as an informal starter  to an Indian meal alongside a coriander & lemon yoghurt raita. Or pile it on a sharp cheese like a Lancashire Crumbly( thanks Joan & Terry) in a sandwich, as part of a cheese board or as a new jacket potato filling: Lancashire Crumbly & Beetroot & Pear Chutney. It’s the way forward. You could also serve it with your favourite curry dish which is what I did on Tuesday night when we had friends for dinner.

Now Rhian, who doesn’t cook, has promised to make this, because she enjoyed it so much and has been inspired. Okay Rhian, here’s the recipe, no excuses now………..

Butternut Squash & Chickpea Curry Recipe

serves 6 – 8, vegan

  • 1 large butternut squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
  •  1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  •  1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp onion seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 or 2 tsp punch pooran*
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes 400 gr
  • 3 or 4 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
  • 1 400 gr jar/tin cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 500 ml – 1 litre veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • a big handful of fresh coriander, chopped. Plus leaves for garnish
  • * Punch Pooran is a whole spice mix available from Indian supermarkets that gives a balanced flavour to any Indian dishes. Mine is from East End Foods.

    In a big deep pot, heat some oil over a medium heat. Throw in the whole spices, when they start popping, add in the onion with a big pinch of salt and cook for about 4 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic, ginger, chilli and the  rest of the powdered spices and cook for another minute. Tumble in the squash chunks and stir well to coat with the spices. 

    Pour in the tinned tomatoes, rinsed chickpeas and the tomato puree. Stir again so everything is well-distributed. Season well with salt & black pepper then add in 5ooml veg stock. Stir and bring to the boil. When boiling reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 20 – 30 minutes depending on your squash.
    When the squash is cooked/tender take the lid off and cook for another 5 minutes to reduce/thicken the sauce if necessary. If it is dry add some more veg stock until you get the consistency you are looking for. If it is too liquidy you can take out a ladleful of the curry, blend it to a puree and add it back into the pot.
    Just before serving squeeze over the lemon juice and stir in the chopped coriander. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice to taste.

I served this with my Leek & Fennel Seed Flatbreads, some mixed wild rice and the beetroot & pear chutney. I used strong bread flour to make the flatbreads this time and had a much better result…..

Good luck & enjoy!!!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Crumble with caramelised onions, cream cheese and oaty cheddar topping

9 Feb

Bit of a long title, I know, but I couldn’t leave anything out. All the ingredients are really important and it got you interested didn’t it? Want to see inside? …….OK…..

You need to know how delicious this is. The butternut squash is roasted with rosemary & a little chilli to bring out the sweetness and intensify the flavour. The chickpeas give a textural surprise layer and contrast to the squash. The onions are caramelised with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. The cream cheese layer gives a creamy sour edge on top of the sweet onions. And the topping, well, it’s a crunchy, cheddar, oatmeal, breadcrumb and olive oil crumble seasoned with a touch of rosemary to echo the squash.

 This is a hybrid of two recipes I had been thinking about making over the last week. The first was an Aubergine Crumble from Flavour by Vicky Bhogal and the second was a recipe for Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Cassoulet I found on Cooking Pretty. She bakes the cassoulet with a gruyere topping which really appealed to me so I just put the cheesey crumble mix on top of the cassoulet and changed a few other ingredients. I made four individual crumbles but you could easily make one big one to serve at the table. The result is pure comfort food, warming and delicious…

Butternut Squash & Caramelised Onion Crumble

serves 3 -4 vegetarian

  • 1/2 butternut squash (about 750 gr) washed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
  • about 2oo gr (1/2 tin/jar) cooked chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp thyme/rosemary, finely chopped
  • about 100 gr cream cheese
  • 50 gr rolled oats
  • 50 gr breadcrumbs
  • about 100 gr grated cheddar (or other cheese)
  • 1/4 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • olive oil, salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 210 C. Put the squash chunks on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary & chilli flakes and roast for 35 – 40 minutes or until your squash is soft.

Meanwhile heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the onions, thyme/rosemary, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally until caramelised. Make the crumble topping by mixing the oats, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, rosemary salt and pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle over about 3 tbsp olive oil and mix with a fork or your fingers until it resembles a crumble.

When the squash is cooked, remove it from the oven and turn the oven down to 190 C. Tip the squash into a large bowl and blitz with stick blender until it is a chunky puree.  Taste and season if necessary. Pour this into the base of your dish/dishes and spread it out evenly. Season your rinsed chickpeas and scatter them over the squash. Tip the caramelised onions over the chickpeas and spread them about evenly. Spread a thin-ish layer of cream cheese over the onions (it doesn’t matter if it’s messy) and then top with the crumble mixture. Pat it gently and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 -25 minutes until the top is golden and crispy.

Serve with a green salad for lunch or with some green beans & new potatoes as a more substantial meal. You could also put some pumpkin/squash seeds in the topping if you hadn’t burnt them instead of toasting them like I did! It was still delicious though, as you can see……

This is a really cute dinner party dish as well. You can prepare them beforehand and just heat them up when your guests arrive. Simple…..

Thai Squash Wonton Soup and Spring Rolls with green curry noodles

29 Jan

I had to make something with my first homemade veg stock, something worthy that would appreciate it’s clean, delicate flavour. Wonton soup is that dish.

The wontons are generally filled with seasoned pork and prawns. I decided to go for the Butternut squash that was in danger of going soft in my fridge. I roasted it and mixed the scooped out flesh with some Thai flavours, lemongrass, ginger & chilli and used that as my filling. Roasting half a squash (as I did) makes a lot of the filling  so I used it to make some spring rolls too which I served with some Thai Green Curry Rice Noodles. You could also use the rest of the squash mix to make a delicious soup, just add some coconut milk and veg stock and blend..

I would definitely recommend making these on the day you want to cook them. The spring rolls especially did not keep very well in the fridge overnight as the filling is quite moist and it soaks into the wrappers. You can make the filling the day before but do your wontons and spring rolls on the same day you want to eat them for the best results.

Thai Squash Wontons and Spring Rolls

 vegetarian (makes lots of the filling)

  • 1/2 butternut squash (keep seeds if you want to roast them too)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • a large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated/minced ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bashed, ends removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli (I only used 1/2 because my chillis are really hot you can use more)
  • a handful of coriander, stalks chopped separately
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • some breadcrumbs if the mixture is very wet (panko are best)
  • wonton wrappers (defrosted at room temp. Keep covered or they will dry out)
  • spring roll wrappers(defrosted at room temp. Keep covered or they will dry out)
  • 1 egg, beaten for brushing

Preheat the oven to 200C, cut the squash half in half, put on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for about 30 – 45 minutes depending on your squash. It needs to be tender. You can roast the seeds at the same time, just wash and dry them, spread them out on a sheet of  foil, drizzle with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for about 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on them they should brown slightly not burn). Leave the squash until cool enough to handle and scoop out the soft flesh into a large bowl.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add in the onions, celery, coriander stalks, lemongrass and chilli with a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Then add in the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes. Tip this into the squash with the chopped coriander leaves and mix everything together well. Add in the cornflour and breadcrumbs if it seems very wet.  Season with salt & pepper and taste.

When they have come to room temperature place one wonton wrapper on a board or work surface so it is a diamond shape. With your finger moisten the edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg. Take a small teaspoon of the filling and put it in the top triangle of the diamond away from the edges.

Fold the bottom half over the filling and seal the edges with your fingers. Push down around the filling to get rid of any air. Make sure the edges are sealed and there is no filling escaping. Moisten the two bottom corners with egg and close them together and seal to create the dumpling shape. Sit it up on it’s base.

Continue until you have made enough wontons. I think three per person in a little bowl of soup is enough for a starter. You could also serve more of them as  a main course (like a ravioli or tortellini dish) with some of the Thai Green Curry sauce (see recipe below).

With the spring roll wrappers, lay it out on a board in a diamond shape again. Brush all the edges with beaten egg. Place teaspoons of the filling in a sausage shape about a quarter of the way up, not touching the edges, as in the photo above.

Fold the wrapper over the filling and tightly roll away from you until you reach the last quarter. Then brush the two ends with beaten egg and fold them in tightly.

Then continue rolling it up until you get something like this…

Store the wontons and spring rolls in the fridge separated with baking paper so they don’t stick together but use them on the same day, they don’t keep well overnight. To cook the spring rolls deep fry in hot vegetable oil in a wok, frying pan or deep fat fryer until golden on both sides (about 2 – 3 minutes on each side). Drain on kitchen paper and serve with your favourite dipping sauce….

Spring Roll Dipping Sauce

  • soy sauce
  • Shaoxing rice wine
  • sesame oil
  • oyster sauce
  • minced ginger
  • lime juice
  • brown sugar/palm sugar
  • chopped spring onions or garlic shoots
  • chopped red chilli
  • fresh coriander
  •  

    These are the ingredients for my dipping sauce. I have no idea of amounts just start with the soy and keep adding and tasting until you get what you like…

Wonton Soup Recipe

serves 4, vegetarian

  • 5 small bowls of vegetable stock (use the bowl you are serving in to get the correct amount plus 1 extra for luck)
  • about 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • about 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  •  1/2 red chilli, finely chopped plus extra for garnish
  • some shredded cabbage, a handful
  • 1 garlic chive or spring onion, finely sliced, plus extra for garnish
  •  1 tbsp chopped coriander plus leaves to garnish
  • roasted pumpkin seeds (see above) optional
  • 12 wontons (3 per person) see recipe above

Heat the veg stock to just under boiling and add in the miso, spring onions/garlic shoots, chilli, cabbage, ginger, rice wine and soy sauce. Stir until the miso dissolves and simmer for a few minutes to soften the cabbage. Add a few drops of sesame oil and drop in the wontons. They will sink, give them a stir occasionally and cook in gently bubbling water for 3 or 4 minutes. They should float to the top then give them another minute or so. Scoop out the wontons with a slotted spoon and place them in the serving bowls.

Stir in the chopped coriander and ladle the hot soup over the wontons. Garnish with extra spring onion, pumpkin seeds, sliced chilli and coriander leaves and serve immediately.

 This is such a brilliant starter to an Asian meal. It’s light, aromatic , healthy and full of flavour. The Washer Up said it was the best soup I’ve ever made and I think I agree. It’s one of those dishes you never want to end.  You could definitely serve it as a main course in a bigger bowl with more of everything but maybe it’s better to leave people wanting more, I don’t know, you decide…….

Alongside the Spring  Rolls and dipping sauce I served some Thai Green Curry Rice Noodles. I got the recipe for the Thai Green Curry Paste from Tes at Home. Tes is Thai and lives in India and I think the recipe comes from her mother. It was really very good, well-balanced and flavourful even though I couldn’t get any Thai basil and I substituted ginger for galangal…

Thai Green Curry Noodles

serves 4, vegan

  • about 400 gr fat rice noodles (I used XL)
  • 3 heaped tbsp Thai Green Curry Paste (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tin 400 ml coconut milk
  • soy sauce and  brown sugar/palm sugar to taste
  • fresh coriander chopped
  • chopped spring onions/garlic shoots
  • coriander leaves/spring onions/sliced chilli for garnish
  • veg stock if necessary

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Cook the curry paste and spring onions for 2 or 3 minutes until the spices are aromatic then add in the coconut milk. Stir everything and cook to thicken the sauce slightly. Taste and add some soy sauce & sugar if you think it needs it. Place the noodles in the sauce a handful at a time, string to coat the noodles then add the chopped coriander. When the noodles have warmed through and are coated in the sauce tip into your warmed serving dishes (If it seems a bit dry you can add a bit of veg stock).

Garnish with coriander leaves, spring onion and fresh chilli……………

And serve with the Spring Rolls and dipping sauce……… delicious!!!

This recipe is featured in January’s YBR round up hosted by Nancy at Spicie Foodie. To see a fantastic selection of delicious recipes & beautiful photos click on the Your Best Recipe Badge above and have a look around…

Zanzibar Pumpkin Pilau with wholemeal chapatis

17 Jan

Zanzibar is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean situated off the coast of East Africa. Known as The Spice Islands because of the many spice plantations the cuisine is an eclectic mix of African, Indian & Arab influences. Pilau, the famous spicy rice dish found in Zanzibar, was brought by Arabs or Persians and Biriani was brought by the Indian traders.  The original Zanzibar Pilau is a rice dish seasoned with lots of spices and traditionally made with meat & potatoes. This is my vegetarian interpretation of the dish made with pumpkin (it should be sweet potato but I couldn’t find any!) and beans (an African staple).

I used some mixed rice I found in Mercadona (a Spanish supermarket) that I think is new. It is a mix of white, red & wild rice and it worked really well in this dish. The nutty flavours from the wild & red rices gave it an extra dimension. If you live here in Spain I would definitely recommend it.  Or is just that I am a sucker for anything new…?

Zanzibar Pumpkin Pilau Recipe

serves 6, vegetarian

  • 4oo gr/2 cups uncooked rice  (a mix of wild, red & white if possible)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 cardamom pods, bashed to open
  • 7 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 chilli finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced/grated ginger
  • 1 & 1/2 onions chopped
  • about 750 gr pumpkin/squash or sweet potato, washed well & cut into 2cm chunks
  • 880 ml (4 cups) veg stock
  • 450 ml (2 cups) boiling water
  • salt
  • a handful of whole almonds plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tsp tamarind (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 3 or 4 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
  • 2oo gr red beans (cooked) about 1/2 jar/ tin, drained & rinsed
  • about 200 gr fresh spinach
  • 1 lime or lemon
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus leaves to garnish

Combine the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cloves & cardamom pods in a teacup & cover with warm water from the kettle, stir and set aside. (This softens the seeds & releases the flavours). Wash and drain the rice.

Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a deep pot over a medium high heat, add the onions & pumpkin and cook for about 10 minutes until softened and slightly browned. Heat the veg stock up to boiling in another pan. Add the garlic, ginger & chilli to the pumpkin and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes (don’t burn the garlic). Tip the contents of the pumpkin pan into a bowl and set aside. Add the rice to the emptied pan with the boiling veg stock & boiling water. Add the soaked spices and the powdered spices along with a good teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. Bring back to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add the pumpkin mix back into the rice pot along with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, tamarind & almonds. Combine everything well, replace the lid and simmer over a low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. Check on it occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking and add more hot water/stock if necessary. When all the liquid has been absorbed stir in the spinach & chopped coriander, season again with salt, taste and squeeze over some lime/lemon juice.

Serve in warmed bowls garnished with some almonds & coriander leaves and some extra wedges of lime on the side. The perfect accompaniments to this pilau are wholemeal chapatis and mango chutney….

Wholemeal Chapati Recipe

makes 4, vegetarian

  • 3oo gr wholemeal flour or a mix of 150 gr wholemeal 150 gr unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or other oil)
  • about 110-120ml warm water

Combine the flours & salt in a large bowl. Add the oil, then trickle in the warm water a bit at a time stirring to combine with a wooden spoon.  When it has cohered into a ball of dough put it on a floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to stop it sticking. Put the ball of dough back in the bowl cover with cling film or a clean tea towel & leave for 30 minutes or longer.

Cut the ball into quarters, flour your work surface and start rolling out one of the balls, turning it, clockwise to make a thin(about 2mm), round -ish/oval chapati. Heat your non stick frying pan to hot and cook the chapati for about 1 & 1/2  to 2 minutes on each side until they are golden with charred spots. Meanwhile roll out your next chapati so it its ready to go when the first one is done. Keep them warm under a tea towel or in a low oven while you cook the rest.

If you would like to make your own mango chutney see my Mango & Tomato Chutney Recipe.

There is so much flavour in this dish from all the whole spices this definitely won’t be the last time I cook an East African recipe. The cuisine mixes all the best flavours from India & Arabia with the indigenous African recipes creating stunning food that makes you want to try more. Why not give it a go…….

Roasted Squash, Red Onion and Quinoa Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

4 Jan

This little squash growing on the ground on one of the farms where we walk the dog was the inspiration for a quinoa (keen-wah) salad I made for lunch yesterday. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. It is so highly regarded because of its nutritional value, having a high protein content, essential amino acids and fibre. 

This is the first time I have cooked with Quinoa. After all the indulgence over Christmas this is my attempt at healthy eating. I roasted the squash & red onion the night before for dinner and had some left over to put in this salad. Make sure you season the quinoa well it soaks up lots of flavour…

Roasted Squash, Red Onion & Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

serves 3 or 4, vegetarian

  • 1/3 squash or pumpkin about 500 gr cut into 1 cm dice
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into eighths (wedges)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 or 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup quinoa about 200 gr
  • 1 cup water 250 ml
  • 1 cup veg stock 250 ml
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful of chopped pistachios (I used walnuts but pistachios would be better)
  • a handful of sultanas

For the dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 0r 3 tbsp tahini
  • the juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp hot water from the kettle (maybe more)
  • 1/ tsp salt

First roast the vegetables. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the squash cubes & red onion wedges on a lined baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil & balsamic vinegar, sprinkle over the salt, pepper, chilli flakes & rosemary and toss together with your hands to coat the veg. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until the squash is tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven & leave to cool.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa. Put the quinoa, water, veg stock, salt & pepper in a medium saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed about 15 minutes. You may need to add more liquid. It is done when you can see the curly swirl in each grain. Fluff up with a fork, leave to cool and toss with the squash, onions, pistachios & sultanas. Check for seasoning.

Make the dressing. Whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, zest & olive oil. Add the hot water & salt and continue whisking until you get the desired consistency. Add more hot water/oil/lemon juice if you need to. Pour half of the dressing over the quinoa salad and mix to coat evenly.

Serve the salad at room temperature with some extra tahini dressing on the side….. You could also crumble over some feta or goat’s cheese for extra flavour.

Enjoy!

  

  

 

Thanksgiving Mezze Part 1: Butternut Hummus

22 Nov

This is one of the dishes I will be serving as part of my Thanksgiving mezze. I am English and live in Spain but this year I have decided to “adopt” the Thanksgiving concept and cook a fabulous dinner for some people I would really like to thank for their support over the last year.  The positivity I feel and gratitude I need to express is something I would never have imagined possible at this time last year. I feel more healthy, happy and alive than ever and for that I am truly grateful…  Thank you!

Anyway back to the mezze, as Thanksgiving is a time for sharing, I thought that a mezze would be the perfect thing. A delicious vegetarian feast in the middle of the table for everyone to pick at and enjoy. I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Hummus on this amazing blog www.tasteofbeirut.com  There are so many delicious recipes that I want to try on this blog but the Pumpkin Hummus was just perfect for Thanksgiving. I have adapted it slightly by using butternut squash instead of pumpkin which I roasted.

Roasted Butternut Hummus Recipe

Adapted from a Taste of Beirut recipe

Serves 4 Vegan

  • 1/2 butternut squash 750 gr plus
  • olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • a pinch dried chilli flakes
  • the juice of 1 & 1/2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic minced with a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp tahini

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Scrape out the seeds from the squash and spread them out on a sheet of foil, picking off any stringy bits of squash then set aside. Cut the squash into small pieces (about 1 inch triangles) and put them on a lined baking sheet/tin. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & black pepper and sprinkle with good pinch of chilli flakes then toss everything together with your hands so evenly coated. Roast the squash on the middle shelf of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes until  tender. Put the squash seeds on the bottom shelf of the oven (on the foil) and toast for about 10 – 15 minutes until slightly browned. Sprinkle with salt and leave to cool.

When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before pulling off the skin. Blitz the squash with a stick blender or pulse in a food processor until smooth-ish.

Mix the minced garlic with the lemon juice then add the tahini and stir to combine well. Add the tahini mixture to the squash and blitz again to combine. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if necessary.

Place in a serving dish sprinkled with the toasted squash seeds and serve with leek & cumin seed flatbreads (see my recipe) or with some lavash or pita triangles.

This is the ultimate dip for me – all the flavour of hummus with the added sweetness and colour of butternut squash. I’d make double if I was you, it disappears really quickly….

Caribbean Squash & Plantain Curry with Roti Bread

22 Oct

Walking the dog today we saw all the squash & pumpkins growing, a sure sign its Autumn, and we still have a huge amount of our own Scotch Bonnet chillis in the freezer so I decided to make a Caribbean dish (Scotch Bonnets are used in the Caribbean) which uses these ingredients. Luckily my local Mercadona sells plantain which is really surprising so I was all set..

Squash Growing

Our Scotch Bonnet Chilli Plant

First make the Roti dough. For some reason I don’t like to eat rice with curries so I have tried lots of different bread recipes from Indian Puris to Middle Eastern flatbreads. This was the first time I had tried to make rotis and they turned out surprisingly well (no dramas). They are my favourite bread so far, really delicious with this curry and easy to make..

Roti Bread Recipe

Makes 8 Rotis Vegetarian

  • 5oo gr plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 165 gr butter diced
  • about 160 ml water
  • veg oil for frying

Sieve together the flour, baking powder & salt in to a large bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it into the flour mixture with you fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs (you can do this in a food processor on slow). Slowly add the water bit by bit and mix together with you hands to form a ball of dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 2 or 3 minutes then put it in a bowl covered with a clean tea towel and leave it for about 30 minutes.

Roti Dough

Meanwhile make the curry don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients if you don’t have everything it’s still going to be gorgeous. The flavour combinations that make it uniquely Caribbean are the fresh thyme, oregano, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice (if you have it I don’t).

Caribbean Squash & Plantain Curry Recipe

Serves 4 Vegetarian

  •  3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg squash or pumpkin peeled, deseeded & chopped into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 plantain peeled & sliced into diagonal 1cm coins
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper deseeded & chopped into rough squares
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli chopped (You can use any fresh chilli)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste or fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp curry paste (whatever you have)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • the zest of 1/2 lime
  • 300 ml veg stock (you may want to use more)
  • 1/2 tin coconut milk about 2oo ml ( You can use more if you like)
  • lime juice to taste 1/2 to 1 whole lime
  • a handful of fresh coriander chopped plus extra for garnish
  • salt & black pepper

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan add the onion and saute for 2 minutes over a medium heat until softened then add the garlic, ginger & chilli. Add the sliced plantain and fry for a minute. Add the curry paste, tomato paste and the rest of the herbs & spices, apart from the lime juice & fresh coriander, stirring constantly. Then add the squash, red pepper & fresh tomato and pour over the stock & coconut milk, Turn up the heat & bring to the boil seasoning generously with salt & black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes until the pumpkin is soft, stirring occasionally. 

While the curry is cooking, go back to you roti dough, knead it again & cut it into quarters, then into eighths and roll them into balls. Flour the work surface and the rolling pin and start rolling out your rotis as thinly as possible (really thin). They don’t have to be a perfect circle that’s part of the charm. Make a pile of rotis flouring well in between each one so they don’t stick together.

Brush a large frying pan with oil, heat it up until hot and cook the rotis for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side. They should bubble up & brown slightly. Brush the pan with oil in between each one. Cover the cooked rotis with a tea towel while you cook the rest.

 Stand back & admire your rotis don’t they look lovely…

By now your curry should be ready, the squash cooked and the plantain kind of melted into the sauce. Add the lime juice & fresh coriander and taste for seasoning. You may need more salt or you might want to add more veg stock if you like it more liquidy. Serve the curry garnished with fresh coriander, lime wedges and the warm, folded rotis on the side. Who cares if it’s raining outside…..

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