Saturday, 30 October 2010

Stuffed Winter Squash

I love the multicoloured winter squashes as they are gread for soups, roasting, stuffing, pan frying and more.

Serves 4.

2 small winter squashes, washed, halved and cored
3-4 flat mushrooms, chopped
1 large courgette, chopped into little cubes
a handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red onion, quartered and sliced
dried herbes de Provence
1 small red chilli
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
toasted pine nuts

1. Cut the outside of the squash to create a flat surface, then brush a baking tray and the skin of the squash halves with olive oil. Season the squash with pepper and salt and add the tomatoes and toasted pine nuts.

2. Sauté the onions, garlic, chilli and dried herbs in a little olive oil until soft.
3. Push to the side of the pan to prevent them from burning.
4. Add a little more oil if necessary and brown the mushrooms and courgettes.
5. When brown, mix everything together and season with pepper and salt.
6. Spooon the mix into the squash and cover with tin foil.
7. Bake in a hot oven at 200°C/gas mark 6 for about 45 minutes until the squash is soft.

- grate some parmesan over the dish before serving
- after 35 - 40 minutes, crumble some Feta cheese on top and return to the oven to brown the cheese

Carrot and Butter Bean Soup

1-1.25 kg carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.5-1.8 l of (low salt, organic) veg stock
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
dried herbes de Provence and/or 1 large bay leaf
2 tbsp organic tahini
1 tin organic butter beans, drained and rinsed
olive oil

1. Sauté the onions and garlic until soft, then add potatoes and carrots. Stir until all the veg is coated in the garlic/onion mix.

2. Add the stock, bring to the boil, season with pepper (I don't add salt) and simmer until the veggies are soft.

3. Add the tahini and blend the soup. Then add the butter beans. Return to a very low heat to heat them through.

Lovely scattered with (toasted) sunflower, sesame or pumpkin seeds.

Also works well without the tahini.

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut and Ginger

On a recent visit to Germany, my cousin Winni made a wonderful winter (Hokaido) squash soup with coconut milk and fresh ginger. I still haven't got the recipe but I decided to have a go anyway. If my tastebudes remember correctly, it is very similar even though I used a variety of vegetables that needed to be used up. Squash and potatoes on their own would work, too. Carrots, however, give this soup a deeper colour.

3 butternut squash, peeled, cored and cut into smallish chunks
500 g carrots, chopped
250 g sweet potatoes, chopped
500 g potatoes, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1.5 - 1.8 l low salt vegetable stock
1 tin of coconut milk (440 ml)
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

- soured cream or crème fraîche for serving
- toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Sauté the onions, garlic and chilli until soft but not brown.
2. Add all the vegetables and stir to coat with the onion mix.
3. Add the stock and coconut milk.
4. Add the ginger and season with pepper.
5. Bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are soft.
6. Blend and check the seasoning.
7. If used, place a heaped teaspoon of soured cream or crème fraîche into a plate or bowl and top with soup or scatter soup with toasted pumpkin seed.