It’s Autumn, we are approaching Halloween, it’s time, isn’t it? Cue the squash recipe…
- Half a large butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 and 1/2 cm dice
- 1/2 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin
- half an onion
- 2 inches of ginger
- 2 fat cloves of garlic
- 1/2 a can of coconut milk
- A heaped tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter
- A tablespoon and a half of sweet chilli sauce
- Soy sauce
- Juice from half a lime
- Salt and pepper
- Flat rice noodles
- A handful of spinach
Pre-heat the oven to about 220 degrees. Chuck the chopped squash into a baking tray lightly coat in oil and sprinkle with the cumin and coriander, toss to coat then shove in the oven for about 15 min until slightly charred and tender.
Blitz the onion, ginger and garlic in a mini food processor ( or finely chop) then soften in the microwave (in a covered bowl) for a couple of minutes, alternative fry on low until soft and translucent. Transfer onion mix to small sauce pan and begin to fry (add fresh chilli here if you like it hot), add curry powder, fry off for a min then add peanut butter, coconut milk, sweet chilli and stir until combined. Add soy and lime, bring to the bubble, taste and adjust ingredients to suit. Set aside whilst you prep the noodles.
Soak your rice noodles in boiled water until tender (I usually keep changing the water, about 3 times, in between 2 min soaks so that I’m not hanging around too long and the noodles stay hot as well as soft. Once the noodles are ready, drain and toss with the spinach. Boil up sauce and add half to the mix, stir together, mix in half the roasted squash and plate up. Top with the remaining and most beautifully charred squash, maybe a few crushed peanuts and some chopped coriander (miss out the last 2 steps if you are like me and can’t be arsed with faffing around when you are hungry).
Tip: If you don’t have a use for the remaining half a tin of coconut milk, half an onion (aka the awkward leftovers) double up the sauce recipe and freeze some for the next time you feel satay inclined, I’m not actually sure why I didn’t do this, oops…
So I’m attempting to cut down the shopping bill by buying less meat and therefore eating more veg. This is a quick veggie curry, it reminds me very much of Saag Aloo and I’m guessing it’s pretty close seeing as all that means is spinach and potato. I’m upping my game here and diversifying with separate spices, I thought it was going to be tricky to get the balance right but turns out it’s pretty simple and you get a much more defined combination of flavours. I served this with a version of my super quick raita, a mix of yoghurt, fresh coriander and a squirt of the ubiquitous sweet chilli sauce – you can’t take it away from me, it’s my friend!
Spinach, Potato and Onion Curry
Serves 2/3 with pitta or flat breads and the raita mentioned above
- About 500g of new potatoes
- A couple of big handfuls of spinach
- 2 onions
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 heaped teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of brown mustard seeds
- some oil, I made this with that spray light stuff (I don’t really want to think about what goes into that stuff but it is diet friendly, if you don’t need to use it DON’T)
- Salt and pepper
- A handful of fresh coriander
- Pitta or flat breads to serve with for pure carb on carb action – I ate this for lunch without so it’s not a necessary and obviously if you can make your own flat breads go you, but I couldn’t be arsed so got out a gluten free pitta and popped it in the toaster
Boil the potatoes until tender then drain and set aside.
Slice and soften the onions, I nuke mine in a covered bowl for 4 min, but you can stand over a pan on a low heat if you wish. If nuking transfer to a hot frying pan and begin to brown the onions in a little oil. When the onions are starting to brown add the spices and fry for a min or so.
Add the cooked potatoes and bash about a bit in the pan so that they break up and colour and mingle with the spices. Add the spinach at the last minute, turn the heat of stir together so the spinach wilts and season generously. This dish likes salt.
Chop up some fresh coriander, chuck some in your raita and some in your finished curry then serve with accompaniments suggested or what ever your heart desires!
I had this salad or a version of it a few years ago in a lovely Spanish restaurant in Fulham. Since then from time to time I make it. Seeing as the market appeared to be bursting with ripe figs today, I bought some then went in search of it’s partners in crime, Manchego and Serrano ham. I found some great Manchego reduced in the supermarket today so it seemed like the god of ingredients was on my side and on I trotted with my packet of ham happily dreaming of this yummy salad that would soon become my lunch!
This is super simple and you can make it all pretty with practically no effort at all.
A handful of baby spinach or green leaves of your choice
2 slices of Serrano ham
2 ripe figs
10g of Manchego cheese
A couple of teaspoons of a good sherry vinegar
Half a teaspoon of agave syrup
Salt and pepper
Olive oil would be good here but I did without
Mix the vinegar, syrup, salt, pepper and oil, if using. Dress leaves and plate up. Cut the figs into four and arrange like a clock around the plate. Tear your slices of ham and pop in the centre then shave (potato peeler) the Manchego on top. Drizzle left over dressing over figs and serve. Bloody marvellous!
I’ve gone a bit mad for this salad over the past few days, knocking up versions of it for sides on a bbq or as a quick healthy lunch. I’ve always been a bit funny about beetroot, I didn’t like it, I still grimace a little when I see it pickled or rather smell the pickling liquor. My mum and dad seemed to religiously eat this in cheese salad sandwiches on a Saturday lunchtime and I used to hover round my dad as he made sandwiches making sure mine went no where near the stuff. My partner loves the stuff too, gobbling up the pickled stuff straight from the jar as a midnight snack, bleurghhh. Anyway my tastes have matured and as I often see the stuff finely shredded in salads you can buy in the shops and rather enjoying said salads I thought it was high time I got over my fear and grated this heavenly super food into my salads. It’s a bit of a revelation of taste, it’s sweet and crunchy and that purpley pink dye is rather charming when mingled with other salad veg and the salty, fresh feta.
So here it goes…
Serves 2 as a lunch
- 1 sweet potato, washed and unpeeled, cut into square dice (about 1 and 1/2 cm)
- 1 beetroot, grated
- 1 carrot, grated
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- A large handful of baby spinach
- a 3rd of a bar of Feta
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- half a teaspoon of agave syrup or honey or sugar
- salt and pepper
Heat an oven to about 220 degrees. Chuck your sweet potato chinks in a tray, drizzle with oil, season generously and toss together to coat. Cook your sweet potatoes for about 20 min until tender and slightly browned. Set aside.
Combine your grated veg, spring onions, spinach. Add warm sweet potatoes. Mix dressing and pour over and toss. Crumble in feta. Toss lightly. Serve.
This is so delicious, I had it again today with out the sweet potato and was thinking about mixing in some fried chorizo chinks for a more meaty treat another time. If you are afraid of beetroot, try this, it’s really not half as bad as you think, promise.
Pork and Peanut Rice Noodle Salad
This is inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe I read a while back, however I’ve tinkered with some of the ingredients to make it gluten free and to encompass some of the leftover meat from my roast dinner at the weekend.
Flat rice noodles
Left over roast pork
For the dressing:
Sweet Chilli sauce
A splash of sesame oil
Vegetable or sunflower oil
Soak the rice noodles until soft. Slice the peppers, cucumber and pork into fine sticks. Slice the spring onions and roughly chop the spinach.
Mix the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl, taste it as you go to find the right balance, I think I used about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, a tablespoon of sweet chilli, the juice of one lime and then tinkered with the soy and oil to taste. If your peanut butter is a bit hard, give it a quick blast in the microwave before mixing in with the other ingredients.
Mix all the salad ingredients and dressing together and serve. Some chopped coriander would go really nicely with this if you have some.
I made this for dinner this week then packaged some up for lunch the next day , no soggy salad just delicious, fresh peanutty goodness!
- Chorizo, Sweet Potato and Feta Pasty
Sweet potato, Feta and and chorizo are wonderful bedfellows. I made the filling for this pasty first and ended up just eating spoonfuls and spoonfuls of it straight from the pan, I even took a tub of it in for lunch at work the next day.
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut in to small cubes
1 onion, sliced
2 inches of chorizo, cut into small cubes
1 red pepper, sliced
a handful of spinach, roughly chopped
Half a block of feta
A block of shortcrust pastry (i used some ready made gf stuff, not quite convinced yet but i’m sure this would work great with a decent pastry)
Boil the sweet potato cubes for a few minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
Soften the onion then fry with the chorizo until golden and crispy.
Add the peppers and fry for a minute or so.
Add the spinach and wilt slightly then take off the heat, crumble in the feta and season to taste.
Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees.
Roll out your pastry and cut into circles, I used an upturned pasta bowl as a template.
Spoon in some of the filling and fold over and pinch the edges pasty styley.
Brush with beaten egg or milk and put into the oven for about 20minutes.
Serve with a nice green salad.
So for dinner tonight (ok I know it’s early but we were hungry!) we had the above and the below.
For the potato salad:
Boil some new potatoes
Mix some mayo and creme fraiche (I used half fat) with plenty of salt and pepper. Add in the cooled potatoes, some finely chopped spring onions and some shredded spinach. Stir. Done.
For the sausages:
Mix up some BBQ sauce, basically combine ketchup, hoisin sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcester sauce and some agave syrup together. Then roll your sausages in it then cook in the oven for about 15/20 min depending on sausage size. You can go back to them and re glaze half way through cooking.
I think this may be a bit of cheats pickle, I kinda browsed the t’internet for ideas and then went out on a limb, I’m not too knowledgeable about pickling so I think this kinda thing will only last about a week in a jar, but it’s lush, and suddenly you’ll be pulling out bits of cheese and cold meats just so you can have a yummy snacking partner for this piquant treat.
I basically had a go at microwave sterilising the jar first (an old jam jar) but I figured I couldn’t do the top (it’s metal) so just washed that in extremely hot water and decided we’d eat it fast and not worry too much.
Then I half filled the jar with half red wine vinegar and half cider vinegar and a couple of spoonfuls of caster sugar. I stirred this well and tasted to check, I like a sweet pickle you might want to adjust. Then I sliced a smallish onion and packed it into the jar and poked it down so it was covered by the pickling liquor. I left it for a little while then couldn’t resist and snacked on some with some cheese, then later we had it with this dinner and went extremely well and I’m sure there may be more pickle action later but you’ll just have to watch this space. I think ideally this needs to stand for about 4 hours but do as you will…