Category Archives: Butternut squash

The butternut squash wedges files…

In my last post I shared a butternut squash kibbeh, and I casually stated how I threw together my kibbeh mixture and that I used roasted butternut squash. I thought I’d clarify something about that point: I usually have a ready stock of roasted butternut squash to hand, hence how it was easy enough to throw the dish together…I shall explain…

I routinely buy large butternut squashes (Costco is good for them in the U.K.) and I cut them into wedges (or in half if they’re smaller), remove the seeds, and roast them. I don’t peel them, I don’t use oil, just put them in a hot oven, usually when I’m cooking something else too, and leave them until I’m happy with them. 

Before

After

Usually I’ll eat some of the freshly roasted squash at the time of cooking, and then I leave the rest of it to cool down and store it in the fridge. This way, I can pull a couple of wedges out and reheat them for lunches, or scrape the flesh from the skin and use them in recipes, like the kibbeh or thick soups. Having them already roasted means that the wedges can be reheated really quickly in the oven and the edges crisp up nicely and they make a great base for all sorts of toppings…

This is basically my alternative to a baked potato I guess – but with more flavour as far as I’m concerned. Or they can be loaded up like nachos or tacos, or spread with goats cheese instead of bread, or just drizzled with tahini. Or chopped up to be part of a salad, warm or cold, or added to cooked grains…I could happily go on and on….

Or used to throw together an easy kibbeh, as I did again this weekend…

So I’m not sharing a recipe today, but more a kitchen habit that I find useful and that I thought I would share. I like having a fridge full of things made and ready to go, because when I get hungry I need to eat right then! So along with endless dips and sauces and middle eastern style ‘salad’ concoctions, you’ll often find a tub of butternut squash wedges in my fridge 🙂 

I think I’ll add this to my ‘pimp your veg‘ collection…have a good week! 

Butternut squash kibbeh…

A typical middle eastern ‘kibbeh’ dish would include meat; this being my blog, and me being wholeheartedly vegetarian, this version does not…it is however, a really simple dish to make, eminently useful if you have any vegetarian guests at any time, and great for leftovers and weekday lunches. 

Of course, I threw mine together, but for more detail, you could refer to this recipe for a sweet potato version. 

In essence, this is a bake, almost a cake, utilising the grains to draw moisture from the vegetable of choice as it cooks, to create a finished article that holds together when you cut into it. 

I made my kibbeh in the photos using butternut squash that I had previously baked, mashed with a bulgur wheat and red and white quinoa mix, ground cumin, ground coriander, finely chopped red onion, olive oil and a pinch of salt. 

This was spooned over a bed of sliced red onions drizzled with olive oil, and baked for 25-30 minutes. 

And it’s done! 

You could easily add other spices and/or herbs to create your own flavours, I think some ras el hanout or baharat would be good. You could also play with using other vegetables and grains; I’ve made very similar dishes using a spiced tomato base and quinoa, I think it’s an easy basis to experiment with.

This was another one I’ve made recently using only bulgur wheat, and you can see how it keeps its shape when cut. 

It’s easy to cut into pieces and serve slices, when it’s hot or cold. And very tasty with any array of homous, dips, salsas, chimichurri…

I had some leftovers with extra caramelised onions and a dressing of buttermilk, tahini, garlic and lemon juice. The sweetness of the butternut squash/sweet potato, however you make it, works well with slightly tart of acidic flavours. Goats cheese would be perfect! 

I hope you like my offering for the week, I’ll be bringing it over to Fiesta Friday to see who I can tempt 🙂 

Have a great weekend, and happy Easter! 

Roasted vegetable soup..

Yes, another thick soup from my kitchen. This one is really simple, just several trays of vegetables, all baked/roasted, then puréed together..

This includes butternut squash, sweet potato, red onions and garlic. I chopped up the butternut squash, sweet potato and red onions, split a whole bulb of garlic into cloves, and roasted/baked them all separately on large trays. (I say baked because I didn’t put any oil with the butternut squash, I think it cooks well chopped into huge wedges and baked, whereas the other elements I drizzled with olive oil.)  Once cooked, I removed the skin from the butternut squash, left the skin on the sweet potatoes, squeezed the garlic out of their skins, and added them all and the onions and all of the oil and juices from the pans, to a large pot over a medium heat. 

I added some water and chilli flakes and started to mash it all together, then blended it with a stick blender. Done! 

I froze batches for my lovely man to take to work, and saved some for me, which I ate with Moroccan spiced homous stirred through it and topped with seeds and slivered almonds…

Yum!

 I’m bringing my soup along to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the amazing Petra, and Antonia 🙂 

Happy weekend!

My version of butternut squash soup..

I’m not a big soup fan, but when I do make soup, I like it thick! And I mean THICK! Like baby food 🙂 

This is also how my husband likes soup, which is why I made this last week, to make portions for him to take to work. Although I did keep a bowl full aside for me, which I ate with a swirl of yoghurt and some of the butternut squash seeds that I’d toasted (above). 

Making this was really simple, the hardest part was not eating the lovely roasted squash when it came out of the oven..

I found a wonderful HUGE butternut squash at Costco, which I cut into wedges, sprinkled with cumin seeds and chilli flakes and drizzled with olive oil, then roasted it all…

It came out so so tasty!

Whilst the squash was roasting, I chopped up 3 medium red onions, and a few cloves of garlic. In a pan over a medium heat I cooked the onions with a splash of oil until they started to soften and caramelise, then added the garlic and cooked it through. 

Once the butternut squash was cooked and slightly cooled, I peeled off the skin and added the chunks to the pan with the onion and garlic, along with some ground roasted cumin, ground nutmeg, pepper, salt and lots of Aleppo chilli flakes..

I could have happily eaten it like this!

But I managed to force myself not to eat it ALL….!

I cooked it all together for a few minutes, mashing the squash as I did so. I added some water and stirred it through, then using a stick blender, started to blend the mixture, adding water as I needed it, until i got the consistency I wanted..

Thick and luscious 🙂 

Obviously, you can make it thinner or thicker, to suit your taste. I served a portion to my man that evening with a baguette I had baked, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing him enjoy it – I’m easily pleased! 

As with so many dishes, the flavour of this soup has developed as the days have gone on. The husband had a portion from the freezer today, and the heat of the chilli had strengthened nicely 🙂

I hope you’ve had a great week, happy Friday! Let’s head over to Fiesta Friday and see what everyone else has made this week 🙂 

Shawarma spiced vegetables and chickpeas…and why you should be a Fiesta Friday co host..

 This is the kind of food I could, and do, eat daily; packed full of root vegetables and garlic and spices, it’s the kind of thing you’ll find in lots of food publications as something new and exciting at the moment….in my kitchen it’s an old favourite 🙂 

It’s not a long or complicated recipe which is great as I want to also take the opportunity to tell you about being a co host for Fiesta Friday. I have co hosted for Angie several times now and it struck me that maybe not everyone knows what that means or what the undertaking is, so I thought I’d explain it a bit more (it’s okay it’s only brief) and maybe inspire some new co hosts..

What is co hosting?

Fiesta Friday was created by the wonderful Angie as a weekly blog party for bloggers to share posts, chat, meet new bloggers and generally have their own Friday night party, full of international guests, without leaving the house! As a co host your role is to support Angie, because there really is too much to do for one person, but also, it’s a thank you to Angie for creating this great space. 


What does it entail?

To do this, your job as co host is to share the reading of the posts that are linked up, thank the writers for joining the party and commenting on their dish/post/story. There are usually at least two co hosts and you can share the posts between you, and/or read them all.

What are the benefits of co hosting? 

Co hosting gives you the opportunity to mingle with your known fellow bloggers, but also to meet lots of new bloggers, and be inspired by new recipes or stories. And at the same, they get to meet YOU! It’s basically free publicity 🙂 
And…it’s good fun! I always worry whether I’ll be overwhelmed by all of the reading, but I never am, I just enjoy meeting and greeting the bloggers, and seeing lots of amazing food!!!! 

So, I say, do it! Ask Angie if you can get involved…

Now, onto the food..

Basically, all I’ve done here is pan cook a selection of peeled and cubed sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots in a large pan with some coconut oil; along the way I threw in some whole garlic cloves and chickpeas and some shawarma spice mix – a middle eastern spice mix including cinnamon and cloves – but any spice mix of your choice would work. 

If you fancy making a shawarma mix of your own, give this a try:

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. ground coriander

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

I add it to lots of vegetable dishes, but it’s also good to mix with plain yogurt and marinade chunks of chicken or lamb in for several hours and then grill it. 

As you cook the vegetables, you will need to add small amounts of water to assist in cooking them through, and loosen the spices from the pan..but the key is to stick with it and give the vegetables a chance to really cook well over a medium heat and maybe even caramelise..

And then eat it that day and for several days after that! Yum! 

Consider topping a portion with tahini sauce or homous too 🙂 

Can I tempt you?? No, okay then, excellent…I can happily eat it all myself! 😉

I’m bring this to share at this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the wonderful Sonal and Petra..pop over and join in and think about co hosting in the future..:)

My butternut squash vegetable bhaji..

 I do love a bowl of beautifully spiced gorgeous vegetables, and recently I’ve become more and more adept at throwing together my own dishes based on all of the Indian recipes that I’ve made and read and eaten, so this was one of my recent creations..having been overwhelmed and a bit scared of recipes with great long lists of spices in the past, I now find that I absolutely relish them; I just love knowing that I’m adding so much flavour and goodness, and I love knowing what I’m doing! 

Before I start cooking, I open my spice racks and get out everything I need or fancy adding, and then I collect all of the other ingredients I propose to use and have them all on the counter ready to go. That way there’s no darting around the kitchen grabbing stuff as I go along. I’ve learnt the hard way with that one! 

So, here is my spiced butternut squash, which I ate on its own, with quinoa and even on a slice of sourdough!  

  My recipe..

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks

2 medium tomatoes, chopped 

2 red onions, peeled and chopped

6 shallots, peeled and chopped

5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp nigella seeds

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

4 brown cardamom pods

A few curry leaves 

2 tbsp coconut oil 

Note: feel free to use all red onion or all shallots; use your choice of oil; add some chilli powder or cayenne pepper if you like some additional heat. 

   
Method

Heat a large pan over a medium heat and add the coconut oil, once is has become liquid, add the mustard seeds and cardamom pods

Cook for a minute or so until the mustard seeds start to sizzle, but before they start to pop and fire all over the hob/stove (as I did recently!) 

Add the red onions and shallots and cook on a low/medium heat for 20-25 minutes until soft and caremalising, stirring every so often

Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes

Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger and garam masala and cook for a minute, then put in a splash of water to loosen the spices from the pot 

Add the butternut squash and tomatoes and onion seeds, stir well, and cook until the squash is soft. Add little amounts of water as you go along to stop the mixture from burning and sticking to the pan, and to cook the squash.

Towards the end, thrown in the curry leaves and cook for a few more minutes. And serve on its own, as a side dish, or however you fancy. 

Or…then leave it to sit for a day and reheat and eat the next day. I think that most dishes with spices taste even better if you give them time to develop their flavours more.  

  Healthy, tasty food, full of the goodness of vegetables and the wonderful powers of the spices – all so good for you 🙂 

  All of my spices are from Spice Kitchen UK, they are such lovely quality, and the pack sizes are perfect. (I have not been asked or paid to tell you this, I just like to share great producers and I love this company and their ethos, as well as their spices!) 

Enjoy! 

Butternut squash, sweet potato & carrot with my new spiced paste creation..an absolute taste sensation!!! 

Luckily I have friends that are happy to taste test my kitchen experiments…and this was one of my recent creations…

All I can say is, it was sooooooooooo good, it’s now become a kitchen staple! I can barely find the words to sufficiently tell you how good this tasted. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it, but I can tell you that my friend agreed 🙂 there was none left at the end of lunch!

So, what was it?
By way of research, and out of curiosity, I was recently perusing the shelves in my local supermarket and seeing what new products are on offer nowadays; I don’t shop much in supermarkets so it’s interesting to see the array of cuisines and flavours that are now becoming standard. Whether or not people are experimenting with the more diverse offerings I don’t know, but there is a whole new world of flavours available which I think is great – even better if you have the time and inclination to play with them yourself… 🙂

I came across a tiny jar of tagine paste; the collection of ingredients sounded interesting and piqued my interest, so I had a good look at the label and mused on it at home, then got busy in the kitchen to see what I might produce…this was it…calling it a paste doesn’t seem very inviting but I’m stumped for what else to call it…any ideas anyone? How about a ‘pastesensation’?? Because that’s what it is..

This makes a huge bowl of chunky paste that can be used in various ways, feel free to reduce the quantities.

Ingredients

2 large banana shallots or 4 small round shallots, finely diced

6 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

250g tomato purée

5 tbsp rapeseed oil

5 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp dried pepper flakes

1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds

1 tsp ground roasted coriander seeds

1 tsp dried mint

1/2 tsp Turkish red chilli flakes

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp roasted ground caraway seeds

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Method

Mix everything together and leave it in the fridge for the flavours to develop overnight and/or for a day.

This can then be used in whatever way you fancy, so far I’ve eaten it as it is, added it to a bowl of ‘foul’ and added it to pan cooked vegetables…which is what you can see in this post, but I do think there is so much more you could do with it. Add it to a casserole or tagine; thin it down and use it as a marinade; use it as a salsa, basically, have a play.  For my root vegetable dish..continuing with my theme of pan cooking vegetables..

1/2 small butternut squash, peeled

1 medium sweet potato, skin on

2 large carrots, peeled

Chop all of these root vegetables into small cubes, all the same size

In a wide based saucepan, heat a tablespoon of your chosen oil over a medium heat

Pan cook all of the cubed vegetables until they start to cook through, agitating a few times as they cook, but not too often, you’re not stir frying these vegetables

Once they’ve started to show signs of being cooked through, add half of the paste mix above and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes

Serve hot as a side dish or as a complete meal topped with cheese, or with chopped spring onions and tahini sauce over a bed of cooked grains like I did. This is quite a rich dish, so the tahini sauce was a perfect addition.

And if you’ve got leftovers, enjoy it all over again the next day, hot or cold. I had some in a wrap with goats cheese for lunch today.

I served mine with leftover spelt, freekeh and my dukkah Topped with the cooked vegetables, chopped spring onions and tahini sauce
I really cannot tell you just how good this is, you’ll just have to try it yourself! But I can tell you, I’ll be making this again and again, and already have done!

I hope you like my ideas, I’m bringing them to  this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosting this week by Kaila and Mila, and hope that they enjoy it 🙂