GOAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH CURRY
This is one of my favourite curries from the wonderful Meera Sodhas book Fresh India.
I love the simplicity and the flavour she packs in to all her recipes.
The sauce for this recipe is blended in minutes, which you can do while the butternut squash is roasting in the oven, making this a fuss free and fast delicious dinner!
All of the ingredients are powerful foods, including garlic, chilli, ginger, coriander and coconut milk!
This is seriously good enough to impress friends and family and I have served it on many occasions for dinner, everyone loves it and the flavour is outstanding!
This will also give your immune system a real boost with all the garlic, natures antibiotic, coriander, the best chelator of heavy metals from the body, ginger a real inflammation buster and chilli to boost the circulation.
I have added a tin of chick peas to bulk it out, or other oven roasted veggies, even potatoes or sweet potatoes work well if your butternut squash is on the small side!
I top it off with some caramelised red onions and a garnish of flaked almonds or toasted coconut flakes.
You really need a big bunch of coriander, I buy mine from our local Asian Supermarket but if you only have the paltry bags from the supermarket then you can bulk the sauce out with some spinach or wild garlic when its in season, although then it won't taste quite so delicious! You can never have too much green stuff!!
So here is the wonderful recipe!
Ingredients - serves 4 as a main course
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
Peel and half the squash, remove the seeds and cut each half into thick half moons around 1cm thick.
Put onto a large baking tray and drizzle with rapeseed oil.
Mix with your hands to coat the slices in oil then roast for 35 to 45 minutes, turning halfway, until starting to caramelise around the edges.
Slice the red onion into thin half moons, and cook in a frying pan, in some rapeseed or coconut oil for 15 to 20 minutes.
To make the sauce, add the coriander, chillies, ginger, garlic, to a blender with the spices, lemon juice, coconut milk, salt and pepper and blitz until everything is blended into a smooth green sauce.
Transfer the sauce to a pot and heat it over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the cooked butternut squash to an ovenproof dish and pour the sauce over the top. If you want to add a tin of chickpeas then add them now.
Cover with tinfoil and return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
You can lightly toast the flaked almonds at the same time.
Serve topped with the red onions and flaked almonds, alongside some rice.
Sourdough Pizza Base
I have been trying out a few new sourdough pizza base recipes and I am happy with this improved version.
Simplicity and versatility are high on my list and this one ticks both those boxes.
Its a great way to use up discarded starter or can be made with active starter too.
The addition of semolina and a few tablespoons olive oil make all the difference to the flavour and texture.
A few tips for a nice crisp base, preheat your oven to high and preheat your baking tray. This can make it difficult to transfer your pizza but using a pizza paddle to literally slide it on works well.
To be honest I just preheat the oven then put the pizza base on a cold tray then add the toppings, its easier and I don't have a pizza paddle!
So here is my recipe
Ingredients for 4 large or 6 medium pizzas
500g pizza flour or plain flour
300g starter or discard
250 ml warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
50g semolina or fine polenta
10g salt, 2 level teaspoons
Measure the flour, semolina and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Mix the warm water with the starter and oil in a jug.
Add to the dry mix in the bowl and knead until it comes together into a fairly smooth ball. Takes around 5 minutes.
Cover with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for a few hours until roughly doubled in size.
Put the dough onto a floured surface and use your knuckles to knock the air out of it.
divide the dough into 4 or 6 pieces depending on the size of pizza you want.
Roll out thinly, add toppings and bake in a hot oven for around 15 minutes until the base is crisp and golden.
I had extra dough so just put it in the fridge in a tupperware dish and used it the next day to make pizzas for lunch.
Alternatively you could make the dough in advance and just leave it in the fridge until you need it, bearing in mind it will become more sour the longer you leave it! I imagine it would be ok for 2 or 3 days!
If you don't have sourdough starter then you can use instant dried yeast, here is the amended recipe.
Standard Pizza Base
500g plain or strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant dried yeast
325 ml warm water
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
Put the flour in a large bowl with the salt and yeast.
Add the oil and water and knead for 5 to 10 mins, until smooth.
Put the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for a couple of hours, until roughly doubled in size.
Proceed as sourdough recipe.
I hope everyone survived the last week of snow! It was becoming ridiculous and quite scary how food supplies in the shops dwindled so fast. It's always bread and milk that go first and thankfully I bake my own delicious sourdough bread and had just stocked up on lots of organic flour from Waitrose, at 25% off! I can't resist a good bargain! It did make me very grateful that I can bake my own nutritious bread from only three ingredients and I actually consider it a life skill!!
Wee plug for my upcoming workshops, where I share all my knowledge and tips on how to make sourdough, kefir, kombucha and fermented veggies so you can go away and make your own fermented goodies! It could be a life saver the next time there is a food shortage!!
I only have one place left on Sat 17th March and one place on Sunday 25th March so contact me asap if you want to join the fun!
Here is the link
Anyway we could survive for at least a month. Our cupboards are well stocked with every type of pulses, grains and beans and I have a massive jar of fermented garlic in the fridge along with dried mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and loads of onions! I also have lots of fermented veggies, packed full of probiotic goodness!
My freezer is full of kale, spinach, frozen fruit and Alastair has a fish drawer full of fish!
I only buy dairy milk for my kefir grains and can easily make milk from almonds, oats, cashews or rice, all of which I have lots of.
It does make you think though how fragile our food system is and how long it would take for us to run out of food completely?
Anyway I'm so glad the snow has gone and the sun is actually shining today and the sky is blue! Hurrah spring is coming! My favourite season!
So I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while. I posted a photo on Instagram a few weeks ago and lots of people commented on it.
It's one of those recipes that you can vary endlessly according to what veggies, lentils or beans you have available.
I have made a few variations myself. The star of the recipe is good old Linda McCartney Veggie Sausages, a staple in our house, and only £1 per pack at Home Bargains! I always have a few packs in the freezer for weekend breakfasts and brunches!
However they work really well in this hotpot/casserole and make a really delicious and healthy dinner!
I love using up whatever veggies I have in the fridge, which I did a lot of last week, when we were snowed in, and I had a great time looking through my many cookery books for new ideas!
Anyway this recipe I just made up so its simple but rather versatile and works great with a big pile of creamy mashed potatoes and steamed greens or with pasta, rice or couscous. Any leftovers can be eaten cold for lunch.
You essentially cook the sausages in the oven for 15 minutes while you get on with making the sauce. Its a tomato based sauce with onions, carrots, peppers, mangetout, frozen peas or green beans with flavour from cumin, smoked paprika, mustard, and some tomato ketchup for a bit of added sweetness.
I have made this with the addition of puy lentils, which I cooked separately then added to the sauce with the cooked sausages and also with kidney beans and I had a bag of cooked quinoa and bulghur wheat to use up so just added that too. You can essentially just use frozen peas, carrots and onions and a tin of kidney beans and tomatoes but be adventurous and add whatever veggies you have. Celery and mushrooms would work well too and any cooked grains, lentils or beans. Also spinach stirred in at the end is always a good addition and a great way of boosting your greens for the day!
So here is my basic recipe..
SMOKY SAUSAGE & BEAN CASSEROLE
Ingredients for 6 people
.....your health in your hands....
FESTIVE STUFFED SQUASH WITH VEGAN GRAVY
I've been experimenting a bit with options for our Christmas dinner and I've decided on this rather delicious dish!
Plus it looks great too and is sure to impress your guests!
We tend to have lots of options and a Christmas table full to overflowing with festive fare but we all love cooking and have the time to spare but food is a priority in our house.
The saying there are those who live to eat and those who eat to live and we definitely fall into the first category! We love food!
So back to this really simple but elegant dish. The most difficult part is cutting holes in the butternut squash! I have a really good plain round cookie cutter which worked really well. I also tried a fluted option which although more difficult to cut through, left a lovely flower shaped hole, although the hole is filled with stuffing mix so just go with the plain option!
Cut slices about an inch thick and buy a butternut squash with a long neck end so you can cut a good few slices out!
I decided also to try the stuffing mix with portobello mushrooms and it worked really well and was simpler and quicker since the mushrooms don't need pre cooking prior to adding the stuffing and you don't have to cut a hole in them! You just give them a wipe with a damp cloth, put them on a lightly greased baking tray and spoon generous amount of stuffing mix and a wee drizzle of oil then bake them for around 20 minutes or so!
Doesn't get much easier than that!
Okay so the stuffing has a lovely festive flavour from the cranberries, chestnuts and herbs. If you can't find chestnuts then you can replace them with walnuts or hazelnuts. I used Merchant Gourmet vacuum packed cooked chestnuts from Waitrose.
Another time saving tip is to use a can of cooked lentils! Then its simply a matter of frying an onion, garlic, herbs then adding the other ingredients and heating it through.
I am going to make up my stuffing mix and freeze it so I'll be good to go on Christmas day.
If you have fresh sage, rosemary or thyme in the garden then add a good chopped spoonful of all of them. Alternatively you can use dried herbs.
I served a slice of squash and a big mushroom with a delicious gluten free, extremely healthy mushroom gravy, which is made with cooked brown rice, mushrooms, stock, herbs, garlic, tamari or balsamic vinegar and optional nutritional yeast flakes!
All you do is simmer the mushrooms, stock and cooked rice for 10 minutes then add herbs, garlic and seasoning and blend the lot into a delicious vegan gravy. No faffing around with lumpy flour and butter for me!!
FESTIVE STUFFED SQUASH
Ingredients to serve 6
VEGAN MUSHROOM GRAVY
🍃 Health educator🍃