Friday 24 January 2014

Simple squash and the surf countdown

Squash is a strange sort of veggie. For a LONG time, I was baffled by their tough waxy skin and its seemingly bland taste. I always thought it was one vegetable of various forms, all tasting of nothing much. This whole outlook changed over the last few years. Now I can think of practically no other vegetable that is as tasty, versatile or magic to look at in a bowl of food or growing in a back garden. Now, it's simply a wonder food. Filling but not starchy. Bursting with a multitude of colours, textures and flavours depending on how you choose to cook it. A pantry staple. Have I gone on about it long enough?
Why bother to peel, chop and cook this simplest of squashes and what motivated this busylittlefoodie to do such a thing on a January day? Well, for those who know me best, I am in complete denial of the weather around me. All my clothes are summer clothes, more appropriate to beaches and barbeques than rainy, overcast January days in Ireland. It's fitting then that I'm a mere 5 (!!!!!) days away from leaving for New Zealand, I'm having cravings for smoothies, colourful salads and sunshine colours all around me. These are things that are decidedly missing at the moment. Instead of getting down in the dumps about it, I decided to embrace the Irish weather, winter salad style take 2.
This recipe keeps the warmth of hazelnuts that was in my last recipe but also has the added yumminess and warmth of toasted coriander seeds, honey roasted squash, plenty of garlic to keep colds and flus away, rocket for a fiery kick and chickpeas for energy and warmth.
This salad is great as it's made in 3 parts. Part 1: Roasted squash-can be done the night before or in a batch every few days. Step 2: Roasting the other veg, chickpeas and nuts-can also be done the night before and stored in fridge to add to greens for your lunch. Step 3: Add roughly chopped greens-takes 2 minutes. It's a great salad that can be chopped and changed and is perfect for people who want a hearty, fresh meal but say there's never time to make a fancy salad.
Hope you like it. I'll be posting once more, I hope, before I leave for New Zealand and then expect plenty of photos from Raglan. The surf countdown begins! Thank you for reading as always!
Bliss X

Ingredients: (Feeds 2)
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbs honey
1 tbs olive oil/coconut oil
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Prepare squash. Stir through the garlic, honey and oil. Place squash on baking tray, covered in tin foil for 20 minutes until squash is almost completely soft.
While the squash is roasting, get cracking on the rest of the salad.
1 courgette, cut in half lengthways, then half again and then into chunks
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin/1tsp cumin seeds
50 grams of hazelnuts (almonds or others work just as well)
200 grams of cooked chickpeas/1 can, washed and drained
200 grams of fresh spinach, washed and chopped roughly
100 grams of fresh rocket, washed and chopped roughly
In a bowl, mix the courgette, coriander, cumin, hazelnuts and chickpeas together, toss well. Once squash has had its 20 minutes in the oven, remove the tin foil and add your chickpea mix. Toss around in the tray and put in oven for 15 minutes to toast everything else. Once the time is up, tip all the tray ingredients, including all that lovely melted coconut oil and honey into a bowl with the spinach and rocket and toss gently. Add a squeeze of half lemon, serve and enjoy all those lovely colours and flavours!
All images and text copyright of Grace Brady @ busylittlefoodie

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