Red pepper and butternut squash soup

Redpepper&Butternut_SoupI made this with butternut squash which had previously been roasted and a red pepper which had been ‘charred’ (see below). Both processes greatly enhance the flavour of the soup.

Enough for 3:

  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 of a large butternut squash (previously roasted (as one piece)) and cut into small chunks
  • 150ml passata
  • 500ml water
  • 1 tsp vegi stock powder
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Season with black pepper and lemon juice

Char the red pepper by blackening the skin all over using a gas ring (on high) or a blowtorch.  Rub off the skin in a bowl of cold water, and slice.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for five minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the red pepper, the butternut squash, the passata and the water, and stir in the vegi stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes.

Take off the heat and blend (using an electric blender or a liquidiser). Stir in the double cream and heat until just boiling.

Season and serve.

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Butternut squash and stilton pancakes

Butternut_Pancakes-tile

Last week (it was Shrove Tuesday), I found 5 pancakes in the freezer, and I also had about half a tub of ricotta (left over from Spinach gnocchi), a piece of Stilton, some double cream and a small amount for fresh spinach. I decided to make these pancakes, so I bought a butternut squash.

Enough for 2:

  • 5 savoury pancakes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 400g butternut squash (peeled and cut into 1cm cubes)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 100g spinach
  • 125g ricotta
  • 80g Stilton (grated)
  • Black pepper
  • 50g double cream

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the butternut squash and cook slowly until it begins to change colour, mixing occasionally.  Add water to cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, cooking gently for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat, and add the spinach, stirring constantly until all the spinach has wilted. Turn off the heat, and add the butternut squash and mix well. Beat together the ricotta and 3/4 of the Stilton, and stir into the vegetable mixture. Season with black pepper to taste.

Take a pancake and spread it with 1/5 of the mixture . Roll up the pancake and place in a shallow ovenproof dish. Repeat this with the remaining four pancakes. Sprinkle the remaining Stilton over the rolled-up pancakes and pour over the double cream.

Place in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) and cook for about 20 minutes (or until golden brown). Serve.

Brazilian bean stew

Brazilian_Tile

This recipe is based on one I found on the internet, but the ingredients are what I had left-over or in the cupboard/fridge, so it’s unlikely to be very authentic. Enough for 3:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed/finely chopped)
  • 2 red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • A 10cm piece of chorizo (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (roughly chopped)
  • 1/3rd of a large butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed and cut into approx 2cm cubes) or equivalent amount
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • Hot water
  • 400g tinned borlotti beans (drained)
  • Some green vegetables (I used about 70g of kale)
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • Black pepper
  • A few torn coriander leaves

Gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli until they have softened (about 5 minutes); add the sliced chorizo and fry for 3 minutes (stirring occasionally); add the red pepper and butternut squash and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the stock powder, and sufficient hot water to cover the mixture; bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until the butternut squash has cooked).

Add the beans and the green vegetables; bring back to the boil and cook until the green vegetables are sufficiently cooked.

Stir in the mango chutney. Add black pepper to taste, and serve sprinkled with coriander.

In praise of fat again!

Why is it, that people attempt to create ridiculous ‘healthy’ versions of things which are only delicious because of a generous helping of fat, sugar, or anything else deemed to be harmful?

I decided to make Vegetable Rosti Pie (it should really be called Vegetable Rosti Sludge) which featured in the Waitrose ‘Winter Harvest 2014’ recipe booklet (and – another whinge – why doesn’t Waitrose put these things on line?). This recipe has NO oil/fat in it apart from some in the low fat yogurt. I Googled ‘Rosti‘ and the first link I got was How to cook the perfect rösti (clearly authentic as ‘rösti‘ was spelt properly (with an umlaut)!), which suggests using goose fat.

Why are we bombarded with inferior versions of things that are excellent in their original form? For example, this recipe for millionaire’s shortbread from a raw food fanatic. It may look like millionaire’s shortbread if you have bad eyesight and the light is really dim, but it will taste (and feel) like something completely different (and certainly not like the version Thornton’s do)!

Rosti1-tile

Anyway, back to this Waitrose recipe. Mine was adapted, because I didn’t have all the ingredients and I decided to substitute olive oil for some of the low fat yogurt (I’m not sure that this improved the result). For two people:

  • 1 slice (4cm wide) of a large sweet potato (peeled and coarsely grated)
  • Swede (peeled and coarsely grated), the same quantity as the sweet potato
  • Butternut squash (peeled, deseeded and coarsely grated), the same quantity as the sweet potato
  • 1 small shallot (finely sliced) or equivalent onion
  • 200g cannellini beans (drained – half a large can (you could store the rest in the fridge use the rest in minestrone))
  • 4-5 sprigs of parsley (chopped)
  • 3 tbp olive oil
  • 3 tbp low fat yogurt
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blanch all the vegetables in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain.

Mix the beans, parsley, olive oil, yogurt, coriander and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the vegetables.

Mix well, and press into a lightly greased ovenproof dish.

Cook at 190C (gas mark 5) for 40 minutes (or until the surface begins to brown).

Serve with poached eggs.

I will make this recipe again, but I shall be ditching the yogurt and olive oil for a generous helping of goose fat, and I will also omit the cannellini beans which seem to add nothing (except protein), and have a rather unpleasant texture when they start to brown.

Butternut squash, bean and tomato hotpot

Butter_nut-horz-all

This is my take on ‘Italian bean, butternut squash & tomato casserole (topped with fontina cheese & sliced buttered potatoes)’ from Aqua in Bristol. This provides plenty for 4 people:

  • Oil
  • 1/2 roasted butternut squash (cut into 2cm cubes)
  • 1 large onion (cut into thin wedges)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
  • Large pinch of oregano
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tinned butter beans (drained)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 baking potatoes (skins pierced several times)
  • 40g butter
  • 40g grated cheddar

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds (if you like you can roast these at the same time as the squash – remove the fleshy fibrous bits, mix with a little oil and salt, and roast (on a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven) for about 15 minutes (take a look after 10 minutes)).

Put the two halves of the butternut squash on a baking sheet. Pour a dessertspoon of oil into each cavity and brush over the surface of the squash. Roast for 40 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4). Put the potatoes in the oven at the same time.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Stir in the onion and gently cook for 8 minutes. Add one clove of garlic (crushed/chopped) and the oregano, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the butternut squash is cooked. Cube one of the halves (the other can be used in soup or risotto) and add it to the tomato mixture (I skinned my squash, but you can eat the skin which is quite tasty, but it does affect the texture of the finished dish). Add the butter beans. Season with black pepper, and ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish.

If the potatoes are cooked, slice them into 1cm slices (if they need a little more cooking I suggest that you finish them in the microwave before slicing). Place the potato slices on top of the tomato, squash and bean mixture.

Melt the butter and the remaining garlic in the microwave (about 40 seconds at 750W). Brush onto the potatoes (use a brush which won’t melt!). Sprinkle with the grated cheese and black pepper.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes (longer if you are cooking the dish from cold). Serve.

I served mine with wild rocket (65p at Lidl).

 

 

Butternut squash and red pepper risotto

Risotto-tile

This will feed two (and used most of the remaining roasted butternut squash used in Salmon and butternut squash noodle soup):

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (de-seeded and chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced into 3cm strips)
  • 120g arborio (risotto) rice (more depending how hungry you are), you could also use pudding rice (or pearl barley which would take longer to cook)
  • 1 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • hot water
  • 1/2 large butternut squash (previously roasted)
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 2 heaped tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste (also if required, salt or a squeeze of lemon juice)

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan (cast iron pots such as Le Creuset are great for this). Add the onion and fry very gently for about 5 minutes (stirring as necessary). Add the garlic, chilli and red pepper and carry on frying and stirring for 3 minutes. Add the rice, and stir so that it is coated in oil.

Add the stock powder, the thyme and enough hot water to cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes (add the butternut squash after 15 minutes) until the rice is creamy but still has a slight ‘bite’. You will need to add more hot water occasionally and stir the mixture from time to time (I know everyone says that you need to constantly stir risotto, but I find that this is unnecessary provided you use a thick bottomed pan and a very low heat).

When the rice is cooked, stir in the cream. Return to the heat and stir until the mixture is just boiling. Turn off the heat, stir in the cheese and add black pepper, salt etc to taste.

Enjoy!

Salmon and butternut squash noodle soup

SalmomSoup-horx

This soup (for 2) is made in exactly the same way as the ‘soup’ part of pork belly noodle soup, but the main ingredients are different. When I cooked this last night, I added half a small red onion (chopped), to the ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass mix at the beginning of the recipe (and dispensed with the spring onions at the end), but this makes little difference to the finished product.

Butternut1To roast the butternut squash, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds (you needn’t throw them away – here’s a recipe for Toasted Butternut Squash Seeds (beware it’s an American recipe and the oven setting is in Fahrenheit: 300F is about 150C (Gas Mark 2))). Place the two halves (skin down) in a roasting tin and roast for about 45 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4-5). You could cook the squash from its raw state when simmering the spices, curry paste, coconut cream, nam pla and stock, but I intend to make a roasted butternut squash and red pepper risotto later in the week, and thought I might as well roast the whole squash.

For the soup, follow the pork belly noodle soup recipe as far as cooking the noodles, but use fish stock rather than chicken stock. The other ingredients are:

  • 7 baby sweetcorn (halved and sliced into 2cm lengths)
  • half a small red pepper (sliced)
  • 1/3 large roasted butternut squash (cut into approx 2cm cubes)
  • 2 small fresh (or frozen) salmon portions (skinned and cut into 2cm squares)
  • 5 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 large mushroom (sliced)
  • 2 large (or 4 small) pak choi
  • juice of half a lime
  • chopped fresh coriander

Add the baby sweetcorn to the simmering soup, returning to the boil before simmering for 2 minutes. Then do the same with the red pepper, squash, salmon and the spring onions. After simmering these for 2 minutes add the mushroom slices and the pak choi, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. The soup is now ready to serve

In two large bowls, place equal quantities of noodles and soup, and top with chopped coriander. If there is insufficient liquid add some hot water. Eat!

I have also made a vegetarian version of this soup. I swapped the salmon for tofu, and used vegi-stock instead of fish stock.