Butternut Squash

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Butternut Squash

Preparing to become soup of dreams in the company of sweet potatoes, chilli & coconut milk…

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Vegetable adventures

ImageThat beaut is the contents of a ¬£10 veg bag from the intriguing Locavore in Skirving Street. I fear that the tenner bag might be a bit over-ambitious – especially considering the next two days I’m working and won’t be eating any meals in the house. Seems ludicrous to take your lunch to work when you work in a kitchen…

Anyway, inside the amazing bag was the following:

  • 1 vast pumpkin
  • 5 carrots
  • maybe 1lb potatoes
  • few parsnips
  • a wee green cabbage
  • 1 swede
  • a bag of tomatoes
  • 4 onions
  • a sneaky bag of kale
  • AND a brown paper bag of pearl barley complete with orzotto recipe!

What a bargain! All that for a tenner, and it all comes from local farmers and allotments as well. Ideal. Only downside is that all that bounty is crammed into a brown paper bag, and tends to spill out insidiously through holes in the bottom one potato at a time for several meters, until an old man shouts “Hen, yer tatties are falling oot” (oo-er) and you have to scrabble under parked cars collecting them….

Aaanyway, it’s great to have such a load of stuff in the flat, have had a good evening reading through recipes for the week – these guys¬†have loads of crackers for things like kale.. Not sure what to do with the old kale really, I’ve only ever had it in sausage stews in the past and I was never overly impressed with it. A challenge! That’s for later on in the week though.

Tonight I used a few of the vegetables with some stuff already in the flat to make this broccoli pasta:Image

For 2 (big) portions:

  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 4 rashers smoked bacon
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 5 or 6 small tomatoes
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 100g small tube pasta

I blanched the broccoli for a couple of minutes then left it draining while I sauteed the chopped onion, garlic & fennel seeds with the bacon until all was respectively soft/crispy-ish.

Cooked the pasta in some good salty water while adding the roughly chopped tomatoes, tomato puree & sugar to the onions/bacon mixture; it got ten minutes or so to simmer together. A pinch of sugar! Is a great thing in a tomato sauce. Once the pasta was ready I drained it & mixed it into the sauce along with the broccoli.

This was a good autumn dinner – I love the taste of a dash of fennel seeds in tomato sauces, and broccoli in a hot bacony delicious sauce is definitely a good thing. I like the small pasta as well – I used much less of it than I would of linguini or something like that and it made the dish more like a minestrone stew with pasta than a plate of pasta with sauce.

During the week I’ll do some kale experiments! I’ll definitely make some pumpkin gnocchi on Wednesday night too. I always liked butternut squash more than pumpkin so I think it’s a good plan of attack to cook it with loads of cheese, butter and sage which would make most things taste dynamite. Never made gnocchi before! Also will be striving to impress my dining companion…