Category Archives: Squash

Thai style parsnip, butternut squash and ginger soup

Parsnip, butternut, ginger soup

So this is my final parting recipe for this blog. I had intended to post a few recipes over the Christmas period, but a combination of illness and family commitments put paid to that, and so this has crept into 2016.

This is a lovely creamy soup, with the warmth of ginger making it perfect for a cold wintry day. As I came down ill on Christmas eve, I just about managed to cobble together some good old leek and potato soup which slipped down perfectly. This one would have been good too.

It has used up the very last of my final butternut squash, but sweet potato would be a good substitute.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion or a couple of shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic (more if you prefer)
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • roughly 3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • roughly half a butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pint / 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  1. In a large saucepan, add a little oil or butter and gently sauté the onion for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add the garlic (peel and chop if you like, I just peeled and threw them in whole) and ginger, continue to cook for another minute.
  3. Add the chopped parsnips and squash, then cover with the stock. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a gentle simmer for 15-20 mins.
  4. At this point I use a potato masher to break the vegetables down which makes it easier to blend them. It’s not essential.
  5. Add the coconut milk and then blitz everything together with a hand blender, or else transfer everything to a blender.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste while you reheat it slightly. Enjoy.

Parsnip soup ingredients Parsnips

Advertisements

Rustic butternut and mustard mash

squash mash 1

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best, so after debating whether this is really worthy of a recipe post, I decided to add it in celebration of those simple, comforting, but sometimes overlooked dishes.

Aim for roughly an equal amount of potato to squash, and cook as much as you need for the amount of people you are feeding. Peel the butternut or winter squash, deseed and chop into roughly 1 inch square chunks. Peel the potatoes only if they’re very rough skinned, otherwise just give them a good scrub and chop into similar sized chunks as the squash.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, then add the squash and cook for another 5-8 minutes until both are soft.

Drain the vegetables, put them back in the warm pan, add a knob of butter, some cream if you have it, a twist of salt and pepper and a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Mash all together.

Perfect on a cold night with sausages or pork chops and onion gravy. If you have any leftovers the next day you can add it to hot chicken or vegetable stock and blend it into a soup.

squash mash 2

Butternut squash, spinach and ricotta lasagne

lasagne1

The spinach typically bolted in the dry heat of the summer (which now happens around May – June time). But we decided to sow another row around late July – August, just in time for the torrential downpours that signal that period of the year that the schools still oddly call the ‘summer holidays’.

Spinach is very happy in wet weather, so it grew much better this time. Annoyingly though, it was growing right in the middle of a bed I wanted to use for next years garlic. So just at the point it was growing lush and strong, I pulled it all out. The carrier bag I fished out of the shed was too small to hold it all and I had to go back and find a bigger bag.

I made a potato and spinach curry with the first bunch, and then I stripped off the best leaves from the rest, washed it thoroughly and squashed it all into a bag for the freezer. This seems to have worked well. I wasn’t sure whether to lightly cook it first, but in the end I decided to freeze it fresh, and then I just had to slice a chunk off with a knife and cook in down in a pan in a matter of minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • a handful of spinach
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tub of ricotta cheese (250g)
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten.
  • lasagne sheets
  • creme fraiche or cream (might not be needed).
  1. Firstly puree the squash by peeling, de-seeding and chopping the squash, placing it all in a roasting pan with the garlic cloves, drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for around 30 mins. Take out the garlic cloves and squeeze out the garlic, then tip it all into a food processor with a splash of milk and a pinch of nutmeg, half the ricotta cheese and whizz until smooth.
  2. Cook the spinach lightly until wilted, allow to cool and then chop. Mix with the remaining ricotta cheese, the egg and a little more nutmeg.
  3. Take a baking dish and cover the bottom with a layer of the squash puree. Add a grating of parmesan cheese, then a layer of lasagne sheets and finally a covering of the spinach and ricotta mixture. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a spinach and ricotta layer. If there isn’t enough of this for the final topping, mix in a spoonful of creme fraiche or cream to make it go further. Finish with another grating of parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in a moderate oven for around 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.

lasagne2

Butternut squash, apple and stilton galette.

squash apple and stilton galette

This recipe came about while making apple pie and soup at the same time. Once I find the time for a spot of baking I tend to go all out! I had some spare shortcrust pastry from the pie, and I decided I could use a few of the vegetables that were being roasted for the soup in order to make this. So it’s only a small individual portion, but you could easily scale this up to feed more mouths.

Method (ingredients listed in bold):

Preheat the oven to 200ºc. You need about a fist sized ball of pastry dough for a single portion galette, which at a guess would be around 100g flour rubbed into 50g butter with a splash of water to bring it all together. Chill in the fridge for 20 mins before you roll it out into a circle. Then add some chopped apple, onion, and squash. I used the apple raw, but the onion and squash had roasted for around 20 mins in the oven. You could also just cook them slightly in a pan with some butter instead. Top with a few chunks of stilton or other blue cheese, then brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg. Bring the edges up and overlap slightly, try to avoid creating any holes where juices could escape. Brush the outside edges with more egg and then put onto a roasting tray and bake for around 30 mins.

Roasted butternut, apple and garlic soup.

squash, apple, garlic soup

How lovely it is that the squash season arrives just in time for the weather to chill and the nights to darken, which dictate that it’s also now soup season.

I had a glut of squashes this time last year, 14 in total from 2 plants, so I decided to scale down to just 1 plant this year and now I have 3 squashes! You can never tell whether mother nature will be generous or mean with her offerings from year to year, but I am strangely enjoying my more meagre harvest all the more for it. Sadly, a glut can really put you off a vegetable.

I made this soup along with a galette (a rustic one crust pie) because the ingredients were more or less the same, and it meant I could make the two together and save time. I will be posting the galette recipe next, and I’ll add a link here once it’s done.

The roasted apple adds a lovely sweetness to this soup, and the roasted garlic turns into a delicious sweet nuttiness that adds depth rather than heat. A very moreish soup.

Method (ingredients highlighted in bold):

Preheat the oven to around 200ºc. Trim, peel, deseed and chop 1 small squash of choice and put the chunks into a roasting tin. Do the same with 1 large or 2 small apples, and 1 onion and add to the squash (keep back some of the apple if also making the galette). Take 1 whole bulb of garlic and trim the top off to expose some of the cloves, and add that to the roasting tin. Drizzle all with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put into the oven and roast for about 20 mins.

At this point I took the roasting tin from the oven and took out some of the squash and onion in order to add to the galette. Otherwise, just give everything a turn and put back into the oven for another 10-15 mins.

Once roasted, take out of the oven, take out the garlic and put that to one side, then tip everything else into a saucepan. Squeeze the garlic from their papery shells straight into the saucepan. Then add chicken or vegetable stock, 1/2 pint per person. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 mins, then either tip into a blender and blitz, or use a stick or hand blender to do the same. Have some water ready boiled in the kettle and add a little more water if needed.

Finish with a swirl of cream if you like and enjoy.

roasted veg for soup

Creamy potato, leek and squash gratin

leek and squash gratin 2

The leeks are still being harvested from the plot, but that’s about it now. I’m down to the last of my butternut squash, all of my potatoes are gone (apart from a handful I’d forgotten about and were discovered chitting themselves in the back of my cupboard. I say chitting, I just mean sprouting really) and also gone are the onions and garlic. Shock, horror, I’m having to buy these in the shop now.

Damn the hungry gap, it seems to have come early this year, and I didn’t even grow any purple sprouting broccoli this winter. I’m cursing myself for that. I still have some dried beans, and some frozen produce; chillies, parsnip chunks, plums and blackberries. In fact, blackberries will feature in my next recipe, but for now here’s a comforting gratin that goes lovely with pork or sausages.

I won’t give quantities, it all depends on how many people you need to feed, and how much of each veg you happen to have, it doesn’t really matter too much. I used 2 largish potatoes, 3 small leeks, and a small amount of squash, maybe a third of a regular sized one.

Slice the potatoes (I left the skins on) as thin as you can, and do the same with the squash (but make sure you peel that!) Wash and slice the leeks, then chop them down a bit further. In a casserole or gratin dish, crush a garlic clove with your thumb and rub it over the base of the dish. Add a layer of sliced potatoes, followed by a layer of squash and then leek. Season with salt and pepper and a few dots of butter, then do another set of layers. You could top the dish with a final layer of potatoes if you want, but I decided to stop at the leeks and added some grated cheese to the top. Pour over a small pot of cream (single cream, or double, I happened to have single) cover and bake for around 45-50 mins on a moderate heat. Take the cover off and continue to cook for another 15-20 mins for the cheese to turn golden brown on top.

If you want to adapt this recipe, you can pretty much layer up any sliced root vegetables and alliums.

This is how the first layer looked on construction:

leek and squash gratin 1

Butternut squash bread with toasted walnuts and dark chocolate

Squash bread 2

There are some recipes that you turn to again and again, and they become trusted favourites, as reliable as an old friend that never lets you down. One such recipe was taken from a small supplement that came free with the weekend papers many years ago, but there is no name attached to the small torn out page, so I can’t credit it. The original recipe is for a banana bread which has oft proved the perfect solution for rescuing a couple of very ripe bananas that are on the brink of taking themselves off to the compost heap.

So, when the idea for making a sweet loaf cake (or bread as they tend to be called, although that sort of annoys me) using some of my final butternut squash supply, I felt sure that an adaptation of this recipe wouldn’t fail me. At least that was the hope, as it was tested out on some visiting friends, unassuming guinea pigs to my baking experiments.

Squash bread 1

And it’s about time I posted a sweet recipe on this blog. I’m a big fan of using up my vegetables in a cake. Beware, this isn’t a light, airy sort of cake. It’s not a skipping through a flower meadow in a floaty skirt sort of cake. Its a sturdy, robust, walking boots and a chunky knit scarf sort of cake. Perfect with a cup of tea after a brisk, wintry dog walk.

You can substitute the butternut squash for pumpkin, or use ripe, mashed bananas. And I have made it with or without the walnuts, and it’s equally good.

Ingredients:

  • 125g softened butter
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 150g walnuts
  • 250g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a couple of pinches of allspice
  • 200g brown soft sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 250g butternut squash or pumpkin
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 150g dark chocolate, roughly chopped, or choc chips. Plus an extra 50g for topping.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºc. Butter and line a couple of small loaf tins, or 1 larger tin (I used a 1.5 litre capacity tin).
  2. Peel and roughly chop the squash, put into a pan of simmering water for about 10 minutes, and when soft, drain and mash well.
  3. Mix the milk with the lemon juice and leave aside.
  4. Put the walnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes to toast. Leave to cool.
  5. Sift the flour, bicarb, cinnamon and allspice into a bowl.
  6. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with half the sugar in a mixer or with an electric beater until light and fluffy.
  7. Gradually add the eggs with a spoonful of the flour mixture, and then beat in the rest of the sugar, the squash and vanilla essence.
  8. Beat the rest of the flour mixture in along with the milk, bit by bit.
  9. Roughly chop the walnuts and fold into the mixture along with the chocolate.
  10. Pour into the loaf tin(s) and bake in the oven for 50 mins or until a metal skewer comes out clean.
  11. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes (this is important, I have made the mistake of trying to tip it out too quickly and left half of it in the tin, please don’t repeat my mistake).
  12. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack, and when cool enough, melt the rest of the chocolate and drizzle over in your best Jackson Pollock impression.

Squash bread 3

%d bloggers like this: