Entries in squash (8)


pumpkin soup with tomato, corn and coriander salsa

this is a very simple vegetarian soup but also one that surprised me. the heart of it is a mix of pumpkin (or squash) and sweetcorn, plus shallots fried in butter and some fresh lime juice for a bit of zing. plus a great salsa topping.

i was worried the soup would be too sweet (something i often find with sweetcorn dishes) or that i would be craving spice but as i was intrigued by the salsa i pushed on. the surprise was that while the soup was sweet, it was also very savoury. i think that was at least partly due to my choice of  my favourite crown prince pumpkin which has a lovely depth of flavour compared to some squashes or pumpkins, so choose carefully if you fancy making this. i think the flavour was also improved by my use of (leftover) roasted pumpkin, although the recipe stipulates raw.

having said that, i think the the salsa is where it gets really interesting. sweetcorn kernels are fried in a little butter-oil mix until they begin to brown and caramelise (so delicious!). this extra sweetness is then offset by some chopped tomato, lime zest, coriander and salty feta cheese. it works fabulously well and turns this into something a little bit special.

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roasted squash and caramelised onion galette


i’m not a big fan of pastry but have found that smitten kitchen has some interesting pastries that are both easy to make and delicious – her empanada pastry is wonderfully light and flaky (it’s unusual for including vinegar) and, as i discovered last night, so too is the pastry she uses to make this roasted squash and caramelised onion galette.

in this case the unusual aspect is the use of sour cream (although i swapped this for greek yoghurt as that was all i had in) and lemon juice. again it is a light, flaky pastry and a great contrast to the soft sweet squash and onions. 

i’m looking forward to making different versions of this galette – spanakopita flavours of spinach and feta is an obvious choice but i also like the idea of roasted peppers, courgettes and aubergine; or something with lamb, pomegranate molasses and pine nuts. what do you think would be good?

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pickled pumpkin – version 1


as you know, i enjoy reading rowley leigh’s recipes for the ft – they are an interesting mix of quite classic dishes, that i’ve often never heard of, and more contemporary, often asian, ones. it’s usually the classic italian recipes and the asian ones that i cook, i’m never that keen on traditional french dishes although his recent eggs poached in red wine did make me think twice, just because of the crazy look of the dish!

this recipe really appealed as it uses pickled pumpkin, something that i’ve never tried to make or eat. and given the flavours of the thai dressing, i thought it would be good as the weather turns more spring like.

the final thing that made me cook it was when, flicking through some old magazines, i found a skye gyngell recipe that also uses pickled pumpkin in a completely different way! so i decided to make both.

rowley’s pickling mix has a lot of spice in it – cloves, ginger, pepper and bay – plus lemon garlic and chilli. the preserved pickle can be kept in the fridge, in its pickling mix, for a couple of weeks.

i enjoyed the dish – the dressing’s thai flavours reflect the slight spiciness of the pumpkin. however, i do think it’s best as a starter – i had it as a main and while eating the pumpkin was fun to begin with, it became a bit monotonous as i neared the end.

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candied pumpkin seeds… and squash and fennel soup


the other soup i’ve been eating is suzanne goin’s squash and fennel soup with crème fraiche and candied pumpkin seeds.

it’s the candied pumpkin seeds that really make this so, if you plan to make any sort of squash or pumpkin soup i think you should give these a try.

as you’d expect, the soup has a real sweetness to it, which comes from the roasted squash (i used butternut) but this is balanced by the underlying fennel flavour, which makes a change from the more usual flavours that accompany squash and pumpkin in soups.

the crème fraiche obviously helps lighten this even further but all the flavours are accentuated by the pumpkin seeds which are toasted with butter, sugar, honey and spices (cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and paprika) so they are coated in a crispy crunchy spicy caramel layer. absolutely wonderful. i think you need both the crème fraiche and the seeds for the recipe to really shine and i’m looking forward to trying the seeds with other squash soup recipes (they’d be nice in winter salads too)

as an aside, i read a few blog posts about people adding extra sweet stuff to this recipe, such as maple syrup, which is horribly unappealing – it’s more than sweet enough! 

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squash and chickpea soup


a couple of weeks ago i received a selection of different types of squash in my vegetable box. some were roasted with garlic and chilli but the onion squash was saved (or. more accurately, neglected and then embraced) for a skye gyngell recipe – onion squash and chickpea soup. 

skye sings the praises of the onion squash – its deep rich flavour, firm texture and particularly its skin, which doesn’t need to be removed. perfect for a lazy saturday lunch.

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