gem squash - of course!


did you guess correctly? yes, these beautiful vegetables are gem squash.

gem squash are vegetables from my childhood in malawi and as well as tasting wonderful (a sweet squash, with a less dense texture than butternut squash), they are bound up with all sorts of childhood memories, particularly our christmas day meal which would usually feature them.


usually we would have them boiled, halved, seeds removed and then mashed with butter, salt and pepper which is exactly how i decided to take my trip down memory lane. this is how i demolished my first two gem squash.

the remaining two were baked, stuffed with a tomatoey chickpea filling and topped with goats cheese. this was absolutely delicious with some sauteed potatoes and a spinach salad with a raspberry dressing.


stuffed gem squash (serves 2)

2 gem squash, halved and seeds removed

1 tablepsoon olive oil

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

200g chopped tomatoes (tinned are fine)

200g cooked chickpeas (tinned are fine)

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped

salt & pepper

1 small rinded goats cheese

preheat the oven to 200c.

finish preparing the gem squash by removing some of the flesh (i use a teaspoon) so that it is only 5mm thick and you have a larger hole in the centre of each squash to stuff. chop any large pieces roughly.

heat the olive oil and gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli until they soften. add the squash flesh and cook for another 5 minutes. add the tomatoes and chickpeas and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes. add the parsley, season to taste and split the mixture between the gem squash halves. bake for 35-40 minutes until the squash flesh is soft when pricked with a fork.

top each squash with a slice of goats cheese and put them under a hot grill until the cheese starts to colour and has softened. serve!