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Posh Squash! (for a veggie dinner party)

January 27, 2013

Last night I had a lovely time with some local pals, who came to the house bearing bottles of vino, chocolate and – wonderfully – a Spanish halva-style confection made with almonds. The latter was good news indeed, as I hadn’t remembered to make a pudding. Oops. Luckily, I did make enough main course to fill bellies fu’ twice over.

I used to do a lot of entertaining. That I do less now has nothing to do with my change in diet, but more to do with the fact I don’t see my old friends very often, I’m a lot busier than I used to be, and the place I live is quite wee, with a very, very wee kitchen! But I was truly excited n delighted to be donning my entertaining apron (not as entertaining as Nanny Ogg’s spiderpants – but that’s a tale for a different blog) and getting into the dinner party mindset once again.

The local supermarket, which is a mere 20 miles from my door, is now selling some remarkably interesting fruits n veg, including samphire, fresh turmeric, gourds, shiitake mushrooms … and plantain. At the sight of the plantain, a little greedy light bulb went off in my brain and I decided to jazz up an old recipe. This one, to be precise:

Spicy Banana Soup

Who you callin' bananas?

Who you callin’ bananas?

But instead of using two bananas, I decided to try using one fat plantain instead. I’d never eaten one before, much to Yesh’s astonishment, and was intrigued to discover just how much like a banana it was. Turns out, not much. It’s like a cross between a banana and a potato – and much more like the latter than the former. A few more differences, too: I didn’t use Brussel Sprouts,  and because I used the juice of half a lime and half a lemon as well as the zest – and because the long red chilli I used was pretty hot – I didn’t need to add lime pickle. In fact, I used too much of the juice and had to add water, so I would recommend using it sparingly and to taste. Another wee point – plantain doesn’t cook like banana. It needs loads of time to soften, so cook it up in the stock first and only add the coconut milk at the last. Finally, because plantain is not sweet, you may need to counter the spicy citrus with a teaspoon or two of sugar.

So that was my starter. And because it is the season to be squashy, and because I’d already tested out the flavour combos on my previous squash recipe, I thought this would be a good option. Posh Squash!

Photo from nigella.com

Photo from nigella.com

Ingredients (Serves 6)

3 small butternut squashes

6 fir apple potatoes

Thyme

200g stilton

Large handful pecan nuts

Olive oil

Salt n pepper

Method:

  1. Put the pecan nuts in the oven and gently roast for 5- 10 minutes or so
  2. Split the squashes and scoop out their brains. Don’t bother to peel them – the skin softens and is full of fibre and goodness.
  3. Now dice them into chunks about 3cm and scatter them on an oiled baking tray along with the fir apple potatoes, halved (or quartered, if necessary). Glug some more olive oil over them, season with salt and pepper and scatter thyme over their little heads.
  4. Roast in the oven at 2oo˚C for 45 mins or so.
  5. Once roasted, tip the squash and potatoes into a serving bowl and sprinkle over the roasted pecans. Add the crumbled stilton and toss it all together.
  6. Eat several helpings. I served it with roasted vegetables, Purple Majestic potato salad (very cool colour), and a simple leaf salad. Most lovely.

Most importantly – try and serve it to people as fun and appreciative as F, Nanny Ogg, A and – of course – Yesh were. Hurrah for friends on cold rainy nights!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 27, 2013 9:24 pm

    Delicious whether wearing spider pants or not. Highly recommended.

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