The days are beginning to shorten, and although the sun has been shining quite a lot for us so far this September, the nights are cold and we’ve well and truly swapped suncream for jumpers now. At this time of year my thoughts always turn to food – maybe a throwback to my more primal ancestors; recent research has shown that our ancestors’ experiences are expressed in our genes. Mine were Snowdonian sheep farmers so it’s no wonder really that despite my warm house and many nearby supermarkets I get an urge to gather and cook at this time of year.
One of my food cravings as the air turns colder is spice, lots of spice! I’m not entirely sure I can thank my Snowdonian roots for that, but we apparently also have Spanish sea captains in our bloodline, so maybe that’s where it comes from.
I have a bit of a predicament when it comes to spice though; one of my daughters loves hot and spicy food, and the other screams if she gets anything remotely on the warm side of spicy in her mouth! You’d hope that one of the perks of having identical twins would be that they enjoy the same food but no – one loves fruit, the other doesn’t, one will eat her way through half a cow and the other won’t touch meat; and we have the spice issue as well. I remember one particularly stressed-looking mum at our local baby group telling me identical twins must be so easy compared to her two children of different ages because they have the same needs – cue lots of deep breathing and a polite smile from me!
Anyway, I’ll get to the point of this post. Pre-babies I’d make this recipe for myself and my husband on the very spicy side, but now it’s a much lighter dusting of spice to suit my daughter’s tender palate.
I grow squash in my garden most years, like I know my grandparents did. I use a lovely organic variety called ‘Uchiki Kuri’ which yields a ridiculous amount of delicious golden fleshed squash great for curries, risotto, roasting or in soup. I’ve even used it in cakes! This year, I had a vegetable growing disaster in that I didn’t manage to grow a single thing; unless you count a limp pea plant that yielded about 8 peas from 2 pods! So for this recipe, I bought a lovely looking organic squash from the supermarket. Cheating, yes, but it just wouldn’t be Autumn without squash!
- One large butternut squash
- One teaspoon turmeric
- Half a teaspoon ground coriander
- Half a teaspoon of black pepper
- Half a teaspoon of cumin
- One inch cubed of fresh ginger, chopped
- Half a teaspoon of fresh chilli, chopped (optional – sadly none for us!)
- A pint of water, plus more as needed
- A third of a can of coconut milk
- Tablespoon of coconut oil
Optional extra – 2 small handfuls of white quinoa to boost the protein content of this meal & make it more filling
- Peel, deseed and chop the squash into cubes
- Saute with the coconut oil and all the spices in a large saucepan for about 5 mins
- Add the water, and top up as needed until the squash is really soft
- (Optional) add the quinoa, and more water, and simmer for a further 20 mins
- Blend well, then stir in the coconut milk back on the heat for 5 minutes