Sunday, 21 September 2008

20.09.08: Roast butternut squash, Middle Eastern spinach, quorn, and fig salad

She broke a longstanding prejudice against dealing with giant gourds (hard to cut, too long to cook, etc) and baked a butternut with butter, maple syrup and ras-al-hanout; tried a tempting recipe for spiced spinach with yoghurt and pine nuts from NYT; flipped some lemon-pepper quorn fillets in the pan; and took advantage of a timely fig sale to sophistimatise a salad in which sweetfire beetroot played a supporting role. Bonus: a sprinkle of toasted squash seeds.

SHE SAYS: The spinach dish was fantastically garlicky, rich in allspice intensity, and silky on the tongue, but 'serves three'? Who are they kidding? We barely had a little blob each! I knew that one bag of spinach would likely shrivel to Borrower-size portions, but I have a bad habit of trusting a recipe first time around. Fun fact: the laughingly simple garlic yoghurt is a dead ringer for ranch dressing, kid ye not. We spooned ample amounts over the quorn and even drizzled it over the salad.

The butternut squash is the real star, though. The Bart brand ras-al-hanout is v nutmeggy, with a touch of rose petal, and undercuts the vegginess of the squash just so. This early crop was so tender we could eat it skin and all. Next time (and there will be many next times), I'll try baking with olive oil to see if we can replicate the luxuriousness with a slightly healthier fat.

The salty, toasted seeds of the squash were less effective in salad than they were when eaten alone out of a handy little bowl (frequently); but the fig and beetroot played nicely together in sweet-tart harmony.

HE SAYS: Mmmmm, the squash was absolutely devine, cooked perfectly; soft, moist, creamy and with the maple syrup, delish. The garlic sauce was also fantastic, very light but very moreish. I wished there was more of the spinach but managed to spread it around the plate enough to combine with mouthfuls of the crunchy quorn and sweet, sweet squash. It was nice to have the figs in attendance once again in the salad (after what seems like a long time) and they worked perfectly paired with my favorite root vegatable of the year, the beetroot.


Michele said...

I'm stopping by from the Foodie Blog Roll. :-)

The beetroot and figs look delicious together. I could eat just that for dinner.

Lubna Karim said...

I really like the new theme of cooking involving both husband and wife. My hearty congratulations for the superb culinary couple who do all the things by sharing and loving. First time here through blogroll. Will visit soon. Comming to the recipe, it looks gr8.