Food: Baked Spaghetti squash with lentil ragù

Having seen them be an Autumnal regular on many American food blogger’s Instagram feeds, I was pleasantly surprised when I found a spaghetti squash at Möllan Market, here in Malmö. I bought a good sized one, for myself and the Mr to share for dinner for 22kr (£1.87), but now was the challenge, what the hell do I do with it?! The solution came in the unlikely form of Instagram, one of my friend’s here in Malmö, Nourish With Julie (IG), also a food and travel blogger, had done spaghetti squash ‘pasta’ the previous night and a little guide to how to cook a spaghetti squash in her stories. So, fired up I decided to put a twist on it, using my lentil ragù recipe to fill the big orange vessels. However, instead of using green lentils I used red ones to have it all meld together to the colour of an Autumn leaf. To make my take on it, you’ll need:

(Feeds 2 (generously))

  • 1 spaghetti squash, de- seeded and cut in half
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100g of red lentils
  • 200ml of water
  • Splash of rapeseed oil/vegetable oil
  • 1 tbp of tomato puree
  • 1 tbp of sundried tomatoes/sundried tomato paste (optional)
  • Splash of red wine (optional)
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of black pepper (or more!)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or a generous handful of fresh if you can get it)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2-3 bay Leaves

Herbed breadcrumbs:

  •  100g (usually 3-5 slices) of stale bread
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Sprinkle of salt ( I used Halen Môn Anglesey sea saly)
  • Pepper

Garnish:

  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • Drizzle of garlic-infused oil

 

Start with the spaghetti squash, on a chopping board, cut it through the middle (be careful at this step, as the knife may not go through the flesh easily, depending on the individual squash) and scoop out all of the seeds. The seeds you can use as a snack, by seasoning them with spices and a little oil and oven baking them so don’t throw them away! Once you have two halves of squash, now with empty cavities, brush a little oil on them, followed by a crack of salt and pepper. Place them face down on a baking tray and place them into a pre-heated oven at 180°c for roughly 40-50 minutes (depending on the size of the squash).

Whilst the squash cooks you can sort out the ragù.

Fry the onions and garlic in the oil over a medium heat until soft. Stir in the tomato paste and the tin of tomatoes. Season with the herbs, the salt and the black pepper and add the splash of wine if you have it.

Pour in the lentils and add ¾ of the water to the mix. The lentils will suck up the water as they cook. give it a good stir – add more water if it’s looking a bit thick. Simmer on the back ring on a medium heat until the lentils are soft. Take out the bay leaves and set aside.

Once the squash halves are done, take them out of the oven and rough the flesh up a bit with a fork. Next, fill with the ragù and top with some herby breadcrumbs. You can easily make these by taking some stale bread and the dried herbs and blending them up with a food processor. Once broken down into seasoned breadcrumbs, top the ragù, as you would with some Parmesan, drizzle with some garlic oil, a sprinkle of the salt and place back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

When the top is all golden, garnish with some basil leaves and serve with a side salad with a punchy dressing and some bread. As the squash are quite substantial on their own, you wont need a lot to go with them.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

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Food: Gower Gin & orange marmalade

Recently, my local greengrocers had a glut of oranges that needed using up. With a few on the turn, they weren’t able to sell them at their normal price (which is also cheap, might I add, defying the myth that living in Sweden is ‘expensive’). I was able to get a bag of at least 15 oranges for the measly sum of 5kr (43p) and only 3 of them were duds!

Needing to use this citrusy surplus up, I got my thinking cap (and my apron!) on and made use of them. Making a marmalade instantly came to mind, so the next question was, what to pair with it? As I didn’t want a boring old orange marmalade. Why, of  course gin! I used some gin from producers Gower Gin Co , from my home-city of Swansea, South Wales.  The resulting product is a punchy, citrusy marmalade that’s great spread on toast (has to be good bread, though), swirled through porridge, or gone full-circle and made into a cocktail.  The recipe below makes one big pot of the stuff, but feel free to double, even triple the recipe, you wont regret it!

To make you’ll need:

  • 6 oranges, (Seville oranges work best)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 full kettle of water (mine can hold 1.2 litres of water)
  • 600g golden granulated sugar
  • 2 shots of gin, I used Gower Gin Co’s Gŵyr Gin

To start, cut all (but two) of the oranges and the lemon in half and juice into the a large pan, using a sieve to collect the seeds. Once you’ve done this, take out the seeds with a spoon and scoop out any flesh that had been collected by the sieve. Tip this into the pan. The rinds of all of these oranges and lemons are vital for the marmalade, so the next step is to cut them up and add them to the pan. Here’s where you can personalise the preserve to your liking, if you like it fine, cut it fine, but if you like it chunky, like I do, roughly chop up the peel. Add the water to the pan from a recently boiled kettle. It isn’t necessary, but I feel it speeds up the boiling process. Turn the hob to a medium-high heat. Add in the sugar and the remaining two oranges. Stir. You want to keep it to a rolling boil. Cook for 15 minutes. The reason I added in the two oranges in whole, is to give the conserve more body. A trick implemented by the makes of ‘whole orange squash’. After 15 minutes the fruits should be squidgy and soft. Remove and place into a mixing bowl. With a hand blender, give it a few pulses. What it should give is a very thick pureé, full of zesty goodness. Remove the pips with a spoon before pouring back into the pan. Cook for a further 30-40 minutes, giving it the ‘plate test’ every 10 minutes. The ‘plate test’ is if you drop a bit of the mixture onto a chilled plate/ saucer, it should start setting, forming a skin. You can test this by poking with your finger. If 40 minutes doesn’t do it, keep cooking and checking until it does.

When it finally passes the test, take it off the heat and leave for a few minutes. This is because we want to keep as much of the gin’s boozy punch as possible. After a few minutes stir in the gin and pour into a sterilised jar. Place the lid on and leave to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge (if you pre-emptively place it in the fridge it can mess with the internal thermostat of the fridge). It’ll set up even thicker in the fridge over night. Good things come to those that wait 😉

 

Enjoy!

Food: Bougie PB&J

I had half a punnet of strawberries that needed using up, so I decided to make them into a bougie conserve. So with it an easy way to pimp up your standard PB&J. Here’s how to do it. You can totally scale up the recipe, but I’m just jotting down what I had to work with.

For the Strawberry, lime & white rum jam

  • 100g strawberries, de-stalked
  • 50g sugar
  • 100ml water
  • Juice & zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 shot of white rum (optional)

 

to make, simply put a pan on the hob on medium-high and place in the sugar, strawberries and the water. It should take a few minutes for it all to start bubbling, but when it does it will come together quite quickly, so don’t get distracted as it can burn easily. Cook for 5-7 minutes on high until you can see it all becoming a pan of red, strawberry flavoured loveliness. When you see that happening, take it off the heat and add in the lime zest, juice and the rum. As it will still be hot, be careful when mixing it in. Pour into a glass jar and leave on the countertop to cool before putting it in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.

 

The next day the jam should have set and be halfway between a jam and a firm compote.

 

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This is what I had left of the jam after scoffing it all down!

The next step to make is the peanut caramel. To make you’ll need:

  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 20g peanuts (I used roasted peanuts, but you can use un roasted too)
  • Pinch of salt. I used some exquisite Anglesey sea salt with Tahitian vanilla from Halen Môn

Like the jam,  add in the sugar and the water and cook in a hot pan until they start forming a light caramel, then add in the peanuts. Roll them around in the pan, without using a spoon or spatula and enrobe them in the caramel. Cook the caramel mixture out until it turns golden brown. Pour onto a silicone baking sheet (you can use a spatula now) and sprinkle with the salt. The flavour of Halen Môn’s vanilla salt will compliment the lime and strawberry of the jam perfectly. Leave to cool and harden.

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Halen Môn’s Anglesey Sea Salt with Tahitian vanilla.

Now to make the foundation of it all, the toast. I used some great sourdough from a local bakery here in Malmö, Organic Bakery, that I rescued with this great app here in Sweden and also in London called Karma. They work with local businesses to sell their ‘end of the day’ produce at a reduced price. Meaning the consumer reduces food waste, supports local businesses and gets amazing quality food for a fraction of the price. (Not a sponsor but if you’re in London or Sweden it would be silly not to check them out!).

Anyway, back to the toast…

Top that warm toast off with some tasty dairy-free ‘butter’ and top with a thick layer of peanut butter. Spread the jam on one half and place pieces of the now cooled salted peanut caramel brittle on the other. Top with a few sliced strawberries and devour!

 

Enjoy!

 

Food: My ‘God’s Butter’

Sarah Philpott’s book ‘The Occasional Vegan’ has been a regular source of inspiration to me, containing an array of recipes from different cuisines, all vegan. So, whether you fancy a Buddha Bowl or a dirty vegan ‘pork pie’, she and the book has you covered. The recipes give a great foundation, that if you want to differ from it, verse and gospel, you can. This brings me to the greatness that is her ‘God’s Butter’ and my version of it. Such an easy and satisfying recipe for a pea, avocado and mint spread. You’ll find the original recipe on Page 47 of the book. To make my version of the recipe, you’ll need:

  • 200g frozen peas or petit pois
  • 1-2 ripe avocados
  • Zest & juice of 1 lime
  • 200g canned butter beans  (drained)
  • 1/2 a red chilli, sliced finely
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1tsp garlic infused oil
  • Salt & pepper

 

Boil the peas for 2-3 minutes, then take off the heat whilst they are still bright and green, rinse under a cold tap, until cool. Place in a mixing bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients (I’d chunk the avocado up, to make it easier to blend). Plug in a stick blender and pulse until it comes together into a green and aromatic spread. Season & you’re ready to serve.

My version is a lot smoother than the original, as I think with it being smoother it’s more versatile to be used as a base for a pasta sauce and a spread for toast. Below are just some of the ways I’ve used it.

 

Enjoy!

 

Published By Seren Books, RRP £12.99

With Pictures by Manon Houston

Food: Rude Food Recipe 4: ‘Keep the cold at bay’ soup

 

The #Beastfromtheeast has left its mark over all of northern Europe it seems and snowy Malmö is no exception. I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands with this stalwart soup that will batten down the hatches with plenty of fresh alium and flush out any lingering nasties with the heat of the chilli. The level of any of these is preferential, but here are the amounts that I used.

You will need:

  • 1 pack of cooked Beetroot, and its juice
  • The zest & juice of 1/2 lemon,
  • 1/2 tsp chilli, (go full tsp if you’re feeling particularly under the weather!),
  • 2 medium potatoes,
  • 1/2 an onion,
  • 1tbs Sauerkraut juice (optional, I used some, leftover from my dear friend Kathe Kaczmarzyk’s pop-up here in Malmö) ,
  • 3 cloves of garlic,
  • 3 rhizomes of fresh turmeric, grated,
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon,
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger,
  • Salt & pepper,
  • 500ml homemade veg stock
  • 1tbs dried parsley,

For the orange, ginger & mustard crème:

  • 2tbs dairy free crème fraîche (I used Oatly fraîche)
  • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • zest & juice of 1/4 orange
  • Thumb- size piece of ginger, grated

Garnish:

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped.

 

 

The method for soups is always fairly simple, the magic here is the contents and not the process.

Chop the onion, the garlic and the onions roughly, separately chop up the beetroot into chunks and make sure you keep the juices.

Gently soften the onion and the garlic in a little oil and then add the potatoes, stir them through. Begin to add the lemon juice, the sauerkraut, the beetroot pieces, the beetroot juice and then grate in the lemon zest and the turmeric. Be careful with the fresh turmeric as it will stain anything, including your skin, so you might want to use gloves. Add the spices, the herbs and then pour over the stock, season to your taste including the chilli!

Bring the whole thing up to a robust simmer before sticking in the oven at 140 degrees celsius (fan assisted) and allow it to do its thing for at least an hour. Take the whole thing out, stir and check the seasoning. When you’re happy with it you can blast the whole thing with a stick blender or a food processor until it’s thick.

The aroma should be rich and earthy with the beetroot and the garlic, the back notes from the sauerkraut and the lemon should be sharp and punchy. The heat should be there to the taste too from the chilli. The colour should be like you’ve liquidised rubies.

For the punchy crème, simply mix all the ingredients together into a bowl and leave to thicken for 5 minutes.

Serve with a good loaf of your favourite sourdough, a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a generous dollop of the punchy fraîche.

Enjoy!

Food: Easy broccoli & borlotti bean penne with my Zogghiu

On the weekend I bought a big bunch of fresh mint from my local greengrocer for a Middle-Eastern dish. I was left thinking what to make with still a sizeable bunch left-over. Turn to Sicily!

In Sicily, unlike other parts of Italy, they have a special Eastern Influence on their flavours, because of the island’s special history, this has lead them to use mint as a herb, rather than just a garnish or for sweets. This has produced some real treasures like zogghiu, a minty & pistachio filled pesto. It would normally have some parsley too, but my version still produces a great, fresh & zingy sauce for pasta.

Serves 2

To make you’ll need:

  • 200g dried penne (100g per person)
  • Half a head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tin of Borlotti beans, drained

For the zogghiu (pesto):

  • Bunch of fresh mint (cut the stalks off)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4tbs rapeseed/ olive oil
  • 1tbs pine nuts
  • 1tbs pistachios (unsalted & shelled)
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1tbs white wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

Garnish:

  • Few mint leaves
  • handful of pistachios

Start with the pesto, simply add the ingredients into a food processor and whizz up into a fragrant green paste. Before blending, keep a few mint leaves aside for garnish. Remember to stop half way, scrape the sides down with a spatula and go again, this will ensure a smoother, more even pesto. Then remove and scrape into a bowl.

Put a pot of salted water onto boil, as it gets up to speed, place in the broccoli. Poach until they’re tender, but still have a bright green colour. Remove with a scoop. Place the pasta in and cook for 8-10 minutes, until al-dente. In the last minute of cooking, add in the Borlotti beans. Strain and place back into the pan. Add the florets of broccoli and pour in 1/2 of the pesto. You can store the other half in the fridge or freezer for a future meal. Fold the minty sauce through the pasta and vegetables. Then scoop into bowls. Add a few mint leaves and a handful of pistachios as a garnish, a nod to whats in the very special pesto.

Enjoy!

FOOD: RUDE FOOD RECIPE 2: PARSNIP, SAGE & BROWN MUSTARD SOUP

For my second recipe as Rude Food ambassador; as I still had a glut of rescued parsnips and potatoes left, I thought I’d do a take on my roasted parsnip & mustard soup.

these are rescued ingredients I was given for this recipe: rescued parsnips, sage, apples & potatoes.

You’ll need:

  • 4-5 medium parsnips (roasted)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 potatoes, peeled & cut into quarters
  • 1tbsp German mustard (use wholegrain mustard as an alternative)
  • 1tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1tbs dried sage
  • 1tbs dried parsley
  • 1 Litre of water
  • Rapeseed oil

Garnish:

  • A handful walnuts chopped and toasted
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-2 small golden roasted parsnips
  • slice of fried apple (optional)
  • Some walnut oil (optional)

 

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C with your baking tray loaded with a generous glug or two of rapeseed oil, then peel and parboil the parsnips and potatoes. Toss the parsnips in the hot oil and roast for 25 minutes or so.

While they’re cooking, chop and fry the onion in a Le Creuset style deep pan with a little oil until they’re soft and mellow. Next, add in the potatoes. When the parsnips are done, remove from the oven and snip into the pot with a pair of scissors (keep one or two smaller parsnips and leave to one side for the garnish). Pour over the water, stir in the mustards, the dried parsley & sage and season generously with salt and black pepper. Put the lid on and let it simmer for a further thirty minutes.

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When the soup’s done its thing, take a hand blender and blitz the whole thing into a thick, creamy soup. For the topping, chop and toast the walnuts in apotatoes dry frying pan.  Finish with chopped parsley, a slice of fried apple, walnuts, a drizzle of walnut oil and the whole roasted parsnips you kept from earlier.

Serve with with a good hearty loaf; I served mine with a crusty walnut bread and a good beer!

 

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