I was asked to do a cooking demo at Maggie’s in Dundee last night, as part of their support group programme for people with skin cancers. Since it’s Thanksgiving week, and America so much in the news (eeek! Donald T is half Scottish! How can this be true?) I thought I’d do a healthied-up version of a couple of my favourite Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipes. No photos I’m afraid – I got too caught up in delivering my presentation to remember to whip the camera out.
Anyway, we had a nice butternut squash and peanut soup, served with warm cornbread; and followed by a yoghurt/ custard/ blueberries/ pecan ‘Mess’ (if it’s good enough for Eton College, it’s good enough for me). I substituted butter for oil, and full-cream milk for semi-skimmed, and cut down on the salt. There are so many good flavours in these recipes that you really don’t notice the difference. My recipes below.
A note on chilli: I always find it hard to judge the quantity, as chillies seem to vary so much. This time for the cornbread I used Supernature cold-pressed rapeseed oil infused with chilli, and found it (a) very potent! and (b) very convenient – and more predictable perhaps than your random chilli off the supermarket shelf.
For the Mess, I used the last of my lovely fat blueberries frozen from my day at Downieken farm.
It was interesting researching the background to Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. It seems to have started as an early pilgrim thing and has evolved through the centuries. Here in Scotland we have a lot of thanksgiving services in churches at the end of the harvest season but otherwise I don’t think it’s marked very much. Lots of the donations handed in at these services are sent to the Food Bank, recognising that despite our peace and plenty, many people in the world’s most prosperous countries are still starving. Shocking.
|SQUASH AND NUTBUTTER SOUP
2 onions, 3 cloves garlic, 1-2 chillies, large knob of fresh ginger, grated; 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 butternut squashes, peeled, seeded, diced
1.5 litres veg stock
300g peanut butter
2 limes, a bunch of fresh coriander
1. Dice the onions, sweat in oil for 5 mins or till soft. Add chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another few mins; then the squash and some black pepper, put lid on and sweat for further 5 mins.
2. Add stock and simmer 20 mins or till squash soft. Blend. Take some of the hot liquid out of the pot and mix with peanut butter to loosen it up a bit – then pour the lot back into the soup. Heat through again. Add lime juice and chopped coriander; taste and add salt (only if needed) and black pepper.
3. Serve with optional garnishes – a blob of yoghurt, a sprinkle of peanuts, pumpkin seeds or finely chopped chillies, a sprinkle of coriander
150g each of cornmeal (polenta), and plain flour, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 2tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt; 50g grated strong Cheddar
6 sliced spring onions, 1 finely chopped chilli and 1tbsp rapeseed oil, 50g cooked sweetcorn
2 med eggs, 1tbsp runny honey, rapeseed oil, 150g plain wholemilk yoghurt, 150ml semi-skimmed milk
1. Preheat oven to 200 C and grease a 23cm square cake tin
2. Sift and mix dry ingredients into large bowl, folding cheese through after others well mixed. Make a well in centre.
3. Sweat spring onions and chillis in oil till softened but not coloured; add sweetcorn
4. Whisk wet ingredients together and add sweetcorn mix. Pour into well of dry ingredients and mix together – make sure it’s all combined, but don’t overstir.
5. Pour batter into tin and bake 20 mins. Leave to cool in tin for a few mins then cut into 12 squares and serve warm.