Food shopping at the moment is such a test. The second you step in to a supermarket you're surrounded by mince pies, mulled wine, Christmas cake, massive gift boxes of chocolate. It's very easy to be distracted from picking up the sweet potato and the two lemons you came in for!!
So whilst on my essentials shop today, I tried to pick up some seasonal vibes in the cleanest way possible: cranberries, walnuts, medjool dates, mixed spice and cinnamon. There are so many core ingredients to all our festive treats which when you strip away the cream, alcohol and sugar, can still create some amazing dishes. In fact, it's these ingredients that make them so special. I'm hoping my next few blogs over the following weeks will help you shop, cook and eat for the season without too much additional poundage!
I'm starting with a salad, yes I know, a salad! But it's warm, it's sweet, it's spicy and has a fabulous wintery feel. This vegetarian salad would love a bit of leftover turkey… or any meat really as the rosemary, garlic and cranberry from this dish work beautifully with chicken, lamb and pork as well. In the case of this salad, they are flavouring a delicious roasted butternut squash.
Enjoy cooking this as much as eating it. Your kitchen will be filled with the incredible aroma of bubbling cranberries and ginger, roasting squash with rosemary and toasted walnuts… enjoy!
For the squash
- 1 butternut squash peeled and diced
- 2 red onions diced (similar size to squash)
- 4 cloves garlic quartered
- Few sprigs rosemary
- Tablespoon coconut oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the cranberry sauce
- 100g fresh cranberries
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 100ml water
- Grating of ginger (optional)
- Orange zest (optional)
- 6-8 walnuts
- Handful of rocket, spinach or other greens
1. Preheat oven to 200C/gas mark 6
2. Place squash, garlic, onion and rosemary on a baking tray, season well and drizzle with coconut oil and toss ingredients
3. Place in oven to roast for 30-40 mins (or until squash cooked and before onion burns) remove onion first if squash needs longer.
4. Whist squash is roasting put water and agave nectar in a milk pan and bring to the boil. Add orange zest and ginger if using.
5. Add cranberries and cook for about 5 minutes until they start to pop. Then take off heat.
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan until you can smell them releasing their gorgeous toasted fragrance.
6. Put cranberries and walnuts into bowls and in the bottom of the oven to keep warm until squash is cooked.
7. Once the squash is cooked, put a handful of rocket on a plate (or other greens, I like rocket as the peppery taste cuts through the sweetness of the squash, cranberries and roasted onions). Add a generous helping of squash and onions with its garlicky rosemary juices.
8. Spoon on the cranberry sauce and scatter toasted walnuts over the salad.
9. Dig in and enjoy on its own as a main dish or alongside a protein of your choice: turkey, chicken and quinoa will all work beautifully.
Until next time,