Butternut Squash

"It will be dry and sunny today with temperatures from 18 to 25 degrees"

"It will be dry and sunny today with temperatures from 18 to 25 degrees". 
Thats according to the weather man on RTE radio this morning. And the same again tomorrow! The smell of BBQ's will be tickling the taste-buds all around the country. We'll leave Brady's, Moran's and Etherson's to sort your meat for you, but we can help you with the trimmings with a few great specials.


Italian new potatoes are perfect for a potato salad and we have 2 kilo bags for €2.

Strawberries, a must in this weather, are €3 for 500g punnets or 2 for €5 while stocks last.

Large Royal Gala Apples will make a great Waldorf salad and are only 5 for €1.

Butternut Squash €1 each... just in case you don't like barbecuing...

 

Pumpkins, Squashes and Gourds

In Ireland pumpkins have pretty much always only been grown for carving at Halloween. We've never really done squashes or pumpkins for cooking like the English or our other European friends and I think we've been missing out. The first time I tasted pumpkin was when I was working on a sheep farm in New Zealand. The farmer and his wife roasted a beautiful leg of lamb with roast pumpkin, roast potatoes and fresh mint sauce and as a poor student living on spaghetti alla ketchup for most of the winter, I can safely say it was the best meal I had there. But I couldn't get over how delicious the pumpkin was. I had never tasted any pumpkin or squash before that and I was a fan straight away. Since then I have tried a few different types and while they all have a similar squashy taste, they can very quite a lot in sweetness, strength of flavour and texture. 
Butternut Squash has been readily available in Ireland for a good few years now but here are a few other varieties starting to make an appearance when the season starts, which is around now. These are generally brought in from France where they have made a huge effort to revive these and other "legume d'antan" (forgotten vegetables).

Potimarron. Aka the "Hokkiado" or "Red Kuri" are small round squashes with a beautiful deep orange colour. They are in season from early Autumn through the winter. They have a slight chestnut flavour and are lovely for making soups, but the best thing about them is that the skins are edible! This makes them much easier and quicker to cook rather than the butternuts that can take and age to prepare. Just chop them up, roast them in the oven and voila! the perfect accompaniment to roast lamb!

 
 

Patidou. Aka "Carnival Squash". This squash has a wonderful range of colours on their skin. Cut them in half and scoop out the seeds and you can stuff them with whatever filling tickles your fancy. Or you can cut the top off, roast them whole, serve soup in them or even a bake an egg in them.

Spaghetti Squash. This is a really interesting one. It gets its name because when you cook it and scoop it away from the skin, it comes away in spaghetti like strands. It tastes like squash with a light nutty flavour but it's not that strong which is actually good because it is mainly used as a replacement for pasta or noodles and absorbs the flavours of the sauces / ingredients it is cooked with.

Jack be Little. These little fellas are great for display around Halloween but are edible and quite tasty too. They are perfect for roasting whole or stuffing but I wouldn't recommend peeling and chopping them because they would be too fiddly.

 
_MG_9063.jpg
 

Apart from these edible pumpkins, there are loads of cool display squashes and gourds as well. These are brilliant for Halloween and some of them are really ugly. There are also some prettier ones though and if you grow really attached to them you can dry them out and keep them as ornaments! It takes a few months though so you have to be patient. Choose a dry, well ventilated spot out of direct sunlight and make sure to turn them every week or so. The skin will become hard and the inside hollow. The seeds will harden up as well and you'll know they're ready when you shake them and the seeds rattle around inside.

 
 

Butternut Squash with chickpeas and tahini

Ingredients: 

1 medium butternut squash cubed
1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice
2 garlic cloves
1 tin of chickpeas
1/2 a red onion
1 handful of fresh coriander
the juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons of tahini
water
olive oil
salt and pepper

This is a favourite recipe of mine from a book called "Casa Moro" by Sam and Sam Clark. The book is full of beautiful recipes from South of Spain and North Africa and is must if you like food from these regions. It's pretty quick to make and makes a delicious and filling lunch or can be beefed up a bit for dinner by mixing some quinoa through.

_MG_8941.jpg

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. First thing to do is crush the garlic by smashing it with the side of a knife, add a little salt and mash into a paste.  In a baking tray, toss the butternut squash, half the crushed garlic, the ground allspice, a glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Put in the oven unitl the butternut is cooked through.
In the meantime, drain and rinse the chickpeas, finely slice the onion, roughly chop your coriander and make the tahini dressing. To do this, mix the tahini, lemon juice, the rest of the crushed garlic, a bit of salt and pepper and some olive oil together. Add water gradually until you get a nice runny consistency. I find the easiest way to do this (and all dressings) is to put all the ingredients in a jar, close the lid and shake gently, tasting and adjusting as I need to. 
When the butternut squash is done, add the onion, chickpeas, coriander and the dressing to the tray and mix well. Season to taste.

New Specials

We're doing some great Autumn Specials at the moment. Whether you prefer to juice it in the morning or mash it up with your spuds, super duper healthy Kale is always a winner. Especially at .75c a bag!

Squash season is up and running so we've put Butternut Squash on at a bargain. It's a really versatile vegetable and is great in soups, stews or roasted whole or chopped (keep an eye out for a recipe coming soon). €1/kilo.

We also have these beautiful juicy Katy Apples from Oldtown, North Country Dublin. They're only €1/punnet.

Have a look at our last post about Liguori Pasta to see why we think its so special. The Fresine is a really nice cut, very similar to Tagliatelle when cooked. A steal at 2 for €3.