As the autumn kicks in with temperatures dropping slowly but surely, as it should and it’s expected, I prefer my food to get warmer, heartier, go for healthier choices and….of course, have a bit of a kick.
- It sustains local farming;
- It gives us the best- nutrition wise- and
- It’s seasonal which is very important.
I remember years ago going to the supermarket filling up the trolley with everything I fancied (being hungry never helped) and spending a lot of money on so much stuff that I would never touch nowadays. Since I have changed my way of shopping for groceries, food is costing us less, paradoxically I know because organic is more expensive, but that is because we buy less, we buy better quality, we buy what we need and I never throw away food. Ever!
Three grains, mushrooms with fresh herbs and onion squash bateau
This autumn dish is packed with goodness and offers a great deal of flavours, nutrition and it is truly delicious.
- 1 onion squash organic *
- 400 g mushrooms divided into half
- 100 g short grain brown rice organic cooked
- 50 g long grain rice boiled
- 150 g red and black quinoa cooked
- 1 small bunch freshly picked herbs *
- 150 g dudhi finely diced *
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 small red peppers finely diced
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- good drizzle Tabasco sauce (optional)
- 4 tbsp thyme infused balsamic vinegar * or lemon juice or both
Boil or steam quinoa and the rices and bake the squash* if not cooked or baked already. I’ve had these from the night before.
Chop half of the mushroom quantity into thin slices the remaining half pulse in a food processor until they become like a small rice grains or couscous size.
Place a slightly deeper pan on medium fire, add 1/2 of the coconut oil and brown slightly the mushroom slices. When ready, take out on a plate and set aside.
In the same pan add the other half of the coconut oil, the diced dudhi, the celery and cook for about 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and the riced mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring every so often.
Add the rices and the quinoa mix well for 3 minutes. Mix in the finely chopped herbs along with cooked mushroom slices and mix well for 1-2 minutes stirring almost constantly. Turn off the heat, spoon this into the squash boats and serve.
* It took me a lot less to get this dish ready since I had the rice, quinoa and pumpkin already cooked - had them as leftovers.
I am sure you know what it’s like when you have a handful of this a handful of that that makes it quite difficult to know what to make with all these little leftovers.
This dish is great at gathering all these little quantities of leftover ingredients.
* if you are not cooking this from scratch and you have it leftover you will need to warm this up at some point either in a pan or in the oven for a few minutes.
* squash preparation it’s easy, just wash thoroughly, cut it into two halves, scoop out the seeds and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Wash the seeds, season them (salt and pepper) and throw them in the oven too on a tray. They’re way too good to throw away.
* I do this a lot and I do recommend it to you too especially when you know the next day is a busy one- whenever I bake something in the oven here it goes a pumpkin or some potatoes that can be a next day lunch or supper. It saves quite a bit time and energy. Planning ahead a little it’s magnificent.
Many of my friends and family ask me quite often, how can I possibly cope with cooking every single day- well, this is how.
Dudhi... what’s this? ....
You may or may not heard of this vegetable before. It is actually known under few other names, depending on where you are in the world - it is also known as calabash, doodhi, bottle gourd or lauki. It is a nice vegetable but you need to make sure it is not bitter as that is an indication of this veggies being poisonous. Preparation is simple. Peel, wash chop, making sure it is not bittter once again. I never eat it raw but always cooked.
Other tips :
* to infuse the balsamic vinegar simply add fresh thyme to the balsamic vinegar you will be using for at least half an hour before using or dry thyme to a larger quantity which can be used in the future. Use your instincts. 😉
* herbs used - lemon thyme, lovage and parsley, all from my own garden.
* it serves 4 people if served on its own but it will serve 6 with some meat on the side depending on the pumpkin/squash size. This was a larger one.