The wandering lemon grater

Breakfast

Fruit and oat bagel with jam, watermelon

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I have to admit that I hadn’t actually tackled a whole water melon before breakfast- it was a ready prepared version of the same fruit. It tasted just as good though and gave a Mediterranean flavour to a decidedly chilly morning.

Lunch

Pittas with home made hummus, crisps, grapes, piece of flapjack

This was the last of the hummus I’d made before the weekend, teamed up with some peppers I’d roasted last week. If you never have time to roast peppers (which is absolutely fair enough), you can buy some quite nice ones in a jar (generally next to the jars of olives in supermarkets). The flapjack was one of the very extensive Blackfriars range which are mostly vegan.

Dinner

Rice with roasted peppers and butternut squash, watercress, pitta, a few coconut peanuts

Dessert: Strawberries and some dark chocolate

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Roasted butternut squash has such a lovely flavour and it goes really well with roasted peppers. The butternut squash was only £1 in Tesco so seemed like quite a bargain. These ingredients would also be great for a hearty salad or with couscous. Some nice additions would be pumpkin seeds and lemon zest, but these were both out of bounds tonight. Tesco didn’t seem to run to pumpkin seeds this evening and I currently have a frustratingly large bag of lemons that I can’t zest as my beloved mini grater has gone missing from the kitchen. The large grater carves out huge chunks of bitter pith which don’t exactly enhance your cooking.

Ingredients for rice with roasted peppers and butternut squash (serves 2):

– 1 smallish butternut squash

– Olive oil

– 2 large coloured peppers (not green as  they taste different)

– 150g rice (I used wild rice but wholemeal would work well too)

– Veggie stock

– Lemon thyme

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to gas 7 (220 C).

2. Peel the butternut squash and remove the seeds. Cube and place on one half of a baking tray, leaving some room for the peppers. Drizzle some oil over the top and mix it in with your hands so all the pieces get a good covering.

3. Cut the stalks off the peppers and remove the white, seedy part. Tap out any excess seeds. Place the peppers on the baking tray, the open part facing down. They don’t need any oil.

4. Roast until the squash is tender and the skins of the peppers look charred. I have to be honest here, I totally forgot what time I’d put the squash in the oven, but I’d say it takes around 30 mins and longer if the pieces are bigger. The peppers may need about 40 mins, so feel free to take the squash out beforehand if needed.

5. When the veg only has about 15-20 mins left, bring the stock to the boil and cook the rice until tender.

6. When the veg is ready, remove from the oven. You can run the peppers under some cold water and try to remove the skins by finding a puffy part and sliding your finger underneath, but this isn’t too crucial. Chop the peppers and add to the rice along with the squash, lemon thyme and lemon zest (if you have a zesting implement).

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Looking back at my ‘about’ page the other day, I saw that I’d originally promised to always provide a really speedy version of any meals that aren’t virtually  instant. For this one, you could just use ready roasted peppers from a jar and small pieces of sweet potato, which would take very little time to cook in some stock. These would be more filling that the squash though, so I’d only use one sweet potato.

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This was a really good batch of strawberries- so sweet that even I didn’t need to add sugar to them. Bittersweet dark chocolate and strawberries have to be one of the best combinations possible.

Snacks:

Just pears today. I bought some from a market stall last week and had lost hope of them ever ripening but they finally seem to have turned the corner and now need eating fairly urgently. They are, as advertised, very sweet, and give you a good few days to look forward to eating them.

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