Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater!
Eat all your vegetables.” Every child has heard those words, and they are said for good reason. These wonderful, colourful foods are what make our bodies strong and keep us healthy.
I was always looking for ways to hide the vegetables that my young children wouldn’t eat in dishes. I hid them in soups, fritters, baked them into cakes, made potato boats stuffed with peas, with bean masts, and dolls wearing butternut dresses.
Group your vegetables in colours if you are introducing new vegetables to your family.
If you are an adult you already know that they are good for you, so let’s start with all things yellow and orange.
I think that your mother was absolutely right when she made you eat carrots. They are really good for you. Yellow vegetables contain beta-carotene – that is what gives them their colour. Beta-carotene in our body is transformed into vitamin A, the vitamin that protects our eyesight. The good news is that if you do not like carrots, you can get sufficient amounts of beta-carotene from different vegetables.
Try eating sweet corn or pumpkin and butternut. Beta-carotene from yellow vegetables is also great heart friendly food. Vitamin A can also help in preventing certain cancers. The really good news is the effects of vitamin A as an anti-ageing and anti-wrinkling agent are widely recognized, so it is a really good reason to start eating up all the yellow vegetables you can find, not excluding sweet potatoes and broccoli. Even though they are not yellow, they are a good source of beta-carotene.
- 250g butternut, cut into medium-sized chunks
- 3-4 courgettes cut into 2cm pieces
- 125g patty pans, halved
- 2 onions cut into wedges
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
- 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into pieces
- 1 brindle, cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 45ml olive oil
- A bunch of mixed fresh herbs, roughly chopped (basil, thyme, parsley, etc.)
- A pinch of sugar
- 250g mushrooms, halved
- 200g baby tomatoes
- 15ml balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place all the vegetables, except the mushrooms and tomatoes, in a single layer on a baking tray or ovenproof dish. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the oil, herbs and sugar and drizzle over the vegetables, and then toss to coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes, then mix in the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the balsamic vinegar before serving.
Jenny Kay & Elinor Storkey
Barley risotto with roasted butternut for my boys
Peter and Greg just love barley. I also love this earthy grain and think we don’t eat nearly enough of it!
For the barley:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 1 cup pearl barley, washed and cooked till tender
- 1 cup hot chicken or vegetable stock
Things to stir in:
- 1 butternut, peeled and cubed
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoons mascarpone
- 100 g Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 50 g toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
Prepare the barley first. Heat the butter gently and slowly cook down the onions, garlic and leeks, without browning them.
Stir in the barley and coat with the onions. Stir in half the hot chicken stock, season and cook stirring for 5 minutes. Then cover and simmer gently. When the liquid has nearly cooked away, add the remaining stock and cook for a further 7 minutes. The barley should be tender and not too dry; add more stock if needed.
Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Place the butternut onto a roasting tray. Sprinkle with sugar, toss in the oil, season with salt and pepper, and scatter with the thyme. Roast till golden and fork tender. Remove the butternut from the oven and stir it into the risotto with the mascarpone, Parmesan and parsley.
Serve the risotto in individual bowls, scattered with toasted pumpkin seeds.
© Cooking with Jenny Morris
Roasted butternut cheesecake with burnt sage butter
When cooking with sage be sure to choose nice fleshy leaves, firm green stalks and definitely not a sign of wilting or blemishes. It will be even more delicious if you pick it just before you need to use it.
- 150 g savoury biscuit crumbs
- 100 g melted butter
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary needles
- 500 g peeled butternut cubes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons rosemary needles
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup cream
- 300 g ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated mature cheddar cheese
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
Burnt sage butter sauce:
- 100 g butter
- 15 fresh fleshy sage leaves
To prepare the base, mix the crumbs, butter and rosemary together. Press the mixture into a 20 cm spring form baking tin, and set till firm in the fridge.
Make the filling next. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Toss the butternut with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and sugar, and roast till tender; about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Blend together the eggs, cream, ricotta, cheddar, nutmeg and garlic, and spoon over the biscuit base. Bake at 180 °C until set; approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
Just before the cheesecake is ready to come out of the oven, prepare the sage butter sauce. Heat the butter in a pan until it begins to foam. Add the sage and cook until the butter starts to go nutty and brown, and the leaves are crisp
Serve the cheesecake warm with some burnt sage butter, or cold with a large green salad.
Serves 6 – 8
© Cooking with Jenny Morris