Cumin roasted and fried squash, potatoes and cannellini beans…


Cumin roasted and fried squash, potatoes and cannellini beans...

I reckon this is a dish I could eat a lot of, and on its own. It is a mouthful to say and indeed a mouthful to eat! And a fine mouthful at that.

I had a butternut squash but wanted to experiment rather than just roast it straight. I peeled the beast, cut it into rings then halved the pieces. I then cut about 8 baby new potatoes in half.

I gurzled – new word I just made up (and I like it!) – some olive oil into a roasting tin and scattered over 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds . I popped this into a hot oven – 200c- for about 10 minutes, then added (carefully mind) the squash pieces and the potatoes. I then put the roasting tin back in the oven for around 40 minutes.

I had a loin of pork in the oven roasting satisfyingly away to itself on a bed of 4 halved long shallots and when it was ready I rescued the onions and put to one side.

Whilst the meat rested, I took out the squash and spuds and added it all to a large frying pan to which I added the shallots and a 400 gm tin of drained cannellini beans. Oh, and a little pinch of a garam masala mix. A little salt and pepper was duly ground over also and stirred gently for 5 minutes or so whilst everything got romantically aromatic.

The smell was divine. Rapturous. Roasting it first and then transferring it to finish off with the beans and shallots was a good move, if not economical on the washing up side of things!

Just for the sake of completing the circle – my main intention was after all to draw your attention to the fabulous squash dish – I added 125 gm of vegetable stock to the pork juices in the pan plus a tablespoon of crème fraîche and some black pepper.

The whole meal was one of my favourite Sunday spreads for a while.


Anytime is tortilla time….


Anytime is tortilla time....

Tonight I stared into the abyss that is the end of the week cupboard…staring back at me were 6 free range eggs and a jar of cornichons. Ok….let’s flip the fridge open…..8 slices of prosciutto. Hmmm….in the veg rack were several potatoes minding their own business and 4 shallots snoozing softly.

Nothing to be done other than a dish redolent of Spanish nights, aimed solely at dispelling the rusting rainy weather engulfing my corner of the globe presently.

Tortilla. Paradise on a plate.

So, I poured a glass of finest Spanish Cava to set me on the right path and began peeling and slicing. I even popped Mana on the sound system.

This simple piece of bliss was around 6 spuds peeled, halved and sliced. 4 shallots peeled and chopped. A frying pan coated with plenty of olive oil, heated then add the pots and shallots. Coax around the pan until starting to brown a little – about 15 to 20 minutes on a lowish to medium heat. I was a bit cheeky tonight because I also added a finely sliced green birdseye chilli.


I then beat 6 free range eggs with plenty of black pepper and some ground sea salt – added this to the pan and let it drift into every nook and cranny.

Another five minutes then place the frying pan under a hot grill until the egg is setting and browning. Remove. Place a platter over, pray and flip!


I served it with the prosciutto, cornichon and some fennel salami. I also has some warm crusty ciabatta and mixed green salad on the side.



Red & Green Salsa…


Red & Green Salsa...

Salsa…simply Spanish for sauce..which does not do justice to this stunning summer dish that I made yesterday for an early evening garden supper. Why anyone buys this from a supermarket I do not understand – they never taste anything like the home made variety. This is one of my takes on a common theme of toms and chillies. We had it with stacks of warm ciabatta and prosciutto.


4 tasty toms, deseeded and chopped
1/2 cucumber peeled and deseeded
1 red chilli deseeded and chopped
1 green chilli deseeded and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
Clove of garlic, finely chopped
Bunch of Greek basil – the one with small leaves, chopped
Balsamic vinegar
Decent extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Pop all ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Add a good glug of balsamic vinegar and about 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix again. Season to taste. Refrigerate for a little while to let all the flavours collide, merge and marry. The kick is good and the fresh feeling lingers long. 

Pick and mix salad lunch…


Pick and mix salad lunch...

Healthy mode today – my wife recuperating from an op so I decided to go for a big salad with cold meats and anchovies on the side. Managed to source some superb Pane Pugliese on my shopping travels this morning – toasted and drizzled with olive oil it was a fine partner to the affair, I served mortadella, serrano ham, two varieties of Italian salami and some superb cold rare beef left over from yesterday.

The salad plate was a pick and mix – lettuce and cucumber in the centre, and around it, vine tomatoes and basil, radishes, fennel sliced in lemon juice, French salad onions finely sliced – then I drizzled over my own échalotes vinaigrette – 5 tbsps sunflower oil, 2 tbsps white wine vinegar – 1 tbsp dijon mustard and 2 small échalotes finely chopped and a dash of black pepper and rock salt to taste. Pop it all in a small jar with a lid and shake like there is no tomorrow.

Surprising how filling it all was – and it was lovely spending quality time with my family at the table at lunch time.