Sunday, 8 September 2013

Summer squash

Even years after leaving school (I'm not that old surely?!), I still get that 'back to school' feeling when September comes around. Part of my job does involve working with schools, so I do get a bit of a summer break and remember how 6 weeks used to seem like a lifetime when you were younger; afternoons of playing 'Blocky1-2-3' and making dens, paddling pools and water fights. Now schools are back but the sun's still shining, so I'm not quite feeling ready to get my jumpers and boots out just yet!

We've had a great summer this year. I can't actually remember having this much great weather for a long time. I've tried to make the most of it (we don't know when we'll get another one like this!)- beer gardens, walks, picnics and meals in the garden. London is great in the sunshine, and it just seems to make everyone so much happier.

So to go with this lovely weather, we've had some great summer veg to enjoy too! Including the yellow summer squash I mentioned in the first post - which someone has since informed me is called a pattypan or sunburst. A new addition to my vegetable knowledge! A relative of the courgette, this squash has a slightly nuttier flavour and a wonderful bright yellow colour. I must admit I was a bit unsure what to do with it at first, but as I'm finding throughout my cooking with the veg box, the trick is to keep it simple and let it's lovely, natural flavours shine! Plus, I don't know about you, but when it's hot, all I want to eat is light, fresh salads.

So with that in mind, I knocked up a quick squash and kale quinoa salad the other day that I thought I'd share with you.

The salad dressing is my current obsession and is pinched from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'Veg Everyday' book (which I hugely recommend for tasty, simple veggie food). It is so good with most salads; I've been using it on pretty much everything! Dressings really do turn a simple salad into something exciting - keep your eyes peeled for a future post dedicated just to dressings!

This dish isn't really a recipe, more of just a combination of really good stuff-but aren't the best dishes like that?!

Summer Squash and Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 2
half pattypan/summer squash cut into chunks
large bunch of kale, stalks removed and roughly chopped
100g quinoa
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
good glug of olive oil
large tablespoon of tahini
black pepper
handful of mixed seeds

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions. Whilst cooking steam the squash and the kale until tender.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Mix oil, garlic and tahini then add enough lemon juice to thin it out. (I find that using an old jam jar is great as you can screw the cap on and shake it, shake it, shake it.) You may need to add some water to loosen it up. Keep shaking until all ingredients are fully mixed together and it is a pouring consistency.

Once cooked, mix quinoa and the vegetables together and serve with a drizzle (or flood!) of dressing and a sprinkling of seeds.

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