The latter part of December was surprisingly stressful, so while 2015 was ok, I was ready for a new year. That also meant that I would be trying to re-set and get back to my blog, as well as cooking along with my friends in the Cottage Cooking Club. We have been cooking through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg.
Each month, our Kitchen Lioness Andrea chooses 10 recipes from the book and we each choose which of those we want to make, some ambitious members cooking all of them. This month, I chose Squash Stuffed with Leeks and Curried Red Lentil Soup.
I started with the stuffed squash. It looked so cute in the picture, and the cheesey leek filling sounded delicious. I really should have known better, but my mom was enthusiastic, and so I thought I’d try it. I’m one of the only people I know who did not like Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpiin Stuffed with Everything Good. This was a simpler, vegetarian version.
This version suggests smaller winter squash. I was able to find a nice acorn squash that would be able to stand up in the baking dish. Judt like carving a pumpkin, the top is cut out, and the seeds and membrane removed.
Then mustard, creme fraiche and shredded Comte cheese are added and generously seasoned with salt and pepper.
This mixture gets all melty and delicious-looking.
The leek mixture gets put into the squash, along with a little thyme. Unfortunately at this time of year, no fresh is avaiable, so I used dried.
The filling ends up beautifully melted and looks just delicious.
The squash was on the large side, so was cut in half for serving.
It really is a spectacular presentation, and I thought that it was a beautiful dish. That said, not so popular. As I mentioned, not really a flavor combination that really worked for me (or Mom, she didn’t eat it at all after the first bite). I thought that the squash was good, and the filling was good. Just not together. Too many decades of acorn squash filled with butter, brown sugar and maple syrup – or just plain with salt and pepper. It was a very fun project though. And the filling reminded me that I need to make the leek and cheese toastie again!
My other recipe was Curried Red Lentil Soup. This was a version of a soup I missed in the original plan – made with sweet potatoes. I’ve never made anything with red lentils before. I’ve undoubtedly blogged about how I discoved loving French green lentils – but that love just never transferred. I was looking forward to trying them. I expected that they would hold their color for the soup. Um…
This version has chopped carrot, celery and a bay leaf in addition to the onions, fresh ginger and chiles from the original recipe. It became evident quickly the red of the lentils would be overcome by the other colors, particularly when the garam masala and curry powder were added to the mix. This is all simmered with vegetable stock. And smelled lovely.
I was confused by the recipe. One of the things I thought would make it so good was the coconut milk mentioned in the original version. No mention of it in this one. But I decided that I would add it – after I whirred it with my hand blender.
Apparently I messed up with I took the photo of the finished bowl of soup! I served it simply with the suggested chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime. It was certainly delicious. It was described as “elegant”, and had a wonderful velvety texture.
It was fun getting back into my blogging, and even though there were mixed results. I’m looking forward to more cooking adventures, and now that I’m more settled, it should make it easier.