Cinnamon Spice Crown Prince Squash with Rocket

Hello, and welcome to Cooking for Sanity's new, and hopefully much improved, home! Thank you so much for coming to check out the new site. Big plans are afoot, but they'll take a little while to come to fruition, so please bear with me while I finish the website content and make it everything I really want it to be.

As you'll see, there are plenty of exciting new areas to explore. As well as just recipes, I want to help empower people who have barely any cooking experience to get into the kitchen, set up their space so it's a pleasure to work in, gather a basic selection of tools which will make the job in hand a pleasure, not a chore, and get creating. The aim of Cooking for Sanity from its inception was to use cooking as a means of escapism and creativity, and I want to show people how they can do that with barely any prior knowledge. Being able to put a healthy, nutritious and delicious meal on the table for one, a couple, or for a whole family, is an achievement to be cherished, appreciated and enjoyed.

So to welcome you to the new site, and as we have most certainly welcomed in Autumn, I have the most deliciously exciting but utterly simple recipe to share with you, using what is my joint favourite (along with butternut) squash: crown prince. This squash is really unusual: its pale green exterior belies its stunning, vibrant orange flesh; its texture is beautifully creamy and dense, yet surprisingly it cooks much quicker than butternut. The only problem with this delightful vegetable is that is does not want to be cut! If you get a very large one, you'd better arm yourself with a good chef's knife and a fantastic swivel peeler, because it is rather a beast and will oppose your best efforts to make that first incision!

I generally use crown prince to make soup, due to its aforementioned creaminess, but I decided for this recipe to try roasting it with a bit of spice mixed with sweetness, to see how it fared, and I can tell you the result was utterly enjoyable. I hope you enjoy it too, and that it will inspire you to buy an ingredient you had perhaps bypassed in recent weeks due to not knowing what to do with it.

Seasonal squashes

Ingredients

(serves two adults and two small children)

  • Medium crown prince squash
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 200g brown rice
  • Half a 90g bag of rocket

For the dressing

  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

Method

Pre-heat the oven to fan 200ºC.

Make the dressing first, by peeling and crushing the garlic with a garlic crusher, then putting all the ingredients into a small bowl and mixing together. Set aside.

Harissa and garlic dressing
Harissa and garlic dressing
Harissa and garlic dressing

Prepare the squash. Using a sharp, good quality chef's knife, halve the squash then deseed each half. Cut each half in half again, and those segments in half again, always lengthways, until you have 16 segments. Peel these segments with a swivel peeler then chop them down again into equal sized pieces. Or if you already have your own method of dealing with this perilous squash, please use that, and share it here!

Tip the squash into a mixing bowl with the dressing, toss together so the squash is well covered, then tip into a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper, then put into the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the brown rice by putting it in a saucepan and covering over with about 1 1/2" water. When the squash has been in the oven for 15 minutes, remove and add the cherry tomatoes then replace in the oven for the remainder of the time (you may also wish to add a little more olive oil, as crown prince squash is quite dry, and it may have absorbed some of the oil in the tray) .Now put the rice on and bring it to the boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer, with the lid on, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. This should coincide with the squash and tomatoes being ready.

Preparing the squash
Preparing the squash
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When the squash and tomatoes are ready, place in a bowl then toss with the rocket. Serve the rice into pasta bowls and top with the squash and rocket mixture. Drizzle over some olive oil and season. Serve.

Tossing the squash and rocket
Plating up
Served!

So there you have the first recipe on the new website. I really struggled to decide what to post as I've been experimenting with a lot of new recipes recently, and I couldn't make a choice between them. I think the seasonal aspect swung it in the end though, and made the decision for me. I do hope it inspires you to pick up one of these yummy squashes too, even if you just make a simple soup with it.

Thanks so much for reading and let me know how it goes.

xxx Sam

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