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Moroccan Squash
Lea Haris is @BakersBunny on Twitter

That gorgeous, earthy autumnal smell and ethereal mist always makes me want to grab my coat and head out for a walk amid the russet, coppery dry leaves that crunch gently under my feet. Before wandering out, a hearty casserole needs to be popped into the oven so when I get in with ruddy cheeks, cold nose and a belly that is growling, food won't be long to the table. I love the fragrant spices from North Africa and the Middle East; to me they epitomise everything I want to warm me from inside out. Tagines from Morocco are the perfect comfort food-lamb, chicken, even goat, if you can get some, go perfectly with the sweet spices. But squash, sweet potato and parsnips are equally delicious cooked this way.

 

The former are versatile beasts coming in all shapes, colours and sizes. You only have to look round places like Earthy Foods and Goods to see what I mean: orange-skinned Ambercup to eggshell blue/green Crown Prince; stripy Carnival to the lumpy Turban squash. Their flesh holds well on cooking, is sweet and able to take some heat from harrisa (a spiky chilli paste). Za'atar is a blend of thyme, oregano, marjoram, parsley, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt. Sumac is a slightly-sour spice that adds a hint of astringency, which I adore. The recipe below, I make in huge batches so I can dip into the fridge for a wedge when I get peckish. It may not replace chocolate but at least it's one of my five-a-day!

 

Moroccan Squash

3 small squash

3tbls rapeseed oil

1tbls ras el hanout*

Sea salt

½ lemon

Tub sour cream

3tsps Za'atar*

Sumac*

 

Method:

Cut squash into wedges, remove seeds, and then massage with ras el hanout and oil. Plop into a roasting tin, sprinkle with a pinch of salt then slam into a hot oven (200oC/Gas6/400oF), bake until soft, 20-30mins.

Squeeze over ½ lemon, stir gently and tip into a serving dish.

Mix sour cream and za'atar together, dollop into a small bowl, dust with sumac.

Serve warm or cold with dip.

(* Middle Eastern delis)

What else is in my basket?

Goose, teal, hill lamb. Winkles, sea bass, oysters. Brussel sprouts, celeriac, horseradish. Pears, chestnuts, pumpkin.

 

 

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