Simple pleasures

Oh my squash

Roast butternut squash with tons of spices

The smells coming from the oven are doing that thing to me. My mouth has started tingling, I think it’s the deep aroma of the harissa. It just sends me a little giddy.

The squash, quartered, was covered with liberal pinches of sumac, marjoram, fennel seeds, pepper, chilli flakes, seaweed and salt and then harissa (a small jar’s worth) mixed with an equal amount of olive oil poured over. A few quartered tomatoes and another pinch of salt to be sure and it went into a hot oven for about an hour. Ideally it would have gone in the barbecue, but I just don’t have the will tonight to light it.

All that remains is what to serve it with. There will be a good squeeze of lemon juice first then perhaps giant cous cous or some golden buttery crisp-bottomed rice. Perhaps a buttery dollop of polenta. Maybe I’ll let it cool a little and serve with warm flatbreads, some saffron yoghurt and hibiscus tea. I’ll give it some thought.

1 large squash, quartered
Tablespoons of:
Fennel seeds for brightness, dried marjoram for a little green earthiness, sumac for a sharp fruity contrast to the squash, chilli flakes for a little kick, warming turmeric powder so you live forever
Plenty of pepper
A pinch of seaweed flakes if you have any
A small jar of harissa and an equal amount of olive oil blended with it
More olive oil
A few large tomatoes, quartered
Some flaked almonds and fresh oregano to finish

Heat the oven to 180c
Lay the squash on top of the tomatoes and add the remaining ingredients apart from the almonds and oregano, pouring the harissa and oil mix over last.
Season well and drizzle with a little more oil.
Cook for about an hour. Remove from the oven and add the almonds and oregano then cook for another five minutes.
Give a good squeeze of lemon juice over and serve with giant cous cous and sumac yoghurt

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