Shortcrust squash and cabbage pie with lattice top

It’s squash season. This is usually heralded by the arrival of the Squash Box at Riverford and we take full advantage – as such we have a lot of squash dotted around the living room.

When thinking of tonight’s dinner it seemed sensible to go the squash route, and it occurred to me I hadn’t made a pie in a while.

So here goes. I’d not made a shortcrust pastry in a while, so followed one I found on About.com and added sage to make it a herbed crust.

You’ll need a pie dish. I used a rectangular quiche tin, measuring approx 12″ by 8″, with a removable base

Pastry ingredients

  • 200g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 110g butter, cubed
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsps dried sage
  • A shot of milk (for brushing the lattice)

Pie ingredients

  • Rape seed oil for frying
  • 2 x medium squashes, I used one medium sized butternut squash and one small festival squash
  • 2 x medium sized squashes
  • 2 of the outer large leaves of a savoy cabbage
  • 6 x cloves of garlic (everyone in my house LOVES garlic, hence 6 cloves – obviously adjust to taste)
  • 2 x tsps of brown mustard seeds
  • 1-2 tsps of smoked paprika
  • 2-3 tsps of mixed herbs
  • A little water for steaming the cabbage
  • Salt and pepper to season

Pastry method

I used a food processor to make this pastry – obviously it can also be done by hand, it will just take a little longer. I always weigh the ingredients direct into the food processor, balancing the jug (with blade already in place) on my digital scales.

Heat the oven to 180°C (fan assisted oven)

  1. Measure the flour, butter and salt into the bowl/jug and then rub in or pulse until the consistency is like breadcrumbs.
  2. Sprinkle in the sage and pulse once or twice or combine with hands.
  3. Add water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough has come together. Be careful not to over mix if using the food processor and only use the pulse – be sure to check the mixture carefully to avoid adding too much water.
  4. Turn the pastry out onto a clean surface or cutting board and gently bring together with your hands, the mixture should be just right so you don’t need to add any more flour or water at this point and it should form a rough, round ball.
  5. Cling film and put in the fridge to rest for around 20 minutes.

Squash and cabbage pie filling method

  1. Peal, de-seed and cut the squash into relatively even pieces.
  2. Pop all into a large cast iron frying pan or oven-proof dish – coat lightly in rapeseed oil season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with around a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a sprinkling of mixed herbs.
  3. Roast in the pre-heated oven for around 20-30 minutes – keep an eye on, you’ll want them to start roasting but not burn and cooking times will depend on the type of squash and size of the pieces.
  4. Roughly chop the shallots and onion.
  5. Grab two big leaves from your savoy cabbage and cut out the stalky bit in the centre. Chop the leaf in half and chop into small strips.
  6. Put a frying pan on the heat and add rapeseed oil.
  7. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, add the garlic and cook the lot for around 2-3 minutes.
  8. When shallots and garlic are looking translucent (and ensuring they’re not colouring brown too much) add in all the cabbage and combine through.
  9. Fry the cabbage for a couple of minutes and then add around 5 tablespoons of hot water so the cabbage gets cooked through and remove from the heat.

Now is a good time to get the pastry crust in the oven.

Cooking the pastry crust method

  1. Take the pastry out of the fridge and allow to get to room temperature (give it around 5 minutes).
  2. Taking a tip from Mary Berry on the Great British Bake Off – use the removable base of your pie tin to roll the pastry directly onto – you then know you’ll need to roll just over an inch extra around the outside.
  3. Once you’ve done that, the pastry can be carefully lifted into the rest of the pie tin. Then I use the handle of a wooden spoon to crimp in around the vertical edges and go over the top with a rolling pin (allowing excess pastry to be cut off by the rim of the pie tin).
  4. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork all the way around and pop into the oven (if the timings work, this should be about the same time you take out the roast squash.
  5. Bake for around 10 minutes, check and then bake until the middle is starting to lightly brown and is cooked.

Finishing the pie

  1. To make the lattice top, take the excess pastry you trimmed from the pastry case, and roll out quite thinly into two flats (one approximately the length of the tin, and one approximately the width). Cut these into long strips approx a centimetre wide.
  2. Add the cabbage mix to the roasted squash and combine – add more smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. When the pie case is cooked, remove from oven and add in the squash and cabbage mix. This isn’t a wet mix, but should have enough give to fill the pie quite thickly.
  4. When the pie is filled, carefully place the longer lattice strips lengthways over the filling and then the shorter ones across. Brush all the lattice work lightly with milk.
  5. Cook for a further 10 – 15 minutes or until the lattice is lightly browned and cooked.

I served this up with gravy, peas and mash potato and it went down a treat with all who ate it.

Sorry there aren’t many photos – everyone had eaten it before I thought about writing it all up! I did manage to grab a couple of snaps of the last slice packed up for someone’s lunch:

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The lattice was a little rough around the edges, but it worked.

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Hopefully this shows what the consistency of the filling should be like.

Next time I make it I’ll take photos and add into this post.

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Warm broad bean, butternut squash and feta salad

The final dish

The final dish

This was an experiment following an incredibly busy day and was prompted by the neglected squash that had been in the pantry (large cupboard in the kitchen) for over a month.

Having also recently received a bumper delivery of broad beans, it seemed only natural to have a go combining the two.

The latest soring temperatures in the UK (sweltering heat) inspired a salad as follows:

  • Approximately 15 x shelled broad bean pods
  • 1 x butternut squash
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 roll feta
  • 1 x tin chickpeas
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Dash balsamic
  • Squeeze lemon
  1. Cut the butternut squash into bite-sized pieces, drizzle veg oil in a baking tray and coat the squash in it. Season with salt and pepper and cook in an oven set at 180°C (fan assisted).
  2. Shell the bean pods and cook bea ns on the stove for approx 15 minutes, until soft.
  3. Chop up the cucumber, red onion and feta, and put in a bowl to one side.
  4. When cooked, drain the beans and combine with the chickpeas – squeeze lemon over and season with salt and pepper.
  5. After about 20 minutes  the squash ought to be done (should be a little cripsy, or as crispy as you like) so remove from oven.
  6. Pop all things into a larg e mixing bowl and combine with a drizzle of olive oil (or smoked rapeseed oil if you have it), dash of balsamic, s eason with salt and pepper and toss the lot.

In pictures:

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This would likely serve 4 for lunch, or make two large dinners with enough leftovers for lunch.

The consensus on this one is that Ben would eat it and have seconds.

This was an experiment following an incredibly busy day and was prompted by the neglected squash that had been in the pantry (large cupboard in the kitchen) for over a month.

One way with carrots – carrot fritter recipe

And not the wicked ones, unless you’re that way inclined. There was a recipe in one of the free London papers a few weeks back, that was adapted from its rather bland first appearance.

In case it isn’t obvious, here’s the carrot fritter recipe:

  • 6 medium carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of plain brown flour
  • Generous amounts of fresh corriandar
  • 2 tbsps cumin seeds
  • salt and pepper to season

It doesn’t take much by way of explanation. Quite frankly you just mix the lot and spoon fritter-sized amounts into a pan of hot veg oil. Then shallow fry, and prompty follow this up by draining off all that healthy oil on a piece of kitchen roll. It’s really very simple.

In pictures:

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Ben would eat this one, it tastes rather dandy.

Probably the best veggie burger courtesty of…

Martha fricking Stewart. A little sloppy-Joe in consistency, but tastes damn fine – so much so that it got two avid meat fans reaching for bun number two. Served it up with the usual melted, sharp cheddar and salad.

This burger recipe is multifaceted however, a discovery made upon making too much mix for three people. So with the left-overs we made small, falafal-sized balls, lightly fried them and made some darned fine pitta filling, served up with home-made houmous and spicy tomato ketchup.

Fried quinoa balls with houmous and salad

Fried quinoa balls with houmous and salad

The houmous consisted of:

  • 2xcans chickpeas
  • 4xcloves of garlic
  • 1xlemon
  • 2xtbsps tahini
  • 2xtps cumin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Rinse the chickpeas and put in blender
  2. Add the pealed cloves garlic, cumin seed, a squeeze of the lemon, the tahini and a drizzle of the oil
  3. Blend it up
  4. Add more oil according to how you want the texture – smoother = more oil
  5. Season to taste, adding more lemon/cumin/pepper/tahini/salt and pepper as so desired

If you don’t have a blender it is possible to pummel the chickpeas and associated ingredients in a pestle and mortar. You won’t get the same consistency but still the same idea.

Salad lunch with sesame seeds

Salad lunch with sesame seeds

Pittas were assembled with a generous layer of houmous, finely chopped red onion, cucumber, red pepper, rocket, the fried quinoa balls, yoghurt and spicy ketchup. Pittas, houmous and salad made a superb lunch the following day as well.

We need to diversify the freezer

What better way to begin a food blog, than with some food. Clearly I’m not offering food right now for eats,  just the stuff you see in photos rather generously accompanied by details on how to make it.

Fried aubergine and courgette with rocket salad

Fried Courgette and Aubergine

Let’s call this one “Fried&Floured, Courgette&Aubergine & a little bit of everything else”. Let’s also call it less of a name and more of a description.

Simple as:

  • 2 x courgettes
  • 1 x aubergine
  • White flour
  • 2 handfuls of rocket
  1. Slice up courgette and aubergine.
  2. Lay out and salt both sides.
  3. Rinse the salt.
  4. Dry on kitchen roll/towel.
  5. Season white flour with cumin, corriander, pepper.
  6. Coat each slice.
  7. Fry each slice in a pan (1cm veggie oil approx) until golden.
  8. Lay out on kitchen roll.

Then serve with rocket, houmous, yoghurt (obviously minus this for a vegan version) and chilli sauce or whatever you fancy/have laying around.

This happened to use up a lot of left-overs out of the fridge, so was really quick and was promptly woofed down by two hungry Londoners. Not to mention I’d already eaten a slice of cake upon arriving home. It’s a new thing, dessert first.

We’re diversifying the freezer by means of introducing more things (other than soup) to it. This meal brought about that revelation, so I thought it only fitting to title this post as such.