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Friday, 30 November 2007

Expect the unexpected

Last Sunday we went to the farmer's market and then went home to cook lunch for what Carters told me would be a few people. With celeriac and butternut squash in abundance, I decided to make Lily's Celeriac soup and a roast butternut and sage risotto. Whilst making the soup, I noticed the doorbell buzzing a few more times than I had anticipated and we soon had more guests than chairs.

Mental note: always press Carters for details

I decided to change my risotto plans (bulk risotto always seems to end up gluey), and after a quick scrounge around in our overstuffed pantry, made a salad with Orzo pasta instead.


What you need
2 small butternut squash de-seeded and cut into cubes (I left the skin on but you might prefer to remove it)
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
a few handfuls of baby spinach leaves
good olive oil
feta, cubed
6-7 cloves of garlic
walnuts, roughly chopped

The do
Throw the cubed butternut squash into a baking dish with few sprigs of thyme, the garlic (whole, unpeeled) and a good splash of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake at about 200 degrees Celsius until the cubes are soft and golden.
Boil the pasta and drain.
Using your fingers squeeze out the baked garlic from their skins into a big salad bowl. Toss with the drained pasta, butternut squash, celery, feta, walnuts and spinach. Dress with a liberal amount of good olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Take your apron off, pour yourself a glass wine and join in the party. We all had a lovely afternoon (except for the kitten who struggled with her first encounter with a boisterous child), great food, great booze and great conversation. That's what it's all about, innit?

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