Sunday, 14 June 2015

Before and After

The other day I reviewed a recipe book called "A Girl and her Greens" by Alice Bloomfield. This book has already given me a lot of ideas for cooking with vegetables, especially home-grown ones. One recipe that caught my eye was for Focaccia with two different vegetable toppings - in this case Butternut Squash with Sage and Chilli, and Potato with Red Onion and Thyme.

Illustration from "A Girl and her Greens"

I decided that it wasn't a good idea to make the Focaccia with the toppings when there are only two of us to eat it - it would probably go soggy if not eaten all at once - but I hijacked the idea of the toppings to make a different meal. This is it... [I'm calling my post "Before and After" because it shows the main elements of my dish before and after cooking.]

First I marinated some pork steaks in a barbecue sauce:

Then I prepared the "toppings". This is Butternut Squash with Sage and Chilli.

And this is Potato with Red Onion and Thyme:

Cooking was easy. The vegetables, slathered with some oil, went into the oven for about an hour at 180C, and the meat was cooked in a griddle pan for about 15 minutes.

With five minutes to go, I added some Asparagus to the griddle pan...

Here is the Butternut, cooked until soft but with a little blackening around the edges.

I found that despite being thinly sliced, the potatoes took longer to cook than the squash. In fact I had to remove the squash first and then crank up the oven to maximum heat for a few minutes to brown the potato, but it got there in the end.

The onion ended up being a bit charred. I think if I were to do this dish again I would either cut the onions into larger slices or perhaps put them in with the potatoes half-way through the cooking time.

Here is the whole meal, plated-up:

As I dished up, I sprinkled a little fresh (uncooked) Sage on the squash and Thyme on the potato, just to accentuate the flavour.

Not the world's most elegant dish, but certainly one full of flavour.

You may have noticed that we have recently become converts to the idea of grilling Asparagus. Previously we had always eaten it boiled or steamed, but we have belatedly realised that we were missing a treat! Here is a link to a post on Jane's blog, about another idea for using griddled Asparagus.


  1. I could do with some new veggie ideas.

  2. That looks very tasty. My kind of meal.

  3. You can freeze and reheat focaccia successfully either using the microwave (soft crust about 7 seconds) or toaster oven (crispy crust). I used the recipe from Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads which I bought after making the Manoush recommended here. I used fresh Sungold and Stupice tomatoes. He added a salted water wash on the top. All of which makes a delightful first bite: crunchy, salty bread with a bright spurt of sweetness from the hot tomatoes. I am eating this for breakfast right now with a fresh cucumber and some homemade white cheese.

    1. That sounds absolutely delicious! Paul Hollywood is certainly a master of bread-making, and his recipes are easy to follow too.

  4. Yum delicious. I love grilled asparagus too. We have a local restaurant that has it at this time of the year.

  5. grilled asparagus is very nice, especially during cook out on the BBQ


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