If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R Tolkien

22 September 2013

Smoky Spicy Butternut Squash, Millet with Cucumber and Mint, Butterbean and Cashew Dip & Guacamole

Hello everybody, I think it's time to start cookin' this blog again!
It's been a year since my previous post. During the past year I've started a new job and finished my studies after a pretty time consuming thesis project, so I've been quite busy. I just had no energy to think about what I ate and I didn't have any motivation to write the blog.

I have been learning a new way to think about food after the summer holidays. My weight was at an all time high and I felt a huge need for change. I haven't done anything too drastic but I have managed to figure out how to eat in a more balanced way and I have already lost over five kilos in less than two months! I still have some work to do to be able to feel as healthy as I'd like to, but I'm pretty confident I'm on the right track.

Let's think of this as a new beginning for the blog, too. I'll be posting more healthy recipes with a focus on vegetarian dishes, with protein and good carbs. Of course there will be some treats every now and then too. Balance is the woooooord!

Today I spent a bit of time in the kitchen cooking up a spicy and fresh veggie Sunday lunch, using ingredients I had in my cupboards and not really following any recipes.

Smoky Spicy Butternut Squash, Millet with Cucumber and Mint, Butterbean and Cashew Dip & Guacamole

Here come the recipes in the order I cooked them...

Butterbean & Cashew Dip
I bought some dried butterbeans at Punnitse & Säästä shop on a whim and as I had never used them before I didn't really know what to do with them... After looking for a recipe for a long time I just made this one up from my head, and I didn't really measure anything. You could use tinned butterbeans also. I made a pretty huge batch, so guess this will be my snack for the week!

Dried butterbeans , 4 dl or so
Cashew nut, 2 dl
Olive oil (I was out so used rapeseed oil)
Juice of one lemon
Honey, to taste
Nutmeg, to taste
Salt & Pepper

1. Soak the butterbeans in cold water overnight.
2. Cook the beans in boiling water for about an hour until they become soft. My beans took about 1,5 hours.
3. Rinse under cold water and peel off the skins of the beans if you like.
4. Add the cashew nuts and some oil to the beans and blitz with a stick blender. Add lemon juice and more oil until the mix is smooth. Season with honey, nutmeg, salt and pepper. 

Millet with Cucumber and Mint
Millet is an another ingredient I had not really used before. I had bought a packet months ago and decided to give it a go today. I cooked it for 25 mins according to packet instructions and the consistency was quite porridge-like. Not my favourite grain, I prefer quinoa or bulgur and they would also be a good option for this recipe instead of the millet.

2 dl millet (or quinoa/bulgur), cooked according to packet instructions
1/2 cucumber, diced small
Handfull of fresh mint, chopped
Handfull of parsley, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame seed oil
Juice of one lime
1 dl Feta cheese
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Enjoy!

 I love guacamole, no need to say more! 

2 ripe avocados
Juice of one lime
1/2 fresh red chili, chopped fine
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Salt & pepper

1. Spoon the flesh of the avocados in a mortar and add the other ingredients.
2. Smash until you have the desires consistency.

Smoky Spicy Butternut Squash
It ain't autumn without butternut squash!

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into small cubes
1 tbsp oil
Knob of butter
2 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 fresh red chili, chopped small
2 shallot onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
Turkish yoghurt
Coriander & lime

1. Heat up the oil and the butter in a large frying pan at a medium to high heat.
2. Add the shallots, chili, paprika powder and turmeric and fry for around one minute. Don't burn it!
3. Add the garlic, soon followed by the squash. Fry until the squash is soft and cooked, about 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the cubes.
4. Serve with dollops of turkish yoghurt, coriander and lime wedges.

Hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did!