The Treats That Pass Us By

A highlight of studying real food and cooking from scratch is discovering all those little hints and tips, treats and surprises.  It’s wonderfully satisfying when you come across something that’s terribly simple yet joyfully delicious.  There’s so many of them out there and it’s got to be the easiest way to get people engaged and inspired to start cooking real food for themselves.  It’s exciting to think that I might stumble across something new tomorrow – note that when I say new, I mean re-discovering recipes, skills and techniques that we’ve lost over the years.

Now that it’s Autumn here in the UK, wonderful varieties of squash are starting to appear in the shops and on farmer’s market stands.  The seasonal glut results in very reasonable price tags and I’m always tempted by the myriad of autumnal colours and odd shapes.  Soon it’s going to be Halloween, that time of year when we waste copious amounts of perfectly good food…

Harlequin Squash

So here it is: when you cut your squash or pumpkin and scrape out the seeds, don’t throw them away!  I pop them in a sieve and separate them from the pith.

Harlequin Squash Seeds

Cleaned Harlequin Squash Seeds

After drying them off I have a couple of options; store and sow them to grow more plants, or prep and eat them.  More often than not I roast them in the oven with a tiny amount of oil and salt (150°C for about 20 minutes works but you might want to keep an eye on them and give them a shake).

Once cooled, they make a devilishly moreish and deliciously crunchy little snack!  They’ll happily take a little flavouring like paprika or cayenne pepper and they’re perfect served with drinks before dinner.

Roasted/Toasted Harlequin Squash Seeds

Blackberries you say…

Blackberry Granita

This is great as a dessert for anyone that suffers from intolerances such as Dairy or gluten.  Hell, it’s a great dessert anyway!  There’s a plethora of flavour options; coffee, pink grapefruit, lemon & lime etc.  We’re celebrating the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador program’s 2nd Birthday with this one!

As we are in the prime of Blackberry season in the UK, here’s an almost free recipe that’s a perfect little treat.

Blend about 300g of freshly foraged blackberries with a dash of water and the juice of half a lemon.

Make a sugar syrup by heating 150g of sugar in 300ml of water until it dissolves.  Strain the blackberry juice and mix it with the sugar syrup in a metal tray.

Blackberry Granita mix

Pop the tray in the freezer and then simply run a fork through it every 30 minutes until you have a crystalline consistency.

You can store the granita in Tupperware in the freezer for ages and dip into it whenever you need an autumnal fix.

Celebrating with a Foraged Blackberry Granita