Squash to me is just something orange taking up precious room in my fridge. I have no desire to hack into it, scoop out the seeds and cut up the rest to make something I wish I hadn't bothered putting the squash in to. I don’t hate them as such; I’d just rather not have anything to do with them. A squash is plain awkward and it knows it. It's well aware I don’t want it there and it doesn't want to be there. I'm sure it had grand visions of being made into a wonderful pie or part of a roasted vegetable medley but now it’s stuck with me and it’s going one of two ways; in the compost or in the dog.
Perhaps I am being unkind. I am the only person I know who doesn't like it. People seem to love it but it’s the texture and flavour which sets me convulsing. However, due to the ever growing list of people who have a deep affection for squash I felt like I should give it one more try. One more attempt for it to win me over before I deemed it only suitable for composting or, in a mad moment of desperation, a secret Santa present.You will need:
1 squash (I had an onion squash), chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tsps curry powder
1 litre vegetable stock
1 sachet concentrated coconut milk
Handful pumpkin seeds
½ tsp each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cardamom seeds
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper
Fry the onion in a little oil until starting to soften and then add the garlic. Fry for a minute more and then stir in the curry powder. Keep frying for a few minutes to allow the spices to warm up and coat the onion. Add the squash, give it all a final mix and then add the stock and coconut milk. Leave the squash to soften for 20-30 minutes before blending. Check the seasoning and keep it warm until you're ready to serve.
Take your spices, adding or removing any that you deem fit and add them to a dry frying pan with the pumpkin seeds. Keep the pan moving as you don't want anything to catch but fry everything until it smells like a spice shop and the skins of the pumpkin seeds are just starting to crack. It makes a lovely noise rustling and jumping around in the pan. Butter some bread, serve up the soup and top with the toasted seeds.
If nothing else a bowl of soup this colour can't fail to cheer you up. I'm not sure if it was the spices that managed to disguise the flavour of the squash but this wasn't half bad. Much better than anything else I've ever done with a squash. The pumpkin seeds added a great crunch and texture and the spices gave a fantastic intense flavour when you bit into them. Am I converted? I'm not sure I will ever fully forgive it for the countless meals it has interrupted with its presence in the past, but, next time one turns up I will give it another chance.