We are still appalled at the idea of Veganuary and Dry January – why inflict such punishment on your poor old wintery body during the darkest and coldest months of the year?
So, for the sake of sanity we are definitely not denying ourselves a chilled glass of wine or a slab of fresh bread and butter – especially when it’s balanced by brisk walks and cycles (although usually with the glass of wine at the end…). But, there is still room for improvement so we have revived our resolution this month – to cook everything from scratch and try new and preferably colourful recipes using some of our herbs and spices which have been lurking in the depths.
Continue reading “A quick and healthy lunch wrap”
Our organic squash is grown in the warm soil at the lovely Fletching Glasshouses (just on the other side of the Downs behind Lewes) and watered with fresh water harvested from their reservoir.
Each squash is roughly 1kg (ish) so these are individual portion size fruits.
The Sweet Lightning is a perfect dual purpose squash. Looks lovely on display – like a little mini stripey pumpkin…and also has an excellent sweet flavour.
Perfectly easy you can just slice in half, scoop out the seeds, smother with butter and roast and they are perfect individual portions. A chefs favourite to serve stuffed with beautiful smokey flavours like bacon or paprika-spiced quinoa or rice.
Squash also works beautifully with sage and again the soft creaminess of chicken doesn’t overpower the sweetness.
This Pithivier of Chicken, Squash and Sage from the Great British Chef also looks wonderful as a centrepiece and you could probably use Butterbeans for a vegetarian version – this recipe is pretty easy and serves 6.
Pithivier of Chicken, Squash and Sage
- 2 Puff Pastry Blocks, 500g each (or make your own!)
- 250g of chicken breast
- 500ml of chicken stock
- 1 butternut squash, neck end only (Sweet Lightning is just the right size for this)
- 100g of portobello mushroom
- 100g of spinach
- 10g of sage
- 2 egg yolks, beaten for glazing
- olive oil
- plain flour, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
2. Peel the squash and slice lengthways into long slices about 2cm thick (you will get roughly three slices). Season with salt and a little olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake for 30–40 minutes until just cooked
3. Meanwhile, add the chicken stock and a pinch of salt to a large pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken breasts and poach for 15–20 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, allow to cool in the poaching liquid
4. Fill another large pan with salted water and bring to the boil. Blanch the spinach for 1 minute, then quickly drain and refresh in iced water. Squeeze out any excess moisture from the spinach using kitchen towel and roughly chop
5. Remove the chicken from the stock and pat dry on kitchen paper, chop into small pieces
6. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and peel and chop them. Pan fry for 5–6 minutes and drain on kitchen paper (it is important that all the filling components are dry, otherwise the pastry will become soggy)
7. Mix together the chicken, spinach, sage and mushrooms and reserve
8. To assemble the pithivier, lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll one packet of the pastry out so that it is about ½ cm thick. Trim the edges to create a circle (roughly 20cm in diameter) and place on a baking tray
9. Roll the other packet to the same thickness and trim to form a slightly larger circle, keep to one side
10. Arrange the slices of squash over the base of the pastry, leaving a thin border around the edge (you may need to trim the squash slices to make them fit)
11. Pile the chicken, spinach, mushroom and sage mixture on top of the squash to make a domed shape
12. Place the larger piece of pastry over the top, and press so that it fits tightly around. Push down on the border with your fingers to seal. Transfer to the fridge for 1 hour to firm up
13. When the pastry has chilled, remove from the fridge and brush with the egg yolks to glaze. To score the pastry, gently run the tip of a knife down from the centre point of the pastry lid to the edges in curves, repeating all the way around. Return to the fridge to rest for a further 15 minutes
14. Preheat the oven up to 200°C/gas mark 6
15. Bake the pithivier for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for a further 30–40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crispy
16. Serve with some simple steamed beans, or seasonal vegetables