Wednesday, March 16, 2005

bananas in pyjamas

Soundtrack: Kaiser Chiefs – Employment

I'm not very good at this healthy eating malarky. I really am trying. I have to work on so many 5 A DAY campaigns that I'm indoctrinated with the mantra, yet have you ever tried to eat that much fruit and veg a day?! It's bloody impossible - not to mention the associated trauma of fluid bowel movements. And then there was last year's horrific experience of a mis-ordered online grocery shop, which resulted in 30+ bananas, 30+ apples and 30+ carrots being delivered straight to my door. After several months’ abstinence, I've finally forgiven the humble banana.

Anyway, yesterday I well and truly experimented. I bought a butternut squash - so far advanced in the fruit (? it has seeds) kingdom, it isn't even included in Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course book. I didn't really know what to do with it, so after breaking my hand while trying to cut it, I just used the stalk in the end. I made my invented-that-evening Traffic Light Surprise Pasta Bake (TM); the surprise being the condensed mushroom soup that snook in, much to Thom's mushroom-hata chagrin. It was pretty good actually, it just needed a bit of fresh basil or something. But I now have it to eat for the next 3-days.

If you're interested, and because I'm bored at work, here's the recipe:

Traffic Light Surprise


1 butternut squash

5 handfuls of fresh spinachhalf a red pepper

1 handful of pine nuts

1 can of Campbell's condensed mushroom soup

as much penne pasta as you need for the dish

a liberal sprinkling of cheddar cheese for the topping

fresh basil, garlic, salt and black pepper to taste


1. Dice the butternut squash and roast in a baking dish for 20-30 minutes at 230F.

2. Cook the penne pasta until al dente.

3. Halfway through roasting, drain the remaining oil into a frying pan. Gently fry the red pepper and garlic for 5minutes. Add the spinach, fry until reduced.

4. Add pine nuts, butternut squash, mushroom soup and basil. Season well. When mixed, stir in the pasta until covered, and then transfer into baking dish.

5. Add a final layer of cheese, season, and then bake at 200F for 30minutes.

A voila. That's yer tea sorted for the next week.


  1. Gina20:41

    Ooh, that sounds nice. I'm not nuts about pine nuts, but butternut squash rules. I shall try the recipe and report back.

  2. Blimey, people read this thing do they?!
    I went a bit pine nut mad yesterday because SHITEsbury's had them in for the first time this year, so it's my Spring time resolution to get them into all the dishes I can.
    Let me know how the recipe goes!

  3. jonny01:36

    chagrin is a good word at any time, but in the context of food it seems just perfect. sounds like a kind of foody word. especially if you say it with extra shagran!

    i hereby rename that lovely recipe thingmy...

    Mushroom Chagrin.

  4. That sounds like a good band name!