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Hello Winter! – Warmed Salad/Squash Cous Cous

The Winter months have arrived, so it’s time get harvesting!

October’s always a great time of year to get in the garden with your kids. The weather’s still relatively mild, so you can get them dressed up in jumpers and they’ll be fine without woollens, as long as they keep moving.

hereforshireHere in Dilwyn, you can feel the chill in the air but it tends to have an enlivening effect on the kids. The changing of the seasons is something us adults get accustomed to, but that’s not so for our kids.

If you’ve got young ones below 10, you’ll understand what I mean by this. Although their attention spans and memories can be a little selective, they still delight in the novel – and the winter months are a great chance to exploit this.

If your veg garden is anything like mine, you’ll still be overrun with beans and peas from the summer. Thanks to our (mostly temperate) September we can let these quick creepers grow up until mid-October. Past that they tend to die off, so now’s a good time to get your nippers to work harvesting all those delicious morsels. Obviously you’ll have to help them reach the taller sprouts – just get a big pot so they can dump the fruits of their labour in them and try not to let them eat them all – there’ll be a recipe at the end, that will be well worth the wait.

picking-beansBefore you go crazy and try pulling everything out of the ground – stop!

Make sure to leave the roots of the peas in the ground – these are packed full of nitrogen which will seep into the ground slowly, getting the soil ready for the next loads of veg that you can plant in a month or so.

squashNow, if you’ve been playing a game of cat and mouse with your squashes, it’s time to move first. Leave those beauties out any longer and they will turn to mush. I’m afraid it’s time to get your hands dirty and get those guys out of the ground.

Chuck them all in a basket, along with the bowl of greens and stick them in the kitchen ready to get washed.

Before you head inside to get cooking, there’s one more task left to fully prepare your garden for winter: rescue the Herbs!

Many of the classic British herbs, like Rosemary and Thyme will be able to brave the winter months, but for the sake of ease you may as well take them all in. Softer mainstays such as Basil and Coriander need saving from the harsh winter months, so get them potted and stick them on the window sill to get maximum daylight.

Now you’ve got your stunning winter harvest in hand, it’s time to make a delicious warming meal for yourself and your hungry sprogs!

This recipe is an absolute must for a weekend afternoon, it’ll use a load of your winter harvest up and stores easily in the fridge.

Warmed Green Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash Cous Cous

[For one hungry parent and 2-3 sprogs]

butternut-squash-kale-and-cranberry-couscous-1For the Salad:

  • 3 Handfuls of Peas/Beans
  • 1 Handful of Fresh Coriander
  • 2 Handfuls of Kale
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • Glug of Olive Oil

For the Cous Cous:

  • 200g Cous Cous
  • 1 Organic Vegetable Stock Cube
  • 1 Good-sized Butternut Squash
  • Few Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • Glug of Olive Oil

Method:

Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and drizzle a roasting tray with some olive oil.

Chop your squash into kid-sized 2cm chunks and throw them into the tray along with the stripped thyme leaves and chilli flakes and give it a good shake.

Once your oven’s hot, season the squash and roast for an hour, turning occasionally to get even colouring.

Whilst your squash is roasting, prepare your salad.

Give your beans a good rinsing and chuck them in a decent sized bowl along with a pinch of salt, the cumin and the oil. Give it a good stir.

15 minutes before your Squash comes out, fill the kettle and stick on some hot water for your Cous Cous and Kale.

Pour over enough boiling water to cover the Cous Cous in a heatproof bowl, crumble in the stock cube and leave covered.

Boil the Kale on the hob for 5 minutes, drain well and mix in hot with the other greens. Have a little taste and season with more cumin and salt if needed.

Lastly, get that lovely roasted Squash out of the oven and mix in with the fluffy Cous Cous.

Serve in bowls with a little bread roll and tuck in.…