Sometimes cooking is Art, sometimes cooking is Science, sometimes cooking is Alchemy and sometimes cooking is, well you don’t know what just happened. This is one of those kinds of recipes. There’s no cheese in this recipe. There’s no vegan cheese-substitute in this recipe. It doesn’t taste cheesy. But somehow it carries the same savoury, flavour-punch that you get with a good cheese sauce.
I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ll be making it again!
1 butternut squash, cut into wedges and de-seeded
200ml soy milk
1 tsp bouillon powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp mushroom ketchup
1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 bay leaf
250g macaroni pasta
cayenne or paprika for garnish
Heat the oven to 200C.
Place the butternut squash wedges on a roasting tin, pour over 100ml of water and cover with tin foil.
Put in the oven and bake for an hour.
When cooked and soft, remove from the oven and scrape the flesh from the skin.
Put the macaroni on to boil.
Add the butternut squash flesh into a saucepan, add the soy milk, bouillon powder, mustard powder, mushroom ketchup, thyme leaves and bay leaf to the pan.
Bring to the simmer and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and blend to a smooth paste. Add some boiling water from the cooking pasta if the sauce is too thick.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce.
Stir until thoroughly coated.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with some paprika or cayenne sprinkled on the top.
It’s Shrove Tuesday on Tuesday. Or, as it’s better known in the UK, Pancake Day. It was a way of using up eggs and butter before the fasting of Lent took over. This being the UK, a virtue was made out of a necessity with the addition of a sporting element and yet another improbable race was added to the British Canon of People Dressed in Stupid Costumes Doing Silly Things at Speed.
All of which is fine if you eat eggs and dairy. But what if you don’t? I have done some searching on the internet to find a good pancake recipe. It’s been a little complicated because a lot of the recipes are for American pancakes, which, while fine for breakfast, are not what is wanted here. I finally tracked down enough proper pancake/crepe recipes and did some trial and error to come up with the best and simplest recipe.
The essential ingredients are flour, soy milk, baking powder and salt. Please don’t omit the last one, it really does make a difference even if you’re going with a sweet filling.
This recipe makes 8 pancakes, but that will depend on the size of your frying pan and how thin you can get the coating. The first one out of the pan is always the throwaway (or cook’s treat) because you never get the temperature right or the pan oiled correctly.
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250ml soy milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
oil for frying
Mix the dry ingredients together thoroughly and slowly add the milk and oil.
Whisk until you have a smooth batter the consistency of thick cream.
Heat the frying oil in a medium sized frying pan.
Pour in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan.
Fry over a medium/hot heat until it is a light brown on the bottom and moves freely about the pan.
Flip (or toss!) and cook until just cooked, with light brown patches.
Serve folded with a sweet or savoury topping. I go with tradition with lemon juice and sugar.
Makes 8 pancakes