Let’s face it, this summer is an absolute wash-out. I’ve been so disgusted with the lack of sunshine that I’ve taken to making comfort food as a emotional remedy to these relentless weather woes. If you follow me on instagram you’ll know that I tucked into a full-on crumble mid-week and here I’ve opted for a warm autumnal squash salad in an attempt to ignore the rain battering the windows outside … it kinda worked. Luckily, we have a new addition to our home in the form of Whinnie the rescue dachshund. We’ve been wanting to rescue a dog for many years now but timing and circumstance meant we’re only getting around to it now … truthfully, I am so glad we waited until we were settled into our current house because this whole situation at present just feels so ‘right’. Being the over-thinker I am, I often worry if I am putting things off unnecessarily but in this instance I know it was sensible to ensure we were in a place where we could offer an animal in need the perfect loving home. Having lived in rentals for years also restricted our ability to adopt a dog, which is why buying our first home felt so liberating … finally we were answerable to no-one.
Having Whinnie around during the day is so unbelievably wonderful … I feel like there is more purpose in my day, which has ultimately resulted in my most productive week in months. Because we’re up slightly earlier and her needs essentially come before our own, I find I’m structuring my day slightly differently to ensure she gets her walks in (plus play and cuddle time) – and because there’s way less time to procrastinate my dwelling tendencies are kept to a minimum and instead I’m simply getting on with the job at hand.
Because I’ve been creatively drained of late (there is a reason for this, I promise!) it’s taken me a couple of months to get properly back in the groove. Thankfully I seemed to have found my rhythm again, which is a relief after a rather depressing lull – when my inspiration is lacking everything in my life suffers … something that can be exasperated when you live in a quiet little corner of the world, particularly when the weather has been downright depressing. Then again, being confined to my kitchen is often when I do my best work … that and limited ingredients usually push me to be more inventive but also force me to simplify dishes, and right now I’m all about simplicity.
griddled squash salad
with blistered grapes and a tangy tahini dressing
what you’ll need
1 butternut squash
1 tsp. sumac plus more for garnish
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
2 tbsp. light tahini
1/2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
1/2 tbsp. agave or other sweetener
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
juice 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
1 small bunch organic black grapes
10g fresh mint
what you’ll need
pre-heat a griddle pan on a medium-high heat. halve the squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into 1cm slices. brush with oil, season withe salt and pepper and dust with sumac. place the slices on the griddle pan and cook for 5-7mins each side, pressing firmly to ensure they are sufficiently seared. transfer to a plate and immediately cover with foil … they will continue to steam and cook through. repeat until all the slices are cooked, tossing in the grapes in the final few minutes until they are blistered but still hold their form.
place the tahini in a bowl along with the pomegranate molasses, agave, balsamic vinegar, lime juice and salt. whisk together until it forms a thick paste before thinning out with a little water … around 2-3 tbsp.
arrange the squash on a large serving platter and scatter over the grapes. finally, drizzle over the tahini dressing before finishing with some finely chopped mint and a smattering of sumac. serve.