Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Recipe - Roasted Squash and Lemon Spaghetti

Yesterday, I learnt two things about cookery. Firstly, that to really get good, it might help to have a little (lot) money. Secondly, I need to buck up my ideas and be less lazy. The first lesson I learnt at the Edinburgh Foodies Festival and the second I learnt cooking for 'the parents' (not mine, you understand).

We went to Inverleith Park and found the relevant tents. We were probably the youngest people not accompanied by adults. We should've clocked that it'd be fruitless from the price tags on the Groupon tickets we neglected to steal. I don't know how much £10 sounds to you all. But as my dog-loving ('aw look at all the dogs, how can you hate them?') companion pointed out 'think of it as a fraction of £100, then it hurts'. And as an unemployed Masters student who still hasn't secured funding for the actual tuition fee bit, it's a lot. It's not nice to discover that you receive very few free samples and are really paying for the pleasure of window shopping with things I won't be able to afford for a decade. Sigh. Still, we enjoyed some teaspoons of tasty chutneys and flavoured oils and some interesting alcohols. Caramel vodka? Delicious. As is the golden Spanish rum I can't remember the name of and angustora bitters as marinade ingredient. I left disappointed at my lack of funds. I didn't even get (to buy) any lunch since I was feeling a big peaky. The whole thing taught me that I have a lot to learn and lots of ingredients to test out. Yet no money (yet) to do it with. Sigh again.

This despondency stuck with me to dinner. After my Bangladesh drought, I was still aching to cook. In particular, I wanted to make chicken Milanese with squash and lemon spaghetti, a recipe I last (and only) cooked two years ago. But then blah blah blah I can't remember why but I ditched the Milanese bit. Just roasted chicken pieces from me. Things were further complicated by the fact that it was my first time using a gas oven. Shoddy workmen blaming tools etc. The chicken was roasted to pallid and then grilled so of course it was slightly dry and still not very well browned ones at that. MY LAZINESS. I can't prepare meat (that's what butchers are for) or chop properly (someone stronger had to negotiate the squash) or make pastry (the disasters are too disastrous to blog about). Perhaps I should be less aggressive about my disdain of Jamie when really he's aiming his recipes at can't be bothered types like me. This photograph is particularly poor, it tasted much better than it looked.

Roasted squash (credits to Ashleigh Wheeler)
1 squash, skin left on, seeds left out, cut into bite size chunks
About half a teaspoon of salt
A teaspoon of crushed chilli flaked
A good grinding of black pepper

Place squash in baking dish, sprinkle with condiments, place in a preheated oven at 220 for about an hour.

Lemon spaghetti
500g spaghetti
4 large handfuls of rocket
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
50g Parmesan
Lots of black pepper

Boil the pasta as per cooking instructions.
Once cooked, drain, reserving about a cup of cooking water. Quickly throw the rest of the ingredients into the pasta and mix thoroughly.
Season with black pepper.

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