Curried Black Chickpea Stuffed Winter Squash

So Halloween is all done for another year and like it or not, the next event on the calendar is Bonfire Night.

It’s a tough one, there are lots of wild animals and pets out there that are scared of the noises, Dolly luckily isn’t fazed by them at all, maybe living in London which isn’t the quietest place the noises just don’t surprise her as much.

There are lot’s of people out there that want  fireworks banned, but for me it’s been a yearly traditional ever since I can remember, wrapping up warm, putting on wellies and heading to a local display and I do love Bonfire Night. I do think though that however much I love the whizzing, the popping and the bangs that it’s selfish and that it would be great for the animals if all fireworks were made silent and I absolutely think that fireworks should not be made so easily available for the general public to buy and that they should only be legal at professionally organised events. 

If you are in the love camp then then this is the perfect snack to warm you up once you’ve gotten in from the cold!

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 small Winter squash (I used a festival squash)

1 tin black chickpeas, drained

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp paprika powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

3/4 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp tamarind paste

1 cup water

2 tbsps oil

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Method

Preheat oven to 200°

Cut squash in half and remove guts.

brush the insides of the squash with 1 tbsp of oil and place insides down on a baking tray and cover in foil.

Bake in oven for 45 minutes. 

Fry the onion in 1 tbsp oil for around 5 minutes until it starts to brown.

Add the spices, garlic, paprika, cumin, chilli and coriander and a little water and mix into a paste.

Gently fry the spices whilst stirring until the water reduces.

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Add a little more water and repeat this a couple more times until you have used 1/2 or the water.

Add the rest of the water and chickpeas and stir in the tamarind paste and bring to boil.

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Reduce heat and simmer with lid on pan for 15 minutes.

Remove squash from oven.

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Serve

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Crab Apple & Cinnamon Infused Vodka

I’ve been at it again, foraging that is.

Back in early August, my best friend stumbled across a row of trees in our local park growing what looked like ‘little green apples’ on them whilst walking his dog. He sent me a picture asking me what they were and to my delight, I identified them as crab apples.

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At the beginning of October we were out together on another dog walk and he took me back to the spot where the crab apple trees were and by then the fruit had turned from green to ripe Autumnal yellows and reds, luckily I had a spare poo bag on me (you have to be resourceful sometimes) and we picked a bag full. 

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Small and much more tart than normal eating apples, lots of people use them to make crab apple jelly but no, not me, I decided to infuse some vodka which will be ready just in time for Bonfire Night!

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Ingredients

20 crab apples

70cl vodka

100g of caster sugar

1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

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Method

Wash the crab apples and put them in a 2 litre picking jar.

Pour the vodka over the apples.

Add the caster sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Put the lid on the jar.

Leave to infuse for 1 month minimum, the longer you leave the apples infusing, the stronger the flavour will be.

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Strain in to a jug and pour in to a bottle. ( I bought an amazing glass skull bottle from Tiger for mine)

Serve with tonic water.