Nutty quinoa salad

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Today was the Big Storm. As we waited for it to pass and the 80mph winds almost bent our poplars in half and shook the beech tree like a deranged nanny, I thought about lunch. Something healthy, but not salad, something warming, but not soup.

I found this in the BBC Good Food magazine, which is about as comforting a magazine title as you can get. It says serves 2-3 and I’d say that’s about right. You can obviously up certain ingredients, such as the squash or the quinoa, if you need to make it go a bit further. I never weigh my squash incidentally. The only thing I found was that this was a bit salty for my taste – ergo delicious – so you may want to not salt the squash, for example. Anyway, this is packed with good things and if only I can resist the bourbon biscuit waiting for me in the kitchen, I will have had a wholly good lunch.

A small butternut squash, peeled, seeds out, cubed into 3cm cubes (approx 500g)

10sprigs of thyme

50ml olive oil (not virgin)

50g whole almonds, skin on

250ml stock (veg or chicken) or water

125g quinoa, that lovely middle class staple, rinsed

100g feta, crumbled

4 tablespoons of chopped parsley (we grow our herbs but struggle with the parsley, so I always have some of this in the freezer. It also stops you paying out 80pence for herbs that then go off in the salad drawer).

Preheat the oven to 200C and toast the almonds (whole) for 5-7 minutes, watch them really carefully. When they’re done take them out and at some point before serving, chop them up roughly.

Now put the squash in an oven tray and pour over the olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper. Mix it up and place in oven for 30-40 minutes until it’s tender and slightly brown at the edges. When done take out and put to one side. You’re done with the oven now.

Put the water or stock in a saucepan and put the rinsed and drained quinoa in, cook for about 12 minutes, until the stock is mostly absorbed and the quinoa is tender to the bite. Now put the cooked quinoa into a large bowl or plate, put the squash on top, crumble the feta on top, scatter the almonds and some parsley and you’re done. You can have this warm (I did and it was superb) or at room temperature. Strikes me it would make an excellent packed lunch, too.

For extra veg, eat with a small green salad. I didn’t because I couldn’t be bothered to pick some salad from outside and rinse it, so I’ll, um, have that later.

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