Meet more relatives of the squash family
I was wandering in the newly opened foodie Mecca of Whole Foods, Picadilly Circus, London searching for some coconut yoghurt (for my dinner party dessert of Banoffee Eton Mess) when I found these wonderful looking vegetables – Hokkaido squash and yellow courgettes. I had planned this exact same dish with squash family members butternut squash and standard green courgettes but these just looked so pretty I couldn’t resist. I was assuming that they cooked the same way as their relatives, and they did. They also tasted pretty similar too – but with a slight variation in flavour and texture.
Hokkaido squash looks a little like a small pumpkin, is a winter squash like butternut, and is also called Red kuri squash or Japanese squash. It is grown in a variety of places – inlcuding Japan so this is the only reason I can think of that it is called a Hokkaido squash (Hokkaido is one of the Japanese Islands). I’d never heard of it before now – and neither had the shop assistant since it took her about 10 minutes to find the right code from her long list of exotic vegetables! It was really delicious and made a nice change from butternut, so if it is on offer again I would definitely buy it. We are about to hit Autumn which is perfect season for squash so I hope to see a lot more varieties hit our shops.
The yellow courgettes are like green courgettes, but yellow….
This is a great side dish to go alongside any other what I call ‘rainbow dish’ with a meat as main. Mine was served with Chermoula Chicken thighs and grilled aubergine. Iam just loving throwing a pile of herbs into my cooking at the moment – they liven up the dish in flavour, texture and are most importantly visually stunning – I’m a true believer that if food looks great it makes it all the better – down with beige food!
Since the mint has such a specific flavour I didn’t add any other spices, just simply roasted the squash and courgettes in a bit of olive oil and seasoning.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish, with another side)
- 1 Hokkaido Squash
- 2 Yellow Courgettes
- Olive Oil
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- Large handful of fresh mint, shredded
- squeeze lemon juice
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
- Dice the Squash and Courgettes (you can leave the skins on) into bite-sized pieces and toss in a large bowl with a glug of olive oil (1 or 2 tablespoons to be precise), pinch of salt and black pepper. Lay out on a baking tray, and roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes (depending on how tender you like your veg).
- Meanwhile toast a handful of pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan.
- Remove veg from oven and cool. When cooled toss with a tonne of shredded fresh mint, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Top with the pumpkin seeds.