Sunday, April 24, 2011

Still Alive, Still Stuffing My Face

Oh my, I have been quite the absentee blogger lately, haven't I? Only about a month ago I would have felt deprived if I didn't get the chance to blog every day, now I try to pinpoint one single day in the week that I might actually have the time and energy to devote to a blog post. Things are thoroughly hectic with me at the mo, I am up to my tonsils, and some of favourite things have fallen by the wayside - blogging, clearly, being one of them. Stuffing my face, however, has managed to sustain and retain my devotion, only my meals are considerably speedier, and, being conscious of the scope for making excuses and veering off into wildly unhealthy eating habits, I am constantly jamming in the veggies. Lunch is one that I like to have some vague semblance of a plan for, plonked in there, as it is, in the middle of the day, where the potential for the lack of a plan also means potential for tasteless, unhealthy, unsatisfying muck - and there is nothing quite like a crap meal to make me narky. The veggie-centric book by The Other Sophie In My Life is super handy on the 'my body needs LEAVES' or 'I need to feed myself with bright things like carrots and tomatoes' front. Pick a veggie, any veggie, find yourself a recipe in that section of the book, and get cracking safe in the knowledge that you won't be wrestling with with over-carbed & -dairyed & -animal proteined guilt at the end of the day. 

Such a photogenic vegetable.

I have become increasingly particular about chopping up veggies into similar sizes when cooking to avoid the annoyance of some being not well done enough, some being overdone, some being perfect. Those who feel I have too much time on my hands may like to file this one away for evidence in case of future debate on said topic. Moving swiftly on - into th'oven with this lot of squashy chunks, along with some grated ginger, three bay leaves, some salt and pepper and olive oil. it goes in for 20 minutes at 220 C. 

Little beauts of cherry tomatoes, bursting with freshness. They're so easy to cover in oil, for some reason, unlike other veggies - it just covers them perfectly, I think it's the way they just roll around in it with their perfect shiny skin. Along with the oil they also get one clove of sliced garlic, half a tablespoon of fennel seeds and one bay leaf. Note the carefully recycled foil tray thingy. *Beams with smug totally accidental and completely unintended environmentalism*

After 20 minutes the squash comes out and gets blankie-d up with some rashers of pancetta, as well as three sliced cloves of garlic. Mmmmmmmmmmmm...meaty layers of streaky promise. This goes back into the oven for 20 minutes, and the tomatoes go in there along with it.

This is a divine sight; those sweet juicy tomatoes and that perfectly done squash with the juice from the parmaham dripped down into it to share that lovely strong, salty flavour. I can practically hear it all sizzling with ready-to-eatness just looking at the pics. The juices from the dish the squash was roasted in go into a pot along with two tablespoons of white wine vinegar and stirred up to bubbling point to create a flavoursome dressing. 

Assembly is a cinch, and never has such a thrown together salad looked so chic and colourful and glistening with taste. The peppery bed of rocket adds substance and tang to the sweet juicy tomatoes, the comforting chunks of squash and the full-on flavour of the pancetta. Now I'm the very first person to panic at the thoughts of salad constituting an actual meal - I like to ensure that I'm eating something won't have me starving for a whole other meal after I finish it, and I've always been a tad skeptical about the ability of a  salad to fill me up. This little beauty was more than adequate.

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