To truly appreciate this dish you should attempt to make it in the style it was conceived, by walking three flights of stairs down to the kitchen, forget some of the ingredients so repeat the stair climb in reverse and then nearly burn it whilst trying to placate a post nap toddler tantrum. Now that you are in a suitable state of Chaos, you can begin cooking.
This yummy warm salad is really easy to throw together, which is lucky as I don’t do precision very well. It makes an awesome lunch on its own or as an alternative side-salad to the usual green lettuce affair. I have a bit of an obsession with salads, in fact I could be accused of salad snobbery on many occasions as it irks me no end that many restaurants and cafes are so unimaginative with their offerings in this department and offer up a limp and rather bland iceburg lettuce with shredded carrot and mushy tomato number. This is the salad equivalent of white sliced bread, boring and not very nice to eat! I apologise if this is how you like yours, as I said I am a salad snob but I can acknowledge others may like it just the way it is.
My salad ingredient du jour, actually not just du jour but every day, is rocket, or ruccola if you happen to be Italian or girgir in the Middle East. I use it as an accompaniment for all sorts of meals as it has a delicious peppery taste, (yes it has taste!) which goes well with almost anything you choose to mix it with. I guess it is my lettuce substitute, it renders lettuce unecessary with its delicious bite size brilliance. Anyway, enough waxing lyrical about the wonders of rocket and on with the show.
Warm Roast Squash (or Pumpkin), Yellow Pepper and Goats Cheese Salad
NB: In NZ an Aussie use Pumpkin for roasting as it has a fuller flavour than the watery ones in the UK. Elsewhere – experiment with whichever gives you a better taste
1 average size squash or pumpkin (depending on how many you’re feeding)
1 yellow pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic (I’m a fan)
1 packet of creamy mild goats cheese
Splash of Tesco’s stirfry oil (contains blend on sesame oil sunflower oil I think which gives it a nice nuttyness but you can use olive oil)
Handful of fresh rocket baby leaf salad
Simple as! Chop the squash/pumpkin into chunks (I leave the skin on but you can skin it if you prefer). Smash some garlic with the flat surface of a knife blade and rub in a pinch of salt, then chop it roughly. Chop pepper into strips. Throw all of the above in a roasting dish with about 2-3 Tblsp of oil and roast on about 180-190 c until soft, and before its burnt preferably! Should take about 20 mins. Skin the pumpkin pieces and arrange on a bed of rocket baby leaf salad, add the peppers and goats cheese chunks and then dress with balsamic and olive oil. Amazing!
I you have a young baby in the house, you can always mash or whiz the ingredients up (you might want to go easy on the garlic and oil and check the goats cheese is pasteurized) and serve as gourmet mush!