I think good food is all about making you feel better. Thatâ€™s providing you with the good energy, vitamins and other nutrients, but also, equally importantly, itâ€™s about enjoying the food in the right place, at a good pace and most importantly in good company.
Celebrating a meal makes such a difference compared to eating it in a rush, whilst trying to multitask three other things. I confess I have to make a conscious effort during the week to have my lunch away from my desk, and I still fail at times, although admittedly I am getting better at it. Weekdays dinners vary, as we usually have different timetables to our activities during the week, and might as a result eat at different times. But then, no one said you canâ€™t celebrate a meal in your own company.
Weekends however are all about celebrating the time together and celebrating the food. A morning coffee on a Saturday followed by a lunch or dinner whether at home or away, Sunday brunch and a lazy dinner to finish the weekend. Thereâ€™s always enough time for it, no matter what.
And whether itâ€™s a big feast for friends, just a dinner for the two of us, or even a meal for myself only, I love to make it look good. Yes, we do eat with our eyes just as we eat with our nose and mouth. Celebrating food involves all the senses.
This dish is perfect for a dark autumnal day. I sometimes wonder, what would we do without bright orange pumpkins and squashes? Itâ€™s not just that we couldnâ€™t carve a perfect pumpkin for Halloween, most importantly, live would be a bit sadder without dishes like this one.
1 medium butternut squash
125g feta, crumbled
75g fresh spinach leaves
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small red hot chilli pepper, chopped
2tbsp pine nuts
1tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1tbsp thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 200Â°C /gas mark 6.
Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Using a sharp knife, cut the butternut flesh in a criss-cross. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with some thyme leaves. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, chopped chilli pepper and garlic and cook, for about 3-5 minutes. Add the spinach leaves and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until wilted.
Take the spinach and onions off the heat. Stir in the feta, pine nuts and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the squash from the oven and fill it with the feta and spinach mixture. Return to the oven and bake again for 15 minutes, or until tender.