Monday, 30 November 2015

Harvest Monday - slow cooked butternut squash

This week I thought I'd dust off (literally) the slow cooker. We've had it for ages but never really got into the swing of using it, hence a thick layer of dust I had to clean off, yuk!
Anyway, I'd happened across a recipe on the the web that included squash (and looked easy - important!) which inspired me to give the cooker go again. I didn't have exactly all the ingredients so varied it a bit -
  • Roughly Chopped onion and garlic
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, paprika, ginger
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • Small cubed butternut squash
  • Handful of chopped dates (instead of apricots)
Fry the onion, garlic and spices for a bit then add the tomatoes, and heat until boiling
Meanwhile cube the butternut squash and add to the slow cooker pan with the drained chickpeas and chopped dates
Add the sauce to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.
That's it! Easy peasy.
I was originally going to use two small squashes but actually the butternut on its own produced enough flesh so I cubed the other one and froze it instead
Before - Squash, chickpeas, dates in the slow cooker
Cooked in 4 hours! I was quite surprised it only took that long.
Served with quinoa and toasted cashews, yummy
I'll definitely try and use the cooker more often now, this recipe seems like it could be used as a base and just varied a bit each time. I'm not sure about how the different temperatures (low, medium high) affect cooking times yet e.g this took 4 hours on high but how long would it take on medium or low? So will have to do some research.
Yesterday we had a similar meal but cooked in the oven - we didn't plan ahead enough and there wasn't time to use the slow cooker, doh. This time it was squash with kidney beans, plus cheesy wedges, mmm.
I've had a couple of small harvests this week - a bit of kale (these are quite small leaves though)
More corn salad
And today I brought some onions back from the allotment shed (there's probably about the same amount left)
I was after some more sweet chestnuts, so on Saturday we had a walk down to Whitlingham country park, which is just on the edge of Norwich. I couldn't remember if there were any chestnut trees....turns out there aren't many! The only ones we found didn't have anything worth harvesting. But we did get a few sloes.
And found a cute bear we hadn't seen before, aah

So, my search for more chestnuts will have to carry on elsewhere!

Thanks for reading this week. Linking in with Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres




  1. The slow cooker dish sounds great. I love squash and chickpeas together. I usually have them in some kind of curry concoction. Like you I don't use our slow cooker often enough. How do you use the sloe berries? The only time I have ever had them was in the gin!

    1. Thanks Dave, yep squash and chickpeas are a great combination. Someone on my allotment site has even grown chickpeas before so that's definitely something to try, it would be amazing to grow my own!
      I've put the sloes in the freezer for now and will make either sloe vodka or gin another time. I have two bottles on the go that I made last year and didn't get round to sorting out for Xmas presents, so there will be a couple of lucky people this year instead!

  2. Sounds a lot like a stew I used to make years ago (squash, chickpeas, raisins, etc) - I should try that again some time. Those onions look wonderful!

    1. Yes give it another go Susie! Thanks, the onions looked quite smart after I'd taken the loose bits off - before that they didn't!

  3. This sounds yummy. We're also trying to use our slow cooker more (we have the same one as you). I find it's very convenient as long as you get organised ahead of time. Last night it was slow-cooked rice pudding!

    1. Thanks Matt, mmm rice pudding, that's a good idea.
      I'm hoping my slow-cooking keeps its momentum and wasn't just a one-off!

  4. Of the carved tree stump, like the bear we have been hibernating most of this week tucked up inside against the wind and rain.

    1. Aw, yes it is hibernating weather sue. I can't believe the wind and rain we keep getting. We were rained on a bit on the walk home on Saturday but luckily got in just before it really chucked it down.

  5. I don't use the slow cooker a lot, maybe once or twice per month, but I do enjoy it's convenience in that I can do all the prep in the morning and then forget about it until dinner time. Comes in very handy when I know I'll be busy all day.

    Many recipes for slow cookers give directions for both slow (low) or faster (high) cooking and usually 8 hours on low is more or less the same as 4 hours on high. But I have found that different slow cooker brands do vary in terms of how hot they get - I once purchased one that I had to return because it cooked at much too hot a temp - after all it's supposed to be a SLOW cooker!

    1. Ooh, thanks for the tips Margaret. Ha ha, yes they're meant to be slow, not fast cookers. I might give mine another try tomorrow :)

  6. Its been a long while since i used my slow cooker, I think it was for the Apple Butter last. I've not foraged this year at all, wish i had seen some sloes though, i would have piked them. Your Buttternut Stew dish looks great by the way and so does your harvest.