It was a joy to stop into The Hatchery Farm Shop (A355 close to Beaconsfield) and find beautifully presented, top quality fruit and vegetables that were as good to eat, if not better, as they were to look at just up the road from where I live. It is run by a friendly lady who is still working full time as well as running the shop and farm. Her dream is to get to a point where the farm shop is sustainable without her needing to keep the other job. I wish her the best – her dream sounds fab.
I bought a butternut squash amongst other things and made a Moroccan veggie stew inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe in his book River Cottage Veg Everyday. Here is the recipe asking for wonderful vegetables so if you live close then stop by the Hatchery and cook up a one-pot veggie feast, perfect dinner on a chilly evening.
Moroccan Veggie Stew
Heat 2 tbspns of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sauté 2 diced onions until they begin to look golden. Turn down the heat and add 2 garlic cloves, 1 finely chopped celery stalk, 1 tspn turmeric, ½ tspn each of ground ginger and cinnamon, plenty freshly ground black pepper. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
Add about 100g red lentils, 1 can of chick peas, 1.5ltr vegetable stock and a generous amount of coriander leaf (fresh or frozen, keeping some for scattering over to serve). Allow this to simmer while you peel, deseed and chop a butternut squash, although a mixture of sweet root vegetables such as sweet potato, parsnip and carrot could be used instead. Add this to the pan with a bay leaf, cover and simmer until the veg is tender and the lentils are cooked.
You could eat it like this as a thick soup or, for a more filling dish, you can add 50g orzo or rice shape pasta and simmer until the pasta is cooked – keep an eye on the fluid as you may need a little extra stock to allow the pasta to cook and not stick to the bottom of the pan.
If you like spice then you could add a little harissa or Ras-el-hanut for some North African heat. Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander or parsley to serve. Make lots as it make a great lunch the following day, re-heated with a sprinkling of grated mature cheddar.
Even the most devoted of carnivores will find this tasty and filling, or to assuage them you can add a little chicken or lamb.