In full colour…

It’s the start of another week. Note to self: less mono­chrome, more colour.

This week I’m going to be Pol­ly­anna, Eleanor H Porter’s eponym­ous char­ac­ter who always found the best in everything. Pol­ly­anna played the ‘glad game’ so bril­liantly that she even man­aged to be pleased when she was knocked over by a car. My Pol­ly­anna imper­son­a­tion isn’t going to take me that far. But a little more Pol­ly­anna in our lives can’t be a bad thing, can it?

The reason for my Pol­ly­anna trib­ute act is that, when I look back over the past seven days, I real­ise I’ve been down­right gloomy. Everything has been mono­chrome. Franken­stein is partly to blame for that. I’m writ­ing a lec­ture about Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Franken­stein to be given later this month. Shar­ing my life with Vic­tor Franken­stein and his mon­strous cre­ation isn’t a laugh a minute. As the mon­ster picked off yet another of Victor’s rel­at­ives I could feel my spir­its sinking.

The week has also been peppered with small instances of sheer bloody-mindedness. This morn­ing I walked past a woman shriek­ing at an eld­erly couple who’d dared to com­plain that she was block­ing their drive­way with her huge 4 x 4. Pol­ly­anna would have sor­ted her out. I was just left feel­ing part appalled and part embar­rassed at my fail­ure to do any­thing about it.

So, here we go. Where bet­ter to start than with food?

Full Col­our Red Rice With Squash and Tahini

But­ter­nut squash — 1 should be enough for 4 people

Tea­spoon cumin powder

Rice — 80 g per person

1 tea­spoon of tahini per person

1 dessert spoon thick Greek yoghurt per person

1 tea­spoon pomegranate seeds per person

1 tea­spoon spring onions/red chil­lies per person

Coriander/cilantro leaves

I used red rice from the Camar­gue, although bas­mati rice cooked with a dessert spoon of tur­meric in the water is both beau­ti­ful and deli­cious too.

Peel, de-seed and cube the squash. I happened to use acorn squash because it appeared in my organic veget­able box this week, but but­ter­nut squash has a stronger fla­vour and col­our. Rub with olive oil and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Sprinkle a little cumin over the cubes and bake for half an hour at 170 degrees C or until soft and start­ing to turn golden at the edges.

Cook the rice and stir a tea­spoon of tahini into each serving. Top the rice with the baked but­ter­nut squash. Next, a spoon­ful of Greek yoghurt per per­son, fol­lowed by a spoon­ful of pomegranate seeds, fol­lowed by some spring onions/scallions that you have fried in olive oil with some finely chopped red chil­lies. Last of all, a sprink­ling of coriander/cilantro leaves.

And there you have it — food in full colour.

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21 thoughts on “In full colour…

  1. That’s a very col­our­ful post, just what you need after miser­able Franken­stein — I hated that book and the whole Romantic movement!

    I have a whole box­ful of can­vas bound Eleanor H Porter hard­backs from the 1950s or maybe earlier — the entire Miss Billy col­lec­tion and lots of Pol­ly­an­nas. My grandma bought them at an auc­tion and gave them to me. I tried read­ing them but they were not my sort of thing and I never got very far.

  2. Hi Sarah
    I haven’t read Pol­ly­anna since I was about 11. I remem­ber lov­ing the books, although rather like revis­it­ing Mal­ory Towers, I might find to my hor­ror that they’re dread­ful… I do love Franken­stein though.

  3. Years ago I had a really great PA who would utter when some­thing went wrong ’ What would Pol­ly­anna say?‘
    It became an office joke — I was usu­ally too stressed out to appre­ci­ate it but maybe she had a point.…

  4. Hi Liz
    I must admit that des­pite my pledge the Pol­ly­anna act has slipped a couple of times this week. But I do think your PA had a point.…

  5. I love the col­ors — and the fla­vors (just what I’ve been crav­ing) — and will cer­tainly put any­one back in a bet­ter mood. And I never read the Pol­ly­anna books but saw the 1960’s Dis­ney ver­sion and in it Pol­ly­anna strings up prisms in the old sour­puss lady’s bed­room (or par­lor?) to cheer her up with the rain­bow of col­ors as the sun hit the prisms. A room­ful of color! Like this dish!

  6. Why didn’t I think of that, Jamie? A kick in the shins.. per­fect! And, by the way, I’ve been stuck in Lon­don traffic for hours today and the Pol­ly­anna act fell through the floor­boards. xx

  7. That was the best lunch! I made it very cas­u­ally (with mint instead of cori­ander) for some friends who came round and they were impressed well out of pro­por­tion with the amount of effort and skill it took to pre­pare! Thank you!
    We fol­lowed it with thick Greek yoghurt with rose petal jam stirred in, and then mint tea with a cin­na­mon stick in.

  8. Hi Levantine I am so, so pleased your lunch was such a suc­cess. And I love the idea of your rose petal jam. Thanks very much for your com­ments.
    Charlie

  9. Hah — I’ve had one of those mono­chrome weeks too — and I don’t even have a Franken­stein lec­ture to blame! ;-) Love the full-colour recipe — and the gem squash!!! Where did you get them?

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