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
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.