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.