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.


  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 SarahI 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 LizI 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 monochrome, but some color now and then does not hurt. Thx for visiting on my side, I appreciate.

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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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