Basically, lots over-sharing and "cooking for one" recipes for anyone who might be hungry and heartbroken.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Butternut Squash Stuffed with Self-Esteem

And so the experiment begins.

I headed out to the grocery store with a heavy heart and a light wallet. Breaking up hurts in more ways than one. I wanted to cook something cheap, but it had to be nice, seeing as this was my first date with myself and I’m not that easily impressed. (Amused, yes. Impressed, no.)

Since my stomach is only partially on message with this whole project, I wanted something comforting and gentle. But it needed to have flavour as well, or I was never going to be interested. I kind of wanted ravioli, but that was too easy. I am sure I will eat my bodyweight in pasta over the next year, but I wanted to start off right.

I seized on butternut squash. It’s a childhood favourite of mine, but someone wasn’t fond of it, so it’s been a while since I’ve cooked it. So it was a good choice, for a number of reasons. A nice stuffed squash. Okay. I pondered the squash on offer, picking up an especially deformed one and briefly thinking melodramatic thoughts which I am afraid may have been an analysis of my life expressed in the ugliness of, well, squash. Then I snapped out of it and picked up the most beautiful squash there. Because I love myself, and I deserve gorgeous vegetables, damn it.  

Butternut Squash Stuffed with Self-Esteem (and Spinach)

1 medium butternut squash, cut lengthwise in half
1 knob of butter (let your conscience guide you. I have no conscience when it comes to butter.)
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
3 tbsp water

small handful of pine nuts
another knob of butter (you know the drill)
½ onion
½ red pepper
a few big handfuls of baby spinach

100g feta cheese, crumbled

Take your biggest, strongest knife, and slice your squash neatly in half. Try not to be reminded of the way your heart was recently severed in a similar fashion. Then stab each half repeatedly and with gusto. You might find this therapeutic, but don’t go overboard.. Scoop out any seeds in the little cavity at the bottom and discard. Put a little bit of butter in each of the depressions (the depressions in the squash, silly. Leave your depression out of this.) and smear the rest of the butter all over the squash. Season well with salt and pepper. Lay the squash in a baking dish and add the water to the dish to keep it from drying out. Stick it in the oven at 150c for about half an hour, or until tender. Go on, you can stab it some more to check.

About 15 minutes into the cooking, heat a frying pan on high. Scatter in the pine nuts and toast gently in the dry pan until golden. Make sure you keep stirring them, because they’re expensive and they taste terrible burnt. When done, put them aside and return the pan to the heat. Add the rest of the butter, the onion and the peppers. Cook, stirring briskly, and allowing them to char a little (only a little). Dump in the spinach and cook it down until it’s completely wilted and dark and the excess water has boiled off. Remove from heat.

To assemble, place ½ the squash on a plate. (set the other one aside to eat some other way tomorrow. It will make a good lunch base.) Use a fork to break up and fluff the squash inside its rind, and scatter with ½ the feta cheese. Scoop the veg mixture over the squash and top with the rest of the feta cheese, the pine nuts, and more salt and pepper. Serve. (Yourself.)


I have to say, it was a success. I was actually impressed. All the colours together were almost offensively cheerful. Everyone knows that the tang of feta goes well with spinach, but it was also great partner to the sweet mellow taste of the squash. It was a big dinner, but I ate it all. I felt virtuous because I am pretty sure I got all my five-a-day in one go, but it was actually really delicious.

Edit! A friend made the recipe and took a picture! I'm so proud I could burst. This marks the very first time someone other than me has made one of my recipes! Isn't it pretty?


  1. I see a book in this, a recipe book for breakups..... <3 <3

    LOVE IT! It makes me laugh... and a little sad but at the same time happy you are loving yourself!

  2. YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!