Punk rocksJanuary 19, 2010
I love having vegetarians in the family circle. In the past fortnight we’ve had a squillion extended family dinners on both sidess, with various visitors coming to us and we going to them. Among the 18 kids in our family are three child vegetarians, a boy and two girls, all under 15. It’s brilliant that kids are thinking about this – but only if they eat vegetables. It can be tricky stuff for a parent with a picky eater to find themselves landed with even narrower cooking options, specially when you have to think about developing brains and bones. Luckily the two kids I cooked for in the past week are pretty easy to please, and well brought up in the sense that their parents make sure they at least try new foods before they’re allowed to refuse them.
And it’s great to cook for non-meat-eaters, especially kids, because it makes one want to make interesting veg food so they get enough variety and nutrition. The other night, after some initial reluctance the younger one happily chowed down on some chickpea fritters; convinced to try one, she plunged in for more.
The other feature of that night’s veg-friendly spread (apart from lamb chops, hmmm – but also yummm) was this roast pumpkin salad I’ve eaten in various incarnations at others’ tables, but till now haven’t done myself.
Verdict: Love it. Punk, pine nuts, feta – what’s not to love?
Pumpkin, pine nut & feta salad
If it’s well roasted and soft, I reckon pumpkin skin has that luscious bittersweet thing going – delicious – and helps the punk hold its shape. But if you really don’t like it, remove the skin before serving.
- 2 cups pumpkin, skin on, cut into large chunks
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 bunch rocket
- 3 tablespoons marinated feta cubes
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- Roast the punk pieces in a slosh of olive oil in a moderate oven, till soft and caramelised.
- While the pumpkin is cooking, dry-roast the pine nuts on a separate tray in the oven for five minutes or until golden.
- Remove both & cool.
- Wash, dry and dress the rocket leaves with a dressing of 1 part balsamic vinegar to 3 parts olive oil, salt & pepper.
- Arrange the leaves on a large plate and add the pumpkin and pine nuts – gently mix the salad so the pumpkin receives a coating of dressing without falling apart.