Aubergine, Butternut Squash, Walnut and Spinach Pesto

Based on and inspired by this recipe. The perpetual spinach in the recipe is from the garden, I highly recommend planting some because it needs no care and attention and provides fresh greens whenever you want them.
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The sauce ingredients will make enough for at least eight portions, make enough pasta for this meal and freeze the rest of the sauce

Ingredients
2 small aubergines, stalks removed and cubed
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion in wedges
Handful of walnuts
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 big handful young spinach leaves, well washed – I used perpetual spinach from our garden
200ml water (approximately)
Dried Spaghetti

Method
Roast the butternut squash, onion and aubergine, with the oil for 45 minutes or until the squash is soft.
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Blend until smooth with the garlic, spinach and walnuts. Add water as necessary to help the blender, you want a smooth sauce that isn’t too wet. Don’t expect beauty!

Cook your pasta and toss it in a little of the pesto.

My husband found the spinach a little too strong, so reduce it if you feel the same. Personally I liked it…

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Beany Vegetable Flatbread

This bread has loads of good nutrition and hearty flavour.
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Serve with salads, for a picnic or for children.

Serves 2 as a substantial snack, light lunch or supper with side dishes.
Ingredients
100g refreshed starter
300g white flour
Tablespoon dried oregano
Pinch salt
200g beany stew*
Coarse salt
Vegan Choritzo, finely chopped (optional)
Drizzle of olive oil

* Make a simple stew another day, the exact ingredients aren’t important. For this flatbread I used a big scoop of a stew containing:
75% Cannelini beans
Roasted tomatoes
Roasted onions
Roasted green pepper
Spinach
Leave as much sauce behind in the pot as possible.

Method
Knead everything together except the coarse sea salt, the beans and vegetables will disintegrate.
The dough shouldn’t be too wet, add flour if necessary.
Allow the dough to rest for an hour and then roll it out, using extra flour to dust the table and rolling pin.
Sprinkle over the salt and Choritzo, then drizzle generously with olive oil. Allow to rest for another half hour (or longer), then bake for 30mins at 229c.
This won’t rise much, but it will crisp and be rich and satisfying. You won’t need much with this.

Smokey Stew – Chickpeas, Sausage, Spinach, Potatoes, Smoke… And a vaguely Moroccan Sourdough

A hearty, smokey stew with delicious bread. Cold smoking the ingredients makes this really special.
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Start the bread first:

Vaguely Moroccan Sourdough Bread
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I took advice and pointers from this recipe, but my version is fairly different – using only sourdough and cumin rather than fennel.

Ingredients
100g refreshed starter
600g white flour
225g water
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornmeal to dust

Method
I make it in the machine- 2:30h dough cycle (or knead well), then shape, sprinkle over the cornmeal, slash and rest 1 hour.
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Bake for 30 minutes at 200c and allow to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes, this will allow it to finish cooking.
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Stew
I made this with tomato, chickpeas, sausage and garlic that had been smoked in my cold-smoker. It would still be delicious with the plain variety, or you could add some liquid smoke.

Ingredients – to serve two with bread
4 cold-smoked tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves of cold-smoked garlic, finely sliced
1 tin of smoked chickpeas (drained), or a roughly equivalent quantity of home cooked ones
2-3 sausages made according to the Italian Feast Recipe in Vegan Brunch and then cold smoked (the recipe makes 4, I freeze them)
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4 medium potatoes, cubed
3 handfuls frozen spinach (that’s what I had, but I am positive that about 4 big handfuls of fresh, roughly chopped, would work well
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Splash of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Approximately 250ml white wine and 250ml water
Pinch of salt
Generous quantities of freshly ground pepper

Method
Slice the sausage diagonally, about 1cm thick. Fry the slices on both sides in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until browned and crisp. Remove from the oil and set aside.

Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan and fry the garlic and spice until the garlic is nutty brown. Then remove the garlic, and set aside as well.

Fry the potato until browned on all side, then add the chopped tomatoes and cook slowly until they have collapsed into a thick sauce.

Add the chickpeas, vinegar, pre fried garlic and spinach add water and wine in equal proportions until the potatoes are just covered. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the sauce is quite dry – about 45 minutes.
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Stir in the fried sausage and season before serving. Use generous bowls with bread on the side.

For the children
If this doesn’t suit the kids, serve the bread with some fresh fruit and vegetables, some beans or chickpeas in tomato sauce…