It’s suddenly very autumnal out there. The trees are sequentially turning golden and the breeze carries with it the scent of burning leaves, bonfires and chestnuts, hanging in the cold night air. A light mist seems to settle most evenings now, as the sun sets ever earlier, mixing atmospherically with the smokey scent in the air.
I’m happily continuing my current obsession with sweet potatoes and squashes. On a crisp Autumn day, sometimes a salad can seem like just the thing for supper, yet once it’s gone dark, all salad thoughts rapidly evaporate in favour of eating something warmer and comforting. This is the salad for such an evening – warm, sweet squash and buttery, rich pecans contrast beautifully with rich, creamy cheese and peppery rocket.
The combination of squash and pecans crops up a lot in seasonal American recipes – squash and pecan pies seem intrinsically linked to thanksgiving. Whilst we don’t have thanksgiving in the UK, the flavours still epitomise the Autumn season for me.
You want a lovely, sticky soft cheese for this recipe. I bought one from a cheese stall on our local market and can’t remember exactly what it was, maybe a Cardo or a Wigmore, but it was the sort of cheese that oozes satisfyingly from its rind when left at room temperature. A goat cheese could also work well with this. Make sure it’s removed from the fridge at the start of the cooking time to allow it to warm up and bring out the flavour.
I’m having a bit of a sweet potato love-in at the moment. Maybe it’s their enticingly autumnal orange colour, but I’ve eaten this dish so many times recently, I just had to share it. I love the bright colours and sweet flavours; it’s a lovely, comforting and filling supper.
Peel and chop a small sweet potato into small cubes – the smaller they are the faster they’ll cook. I try to cut mine smaller than 1cm if I can. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and add the potato. Cover with a lid and fry gently, stirring occasionally, for around 10 minutes until soft and slightly golden.
Meanwhile, peel a small corn on the cob and slice off the kernels, or use a small tin if you can’t get fresh corn. Slice a few spring onions and halve a handful of cherry tomatoes.
Slice a couple of chunks of chorizo sausage and cut into cubes. Add these to the cooked potato and stir for a couple of minutes till the oil starts to ooze out. If you don’t have chorizo or don’t want to use it, add half a teaspoon of paprika instead for a lovely smoky flavour.
Throw in the corn, onions and tomatoes and allow to cook for A few minutes. Then add a good handful of spinach and allow to wilt then crack one or two eggs over the top, turn the heat to medium-low, put the lid back on and allow to cook for a few minutes until the egg white has set but the yolk is still lovely and runny.
Sprinkle over some chopped coriander and serve.
Serves 1, takes 20-25 minutes.
1 small sweet potato
1 small corn on the cob
Small bunch Spring onions
a few slices of chorizo or 1/2 tsp paprika
1 or 2 eggs