real food

A methi business

Cooking simply doesn't have to be cooking boringly. A fresh piece of wild fish or some high-season asparagus doesn't need much doing to it. Meals like this are quite often the best, in terms of flavour, sustainability and time. Vegetables at their freshest and most seasonal take almost no time to cook and with something like a flavoured butter or herb oil to complement them you are going to eat very well.

You can make many of these things in advance, butter freezes well to use as and when you like; spice mixes; freshly toasted and ground, will keep well in a jar in the cupboard for a couple of weeks to sprinkle over a finished dish. Try this gunpowder recipe for roast squash or this za'atar one to add to stems of tender broccoli or to sprinkle over.

Flavoured butters are one of my favourite way to add flavour and excitement to a dish and -- contrary to the advice given by the idiots in charge of dietary 'guidelines'-- it is good for you. Why on earth you would substitute a natural and delicious ingredient for an industrially produced trans-fat laden 'spread' which is one step away from plastic is beyond me.

Last week I made a batch with wild garlic as well as a harissa-laden one. I used them liberally to cook salmon, melt into a butter bean and chorizo stew and pour over fried eggs. This version, using a bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves (I threw the stalks into the blender too) is an elegant pale jade colour. Its maiden voyage is going to be with cauliflower, the florets first boiled until just starting to soften, next a coating of turmeric powder and mustard seeds, then caramelised in a pan and poached in the butter until ready.

250g softened unsalted butter (homemade from pasture-raised cows milk would be best, but failing that, Yeo Valley butter is a good supermarket one, if you must use those vile warehouses of sugar, food-type products and palm oil)
5g Maldon salt
1 bunch of fenugreek, well chopped
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Melt 25g of the butter with the olive oil and add the salt. Throw in the fenugreek and stir well. Cook for about five minutes, until everything is well wilted then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for half an hour.
If at the end of the infusion the butter has started to solidify again, gently heat it.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a large bowl, discarding the leaves then add the remaining butter and whisk well until it all comes together.
Pour into a jar or dish and chill until firm.

Wild garlic butter

We sat down to supper, the children just having gone to bed. They were supposed to be asleep, yet by the volume of giggling wafting downstairs were still wide awake. Perhaps we could finish our meal in peace before resorting to investigation followed by threats.

I'd spent about half an hour in the afternoon making wild garlic butter from scratch. About 600ml of double cream into the churning jar was enough for a large pat and the buttermilk left over will go very well in some scones or to marinate some chicken.

A few handfuls of the garlic leaves and flowers, dug from the garden and cleaned of soil were wilted in a pan and squeezed dry. Salt and a pinch of turmeric went in to the blender with the butter until it became a vivid green, then I poured it, still fairly liquid, into a dish in the fridge to firm.

Making your own butter means you can choose cream that you know comes from well looked after cows. Grass-fed and allowed to live as they should: on pasture and well treated, contributing to and being part of the wider healthy biosphere. There is also a freshness to homemade, as well as a the excitement of seeing the simple magic of separating whey from fat. And once you've rinsed and squeezed it through muslin you can flavour it as you like.

When the children help, we wrap and label theirs with their names so they have personalised butter pats. They usually stick to plain butter, but you could spice it with garam masala or a tablespoon of harissa, rosemary or tarragon. You could even go sweet with ground cinnamon and sugar.

When you make a batch, roll each into a cylinder and wrap well in paper. You can freeze for later use or keep in the fridge for about a week if salted.

I used the wild garlic butter last night with chorizo scrambled eggs. The spices from the meat mingling with the deep green butter as the cubes sizzled and crisped. On the side were garlic-laden sautéed courgettes and a green salad lightly dressed with a punchy mustard vinaigrette. As if it wasn't rich enough, I had some very creamy goats cheese on my eggs. Maybe I'm calcium deficient at the moment and my body is trying to tell me something. If that meal was the result of subliminal dairy messaging, then I'm all ears.

Rouille of fortune

It's a rare occasion that sees me pass a merguez sausage without buying it. Many a night, in the back streets of Toulouse after a hard day at Art college followed by the necessary 'unwinding', I could be found loitering by one of the many 'merguez-frites' vans. The meat may have been dubious, but if you add enough spices to something (and by those spices I also include everything that went in the sangria at Le Chat d'oc) it tastes amazing.

These days, I neither spice myself nor eat dubious things from vans. No matter that eating from a van or a skip is the height of fashion, and far be it from me to not appear as a man about town, full of a la mode encounters, I prefer to have a cosy night in knowing that what I'm eating is of du bon provenance, as it were. And besides, the idea of eating on a cold London street is frankly quite beyond the pale for a man of my age.

The newly opened butcher's shop down the road from us knows each farm that supplies their meat, if not each animal they slice up in the brightly lit back of the shop in the village. If things aren't up to scratch, they don't stock them. This gives me confidence in them, they really seem to care.

A large vitrine looks into the chilly fridge as you walk in the front door, framing the animal version of a gruesome Mafia scene and a pale red neon glow gives a rather voyeuristic feel to the whole set up. I ask for some bones for the dog, stock up on chicken and beef then spot the merguez. Ben, the tatooed and bearded man with the cleaver hands me the bag of body parts meat and I slowly, smilingly, back out of the shop and drive home through the leafy sun-dappled streets of Dulwich.

Back home, the dried butter beans(*) go into a bowl, covered with boiling water and soak for an hour before cooking. And I cook them in chicken stock made from Fosse Meadow farm birds until soft and velvety. Stirring through a good handful of parsley and a large pinch of dried mint I then pour in a lot of olive oil and leave the beans to quietly cool in a corner of the kitchen.

Later I will grill the merguez until oozing red oil comes out and the skin starts to crisp. The egg yolk(**) I've kept back from the stock clarifying is perfect for the rouille to go on top. All it takes is some toasted cumin seeds(***), ground to a powder with some saffron(*****), a couple of small garlic cloves(*****) and some salt(******). The olive oil(******) goes in a thin stream into the mortar as the egg yolk breaks golden into the spices. Thickening slowly it will add a hit of flavour to bring the sausage and beans together like a sun-tanned priest at a wedding.

*From Madagascar, apparently. For some reason or other I'm sure.
**From a nice farm in the Cotswolds.
***Packed in the UK, apparently. What a weaselly thing to say.
****From La Mancha. Saffron Panza de la Mancha. A quixotic strand.
*****French. I think.
******This, of course, is from Maldon.
*******La bella Liguria. This is really all over the place isn't it?

Farm from the Madding Crowd

The roads winding through the countryside, some tree-sheltered and some opening onto wide rolling fields belie how close we are to London and the grey January concrete I've just left behind.

Although the weather is downcast and gloomy, the skies heavy with cloud and light drizzle, the journey out of my corner of South East London quickly and always surprisingly opens out into fresh air and the wide landcapes of West, then East Sussex.

Most of the fields I pass are brown, the work happening underground. The quiet surface appears asleep with no visible sign of life. Most of the winter produce is cropped now and all that remains is either stumpy and scrubby or muddy and lumpy.

I wonder if this is the best time to visit a fruit farm. But I wanted to see where the work of growing began. Normally all you see in your fruit bowl is the gloriously ephemeral end result. You give it little thought as the juice from the berries runs down your arm and chin, but here, on a cold and muddy morning, you can see the long journey from it's soily and unglamorous beginnings.

Brambletye biodynamic fruit farm near the small town of Forest Row, is down a long and bumpy road that after a few twists and turns becomes little more than two muddy ruts. I drove past the ruins of the 17th century Brambletye manor, of which there are only separated halves of the facade remaining, and knocked on the door of what I took to be the farm house. Two large dogs (I'm not good with breed names) galloped around me, and the lady of the house, aproned and with flour covered hands like the country version of a seaside postcard told me I was in the wrong place. A great shame, as the smells from the kitchen wafted out the door like siren song.

A few minutes later and slightly further along the road, I stepped from the car into the mud of the farm then got immediately back in and changed out of my towny white trainers into wellies.

Greeting me were Ellie and her two year old daughter who was well wrapped up with a wooly hat pulled down over her ears, and coat and scarf drawn up around her, but not quite able to prevent a little cold red nose poking out.

Crates of bottled apple juice were stacked high all around ready to be sent out, and the big barn behind was being swept out by Stein Leenders, clad in dark blue overalls and dusty boots. He and Ellie have been farming on this land for 10 years now after he moved over from Holland along with 15,000 apple trees to what was then a rented field.

The first thing Ellie took me to see were the mushrooms, growing in an old shipping container. Rows of plastic barrel-like sacks, packed tightly with mushroom spores and wood chippings from the hazel trees in the neighbouring woods were sat neatly on shelves. The damp air and low hum of the artificial lights casting a Bladerunner like glow gave the impression of a strange tunnel, lined with embryonic alien life. Here and there, out of the plastic where holes had appeared, sprouted little mushrooms. Pink, yellow, and blue winter oyster mushrooms were vivid in the half-light, slowly growing larger until harvesting. Growing this way recreates the exact conditions all year round as if they were growing in the forest. This was very different to the mushroom farm's long stacked beds I spent weekend mornings picking in as a teenager to earn money to buy the latest A-ha album.

A few minutes walk from the mushrooms and we were on the crest of a hill, the highest point of the farm overlooking the sweeping High Weald. Rows of stunted apple trees, Evita, Santana and Red Topaz varieties, lined the field, sounding like a musical revue. Leafless and jagged, it seemed as if a fierce wind had blown through, stripping everything. On this exposed hillside, it probably had.

Chickens, lots of them, run freely and curiously among the slim tree trunks, the grass growing happily under their feet. "You don't see this very often," says Ellie, picking up her daughter, who was starting to get cold and a little hungry, as was I. She tells me the chickens are owned by a neighbouring farmer and share, and therefore fertilise, the land. We walk along to their coop, a long, movable shed where in the porch-like entrance is a window through which a conveyor belt's end pokes through. One egg sits proudly on it.

Behind this, through another door is the main room where the chickens can sleep, lay eggs and hang out, possibly watching telly, or whatever it is chickens do on their days off. Fifteen or so are clucking around happily and when we step out the door we are greeted by a large crowd of them, gathered like fans at the stage door of the Palladium.

We head back toward the main apple shed, past rows of gooseberry bushes, the green and the sweeter purple types. Past cherry trees, blackberry bushes and then the pear trees, of which there are a few varieties such as Wildeman and Concorde. Every tenth pear tree is a pollinator, that is to say, a different variety. They are grafted onto quince roots and you can see the quince trying to fight it's way up through the soil around the base of the trees.

Red and blackcurrant bushes are being pruned and a few cabbages, kale, cavolo nero remain, the end of the season approaching. As spring arrives, so will 'the hungry gap', the space between the hardy winter root vegetables and brassicas growing and the fruit season starting. This is when the farm maintenance and planting happens.

The longer storing varieties of apples, held back for this lull -- some in low oxygen storage -- can be pressed for juice, ensuring a constant year round supply. Vats of cider vinegar are in the background too; the raw, unpasteurised stuff, full of good bacteria and culture, just like my French family. These are sold along with the juices, purées and fruit and veg at the farmers markets and shops the farm supply.

The apple pulp and waste gets fed to the two pigs, which, as it comes out of the pigs, feeds the land on which the apples grow, just like with the chickens eating the plants in the orchard.

It's an inspiring sight to see, and the work and dedication they put into their farm is uplifting in these strange times. I tentatively ask about what 'Brexit' may mean to them, and Ellie tells me they use mainly local pickers in season, and plenty of restaurants and suppliers have already been in touch to see what they can use on a local produce level. So perhaps, if there is anything good to come out of this whole farce, it may be that we become much more connected to the seasons and to shopping locally rather than relying on imports.

Ellie and Stein care about their farm, the land and their products and we as consumers should be grateful for such dedication. We are able to get real food grown with care and respect and not covered with 'Roundup' or picked before being ripe and cold-transported thousands of miles. Perhaps it's time we toned down our sense of entitlement to all year round asparagus and enjoyed things as they appear from the land before us. It certainly leaves a better taste in the mouth.

Brambletye Fruit Farm, East Sussex
London Farmers Markets
Orchard eggs

Raw, unpasteurised cider vinegar, as produced on Brambletye farm has many supposed health benefits, not least I suppose because it's all natural. It's not just something to make a salad dressing or vin d'alho with, either. People have been drinking it for centuries. There are so many varieties, but if you taste proper vinegar you'll never go back. As well as apple, there are many raspberry vinegars, parsnip ones, red and white wine, obviously, Banyuls vinegar, which is like having a glass of port, aged vinegars, young ones, all kinds.

I use the cider vinegar to make 'switchel,' a centuries old drink that deserves a revival. It's refreshing and interesting and you can make it as sweet or sharp as you like. I prefer sharp to add some zing, there are already to many sweet drinks around. For a non-drinker it's something that tastes a little more grown up than the seemingly thoughtless offerings of children's fizzy squash packaged in adult designs and it's not based around sugar.
It's important to also use raw honey here to get the full healthiness.

Make a bottle, keep it in the fridge and swig merrily away, knowing it's all pure.

1tbsp raw honey
Juice and zest of a lime
4tbsp raw cider vinegar
A thumb of ginger, grated
Water to top up (or leave it neat and dilute with sparkling water)

Dissolve the honey in a few tablespoons of hot water then top up with the lime juice, vinegar and grated ginger. Funnel into a 500ml sterilised glass bottle and add fresh, filtered water to the top. Seal and leave to infuse for a day.
Keep in the fridge, serve with ice or just straight in short glasses.

Let baigans be baigans

Rasedar Baigan (Hindi for saucy aubergine)The more I cook, perhaps the older I get (or is it tireder), the fewer ingredients I want to use in a dish. And the simpler the food I'm making, the more delicious it seems to be.This week it's been a case of taking a vegetable and using that as the starting point for a meal. A little more thinking has had to be applied rather than thoughtlessly going with the usual starchy suspects you reach for on a rapidly darkening Tuesday evening.As if dealing with the sad acceptance that we don't live in an endless Swallows and Amazons summer wasn't enough, now we have to start eating properly again. No more cream teas and cake for the evening meal. Out has gone the pasta, rice and potatoes that form so many daily meals, and in, the sad acceptance that we are no longer inhabiting our 20 year old bodies.But it need not be dull as we slip headlong into turnip season. We are still heavy with aubergines, broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes and sweetcorn among other things. The salads are fading, but my appetite is growing. And as we lose nearly two hours of daylight over September's delicate and gentle colour change, we can start to get bolder and deeper with flavours.This recipe is based on the gloriously named Pushpesh Pant's 'curried aubergine in coconut sauce', which he says is from India's 'coastal region'. So just a small area then. I've added saffron, almond flakes, green chillies and coriander to mine to pep things up a little.Rich and exciting, it's texture is indecently silky, as if Liberty's had opened a dodgy Soho alleyway silk scarf shop. We had it twice this week, the juices mopped up with spiced chickpea flatbreads. I've still got one more aubergine in the fridge from the veg box, so we haven't seen the last of this in our house.Ingredients1 medium-sized aubergine1tsp asafoetida1tsp chilli powder1/2tsp turmeric powder200-240ml coconut milkA sprinkle of flaked almondsA pinch of saffronA small green chilli, sliced thinlyCoriander leaves to garnishSalt and pepper to seasonGroundnut, rapeseed or vegetable oil to fry. And plenty of itMethodMix the spices together in a little dish or ramekin with enough water to make a fairly thick paste.Trim and slice the aubergine into discs roughly 1/2cm thickHeat the oil in a large sauté pan and fry the aubergine in a couple of batches until golden on each side, having seasoned with a generous hand. Set each batch aside on a plate until you have finished.Add the spice paste to the pan and fry for a second or two, stirring well so it breaks up a little. Add the coconut milk and mix well until the spices dissolve into it, giving it a golden amber colour and releasing its aromas.Gently add the aubergines back to the pan and simmer for a few minutes until heated through. Don't cook them for too long or they will collapse.Sprinkle with the green chilli, nuts, saffron and coriander, give a good twist of pepper and serve hot.


It's normally always there, lingering in the back of the cupboard, the lid slightly encrusted with a beige residue and the oil separated from the paste, sitting on top in a questionable pool. Then there is a fight to get the near solidified clay out of the bottom and not bend the spoon. And that's all before you discover you haven't got a tin of chickpeas anyway so have to go to the shop. Again.But fear not! This homemade tahini will save the day. And if there's ever a houmous crisis in the shops again, you can whip up your own in a jiffy. And then you can put it in a jar in the fridge and the whole family dip a carrot stick in it for lunch on Saturday then forget about it until you throw it away a week later as you wonder why you bother.Of course, this all depends on you having a bag of sesame seeds in the cupboard. I'd suggest that it is a staple worth having, and really, it's nicer making your own tahini anyway. It just (as with most things that are freshly made) tastes so much better. And you know it only has what you put in it in it.MethodTo make a jam jar sized amount of fresh tahini, sprinkle sesame seeds all over an oven tray, you can be very generous. Heat the oven to 180c and roast the seeds until they start to colour a little and toast. Stir them round occasionally so they don't burn.Leave to cool a little then put in the food processor and blitz until you have a crumbly mix. Slowly add in some neutral oil, such as groundnut or rapeseed and keep blending until you have a creamy paste. Transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge.Apart from houmous -- which I would recommend making using dried chickpeas for a better finished dish, but, if you only have tinned I'm not going to judge you --  tahini can be used in dressings, sauces with some yoghurt, drizzled over roast carrots or even put into ice cream. And what's more, there's a little more cupboard space and the satisfaction of the homemade.

Take your pickle

There is a shelf in our fridge that David Attenborough should investigate. Here, behind the inconspicuous looking cheese, the vivid bright colours of the chilli sauce bottle and the jar of ancient miso lie unexplained phenomena. Jars of things, experiments and whims.While we are currently living out of suitcases at the in-laws, I admit there is a possibility I don't need as much stuff as I have. It has been refreshing to live with a minimum of things, and while it will inevitably not last after the decorating has been finished at home, I see that life could do with streamlining. And that should extend to the kitchen. I have boxes full of things I use maybe once a year, and perhaps while we are trying to sell our place, I could do without festering packets of dried animal parts and the like that I insist impart a certain je ne sais quoi to dishes.It can't go on. And while I experiment with flavours, make pickles and chutneys or try and use up gluts of vegetables our fridge becomes fuller and smellier. So I will now stick to the fresh and keep a minimum of jars. Within reason.These shall be:Dijon mustard -- a must, without which vinaigrette is nothing to meMiso -- just for that little savouriness and occasional warming hot drinkChilli sauce -- well that goes without saying. A house without chilli sauce is not a home.Pickled jalapenos -- what are tacos and chilli without those? And let's not forget how brilliant the little pickled chillies are with spaghetti Bolognese, so those can stay tooGarlic and ginger purée -- well, it's just so useful isn't it?Cornichons -- what kind of a household doesn't have those in the fridge? Savages.The jar of dill pickled cucumbers -- great on rye with some of the jarred and pickled herrings. They must stay too.And kimchi -- homemade of course. That's a legal requirement. We should get a new fridge which has a kimchi dispenser in the door as well as one for water. It's the perfect snack, I love an occasional bratwurst in a microwave Chinese steamed bun with a good dollop of the stuff, so space must be kept for this. So that only leaves the half used jar of wholegrain to get rid of. Not much, but it's a start.The kimchi recipe is below. It's a very easy thing to do, perhaps five minutes work. Time does the rest.As for the week ahead, I fancy making Canadian butter tarts for a weekend snack. What's not to like about butter? Perhaps a haricot and chorizo stew to warm us up on a cold midweek night, although this time I'll try to not burn the beans in the pressure cooker like I did last time.A prawn, tomato and fenugreek curry to go with the dhal I have stored in the freezer will make a quick Thursday supper sprinkled with some ground peanut, garlic and coconut chutney and maybe some spicy harrisa coated lamb chops with a spiky green salad to get our fingers dirty with on Friday. And there's always the kimchi, which I've brought with us from home. I have freed up some space in our fridge after all...Ingredients1 Chinese cabbage, cored and sliced lengthwise6 radishes, finely sliced4 spring onions, sliced1 thumb of ginger, grated4 cloves of garlic, grated1tbsp gochujang1tbsp seaweed flakes1tbsp chilli flakesPepper100g salt1tbsp sugarWater, to cover the cabbage in a large bowlMethodAdd the salt to the sliced cabbage in a large bowl and massage into the leaves. Cover with the water, put a plate on top with a heavy weight on and leave for at least three hours. Overnight if possible.Drain and rinse the cabbage thoroughly.Mix together the sugar seaweed flakes, chilli flakes, gochujang and pepper in a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt and mix well.Add the  remaining ingredients to the cabbage and mix in the paste.Pack into a sterilised kilner jar, adding a splash more of water to loosen the mix a little if needed.Leave for 24 hours and open the jar to release any build up of gas. Keep in the fridge and use as needed for three weeks or so.This weekRead: Nearly finished Middlemarch. I will need to read a cereal packet for a few days after. As always, The New Yorker fills the gaps; an excellent piece on culinary revolution from Jane Kramer.Watched: Some good costume dramatics in Howards End. I am quite the fan of E.M, having loved Passage to India for A' Level English.Listened: Laura Cantrell, 'Not the tremblin' kind.' An old favourite, gently countryish.Eat: Braai wings at Meat Liquor that blew my head off. They were hotter than a white Escort XR3i. Delicious and for once something that lived up to its spicy billing. I'm still impressed. And I made mashed potato stuffed tortellini with the children. Served with sage butter it was a comforting, carby, delicious supper. 'Though I'm going to have to crack down on the kids in the kitchen, they really didn't crank the pasta machine quickly enough for my liking.

Lamb Shanks with Spaghetti Squash

Last night the oven caught fire. I'd only popped out for a while and left Bee a lasagne to heat for supper. We've had it for about 13 years, and it has seen two replacement heating elements and a couple of glass doors which shattered for no obvious reason. It also has always sounded like a derailing freight-train since we bought it, so perhaps it's time for a new one.The central heating part of the boiler, which now is being called into service after it's summer holiday has decided it also has had enough. Even that has had so many parts replaced I'm not sure if it's the same boiler we started with.And finally, to complete the trinity, the brakes on Bee's car failed as well. It's been a good week for the repair industry.Back in the kitchen, all is not lost without an oven. I'm baking bread in my neighbour, Russel's one, which has its own peculiarities. It's rather like the peasant taking his loaf to the village bakery to be cooked. I can't, however, impose full roasting usage upon him every evening.  So it's pots and pan cookery for the immediate future.Fortunately, the season is perfect for slow cooking. A strong, heavy deep pot, preferably cast iron and with a lid is a kitchen essential. You can make meals with just one burner and fill up on hearty and healthy food.I'm buy our meat from Heal Farm in Devon and the quality is amazing. Knowing where it comes from and being able to speak directly to the farmers is a privilege. It's not much more expensive than the supermarkets and the little extra it costs is, in my opinion a price worth paying for the quality and care.These lamb shanks were so rich and flavoursome. A proper autumn meal, and very easy to cook using one pan. Fortunately, I roast the squash earlier in the day so it only required a quick warming through. You, with your fancy, functioning oven should be fine to cook it as normal. If you can't find spaghetti squash, swap it for pumpkin or sweet potato mash with thyme and almonds.This is a rich and meaty meal. A proper dish if you've just been out hewing logs or something. And one that, after a few minutes preparation, pretty much cooks itself. It's also perfect for the slow cooker if you have one. Eight hours on low should do it.Ingredients for two2 lamb shanksOlive oil1 tin of chopped tomatoes1 bulb of garlic, halved equatorially1 large red chilliA pinch of cumin seedsOne spaghetti squashA pinch of fresh thymeA small handful of toasted almond flakesSalt and pepper to seasonMethodSeason the lamb shanks with salt and pepper then brown them all over in a little oil in a very hot pan.Deglaze the pan with about a mug-full of water and add the lamb and liquid to a heavy, lidded casserole dish.Add all the remaining ingredients and cook for about two and a half hours on a low flame. It's even better if you cook this the day before you need it. It tastes just a little more rounded after a good rest.For the spaghetti squash, roast it for one hour in the oven at about 180c. Leave it to cool a little, so it doesn't steam your face off when you cut into it. Scoop out all the flesh. Sprinkle over some thyme and almond flakes and a little seasoning and serve with the lamb and sauce.

Game of Squash

IMG_5852Butternut squash is great to have around the kitchen. They normally hang around in mine for a while as I psych myself up to peel them. Fortunately, they keep for what seems an eternity, and can quickly become lunch when you are ready to battle with them. I like to sauté chunks of it in coconut oil and mix with chickpeas in a spiced tomato sauce. Here it's used as the base for a vegetable salad and works really well with the slightly bitter radish and kale. If you can't get barberries, use goji berries. The Parma ham gives crunch and saltiness and the dill cream brings a soothing calmness.I like the surprise of fiery green chillies, but you can leave these out if you're scared. And don't forget the squash seeds. You may want to roast all of them separately and keep them in a jar for future use.Ingredients500g butternut squash, peeled and cut into smallish chunks2tbsp of the squash seeds2 cloves of garlic, bashed with a knife1tbsp mustard seedsA handful of curly kale leaves, depending on how big your hands are. Cut out the big stalks4 slices of Parma ham30g sour cream2tbsp chopped fresh dill20g dried barberries1tsp chilli flakes or sliced green chillies1 watermelon radish, cut into chunks1/2tsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushedOlive oilSalt and pepperMethodHeat the oven to 190cMix the squash, seeds, garlic, mustard seeds and olive oil together and season well.Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, then toss through the kale and and curl through the Parma ham and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the squash turns golden orange and the ham and kale become crisp.Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperatureMix the dill and pink peppercorns through the sour cream and add a little salt and pepper.Add the radish to the squash, throw over the barberries and chillies, season a little and drizzle over some olive oil and the dill cream and serve.