Tag Archives: apricots

Roast Squash and Chickpeas with Spicy Apricot Sauce

Surprise – I got new cookery books for Christmas! As usual this means I read through the recipes excitedly and have to cook something straight away.  Being that it’s January I dived into Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls book “More Veg” first and decided to cook this vegan dish.  Tbh I might have been a bit influenced by my friend Mags (whose an amazing cook and recommended this) but I am so glad I went with it as it’s delicious.  

The recipe itself is straightforward.   It roasts the squash, adding the chickpeas for a final 10 mins at the end, and serves them with the spicy fruity sauce!    Needless to say I like to adapt things slightly (to suit my taste) so I have cut down on the preserved lemons and upped the apricots in the sauce.  Although I used butternut squash this time I can see it would work swapping the squash out for aubergines, pumpkin, courgettes or even fennel (adjusting cooking times if needs be) and of course you can use any other canned bean you fancied or had in the cupboard.

If you want to get ahead roast the squash and make the sauce up to the end of stage 7.   This will then keep for a couple of days.   Do remember if you do choose the get ahead option to add a little extra heating time in the following stages

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Moscato Poached Apricots with Lemon Verbena

There are three young apricot trees planted in pots nestling up against the Suffolk pink walls of my house.   It’s taken years to get more than a few apricots, which are eagerly awaited and even counted as they are ripening in our greedy anticipation.  This year, for the first time ever, there were enough to make jam and to make this dish several times over which, considering 6 apricots has been the best amount in previous years, is a real joy.

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Apricots ripening

I must admit that when I planted them I had visions of biting into sun-warmed apricots and having the intense apricot-y juices explode in my mouth (even dribble down my chin so juicy would they be) but sadly this is not the case.  I don’t know whether I’ve chosen the wrong varieties or whether the Suffolk sun isn’t up to the job, but sadly my apricots, though flavoursome, don’t seem to go soft and juicy.

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Thinking about poached peaches (a favourite recipe from Raymond Blanc) which really helps unripe – and therefore non juicy – peaches I decided to try the same with my apricots.  As luck would have it there was a moscato (Mrs Wigley is a truly wonderful name which makes me giggle, but you could use any sweetish wine, pink or white, sparkling or still)  on special offer, 50% off, so I decided to give it a go.

I am so glad I did.  The apricots were completely transformed into soft, juicy and full of flavour.  The finished dish uses only four ingredients and is so versatile.  It’s even vegan if you make sure you choose a vegan wine.  Using baking paper made into a cartouche (easy two stage instruction at end of post) rather than a lid allows the fruit to stay submerged and juicy.  My favourite way to serve these apricots is with madeleines warm from the oven (inspired by another food hero of mine, Rick Stein, but that maybe a stage too far) or its wonderful with vanilla ice-cream – or both!

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