Friday, 26 March 2010
In general, I'm a confident and independent cook. The kind of girl who used to buy recipe books mostly to look at the pictures and now, having discovered the joys of blogging and Flickr, usually doesn't buy them at all. The kind of person who throws some stuff in the pot, measures by handfuls, and usually ends up with an edible, tasty meal.
I know there are some of you who lack this confidence; this post is for you.
A short while ago, some friends turned up at our house bearing a rather unusual gift:
It's called a Spaghetti Squash. Once you've scraped the seeds out, you can start to see why.
Now, I'd never eaten one of these before, let alone cooked with it. I had no idea what I was going to do, and it seemed huge for the two of us. It sat on the kitchen worktop for weeks, just looking at me, challenging me to think of something exciting.
Eventually, I decided to make soup, something I do a lot during autumn and winter.
I roasted the squash in two halves, after which it was edible but bland. I scraped out the flesh, popped it in a pan with some stock and spices, and left it to get on with turning itself into soup.
Except it didn't.
It turned itself into, well, nothing. The strands separated out, and it ended up looking like a slightly slimy noodle soup. It tasted foul. I tried really hard to like it, I tried pureeing it, I tried adding extra ingredients (even salt), but to no avail. It was completely inedible.
We ended up popping out to pick up an Indian takeaway.
I wrote this for those of you who typically stick to the letter of each recipe. You can choose to take this in one of two ways, and I really don't mind which. You can feel justified in your safety net, and celebrate the fact that, sometimes, my attempts fail spectacularly. Or you can recognise that going completely off-piste is not without risks, but at the end of the day, the worst that happens is you have to eat something else.
And if anyone has ever cooked spaghetti squash successfully, I'd really love to hear about it!