I read about Ella Mills journey through illness and self-healing through food and it resonated with me so much that I bought her first cookbook Deliciously Ella when it was published in January 2015, I then bought a copy for my sister, my niece and a friend as I enjoyed it so much. I think it probably sparked my journey to where I am today; teaching others about the importance of good nutrition and health.
One of my earliest favourites, and a recipe I return to time and time again, particularly in the late winter months when you still want something comforting, but you are getting a bit fed up of all the stews and casseroles. This is my adapted version of her original, a vegetarian version that is definitely hearty enough for my carnivorous husband.
Ingredients – serves 4
- 200g basmati rice
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1.5 to 2 kg of cubed butternut squash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp tahini
- Juice 1 lemon
- 50g grated parmesan
- Handful fresh coriander to serve
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180, mix the squash with the oil, paprika and cumin and roast on a flat baking tray for about 20 to 30 mins, the squash should be soft but take it out before it starts to crisp
- Put rice in pan with double the volume of water, bring to the boil, add herbs and stir, then cover and cook on very low for about 20 minutes until all the water has just absorbed.
- Set aside ¼ of squash and pour the rest, including any oil and spices into a food mixer, along with tahini, lemon juice and about 75ml water and blend until smooth.
- Stir mixture into the rice along with parmesan and check seasoning.
- Finally, gently stir through reserved squash and serve in big bowls topped with fresh coriander.
I like this with crusty bread – but I think I say that about everything I make!