I also made a wonderful butternet squash, red pepper and cream cheese soup, having been inspired by a day of cooking soup with my friend Sarah who supplies a local village shop with her homemade goods. I had never thought of adding cream cheese to soup, but it gave it a very velvety texture. It's always great to find new uses for the fabulous local squash that are so plentiful here. The co-ordinating Le Creuset pan was a happy accident!
One of our favourite Friday night meals is an all-American classic, the burger. Good burgers, nice buns and a huge selection of toppings (including the ubiquitous orange slices of processed cheese!) make it a really decadent end-of-week feast. I thought I would attempt a vegetarian take on this meaty classic, so announced to Rob that we would be having... mushroom burgers instead. How his little face fell! I roasted the huge portobello mushrooms with garlic and butter, and put them into some lovely onion rolls I had bought. I thought it was delicious - at least as good as the meaty alternative, especially when served with lots of grainy mustard, spicy fries and the New Orleans Coleslaw from Nigella Express. I could tell Rob wasn't quite so enthusiastic.
And this is where my vegetarian project hit a small glitch... I came downstairs on Saturday morning to find Rob in the midst of preparing a distinctly meat-filled Carbonade of Beef. Rebellion within the ranks! Of course, he made a vast amount of beef casserole (and very delicious is was too) so we ended up eating it for days.
As soon as the casserole was finished, I tried again, this time making a recipe given to me by a fellow cooking-forum member: Squash-stuffed Cannelloni. This consisted of making a mashed squash stuffing, filling cannelloni (which I soon discovered was a very tedious task!), then pouring over a delicious oniony, creamy sauce, and baking the whole dish. This, I have to say, was a huge success. Both Rob and I loved it, and I even ended up making the dish again a few days later, adding some red pepper to the sauce this time.
And so, after a very brief foray into vegetarianism, we are back to eating meat most evenings. However, it did serve the very useful purpose of reminding me how many fabulous meat-free dishes there are, and how easy many of them are to prepare. I am now finding myself cooking at least 1 vegetarian meal per week from my now-large and inspired list of ideas... and I'm getting no complaints!