Mind the Gaps Diet
I told you I was growing squash for the first time on our allotment. Well I'll certainly be growing them again. We have had a bountiful harvest and I wish I'd grown more varieties, so I will next year. The only thing is that one variety has gone completely mad and covers a good half of my new allotment plot... added to which these particular ones are from plants my mother gave me and she can't remember where she got the seed from, or what variety it is! We thought they were marrows, but they look more like white squash of sorts. We have hundreds of them! The butternuts took a long time to get going and we do have some to harvest but they are not very big. The plot next to mine had a successive crop of courgettes of which I had to resist the temptation to be envious of, so I grew some of my own - albeit rather late in the season. I'll get a few. Next year I'll start them earlier (for lots of chocolate cake!) and throw in some cucumbers too.
I gather the secret to success is to plant them in nutrient rich soil - on a compost heap or with plenty of well rotted manure. All my plants seem to do better with plenty of manure - as long as it's applied at the right time. Some, like carrots don't like being planted in freshly spread manure or they develop forked roots, so you have to check first.
My problem now is what to do with them all! I gather I can store them in nets in a cool place until mid-winter.... that's a lot to store and we'd better start eating them soon. But how? Well apart from the obvious roast butternut squash chips I've been hunting for some more recipes. This is my collection so far. I haven't tried all of them yet, but if they are not GAPS legal as they stand they look easy to adapt.
Cut the squash into 'chips', pop them into a roasting tin, scatter
knobs of fat (I use lard) over them and bake - I use 180 deg C. and
just cook until done, but often put them in with other foods at
lower/higher temperatures and I adjust as necessary until they are
Butternut Squash Soup
Use a GAPS legal fat rather than heating olive oil in this recipe from Mary Berry
Butternut Squash Pancakes
Not just for the GAPS intro diet. GAPS legal as it stands.
Quick 'How To':
Peel a butternut squash:
The easiest way I find is to first cut off the ends and then use a vegetable peeler to peel longwise down the squash, just finishing off at the top and bottom as necessary at the end. I then cut it in 2 inch chunks. Each chunk I then slice and cut into chip shapes.
Roast a squash:
Don't peel. Cut in half longwise, Then lay face down on a baking tray with a little water. Roast for about 45 min at Gas 4, 350 deg. Having roasted it until the flesh is tender, leave it to cool and then you can scrape the flesh out and puree it. I use it to thicken sauces/soups, or we have it mashed with butter and salt.
The path's looking a little easier just now.
Stage 3 took us 5 days as I needed to catch up after my set-back last week. Generally speaking things definitely got easier all round. I was more organised in the kitchen, plus the normal back-to-school routine helped put a feeling of normality back into our lives.
We have settled into a routine of having scrambled eggs or squash pancakes for breakfast. We just can't afford more eggs than 2 each at the moment, while our meat consumption is so high. So we have them all in one meal. We have a bowl of left-over soup to follow. We are going to try and have one egg-free day a week to avoid egg allergy and intend to have home-made sausages on those days.
Tea is a proper meal, and we turn the stock into (a lot of) gravy to pour over the meat. We sometimes have a little more in a mug if it's particularly runny.
Lunch is usually some cold (or reheated) meat and a bowl of soup. Son 1 and I actually enjoy some soup mid-morning to tied us over until lunchtime. Son 2 doesn't want more than he has to have, but will make himself some poached fish if he is starving (which isn't very often now).
We have varied the stages a little and have omitted the fermented fish as we don't think any of us will ever want to eat it. Also, as our Avocado wasn't ripe in time, we've decided to move on to Stage 4 and add it in when it's ripe.
The budget is holding out at the moment but we are not doing the diet all organically. We use a butcher who specialises in local meats and supplement with some items (e.g. free range pork mince) from Abel and Cole, who also supply our cold-pressed honey. We are using organic eggs, from Lidl, currently prices at £1.49 per half dozen. Once we are through intro I intend to go back to the free range eggs we purchased in the health food shop - we know where they come from.
By shopping around I know where to find the best organic veg. deals and get organic carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and mushrooms, but squash and leeks we buy non-organic at best price we can find. We have a small local farm shop selling vegetables which I use sometimes too.
Dr. Natasha says pasture-raised meat is best but not essential, whereas organic vegetables produce better results, so we are buying as many organic vegetables as we can source for a reasonable price. I always look in the 'close to sell by date' bin in the supermarkets first before starting my shopping and often scoop some bargains.
I need to get more adventurous wit the vegetables as we tend to still be sticking with onions, leeks, carrots, squash, peas, broccoli and cauliflower.
After four days we decided to try moving onto Stage 4.