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Simple summer side dishes

Naughty Nana has been in Bermuda for the summer but has been working too hard to be naughty….how disappointing!

However, I did arrive at the apartment only to find her outside walking the cat with a homemade lead. This led to much hilarity.

I was under the assumption that only eccentric New Yorkers in tower blocks walked their cats. Or got their staff to do it. However it turns out that overworked nanas are also prone. Hmmm. What to do? Clearly the stress is getting to her!

Unfortunately the stress is a little high over here too.

At the weekend, we had a picture-perfect boat day on the pompano sand bar with friends (not stressful I admit, wait for it….).

On the way back to the dock, we naively meandered into “Round the Island” boat race territory.

I had wondered why so many people were sitting on the wall of Harbour Road, or were outside on their porches, cameras in hand.

The water traffic was unusually calm, so I mentioned my observations to the LH who reassured me categorically (i.e. with major rolling of the eyes) that it’s a “ROUND the island race, darling, not a THROUGH the island race”.

After passing another dock full of spectators, I helpfully suggested (ha!) that maybe he was wrong….. which went down well.

In the end, it took some vocal bystanders and a police boat to make the point that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We shifted out of the way of a 60mph speedboat with a few seconds to spare.

It took a while for my heart to return to its usual rhythm (amazing spousal crowing rights though!).

Returning home, we discovered that our porch had been invaded by brown widow spiders.

Not the deadly black widows, but still nasty biters – with baby spiders and eggs all the way through the garden furniture. They’d even made a home inside the barbeque, cheeky buggers. And though the LH removed them and we can also light the BBQ to be doubly sure, I am not convinced I want chicken with a side of flambéed widows (shudder).

However, there are some sides that I would like with dinner, which shall be cooked in the oven…

I’ve included the following recipes for you as they are super-tasty and really easy to whip up for a crowd too.

Butternut squash is a great evening carb as it’s less starchy than rice or potatoes.

It feels lighter too, which is good in this heat and it’s packed full of beta-carotene, one of the best antioxidants for your immune system, eyes and skin.

Roasting gently is a great way to preserve nutrients (especially vs boiling) and it also intensifies the flavour, bringing out the natural sweetness and buttery flavours.

So, enjoy your BBQs this weekend and I will be back next week.

In the meantime, I will be dreaming of cats, spiders and speedboats. I shall also be catching vomit as poor little Chloe has some kind of bug. Life is never boring is it?

Roasted Honey Balsamic Butternut Squash

Ingredients: (per person)

1 large handful spinach leaves

1 cup peeled, chopped butternut squash (1 inch cubes)

½ cup mixed chopped peppers (red, orange, yellow)

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 tsp honey

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp olive oil

Black pepper

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 360F

2.Stir together the garlic, honey, balsamic vinegar and olive oil

3.Toss the squash and peppers in the dressing

4.Place in a roasting pan and cook for 35 minutes, or until the cubes of squash are tender. Turn the peppers/squash once, halfway through.

5. Once cooked, toss together with the spinach leaves, allowing the leaves to wilt a little. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Kickin’ Kale Salad

Ingredients: (serves 2)

6-8 stems kale

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp EV olive oil

2 -3 tsps honey, ideally local

2 tsps tahini

Salt/pepper to taste

1 tsp sesame seeds

½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Method:

1.Prepare the kale by rinsing well and patting dry. Remove the tough middle stem and then slice the leaves into thin ribbons. You can do this roughly, it doesn’t take long. You can alternatively process into small pieces in a food processor. Set to one side.

2.In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, tahini and salt/pepper. Pour this over the kale and with clean hands, literally massage it into the kale leaves. Rub it in really well until all the leaves are coated.

3.Add in the sesame seeds and pine nuts and toss into the salad. Keep a few aside to sprinkle on top just before serving. (You can serve it straight away but you can also leave it marinating in the fridge. Unlike regular salads, kale gets better and softer the longer the dressing soaks into the leaves!)

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the Managing Director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the U.K. Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutri fitandnaturalnutritionbermuda

Full of goodness: butternut squash is packed full of beta-carotene, one of the best antioxidants for your immune system, eyes and skin