Whilst hunting for a job, I have found myself with a bit of time on my hands. There are useful things I could be doing with this time (there are still some bits and bobs rattling around the bottom of my suitcase, waiting to find new homes), but instead I have prioritised Game of Thrones. I watched the first two episodes about a year and a half ago, and refused to go any further. There was just too much incest and beheading for my liking. And too much suspense and peril too: in most programmes there’s a degree of certainty that at least one of the main characters is safe from death, and I like that – I like knowing that it’s safe to invest in a character. In Game of Thrones, however, it seems like all bets are off and this makes me very nervous indeed.
Perhaps I’m a hardier sort than I was last year, because I have made it past episode two this time. I thought I was getting to grips with the violence, until I saw a horse get decapitated and a man take a dagger to the face, and I was once again peeking between my fingers at the screen. Yet still I persevere: the fantasy setting is right up my alley, the plotting and scheming are brilliant, and Arya and Tyrion are amazing and had better not meet gruesome ends.
And when I occasionally peek out from behind my cushion and am not too nauseous from the blood and gore, I enjoy a nice home-cooked snack while I’m watching. These falafel make a nice little lunch, with the roasted squash bringing a deeper flavour and mixing merrily with the usual spices.
Butternut Squash Falafel
Makes 9-12 falafel, from Alice Hart’s Vegetarian
500g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
handful fresh coriander leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the butternut squash in a roasting tin, toss to coat in the oil and season well. Roast for 35 minutes, then set aside to cool slightly.
2. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender and whizz until they form a paste.
3. Mash the cooled butternut with a fork.
4. Add the chickpea mixture to the butternut, and mix together. Place it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place spoonfuls of the mixture on it.
6. Cook for 20 minutes.
7. You could serve this with a yoghurt dip – mix together half a small tub of 0% Greek yoghurt, 1/4 cucumber (grated), a squeeze of lemon juice and seasoning.