Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Cashew and squash linguine,supporting sustainable farming

What do international development and fine dining have in common? At first glance, not much. But if you ask what is fundamental to the success of both,the answer is clear: agriculture. Chefs for Change is a  movement uniting the world’s best chefs with the world’s most remote communities in transforming lives through sustainable farming.
Each elite chef joining the movement commits to act as an ambassador for a development project that transforms lives of rural food producers through sustainable farming.Farm Africa has had the privilege of being the official charity partner for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards for six years.What does this all mean and why is this issue so important?
Today, almost half of the world’s extreme poor live in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority work in agriculture.
Effective agriculture has the power to change lives. It underpins prosperity, food security and stability the world over. Farm Africa focuses on transforming agriculture and managing natural resources sustainably.It champions a holistic approach that boosts yields, protects the environment and connects smallholding farmers to thriving markets.
This recipe is inspired by Farm Africa’s Cashew project and came winging its way across the web from South Africa where our friends Barbara and Chris are enjoying the sunshine at the moment.It instantly appealed and I put it on my "to make list."
Farm Africa is working with farmers to rejuvenate old cashew nut trees whilst simultaneously planting new seedlings. With thriving trees, farmers can increase their incomes and create more prosperous futures for their families.Farm Africa reduces poverty in eastern Africa by helping farmers grow more, sell more and sell for more.So if you make this dish spare a thought for this great organisation while you enjoy your meal.If you are in a position to give your support please do.Working together, the hospitality industry has the power to transform the lives of the world’s most remote rural communities. If you are a chef or work in the hospitality industry and are passionate about harnessing the power of food and agriculture to build a better world then Chefs for Change want to hear from you! Find out more about the movement by visiting the Chefs for Change website

Cashew and squash linguine
230g linguine
130g raw cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours
230ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
100g cooked and mashed butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Drain the cashews from the soaking water. Combine the soaked cashews and 1/2 cup of broth in a blender, and blend until completely smooth.Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, and then add the rosemary and cook for another 30 seconds.Pour in the remaining broth, blended cashews, pumpkin, and all spices. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, until all the ingredients are warmed and incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.To get the sauce extra smooth, blend it again at this point, but it is not necessary if you’re crunched on time.
Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta. Serve warm with extra cracked black pepper and/or additional chopped fresh rosemary.

THE VERDICT
It was like Sate meets Alfredo.The soaked and ground cashews make a creamy sauce without there being any butter,cream or eggs.Warming flavours of African spices, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon make this dish really special.It reminded me of dishes we had eaten all those years ago on the spice island of Zanzibar.I added a little of the pasta cooking water to the sauce before I drained the pasta. This gave it a slightly creamier texture.The recipe did not specify how the squash should be cooked but I oven roasted it in small cubes with some salt, pepper, chilli powder and ground coriander.

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