Random Recipe: Tomato squash curry

It is one of the great regrets of my life that I never ate at Petersham Nurseries when I had the chance. It always seemed too far away (too many tubes and trains and buses and taxis); we were too poor; we were too busy; we had other things to do.
Now, of course, that I am so much further away (and so much poorer, not to mention busier), I could kick myself, especially because its much-feted chef, Skye Gyngell, has left recently after the pressure of having a Michelin star all got too much.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, especially when I accidentally ended up pulling Gyngell’s second book, My favourite ingredients, from my shelves for the March edition of Random Recipes.

I ‘found’ Skye on the recommendation of my sister, who cooked fabulous things from her first book, A year in my kitchen, whenever we went to stay. Her daughter (my sister’s daughter, not Skye’s) and gave each other My favourite ingredients for Christmas, which shows how good my sister’s interpretation of Gyngell’s work was.

While the book choice was random, the recipe selection was more about finding something to cook for a vegetarian coeliac who was coming for dinner (that would involve the large pumpkin I’d bought on Saturday morning at the market). The squash and tomato curry with lime and coconut fitted the bill perfectly, though I will be thrilled if anyone can tell me where to buy fresh curry leaves that aren’t 100 years old. I had to roughly guess the equivalent amount of pumpkin to an onion squash – and possibly overdid it a bit, but it was fantastic.

This might sound a bit silly, but Gyngell’s way of cooking is very quiet and contemplative. She can talk about “introducing flavours to each other” without it sounding twee or forced and while there’s a bit of mooching about while you’re waiting for said flavours to make small talk, it’s not a taxing way to cook.

Have you ever dined at Petersham? What did you think?



  1. March 12, 2012 / 7:58 pm

    What a great post! Love the recipe.

  2. March 12, 2012 / 8:03 pm

    i have also never eaten at Petersham and have, like you, regretted it… too poor and tired to bother!… your curry on the other hand is rather fabulous and I may have to borrow the recipe but use chicken thighs!… very very nice… and thank you again for taking part… ps, did you see my blog the other day…I've just made up my NZ sourdough!

  3. March 13, 2012 / 8:09 am

    Sounds heavenly !
    As for Petersham Nurseries ? I have a feeling I'm not chic enough .

  4. March 13, 2012 / 4:18 pm

    I would LOVE to eat there too as I love Skye's recipes and her food style! This looks fabulous and a recipe that I must try, for my meat-free days!
    Thanks for the sourdough link Lucy, I am Karen from Lavender and Lovage, we have spoke via email, lovely to see your place here…..I have now added you to my blogroll!

  5. March 13, 2012 / 10:23 pm

    Nice recipe – really good combination of flavours. I did try to eat at Petersham Nurseries once in its early days but couldn't get in. After that I thought I wan't trendy enough. Then, of course, I couldn't afford it. That's enough excuses for now.

  6. March 14, 2012 / 12:33 pm

    made this tonight and loved it – will hopefully blog about it when I can. but wanted to thank you for flagging the recipe – I have never really looked much at skye's recipes but might have to now – the writing is indeed lovely in the recipe and the curry was delicious.

    I was really inspired to make this because my mum gave me some curry leaves from her garden – don't know how easy they are to grow but that may be an option. (I don't have my mum's green finger so can't really give much more advice about growing them)

  7. March 15, 2012 / 9:35 am

    Thanks for that cookbook Lucy, I use it all the time! I went to the Petersham Nurseries in 2009 and again last year. Before the Michelin star, it was wonderful. Very intimate and leisurely, everyone housed in the Victorian greenhouse, no more that about 40 people at any one time. I remember rhubarb prosecco, a delicious mozzarella salad (I have never tasted anything like it), slow cooked lamb with rapini and mango sorbet for pudding. After the Michelin star we went again and we were crammed in with approximately 150 other people. The food was still delicious but everything was rushed. (I had a salad of prosciutto, chestnuts and pickled pumpkin followed by pigeon with beetroot purée and then a honeycomb chocolate slab with booze-soaked cherries.) The first time everyone was in jeans, the second was like being at London fashion week. Such a shame!

  8. March 30, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    this recipe looks delicious – perfect veggie dish that would be really filling.

  9. michelle
    March 31, 2012 / 9:18 am

    Hi Lucy,
    I recently got curry leaves at the green grocer in Miramar, on Park Road.

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