Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Butternut Squash’ Category

You can ask my family, but recently I’ve been getting a bit obsessed with savoury breakfasts. I’m a savoury over sweet person and I don’t understand why the standard weekday British breakfast is all about the sugar.  I miss the dosa sambar and spicy coconut chutney from south India, or the rye bread, smoked cheese and cucumber of Germany, or the falafel, olives, and fuul (fava beans) of Egypt, I want something savoury and sustaining, but I can’t quite bear to eat those leftovers in the fridge (no, it’s not because they are spicy/garlicky/I ate them about 12 hours ago…its because I was saving them for lunch!).

So I decided to do something about it- and start a weekday tradition of my own! The key is something ready-made and easy to grab. I know the reason I turn to toast and cereal is the fact it is SO easy to assemble with my eyes half shut.

To savoury muffins then, and what better vegetable than one of my all time favourites butternut squash? I decided to base my meanderings around this recipe for butternut squash and kale muffins but make a few changes with flavour combos in mind. It wasn’t until after I made it that I realised how healthy these muffins are, no sugar, no fat and vegetables, I cannot think of a better way to start the day! If  I’m starting to sound like some weird health nut let me make it up- they taste great cut in half with lashings of butter. If you’re not convinced about savoury foods for breakfast these still make a great (healthy) snack during the day.

butternut squash and feta muffins

  • 100g (1/2 a block) feta cheese
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash (about 1/2 a medium sized squash)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour (optional- replace with wholemeal flour if you don’t have it to hand)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig sage, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten- I used egg replacer in the form of flaxmeal/linseed even though this isn’t a vegan recipe because I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while- it works really well, I made it using these instructions.
  • 200ml milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel, deseed (save the seeds if you fancy roasting them as a snack) and cut the squash into small (3cm) cubes. Place on a baking tray, spray or drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for around 15 minutes until cooked but still firm, then leave to cool whilst you get on with the muffin mix. Cut the feta into similar size cubes and set aside. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl including the chopped herbs and walnuts. Add the egg (or egg replacer) and milk and combine to make a batter with dropping consistency (add more milk if necessary).

Once combined well, fold in the feta and squash. Grease the muffin baking tray you will be using and spoon 1 large tablespoon of mixture into each smaller muffin tin or 1 1/2 tablespoon into large muffins tin baking trays.  This should make about 18-20 mini- muffins. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes if you’re making cup-cake size muffins, or 20-25 for larger muffins. Make sure muffins are golden brown and cooked through by using a cocktail stick and seeing if it comes out clean. Store in an airtight container.

Happy alternative breakfasting!

Read Full Post »

veggie…

…bacon-ie

Happy New Year everyone, hope you all had a lovely season of festivities, I certainly did. I would like to say the lack of blogging is due to me being immensely busy during the season of goodwill, but that would only be true, if  you consider watching telly and eating chocolate to be a hectic schedule…

One of the many exciting cooking related gifts that I received in the final week of December (which for me is a double whammy Christmas-birthday gift bonanza) was “the flavour thesaurus“- a great read for anyone interested in cooking and creating recipes. So this recipe (having started on the basis of “oh look, we seem to have a lot of leftover stilton”) was nearly everything that the book says goes with blue cheese thrown in a pan- and it works REALLY well! Another gift utilised in this recipe was my Dad’s potato ricer, though I have made gnocchi without one before it did  make everything a whole lot easier.

I realise this recipe has lots of components, so if you weren’t feeling confident about doing all the time juggling, then I’d suggest using the shop bought gnocchi in vacuum packs, or making the gnocchi (or even just the mash) a day in advance.

Note: butternut squash takes an hour to roast so put it in the oven before starting the gnocchi.

home made quinoa and bulgar wheat gnocchi

serves 6-8

The quinoa and bulgar wheat add extra protein if you are making this dish veggie, but can just as easily be left out if you don’t have any available. I boiled my potatoes (quartered, skins on) for about 15mins, but I think if I do this again I will microwave them for less mess/water wastage/pans that need washing. I also made enough for about 6-8 and froze the gnocchi on a tray before bagging up,as they are quite time consuming to make, but a good quick meal once all the potato rice-ing and kneading has been done.

  • 650g Potatoes
  • 250g flour
  • 75g bulgar wheat and quinoa mix
  • Salt and Pepper

Wash and prick the potatoes, wrap them each in a paper towel and cook on full power for 5minutes, turn over and cook for a further 5mins. Leave to stand for 2minutes and check to see if they are soft, if not, blast for another 5mins. Allow to cool and then peel off the skins. Mash very finely or use a potato ricer. Whilst the potatoes are cooking/cooling rinse the quinoa and bulgar wheat and then boil in a pan of water for 12 minutes, drain.  Put the flour, mashed potato and bulgar wheat and quinoa into a bowl and season thoroughly with salt and pepper. Bring together into a dough and then knead on a floured surface for a couple of minutes. Divide the dough into quarters and make each quarter into a sausage. Slice into 2.5cm pieces and squash with a fork before placing on a tray.

**If you want to freeze them do so now, and cook from frozen in the same way as fresh**

Now, gnocchi really doesn’t take long to cook so at this point I would stash the tray somewhere level/not at risk of being knocked on the floor and get on with the sauce.

To cook, boil water in a large pan, drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and fish out with a slotted spoon once they float, serve immediately. I cook about 8 gnocchi per person.

butternut squash, blue cheese and sage sauce

serves 4


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 tub (300g) creme fraiche
  • 1/2-1 pint milk
  • 75-100g chopped walnuts
  • 25-50g blue cheese
  • A sprig of sage
  • 200g lardons (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Peel and cut the butternut squash taking care to scrape out the seeds into a sieve. Place 2.5cm chunks in the oven with about 1 tbsp olive oil brushed/sprayed over them. Cook for 1hr. Rinse the seeds of orange gloop and spread out in a baking tin spraying with very little oil and a generous serving of salt. Roast on the top shelf of the oven for 10-15mins until golden brown. Leave to cool and reserve for garnishing at the end.

Once the gnocchi has been made and laid on a tray ready to cook, soften the onions in 2 tbsp olive oil, adding the walnuts and sage and cooking for another 5 mins. Add the squash once cooked and mush up. Add the crème fraiche and enough milk to make the sauce more, well, saucy. Add the blue cheese to taste and any seasoning (bearing in mind the bacon and butternut squash seeds are quite salty). Simmer gently for 5mins and in another pan dry fry the lardons until golden if you’re serving them. Now cook the gnocchi (see above).

Serve the sauce over the gnocchi with the butternut squash seeds and/or the bacon sprinkled over the top.

Try not to get too excited about just how well the flavours go together and annoy everyone else eating.

I also got this super-cool apron for Christmas!

Thank you once again to my sister for the fab photos.

Read Full Post »

Did I mention I like cooking for people…oh I did? Well last Thursday I cooked for the alpha course at my church, so I happily pootled around in the kitchen the day before preparing 20 portions of tagine. For your convenience, I’ve shrunk the numbers (you are welcome), though if you did want to make this for 20 it’s a pretty simple “chuck it all in the pot” endeavour. Also I’d like to take this opportunity to sing the praises of butternut squash, which is definitely in my top ten vegetables. One of the best things about it is the smell when you cut it open, all sweet and autumnal; I actually find it quite a wrench to have to cook it. Just as well it tastes good too, eh?

Oh and sorry for the lack of photos, I just didn’t get round to snapping the food what with all the talking and that…

lamb or lentil tagine with butternut squash

serves 4

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp Moroccan spice mix (ras el hanout)
  • just under 1/2 tsp of harissa
  • 200g diced stewing lamb or 1/3 cup of red lentils
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp/a squirt of tomato purée
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 3cm cubes
  • 300ml lamb or vegetable stock
  • 70g dried apricots, diced finely
  • 1tsp honey
  • ground pepper and salt

Preheat your oven to 170C and then find a heavy based oven proof dish with a lid. Heat the oil in it on the hob and fry the onions and garlic until softened. Add the powdered spices (NOT the harissa!) and fry for another two minutes. Then add everything else and stir until well mixed. Plonk on the lid and pop it in the oven for 1.5 hours, then check seasoning, and how watery it is and the tenderness of lamb (unless its the veggie version of course). Put back for another 30mins for the veggie version and 1hr for the meat. If it looked a bit watery to you when you pulled it out take the lid off for the last 30 mins. Another easy peasy crowd pleaser done.

Serve with couscous. Follow the instructions on the packet to work out quantities but before I pour on the hot water, I like to add a pinch of salt and about 1/2 tbsp of olive oils and 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice stirred into the dry couscous to coat it and give it a bit of extra flavour.

I would also say that any root vegetable like sweet potato, carrot or swede would work well here. I was going to put other veggies in when I made this but the butternut squash I had was so mammoth nothing else would fit in the pots!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: