Butternut squash, mustard and Gruyere gratin

I love anything that has cream, cheese and vegetables in it and you might want to think about changing up your Thanksgiving meal by adding this to the repertoire.I highly recommend it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 6.38.47 AM

A small knob of butter (1 tbsp)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
10 decent sized-sage leaves
10 fl oz pot double cream
6 fl oz whole milk (or use cream instead for an extra luxurious dish)
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, quartered and thinly sliced (about 2lb 2oz prepared weight)
1/4 tsp hand grated nutmeg
8 oz Gruyère, grated

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook slowly over a low-medium heat, stirring every now and then, for 10-15 mins until golden and soft.

Meanwhile, put the garlic and half the sage in a saucepan, add the cream and milk, and heat gently, not allowing the mixture to boil, for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 10 mins, then fish out the sage and garlic. Stir in the mustard and season well.

If cooking straight away, heat oven to 350 F.
Layer the squash slices, (sprinkling a little grated nutmeg on each layer)the onions, most of the cheese and the infused cream into a large baking dish, finishing with a layer of cream. Once you’ve used the ingredients up, scatter with the remaining cheese and put the remaining sage leaves on top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 mins.

Uncover the dish and increase the heat to 400 F. Cook for a further 20-30 mins until golden brown and tender all the way through. Leave to cool for 10 mins before serving.


Free-form enchilada verde

This is from the magazine “Real Simple” and is like a Mexican lasagna so it’s much easier to assemble and serve

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.31.18 AM

Serves 6

4 cups (32 oz) store bought salsa verde
18 small corn tortillas
1 & 1/2lbs butternut squash, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 14.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 to 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream, chopped cilantro, sliced pickled jalapenos for topping

Heat the oven to 375 F
Spread 1 cup of the salsa verde in a 9 by 13″ baking dish and top with 6 tortillas.
Top with 1 more cup of the salsa, 1/3 of the butternut squash, 1/3 of the beans and 1 cup of the cheese, spreading evenly.
Repeat the layering two more times reserving the final 1 cup of cheese.
Cover with foil
Bake for 1 hour until the squash is tender. Uncover ans sprinkle with the reserved 1 cup of cheese.
Broil 8 inches from the heat for 4 to 5 mins until the topping is bubbly and browned in spots.
Remove and let stand for 15 mins and decorate with the toppings and serve

Roast butternut squash stuffed with Medjool dates, cashew nuts and cilantro couscous

I just love winter food especially when it’s anything to do with butternut squash. This one is from Skye Gyngall and is gorgeous with such interesting flavors.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 11.35.46 AM

Serves 2 and could easily be augmented

1 small butternut squash
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
a decent drizzle of olive oil
a good splosh of white wine
sea salt and ground black pepper

For the stuffing

6 oz instant couscous
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 small leek, finely sliced
4oz cashew nuts
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 cardamon pod, crushed open with the flat of a knife
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tsp hot curry powder
6 Medjool dates, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1/2 bunch fresh mint
juice of 1/2 lemon

Peel the squash, cut it in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves in a shallow roasting dish and sprinkle over the garlic slivers and thyme. Drizzle over the olive oil, pour over the white wine and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and roast in an oven preheated to 350 F for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for about 10 more minutes until the squash is tender.
This may take a little longer depending on the size of your squash. Check it’s doneness as you would a potato and remove from the oven. Leave the oven on.

While the squash is cooking, prepare the stuffing.
Put the couscous in a bowl, pour over about 1/2 cup cold water or chicken broth and leave to soak.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the shallot, leek, cashews, mustard seeds, cardamon pod, ginger, coconut and curry powder and fry gently until the shallot is soft and the aroma from the spices is making you hungry!
Turn up the heat and add the couscous to the pan, stirring thoroughly.
Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 10 minutes.
Stir again to fluff up the grains, then add the dates, herbs and lemon juice and season to taste.
Stuff the squash with the couscous and return to the oven for about 20 minutes.
Serve immediately

Roasted butternut squash with pistachio pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

There are limitless ways of having your roasted butternut squash, but this has to be one of the prettiest and tastiest out there. Wonderful Persian inspiration behind this dish!

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 11.59.47 AM

For the butternut squash

1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways (skin-on) and seeds removed (You could try other squashes too)
4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz feta
4 oz pomegranate seeds

For the pesto

4 oz shelled pistachio nuts
3 oz parmesan cheese, chopped into rough chunks
4 fl oz oz good olive oil
1 small bunch fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1 small bunch fresh dill
1 hot red chilli or 1 tbsp chilli oil (optional)
1 lemon, juice only
2 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

For the butternut squash, rub each wedge of butternut squash with oil and season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Place on the lined baking tray.

Roast the squash for about 45-50 minutes, just until the edges have begun to brown slightly (you want to blacken the edges a little to give them a nice chewy texture). Check the squash is cooked by inserting a knife – if it slides in easily the squash is cooked.

For the pesto, add the pistachios and cheese to a food processor. Pulse to break them into small pieces and add enough olive oil to slacken the mixture to your desired consistency (you may not need all the oil). Add all the herbs, the chilli (if using) and lemon juice. Pulse again to combine the herbs and add a little more olive oil. Season generously with sea salt and give the mixture one last pulse. Taste the pesto, to make sure it has enough salt and acidity, and allow it to rest in the fridge until you need it.

To serve, serve the butternut squash on plates, drizzled generously with the pesto. Crumble your feta over the top and scatter some pomegranate seeds over to finish.

Baked butternut squash, ricotta and spinach

Although I’m not a vegetarian, I am always attracted to non-meat dishes and this one, given it’s December and has me making soups, stews and baked dishes, this really attracted me. It’s from the wonderful British website and food magazine, Delicious.

Baked butternut squash, ricotta and spinach

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, halved lengthways (about 2.5 – 3lbs in weight)
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 tsp crushed red chillies
4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
4 oz baby spinach
1lb ricotta cheese
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese,(not the pre-grated stuff) plus extra to serve
1 large egg, plus an extra egg yolk
A bunch of fresh sage leaves

Heat the oven to 400F
Scoop out and discard the seeds from the squash. Sit the squash halves cut-side up in a roasting tin. Score flesh in a crosshatch pattern with a knife and season.
Scatter over the caraway seeds, chillies and whole garlic cloves, then drizzle with the olive oil.
Cover with foil and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until soft.

When cooked, set the garlic cloves aside, then scoop all but 2 tbsp of the squash flesh into a bowl, keeping it in pieces. Gently stir through the spinach and season.Leave to cool.

Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a large bowl and mash into the remaining 2 tbsp squash using a fork. Add the ricotta, Parmesan and some seasoning. Add the whole egg and extra egg yolk, stir then gently stir through the spinach and squash mixture.

Spoon into 4 x 6 oz individual gratin dishes.Top with Parmesan, scatter with extra caraway seeds and the sage leaves, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately

Butternut squash, apple, spinach and cheese bread pudding

It’s that time of year when all the winter squash comes out and this is one terrific recipe.


Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 4.52.55 PM

Serves 8

1 good sized butternut squash (about 2lbs) halved lengthways, seeded and peeled
2 apples, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 leek stem, diced
1 cup shallots, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 oz fresh baby spinach
A good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
A good pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 cups half and half
7 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (at least) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 baguettes, crusts trimmed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 7 cups)

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Put the leeks, butternut squash, apples and shallots into a large bowl. Pour in the melted butter, olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup, salt and pepper and toss until coated really well.
Tip out onto a baking sheet and roast for about 25 to 30 mins until they are slightly caramelized and softened.

In another bowl whisk the half and half with the eggs, 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan, 1/2 cup of grated cheddar and some salt and pepper. Add the bread cubes and toss gently until well coated.

Spoon half of the mixture into a well buttered baking dish, next layer it with half the roasted vegetables and half the fresh spinach sprinkled over. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and repeat the layers, pressing down as you do it, so it fill the baking dish.
Cover the top with the more grated parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese and any extra egg mixture if you have any.
Bake for about 1 hour until the top has golden spots and the center is firm.
Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving

This pudding can be refrigerated overnight, then rewarmed at 350 F.

Thai red-curry squash soup

I adore any food from South-East Asia and as I eat less and less meat, this recipe is a definite one for the repertoire.
Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 12.52.00 PM

Serves 8

4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger, plus 1 cup slivered fresh ginger for garnish
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
3 lbs kabocha or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
5 cups water of chicken stock
Two 13.5 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 keffir lime leaves or 1 tsp lime zest
1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, smashed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large scallions, thinly sliced
a few cilantro stalks for garnish (coriander)

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and sliced ginger and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 7 minutes.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the squash and water/stock and bring to the boil.Cover partially and simmer over low heat until soft, 25 minutes. Add the coconut milk, broken up lime leaves and lemongrass, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes longer. Discard the lime leaves and lemongrass.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender; add it to a clean pot. Stir in the sugar and lime juice and season with salt.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the 1 cup of slivered ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the ginger to paper towels to drain.

Reheat the soup; ladle it into the bowls. Garnish with the fried ginger, scallions and a few cilantro leaves (coriander) and serve