As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot […]
Tag: butternut squash
This tasty little vegetarian number makes a fairly regular appearance on our week night dinner menus. It’s a really quick and easy one pan wonder. It’s not limited to dinner time either, this is a great dish for brunch or lunch too. And it’s not […]
I find that with all this January healthy eating lark it’s a lot easier to take things steadily, rather than going cold turkey after all that, well, turkey. Yes, we’re all in need of a little more nourishment and a little less indulgence but it’s still winter so comfort and warmth are still on the menu.
Butternut squash, kale and apple. All nutrient rich and so very good for you. Crème fraîche and cheese…not so much, but we can’t be good all the time can we. This is such a comforting winter side dish, super-satisfying for vegetarians or a great accompaniment to roast pork.
300g butternut squash (approx 1/2 a small one)
1 medium eating apple (something tart)
2-3 really big handfuls of curly kale
butter for greasing
2 sprigs of sage
salt and pepper
200g crème fraîche
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
50g mature cheddar, grated
3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and generously grease a deep baking dish.
Wash and dry the apple and the veg and then lightly steam the kale. Squeeze any excess moisture out of it and then set it aside. Finely chop the sage and put this to one side too.
I don’t bother to peel any of the fruit/veg, I’m pretty certain we’ve all got better things to do with our time. De-seed the squash and core the apple and then slice them and the potato as thinly as you can.
Layer half of the potato into the baking dish, lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on a little of the chopped sage. Top this with half of the squash and season again with salt, pepper and sage. Spread the kale onto the squash and then follow this with the apple slices. Season again and then layer on the last of the squash. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Finish off with a layer of potato. Whisk together the crème fraîche, milk and nutmeg and then pour this all over the top.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Mix together the cheese, breadcrumbs and any remaining sage. Remove the foil and scatter this over the top. Return the dish to the oven (uncovered) and bake for a further 15 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be tender and the topping should be enticingly golden.
I really do love my veggies but when the chilly weather arrives I’m less keen on the idea of tucking into a fridge-cold refreshing salad. I always want something that feels a bit more hearty and nourishing. This vegetarian delight certainly ticks those boxes. The […]
I’m pretty certain that if you didn’t know these were vegan then you wouldn’t be able to tell.
I quite enjoy a bit of vegan baking but I have encountered some recipes that seem to be missing a certain flavour or have a slightly disappointing texture from the various dairy and egg substitutions. Not so with these. They’re light, tender and full of flavour, the way a muffin should be.
I make my butternut squash puree by cutting the squash in half scraping out the seeds and roasting it until it’s tender. Then I pull off the skin and blend the flesh until it’s smooth and creamy. I don’t add any oil or seasonings, it’s easier to keep track of them in the recipe that way. I like to keep my applesauce on the chunky side but make the squash puree really smooth. This way the squash just sort of melts into the texture of the muffins but you occasionally get little bites of apple. Yummy.
120g plain flour
60g wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
80g brown sugar
170g butternut squash puree (about 1/2 a small squash)
150g unsweetened, unseasoned applesauce (from about 2 apples)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
5 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and line a 12 hole muffin tin with wrappers.
Sift together both of the flours, the spices and the raising agents into a large mixing bowl. This is just to get them all really well combined so make sure that you tip any wheat bran that’s left in the sieve back into the mixture. Whisk in the sugar, salt and most of the oats, keep a few of these back to sprinkle on the top of the muffins.
In a separate jug or bowl, whisk together the squash puree, applesauce, oil, honey, cider vinegar and water, making sure that they are really well blended. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in. Fold it together with a spatula so that it is only just combined. Be careful not to over-mix it.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cases and sprinkle the reserved oats on the top. Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes. They should be well risen and golden with a little spring to them. Give them a poke with a cake tester or skewer if you want to be sure.
Leave them to cool on a wire rack for a bit.
Mix together the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth and then drizzle it onto the muffins, let it set a bit before enjoying.
I get a little obsessive about getting my five-a-day once the cold weather arrives, trying to ensure I consume every vitamin possibly available to me. Having a big vat of soup bubbling away on the stove definitely makes this a more appealing task. Using chipotle […]
For once this craving isn’t actually mine. This one’s for my friend Katy. More years ago than I really care to remember I made some savoury choux buns which I filled with a really thick cheese sauce. Ever since Katy has repeatedly asked me to make them again but for one reason or another I’ve never got around to it.
I have since learned the fancy French name for these is gougères – far more classy than cheese puff.
I love butternut squash and I’m led to believe that it’s a ‘super food’. But I also love fatty treats…so why not combine the two. I’m not suggesting that the addition of a little butternut squash to choux pastry makes it a health food by any stretch of the imagination but it does make it a little easier to justify on the occasions when you do indulge. Most importantly though, these taste amazing.
I’m pretty proud of them – they were a total experiment but they worked first time. Initially I wasn’t really sure if I would be substituting the squash for flour or moisture so I altered the amounts of both and it seemed to work really well. There are two ways that you can serve these – either warm and filled with creamy parmesan sauce or you can make smaller puffs and sprinkle them with grated parmesan before baking to produce little bite size nibbles. (Maybe to serve with my Sage Gimlet..?)
I have to confess that I didn’t make the filling for these, I left that up to my husband. He is rarely given access to the kitchen. Partly because I love to cook but also partly because I just get increasingly frustrated with his insistence on ridgedly following recipes and never tasting as he cooks. However he makes brilliant roux-based sauces because he has far more patience for adding the milk than I do. Resulting in wonderfully smooth sauces every time. Marvellous!
Makes 12 puffs for filling
60g mashed roasted butternut squash
80g sifted plain flour
1 tbsp finey chopped fresh sage
50g plain flour
40g grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp wholegrain mustard (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c.
Using a large-ish pan, melt the butter into the water over a moderate heat. Try not to let the water come to the boil.
Tip in the flour and beat well with a wooden spoon to ensure that the mixture is smooth. Return the pan to the heat for a moment or two to cook out the flour. Add the mashed squash and chopped sage and mix until evenly distributed.
Now this next bit requires a bit of elbow grease so feel free to rope in anyone that might have been loitering around the kitchen for too long. Beat the eggs into the warm mixture one at a time. Continue beating until the dough is soft and glossy and starting to come away from the sides of the pan.
Spoon or pipe blobs onto a well greased baking tray. If you don’t want to fill the pastry then just use little bites sized blobs and sprinkle a bit of grated parmesan onto them. Bake for around 25 minutes or until the gougères are golden brown and fully puffed up.
Poke a hole in the top of each with a sharp knife to let the steam out (or they will go soggy and collapse) and place on cooling rack.
If you want to fill the gougères (and why wouldn’t you?) then it’s a good idea to make the filling whilst the pastry bakes.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the flour and mix well, cook for a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour taste. Gradually beat in the milk, a little at a time. If you happen to have some cream in the fridge and want to make the sauce really rich and luxuriant then there is no harm in adding a splash now.
Once all the milk has been added mix in the cheese, pepper and mustard (if using). Let the cheese melt into the sauce, you are aiming to have a very smooth, very, very thick almost custard like sauce. It needs to be stiff enough not to dribble everywhere when you fill the gougères.
I haven’t put any salt in the recipe because for me the saltiness of the parmesan is adequate but by all means give the sauce a taste and add a bit if you feel that it needs it.
Depending on how pretty you want your gougères to look either spoon or pipe the filling into the little choux pastry puffs, through the steam hole if it’s large enough or make a little slit somewhere inconspicuous.
You can get away with reheating these a little if you need to. About 5-10 minutes at 180°c will do it.
I served mine with some more roasted butternut squash and a green salad. Yummy!
I know that you wouldn’t, but if you have any sauce left over don’t throw it away. You can use it as the base for a spinach roulade. I had several tablespoons left over so I beat in an egg yolk, an extra couple of teaspoons of flour and a handful of chopped spinach then folded in a whipped egg white. I spread this out on a small tray, greased and lined with baking parchment. I baked it at 200°c for 25 minutes and filled it with whipped cream cheese, fresh herbs and sundried tomatoes and rolled it up. It’s not the prettiest dinner that I’ve ever served up but it was very tasty.