Generally speaking I’m not too fussed about smoothies. I love fruit so eating it never feels like a chore and I also think that eating it rather than drinking it makes me feel more full (and therefore a lot less likely to reach for less […]
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 on too, squash, sage and nutmeg is such a classic combination.
Obviously if you’re pushed for time (there’s never enough of it at Christmas) you can use ready-made pastry. These will keep for a day or two in the fridge and re-heat beautifully too so feel free to make them ahead of time if you need to.
40g toasted hazelnuts (ground finely)
200g plain flour
pinch of seasalt
splash of very cold water
450g (ish) butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Rub together the ground hazelnuts, butter, salt and flour, using your fingertips or a food processor, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Use a little of the cold water to brind everything together but don’t let the dough get sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the ricotta, sage, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, mixing well and set it aside. Slice the ‘neck’ of the squash (don’t bother to peel it) so that the slices are only a couple of millimeters thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the squash into pretty shapes, this should be pretty easy if your squash is thin enough.
Once the dough has chilled and relaxed roll it out on a very lightly floured surface so that it is just a few millimeters thick. Cut four circles out of the dough (a breakfast bowl makes a good template) re-rolling the dough as necessary.
Put the discs of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the centre of each and spread it a little. Arrange the squash slices on top, so that they overlap. Fold over the edges of the pastry, crimping and gathering as necessary. I like to brush the edges with a little beaten egg so that the pastry is lovely and golden once the galettes are baked. Dot the top of each one with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle on a bit of black pepper.
Bake them for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 20 minutes.
When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway. So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you […]
I’ve got a bone to pick with you guys. Why did none of you tell me how delicious baked feta is? I mean regular feta is pretty good but baked feta is a whole other thing! It’s so soft, but not actually melted, with a deliciously caramelised top, which is helped in this recipe by a little dab of sweet honey.
This is such a great addition to any mezze table. The slightly smokey grilled nectarines go wonderfully with the soft creaminess of the cheese and the little hint of heat from the chili.
serves 2 (slightly piggy people)
2 nectarines (a little underripe is fine)
200g drained feta
2 tsp oil
sprig of thyme
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
1 small red chili
2 tbsp runny honey
handful of walnuts
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Slice the fruit, into about eight pieces each and toss them in the oil. I do this in the dish that I’m going bake the feta in so that that gets greased at the same time too. Heat a griddle pan and place the fruit in it. Cook the fruit until it is nicely charred on both sides. Put the fruit into the baking dish and add the sliced chili, black pepper and sprig of thyme. Top with the slab of feta and then bake the whole lot for 20 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes have passed drizzle the cheese with a tablespoon of the honey and then cook for a further five minutes so that it becomes lovely and golden on top. Just before serving toss in the walnuts and drizzle with the remaining honey.
I’ve taken the delicious salad that Rach from our little community shared on here last summer as the flavour inspiration for these. I bloomin’ love beetroot and dill, alone or together, they put me in veggie heaven.
These little vegetable patties are so delicious, crisp and crunchy on the outside but lovely and soft in the middle. The earthy beetroot goes wonderfully with the salty tang of the halloumi cheese and the delicate aniseed flavour of the dill.
The rosti are very versatile too, Mr Colonial Cravings likes them crowned with a soft poached egg, which would be a breakfast to really set you up for the day. I like mine with a dollop of creamy yoghurt and mint dressing and some avocado accompanied by a big handful of fresh green leaves.
makes about 10
350g raw beetroot
3 heaped tbsp chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
butter and oil for frying
Start by grating the spuds, don’t bother to peel them, just give them a good scrub. Pile the shredded potato into a clean tea towel and try to wring out as much moisture as possible. Pop the potato in a bowl and microwave it for three minutes. This is the best way that I’ve found of starting to get the starches to break down and become sticky without adding any extra moisture.
Grate the halloumi and the beets and mix them with the potato. I find it easiest to let it cool a bit and get stuck in with my hands. Add the dill and the salt and pepper to taste (remember the cheese is quite salty) and mix them through too.
Squeeze together handfuls of the mixture to make patties about the size of a burger and fry them in batches in a heavy frying pan in a mixture of butter and vegetable oil (one stops the other from burning).
Use a spatula to press, coax and cajole the rosti into holding its shape and sticking together. Cook the rosti for 3-5 minutes over a medium heat until they are a deep golden colour before carefully turning them over to cook the other side. Serve hot with your favourite topping.
Crab was a particular speciality where we were living in the USA. Hauled out of the Chesapeake and boiled up with Old Bay seasoning or turned into delicious crab cakes. It’s a delicacy back home in Cornwall too, freshly picked and eaten in sandwiches. I’ve […]