Recipe: Butternut Squash Canapés with Persian Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds

Do you guys remember this lovely recipe? I’ve made it many times, and for our Christmas party I made it into bite size canapés, and it worked really well so of course I wanted to share with you what I did differently. Loved these as canapés! They’re a bit fun and different, refreshing amid meaty or heavy canapés and of course perfect for vegetarians. Plus they look gorgeous!

Instead of large wedges I cut the butternut squash into little triangles that I then topped with feta, pesto and pomegranate seeds.

Butternut squash canapés with Persian pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds, makes about 30

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe

1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways (skin-on), and seeds removed 

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

150 g feta

100 g pomegranate seeds

For the pesto:

100 g pistachios

70 g parmesan

100 ml olive oil

1 small bunch coriander

1 small bunch parsley

1 small bunch dill

1 red chilli

1 lemon, juice only

2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut each wedge into 1 cm thick slices and place on lined baking trays, evenly spread out. Drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper and roast the squash for about 30-40 minutes, just until the edges have begun to brown slightly and they’re soft.

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 and 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, place the butternut squash pieces on a platter, spoon a little pesto on each and top with crumbled feta and pomegranate seeds.

Updated: Gnocchi with Creamy Butternut Sauce, Browned Butter and Prosciutto Crumbs

IMG_1354.jpeg

As I stated in my November post – I think this dish is perfect for this time of year. Obviously the pumpkin fits well as it’s in season, but the creamy sauce and fluffy gnocchi is also like a big autumnal hug in a bowl, that one most definitely need right now.

The original recipe is great for weeknight comfort, but cooking for my boyfriend on a Friday night I felt it could do with some jazzing up. So this is the elevated Friday night (or  dinner party) version for when you want to impress but still keep it fairly simple.

If you can’t be bothered with my whole ensemble of extras, and only want to jazz it up in a simple way then just add the prosciutto crumbs, because they have the biggest impact! And the thyme for some freshness!

And the sage is slightly redundant in itself, but it gives a subtle flavour to that glorious browned butter; you don’t need to put the sage on the plate.

IMG_1369.jpeg

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce, browned butter and prosciutto crumbs, serves 2

1/2 butternut squash

olive oil

salt & pepper

approx 300 g gnocchi, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

50-100 ml single cream

grated nutmeg

a few thyme sprigs

finely grated parmesan

a few sprigs of thyme 

4-6 sage leaves

50 g salted butter 

2 slices prosciutto

Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut into even-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Stir to coat all the pieces with oil. Place in the oven and roast until the pumpkin is soft, approx 35 mins in 200C. 

Cook the gnocchi and keep it warm.  

Place the prosciutto slices on a parchment lined oven tray and bake until crispy for approx 5 mins in 200C. Let cool on kitchen towel. Chop coarsely and set aside. 

Purée the roasted squash with a stick blender. Add (cold) cream until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and grated parmesan. Heat up the sauce in a non-stick saucepan while stirring, if needed.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the sage leaves. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen towel. Keep the butter on the hob until it’s browned. Remove from the hob when it smells nutty and has a brown (but not very dark brown) colour. 

Mix the gnocchi into the sauce and divide into bowls. Add the sage leaves (if using), drizzle with browned butter and scatter with prosciutto crumbs and thyme leaves. Serve with grated parmesan.   

Za’atar roasted butternut squash, spiced yoghurt and chillies

bns.jpg

Recently I’ve been ordering Abel & Cole’s vegetable boxes on a regular basis, and although I love the fresh organic produce, sometimes I find myself wondering what to cook with certain vegetables.

Sure, I have a few butternut squash recipes up my sleeve, but sometimes you just want to try something new, without knowing what that something new would be… That’s when I’m grateful for my (rather large) cookbook collection. I love to grab a pile of cookbooks and search through them looking for that something I didn’t know I was looking for. This last time it was this wonderful recipe by Sabrina Ghayour from Persiana that caught my eye and I absolutely love it.

I had half of it for dinner the same night and the rest for lunch at work the day after (and received lots of envious looks from my colleagues), but it would work just as well as a starter or a side dish.

Za’atar roasted butternut squash, spiced yoghurt and chillies, serves 4 as a side dish

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe in Persiana.

1 large butternut squash

3 tbsp za’atar

3 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

Yoghurt sauce:

200 g Greek yoghurt 

a bunch of mint, finely chopped (I didn’t have any mint at home and therefore omitted it)

2 tsp sumac

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tbsp olive oil

zest and juice from 1 lemon

black pepper

To serve:

1 bunch parsley

Pickled red chillies (I couldn’t find any and so brought fresh one, sliced them and covered them in lime juice for approx 20 minutes, then chopped into smaller pieces) 

nigella seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 240C. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking paper.

Cut the squash horizontally in half at the point of the bulge. Now halve each portion vertically. Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and discard, then halve each piece vertically again until you have 8 pieces. Peel the squash and cut the pieces into any shape you wish. 

Make a paste with the za’atar and olive oil in a small bowl and rub the squash pieces all over with paste until every piece is well coated. Place all the pieces on to the prepared baking sheet. Season with sea salt, then roast for about 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces of squash), or until the edges start to brown and almost char a little. 

Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix the yoghurt with the fresh mint, sumac, coriander, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients together well, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  

Remove the squash pieces from the oven and place them on a serving platter. Liberally dollop or pour the yoghurt over the wedges, then sprinkle with the parsley. Follow this with a scant scattering of nigella seeds. Lastly scatter over the pickled chillies.  

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce

IMG_1992

I’m a very seasonal person. Despite the mainly chilly weather at the moment I can’t face putting tights or warm jackets on. Because it is summer. Instead I layer up on my upper body but keep my legs bare (if I’m wearing a skirt or dress for work). I’m used to this approach but people in the office think I’m a little strange. Fair enough, I think.

But when it comes to food it’s harder. Sure, I incorporate as much asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb, tomatoes and new potatoes into my diet as I possibly can, but instead of craving salads I still want warm filling food. So while this autumnal recipe of gnocchi with a lovely creamy butternut squash sauce with both cream and parmesan may suit the post-bikini season better it’s what I fancy eating right now. Until summer arrives. Then bring on the salads!

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce, serves 2 

1/2 butternut squash

olive oil

salt & pepper

approx 300 g gnocchi, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

50-100 ml single cream

finely grated parmesan

a few sprigs of thyme (sage works too!)

Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut into even-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Stir to coat all the pieces with oil. Place in the oven and roast until the pumpkin is soft, approx 35 mins in 200C. 

Cook the gnocchi and keep it warm.  

Purée the roasted squash with a stick blender. Add (cold) cream until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper and grated parmesan. Heat up the sauce in a non-stick saucepan while stirring, if needed. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi, top with more grated parmesan and some thyme leaves. 

Butternut squash with Persian pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

IMG_8528

I found this gorgeous (and easy!) recipe on the BBC Food website and just instantly knew I had to make it. It’s courtesy of Sabrina Ghayour who’s lovely cookbook Persiana I absolutely adore. The Persian pesto with pistachios contains dill, a herb that’s very Scandinavian for me, and I like exploring new ways of using it.

I had this for supper one day, but it works just as well at a mezze table, as a starter or on a buffet.

Butternut squash with Persian pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds, serves 4

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe

1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways (skin-on), and seeds removed 

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

150 g feta

100 g pomegranate seeds

For the pesto:

100 g pistachios

70 g parmesan

100 ml olive oil

1 small bunch coriander

1 small bunch parsley

1 small bunch dill

1 red chilli

1 lemon, juice only

2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Rub each wedge of butternut squash with oil and season generously. Place on the lined baking tray. Roast the squash for about 45-50 minutes, just until the edges have begun to brown slightly. 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 and 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, place the butternut squash on plates, drizzled generously with the pesto. Crumble your feta over the top and scatter some pomegranate seeds over to finish. 

Pumpkin muffins with white chocolate

IMG_9100

These pumpkin muffins with lemon and cinnamon and topped with white chocolate was a real hit in the office before Christmas. Such a lovely winter cake!

The recipe is courtesy of the Swedish blog Matrepubliken.

Pumpkin muffins with white chocolate, makes12 small muffins
Translated from Matrepubliken’s recipe.
125 ml light brown soft sugar
125 ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
150 ml grated pumpkin (I used butternut squash)
1 lemon, the zest
200 ml plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsk cinnamon
150 g white chocolate 
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Mix sugar, oil and eggs to a mixing bowl. Add the grated pumpkin and lemon zest. Incorporate well. Mix flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture. Fill the muffin cases halfway up. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry. Leave to cool. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and dip the muffins in it (or spoon the chocolate on top of the muffins if you’re cases are too tall to dip). Leave the chocolate to set. 

Baked butternut squash with chorizo and feta

bnut2

This simple yet very tasty dish was my supper on Sunday night. I kind of forgot about supper until it was half past eight and by then I couldn’t really be bothered to make anything time consuming as Homeland was about to start at nine. And luckily the oven pretty much cooks this for you. Just a little chopping required from the cook.

bnut3The combination of sweet, salty and spicy is always a winner but especially during the colder months as it really warms you up from within.

Baked butternut squash with chorizo and feta, serves 2

1 medium butternut squash, about 400-500 g

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

a pinch of salt

100g feta, crumbled

60-70 g chorizo, sliced/cubed

Wash the squash, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut into large chunks, keeping the skin on. Drizzle with olive oil in an ovenproof dish and season with cumin, smoked paprika and a little salt. Roast in 200C for 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Add the chorizo and crumbled feta to the dish and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Butternut squash and ricotta ravioli with lemon and nutmeg

IMG_3090

When I went to school back in Sweden I was a very fussy eater when it came to school dinners. The food was just so far away from the made from scratch kind of food my mother and grandmothers cooked.

I remember my mother being very concerned, and on a school visit she made sure she had lunch with me. I was so glad that it was ravioli that day – one of my least favourite dishes, so my mother could see why I was so fussy. And she too, struggled to eat it. And from then on she always made sure to send lots of buns, crisp breads and fruit with me to school, just in case I didn’t like the lunch.

Nowadays I don’t think I am considered a fussy eater, but I still don’t eat ‘bad’ food, like those school dinners. They put me off things like lasagne and ravioli for years.

This ravioli however, is as far away as possible from the school version. Instead it is light and fresh with the sweet butternut marrying the earthy nutmeg and sharp lemon. The ricotta I think, add balance to the flavours.

IMG_3083

Butternut squash and ricotta ravioli with lemon and nutmeg,  serves 4

Pasta dough:

200 g 00-flour

2 eggs

Filling:

1/2 butternut squash

plenty of freshly grated nutmeg

approx 125 g ricotta

ca 1 tsp lemon zest

salt, black pepper

Sage butter:

50 g salted butter

5 large sage leaves, more to decorate

Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place skinside down on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast until soft, about 40 mins, 180C. Scrape out the soft flesh and place it in a bowl. Mush it up with a spoon or a stick blender. Add nutmeg and seasoning. Leave to cool completely. 

Weigh up the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. Knead into a dough. If too dry, add a tsp of olive oil, if too sticky add more flour. Shape into a ball and cover with cling. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Mix the butternut squash mash with roughly the same amount of ricotta. Add the lemon zest, season to taste and if you like, add some more nutmeg.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll it out using a pasta machine. Let the dough go through the widest setting three times while folding in between, then once on each setting until as thin as you prefer. I stopped at setting 7. 

Place the thin pasta sheets on a floured surface.  Place a teaspoonful of the filling on one of the pasta sheets with the same space in between the dollops. Brush the pasta with water all around the fillings. Cover with another pasta sheet, non-floured side down. Start at one end and flatten the pasta sheet on top of the other using your hand to protect the filling and to avoid air bubbles. Either cut into ravioli with a knife or use a ravioli cutter. If any excess dough is left over just roll it out again. 

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add plenty of salt to it. Add the pasta pieces 8-1o at the time. Remove with a slotted spoon once the pasta pillows have surfaced. This takes about a minute. 

In the meantime melt the butter in a pan and add the sage leaves. 

To serve, place 6-8 ravioli on each plate. Drizzle with the sage butter, add a sage leaf as decoration and serve with plenty of grated parmesan.

Butternut squash soup with roasted garlic

One of the most popular cookbooks in Sweden in the autumn was Lotta Lundgren’s amazing Om jag var din hemmafru (translates: If I was your housewife). The design of the book is very spectacular for a cookbook with glossy sexy pictures, not just of food, and the texts are amazing as well as the recipes. It is no surprise that Lotta has a background in advertising.

I bought this book as soon as it was published but haven’t have time to properly read it until now. Love it though! And it was also about time I tried one of her recipes, this fabulous soup with roasted butternut squash, garlic and onions.

The only changes I made to the recipe was to exchange a regular onion for a red onion, and to use less stock as my butternut squash was rather small.

Butternut squash soup with roasted garlic, serves 4

1 butternut squash

1 regular onion (or a red onion)

4 garlic cloves

1 lemon, the zest and juice

400-600 ml chicken or vegetable stock

200 ml cream

salt, pepper

Place the squash, onion and garlic cloves whole with the peel on on a roasting tray. Place in 200C oven. Roast the garlic for 20 minutes and the rest for 50 minutes. Leave to cool a little. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Scrape out the flesh. Cut off the roots on the onion and squeeze out the whole thing. Peel the garlic. Grate the zest off the lemon and purée the squash, onion, zest and garlic. Heat up the stock in a saucepan and add the purée, then add the cream and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and add a few drops of lemon juice.  Lotta suggests serving the soups with parmesan shavings or crispy bacon, I just added a dollop of creme fraiche.


A vegan New Year’s Eve menu

I like to be challenged in the kitchen, and that is why I thought it was a good idea to cook for my friend Jenny and her boyfriend James on NYE before heading to a party. Last time I invited James I cooked a whole lot of mezze dishes inspired from my trip to Syria and Ottolenghi’s book Plenty.

I wanted the NYE menu to be quite traditional, nice and vegan and because it was just for the three of us I kept it quite simple.

~ The New Year’s Eve menu 2011 ~

***

Crostini with bean spread

***

Jerusalem artichoke soup with coconut milk and fried chestnut mushrooms

Rustic baguette, olive oil and balsamico

***

Butternut squash risotto with spinach

Salad with romaine lettuce, romano peppers, avocado and pomegranate

***

Vanilla pannacotta with soy cream and passionfruit

***

We had champagne to start as well, and thanks to Waitrose I got a great bottle of bubbly half price. At the champagne tasting at Harrod’s I tried some champagnes from Duval-Leroy, but not thiis one; their regular Brut NV, but because I liked the others and it is a good quality champagne house I bought this bottle and it was really good.

Vega Jerusalem artichoke soup with coconut milk, serves 3 as a starter

1 shalot, finely chopped

1 tbsp oliv oil

500 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled

water

2 tsp concentrated vegetable stock

50 ml coconut milk

salt, white pepper

Topping: fried, sliced chestnut mushrooms

Fry the onion until soft in the oil. Add the artichokes to the pan and fry for a minute or so, Add hot water to cover and add salt. Bring to the boil and cook until very soft. Remove half the water, but keep it on the side, and puré the rest with the artichokes. Add the coconut milk and then adjust the thickness with the left over water. Add concentrated stock, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil again and serve.

Vegan butternut squash risotto with spinach, serves 4

1/2 butternut squash

1/2-1 onion

olive oil

100 ml dry white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

400 g aborio rice

2 handfuls fresh spinach

salt, white pepper

Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Cut it into chunks and place them in a roasting tray, add oil, salt and pepper and mix. Place in 200C for 35 minutes or until soft.

Fry the onions in olive oil in a casserole dish or large saucepan but don’t let it brown. Add the rice and stir for a minute or two. Add the wine and watch most of it evaporate. Then add a ladle of the hot stock and continue to stir while it cooks in. Add another ladle and repeat the procedure until all the stock is used up and the rice is soft. it usually takes 18-20 minutes depending on the type of rice. Add the spinach and stir until it is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and add the butternut squash. Feel free to serve with parmesan if you’re not vegan.

Vegan vanilla pannacotta with soy cream and passionfruit, serves 3

400 ml soy cream

2-3 tbsp vanilla essence

50-75 ml jelly sugar, or the same amount of caser sugar + enough veggie set or agar flakes for the amount of liquid

3 passionfruits

I tried my way through when I cooked this, to get rid of the particular aftertaste soy products have, and I recommend you do the same.

Add the cream to a sauce pan and the smaller amount of sugar and vanilla and heat it up. Then add the sugar and vanilla little by little until you are satisfied with the taste. Add the jeling agent if not using jelly sugar. Bring to the boil and stir so the sugar melts. Pour into dessert coupes or ramekins and leave to cool. Place in the fridge for a minimum of four hours to set. 

Before serving, place the inside of the passionfruits in a bowl and place enough on each pannacotta to cover the top. Serve and enjoy.