Burrata with Balsamic & Honey Glazed Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Seeds

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When it comes to entertaining friends or family, my preference goes into making simple dishes so that I can also enjoy their company, instead of being fully occupied in the kitchen. This is a super easy appetizer that you can make in advance and just garnish before serving. I sliced the butternut into very small cubes and then glazed it in a pan with balsamic vinegar and honey. It goes so well with the creamy burrata and the slight tartness of the pomegranate seeds. This is a perfect use for burrata this fall/winter.

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This recipe is for one burrata, but you can always double or triple it if you are feeding a large crowd.

Ingredients:

For the glazed butternut squash:

2 cups of finely cubed butternut squash

1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons of honey

Extras:

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

1 baguette, sliced and toasted with olive oil

Chili flakes

Garden cress

A drizzle of olive oil

 

To make the glazed butternut squash, place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the diced butternut squash, salt and cayenne. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring from time to time. Then add the balsamic vinegar and cook for an extra 3 minutes until it has reduced, don’t forget to stir. Finally add the honey and cook for an extra 2 minutes. Taste it and adjust the salt and cayenne to your liking. Transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down a bit.

In the meanwhile, toast the bread with some olive oil.

To serve, place about ¾ of the butternut squash on a plate. Place the burrata on top. Add the remaining butternut squash on top of the burrata. Finish with a sprinkle of chili flakes, garden cress and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the toasted bread. Enjoy!

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Black Kale, Butternut Squash & Cheddar Strata with Homemade Tomato Jam

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Not too long ago, I had a bread pudding for dessert at a restaurant. It had been ages since the last time I had one. Back at home I got that craving again, but for a savory version. So I made this one with black kale and butternut squash. It’s great  for brunch or dinner.

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This recipe is for a 23cm skillet.

Ingredients:

For the tomato jam:

1 kilo of ripe tomatoes

1 ¼ sugar

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of ginger syrup

Chili flakes to taste (optional)

For the strata:

1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeded and finely chopped)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

5 cups of chopped black kale, without the hard stems

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

Pinch salt

Pepper

150gr of grated cheddar

5 cups of chopped baguette

For the milk mixture:

4 eggs

2 cups of milk

Pinch of salt

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of pepper

 

Start by making the tomato jam; boil some water in a large saucepan. Score a shallow x into the bottom of each tomato. Then carefully drop them into the boiling water and let them sit there for about 25 seconds. Then drained them. Carefully peel them and roughly chop them.

Place the tomatoes in a medium saucepan with the remaining ingredients for the jam. Let them cook over medium heat for about 35 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent the bottom from burning. Taste for salt. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down.

To make the strata, place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the butternut squash and cook it for about 5 minutes, while stirring. Then add the kale, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes until the kale starts to wilt. Then turn off the heat.

Grease with vegetable oil a 23cm cast iron skillet or a small oven dish.

In a medium bowl; whisk the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

To assemble the strata, spread half of the bread over the bottom of the skillet. Then add half of the butternut squash/kale mixture, and then half of the grated cheese. Add the remaining bread, follow it with the squash/kale mixture.  Press with your fingers or a spatula to make it compact. Then pour in the milk mixture. Finish it by adding the remaining grated cheddar. Let it stand in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Bake the strata for 40 minutes. Serve warm with the tomato jam and enjoy!

Tip: you’ll have some tomato jam leftover, I used it to make some grilled cheese sandwiches.

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Butternut Squash, Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup with Sumac & Za’atar Roasted Cashew Crumbs and Shaved Asparagus (Vegan)

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A very easy and comforting soup with added crunch from the raw asparagus and cashew crumbs. Perfect for this cold weather.

On another note, I recently made a tutorial for the blue background that you see in these pictures. You can check it out by clicking here.

 

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the soup:

1 medium butternut squash, just chopped into pieces

4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into pieces

2 medium sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 litter of vegetable stock

½ teaspoon of celery salt

Pinch of paprika powder

Salt to taste

For the cashew crumbs:

1 cup of salted cashews, finely chopped into crumbs

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of paprika powder

1 tablespoon of sumac

1 teaspoon of Za’atar

Pinch of salt (optional)

For the asparagus:

8 asparagus

Salt

Pepper

 

Chop the butternut squash (leave the skin and seeds on, they will come off easier after being roasted) and carrot into chunks. Place the butternut squash, carrots and whole sweet potatoes in an oven tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil over the squash and carrot. Sprinkle with some salt and then roast them in the oven at 180C/350F until tender. This will take about ½ hour for the squash and carrots, and 1 hour for the sweet potato. So just check from time to time.

Once the vegetables are roasted, scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash and discard them. Then scoop out the flesh and set it aside. Peel the sweet potato.

In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the butternut squah, carrots and sweet potatoes. Add the stock, celery salt and paprika powder. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and then blend it until smooth using an immersion blender. Taste it, and then add salt to taste.

To make the cashew crumbs, mix the chopped cashews with the spices and olive oil. Roast them for 15 minutes at 180C/350F. Stir the crumbs half way through.  Set it aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, reheat the soup and start preparing the asparagus. Grab a potato peeler and start to shave the asparagus. Don’t worry if some break. Then season them with salt and pepper.

Serve the soup with the seasoned shaved asparagus and some of the cashew crumbs. Enjoy!

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Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni with Butternut Squash Béchamel

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It’s been too long since I’ve made cannelloni. I was at an Italian store the other day getting squid ink pasta for another recipe and when I saw boxes of cannelloni, I just had to get one. I stuffed them with ricotta and spinach, and made a butternut squash béchamel sauce to cover them. I could eat pasta everyday!

This recipe serves 4.

For the filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

300gr of fresh spinach

Pinch of onion powder

Salt

Pepper

500grs of ricotta

Pinch of lemon pepper

Pinch of cayenne

For the béchamel:

3 tablespoons of butter

Pinch of garlic powder

3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

5 cups of milk

1 medium butternut squash

40grs of grated Parmesan

Extras:

16 cannelloni

40grs of grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top

Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Vegetable oil to fry the sage leaves(optional)

 

For the butternut squash, slice the butternut squash into chunks. Take out the seeds and place the chunks on a plate. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and microwave for 9 minutes. Once the squash is cooked, be careful when you remove the plastic wrap so that the steam coming out doesn’t burn you. Spoon out the flesh of the squash and place it on a medium bowl. Set it aside.

Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach has wilted. Then place the spinach on a sieve with a bowl underneath and press to get rid of most of the liquid. Set it aside.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add a pinch of garlic powder and the flour. Stir for 2 minutes. Then add the milk and stir until it thickens, about 6 minutes. Add the cooked butternut squash and Parmesan. Blend it until smooth using an immersion blender. Taste for salt.

To finish making the filling, mix the wilted spinach with the ricotta in a bowl. Add the lemon pepper, cayenne, pepper and salt. Mix well.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Place the ricotta filling in a piping bag and fill each cannelloni with it.

Grease with some olive oil a medium oven dish and add about 3 ladles of the béchamel. Spread the cannelloni over the sauce. Cover them with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle some extra grated Parmesan all over. Bake it for 40 minutes until golden.

If you want, you can fry some sage leaves in a small pan with vegetable oil, then place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Then use them to decorate the dish.

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Chanterelle Quinoa “Risotto” Stuffed Cabbage with Butternut Squash Puree

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The chanterelles were calling my name at the market so I got some and made a quinoa risotto with them. In the spirit of fall, I stuffed savoy cabbage leaves with it and served the rolls over a butternut squash puree.

This recipe makes 8 rolls.

Ingredients:

For the quinoa risotto:

1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa

300grs of chanterelles, brushed clean and chopped

2 tablespoons of butter

1/3 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/3 teaspoon of onion powder

Salt

½ cup of white wine

200gr of crème fraiche

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

40gr of grated Parmesan

Zest of 1 lemon

For the butternut squash puree:

1 medium butternut squash

1/3 cup of cream

Salt

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Celery salt

Extras:

8 savoy cabbage leaves

2 litters of vegetable stock to boil the cabbage

 

Boil the cabbage leaves in the vegetable stock for 20 minutes. Then drain them and trim off the tough part of the outer spines of the leaves. Set aside.

To make the pure, slice the butternut squash into chunks. Take the seeds out and place the chunks in a plate. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and microwave for 9 minutes. Once the squash is cooked, be careful when you remove the plastic wrap so that the steam coming out doesn’t burn you. Spoon out the flesh of the squash and place it in medium bowl. Add the cream, a pinch of garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt and salt. Blend it until smooth using an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

To make the quinoa risotto, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the chanterelles, garlic powder, onion powder and a pinch of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are lightly golden, about 4 minutes.  You can set a bit of the mushrooms aside for garnishing the plate later.

Add the wine, quinoa and stir until most of the wine evaporates. Then add the crème fraiche, parmesan and parsley. Stir for about 5 minutes, until the parmesan has melted and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the lemon zest and mix it. Taste for salt and pepper. Set aside.

Warm the butternut puree in the microwave or in a pan.

Warm the cabbage leaves in the microwave only for a few seconds. Pat them dry with paper towels.

Stuff each leave with about 6 tablespoons of the quinoa. Roll it, tucking in the ends. Repeat for the remaining leaves.

To serve, spread some of the butternut squash puree on each plate. Place a cabbage roll in the middle and garnish with some sautéed chanterelles.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Roasted Buckwheat

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It seems that winter is finally catching up. It has been quite a soft winter so far. But with the temperatures starting to drop this weekend and maybe snow on the way, a nice warm soup was in order. I roasted the butternut squash, garlic and onions in the oven to bring out their sweetness. For the toppings, I roasted some buckwheat with maple syrup and cayenne pepper (I find it quite an addictive snack). I also made some bacon crumbs. And for some peppery taste, I added some micro arugula that I grow myself in my teeny tiny little greenhouse.

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced

6 pearl onions or 1 big onion, leave the skin on

3 garlic cloves, with the skin on

Splash of olive oil

1 ½ liter of vegetable or chicken stock

100ml of cream

Salt to taste

For the maple roasted buckwheat:

6 tablespoons of buckwheat

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of olive oil

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of salt

For the bacon crumbs:

12 bacon strips

Topping:

Micro arugula

 

Line an oven tray with aluminum foil; place the peeled and sliced butternut squash and unpeeled onions on the tray.  Cover one head of garlic in aluminum foil with a bit of olive oil inside and place it on the tray  (I roasted the whole head of garlic and only used 3 cloves for the soup, the rest you can use for another dish). Splash a bit of olive oil over the vegetables and roast at 180C/350F for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Mix the buckwheat, maple syrup, olive oil, cayenne and salt in a small bowl.

Line an oven tray with parchment paper and place the buckwheat in a single layer. Roast for about 10 minutes, check that it doesn’t burn.  Then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To make the bacon crumbs, just cook the bacon until crispy.  Allow to cool down and then put it in the food processor and pulse until you get crumbs.  Set aside.

Going back to the soup, peel the onions and 4 cloves of garlic. Place them on a pot and add the butternut squash. Add the stock and blend until it is creamy.  Warm up the soup over medium heat and then add the cream and salt to taste.

Serve warm and top it with the roasted buckwheat, bacon crumbs and micro arugula.