So as you will see from the title I finally managed to do something with the butternut squash that had been goading me for two weeks, wasn’t the easiest of meals I’ve ever made but it was delicious. As well as confronting my demons with the squash, I tried out a new lasagne recipe and also developed a recipe for an orange and ginger cheesecake, which I don’t have a photo for but can report its delicious! (I’m actually eating a piece whilst typing this!)
Butternut Squash Risotto:
So as I’d posted last week the butternut squash had been sitting in my vegetable rack challenging me every day so on Monday night I confronted my fears and decided on a simple butternut squash risotto. I found a recipe online from River Cottage
I didn’t make it quite so fancy on the recipe, I definitely
didn’t serve it in a butternut squash, it seemed a little too fancy for a Monday night dinner! But the rest of the recipe I followed pretty much to the letter. The basic recipe is as follows, chop your risotto into 1cm sized chunks – this in itself was no mean feat, I had to try 4 different knives before using a carving knife like a saw, once you’ve finally cut your squash into pieces pop them in a baking tray and drizzle it with oil before popping it in the over for 30 minutes. When the squash is nearly done you then make a basic white risotto; fry onions and garlic until softened, then add the risotto rice and cook for 5 minutes, add in a glass of dry white wine and stir until it is absorbed by the rice, then add your cooked squash. Finall
y you need to ladle in your stock bit by bit, constantly stirring until all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Then add as much parmesan cheese as you like (I love parmesan cheese so added a lot) stir in and serve.
The result was a sweet and tasty midweek dinner that I wo
uld make again. As I was eating the risotto it occurred to me that this would be even better topped with some crispy bacon pieces, a thought compounded when I asked Mr Gem what he thought and he said it was lovely but next time could I put in some chorizo.
This recipe was a nice first time recipe for a butternut squash and I would definitely make this again.
Friday night is Pasta night at Kitchen Gems HQ. After a hard week at work I can’t face making anything too complicated, I just like to relax with a steaming bowl of pasta and a glass or two of wine. But this week I fancied a bit of a change from the spag bol / lasagne / meatballs so whilst I was searching the internet in my lunch I came across a recipe that combined the three together. The recipe is from BBC Food
I followed the recipe again pretty much to the letter apart from the meatballs, which in the recipe calls for beef and pork mince, but I just used beef mince and they worked out ok. Essentially instead of layering up a traditional bolognaise with pasta and white sauce as in a traditional lasagne you have a separate tomato and basil sauce, meatballs and ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese. I layered the tomato sauce, then some meatballs, then dotted the three different cheeses around, then a layer of pasta, then repeated twice, topping with the last of the sauce and all the left over cheeses. This was then cooked for about half an hour.
The meal was just ok which I was quite disappointed by, the meatballs wet quite dry in the oven, and when I tried to serve it the whole thing fell apart. But I did really like the more simple tomato and basil sauce and the different cheese rather than a cheese sauce was a really lovely addition. I would make this again, but I think I would just have it as mince mixed in with the sauce.
I think Mr Gem was secretly disappointed not to get his usual spag bol, but you’ve got to try these things!
Orange and Ginger Cheesecake
This is the new recipe I am most proud of this week. It wasn’t the prettiest of cheesecakes so I didn’t take a picture but it is hands down one of the nicest cheesecakes I have ever eaten, and believe me I’ve eaten a lot of cheesecake!
I kind of made this recipe my own, I used a traditional basic recipe, 300g soft cheese, two eggs, 100g of caster sugar and vanilla extract. In addition to this I grated the zest of an orange into the mixture, a tablespoon of ground ginger and a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, I also squeezed in some orange juice but I think this made the cheese curdle a little. Instead of a digestive biscuit base I used crumble ginger nuts – a stroke of genius if I say so myself because it just made the best flavour. I melted butter and mixed the crumbled ginger nuts in, once this was mixed I pressed it into a cheesecake tin, then topped it with the cheese mixture and baked in the oven on 180 degrees for about twenty minutes until its solid on the centre with a little wobble in the middle – the residual heat will finish cooking the middle. I sprinkled a little cinnamon powder on the top as soon as it came out of the oven to add a little more flavour.
I mentioned that it wasn’t the prettiest cheesecakes, I think the orange juice made the mixture curdle a bit so the texture wasn’t the smooth texture you usually get with a cheesecake, but honestly it doesn’t make a bit of difference to the taste of the cheesecake.
Overall I think week 13 was pretty much a success, even though the lasagne wasn’t everything I’d hoped it would be it was still tasty and I think with a bit of work I’ve got a great lasagne dish for the future, I’m incredibly proud of confronting the butternut squash, as it was getting a little embarrassing walking past it every single day! And the cheesecake is amazing, I want to eat it all the time and I’m having to exercise real restraint not to eat the lot in one sitting!
I think week 14 might be a less busy week with it being the Easter weekend and being away with family but I’ll see what I can come up with. I’ve bought another couple of aubergines so lets see what I can do with that.
Happy cooking! x