The weather is really awful this week. It’s raining cats and dogs, the wind is blowing all those wonderfully golden brown leaves of the trees and it is all making me bloody depressed.
Seriously. Why do I have to live in Belgium and not live in a tiny hut on some deserted island in the Pacific? The latter sounds much more appealing right now. Yes, a sunny beach on a deserted island my not offer WIFI, but who needs WIFI when you can spend your days tanning on the beach and drinking out of a coconut?
Anyway, needless to say that I could use some comfort food. And what could possibly be more comforting than the sweet flavour of the butternut? Butternuts and pumpkins of any kind are probably one of the only things that prevent me from packing my bags and embracing my inner Robinson Crusoe. (No butternuts on a deserted islands, obvs.)
And although many people still ignorantly think that recipes with butternut do not sound very bold, or may not look very beautiful, it is actually quite the opposite. Because, dear fellow Belgians, you can do so much more with a butternut than just turn it into soup!
In fact, the humble butternut is as versatile as Daniel Radcliffe’s latest film choices! (and that says a lot, trust me)
With one large butternut, I created 3(!) amazing one-person dishes just for me. They may not all look beautiful, but trust me: they are always bold in flavour!
Middle Eastern Saffron-Scented Butternut with Harissa Yoghurt and a Mint and Dill Salsa
Butternut will have never tasted this good: the sweetness of the saffron and the sultanas together with the zing and freshness of the salsa and yoghurt is a match made in heaven.
For the butternut:
- 1/3 butternut, cut into large chunks
- Handful of sultanas
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- Pinch of saffron
- Pinch of turmeric
- Pinch of chili powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tbsp honey
For the harissa yoghurt:
- 100gr Greek yoghurt
- ½ tsp harissa paste
For the Mint and Dill Salsa:
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of ½ lime
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Add the butternut chunks and let it fry for a couple of minutes. Add the spices, sultanas and honey. Add a splash of water to make sure it doesn’t burn. Let it fry until the butternut is just tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the poppy seeds.
- Mix the yoghurt with the harissa and a pinch of salt.
- Mix all the salsa ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the butternut with dollops of yoghurts and drizzle the salsa over the top.
Stuffed Butternut with a Blue Goat’s Cheese “Soufflé”
Sounds fancy, but it is actually really easy to make. The reason why I call this a “soufflé” is because it contains eggs and cheese and puffs up all so beautifully in the oven, but don’t be alarmed by this French word, it’s just a chic way of saying “fluffy omelet” 😉
You can use plain blue cheese or goat’s cheese for this recipe, but a blue goat’s cheese really is the best of both worlds.
- 1 “bottom” of the butternut, seeds removed but skin still on
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 80gr blue goat’s cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the butternut bottom in an oven-proof dish and season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the butternut is al dente.
- Mix the eggs together with salt and pepper and nutmeg and pour in the butternut. Drop the chunks of cheese into the eggs mixture and put the butternut back into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the skin and flesh of the pumpkin is soft and eggs are cooked through and have puffed up.
Butternut with Nigella & Mustard Seeds and Barbecue Tempeh
It may not look very attractive but the sweet and sour taste of the marinated tempeh (I luvvv tempeh!) works so well with the mellow butternut that is spiced up with some amazing nigella and mustard seeds.
Serve with some even more unappealing (but very yummy) black rice
For the butternut:
- 1/3 butternut, cut into chunks
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
- Fresh herbs to finish (dill, coriander or mint)
For the tempeh:
- 100gr tempeh, cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
- Pinch of Chinese five spice
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the butternut, spices and ginger. Let it fry, stir regularly and season with salt and pepper, until the butternut is tender.
- Mix the marinade ingredients together. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the tempeh. Fry until golden brown. Pour in the marinade, turn down the heat and let the marinade form a sticky coat around the tempeh.
- Serve the butternut with the tempeh and sprinkle some fresh herbs over the top. Serve with rice.