STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH MEATBALLS – Main Course (Serves 4)
500g (clean weight) butternut squash
100g grated parmesan cheese
5-6 leaves of sage (feel free to add more spices/herbs according to taste)
70g cheddar cheese or any stringy cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Start by preparing our butternut squash. Remove the skin and the seeds and cut it into slices 1/2 cm thick. Get a baking tray and cover it with some baking paper, then place the slice of butternut squash on it and cook in the oven at 200c/mark 8 for 25 minutes.
2. Once the butternut squash is ready, place all the slices in a mixing bowl and with the help of a fork mash them until we achieve a soft and smooth texture. Adding half of the breadcrumbs and the parmesan cheese, keep mixing with the fork or a wooden spoon. Next add the egg, salt, black pepper and the sage (I don’t like to use a knife when it come to herbs, I much prefer to break it by hand) and keep mixing until all the ingredients are well mixed, the mix is now ready.
3. Cut our stringy cheese into cubes, lay a bit of the mix on the palm of your hand, place the cubes of cheese in the middle and with both hands start to close it and make the meatballs (make sure the cheese stay always in the middle). We should get around 16 meatballs out of our mix weighing around 40g each.
4. Place the rest of the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and one by one crumb up all our meatballs (if needed add more breadcrumbs). Now is time to cook the meatballs, so place a frying pan on a medium heat. NB: I usually like to fry with sunflower oil but it is an individual taste. The perfect temperature for frying will be 170c so never put the heat too high.
5. Place the meatballs in the frying pan (don’t place in too many at the same time or it will bring the temperature of the oil down). Leave the meatballs to fry for 3 minutes and then with the help of a slotted spoon remove it from the oil and place it on a serving plate with some kitchen paper (to absorb the oil). Once all the meatballs are fried you’re ready to serve. Enjoy your meatball with a stringy surprise!
Recommended Wine: Soave Classico
DEEP FRIED EGGS WITH CHILLI SAUCE – Starter (Serves 4)
This recipe is from my days working with Peter Gordon in his restaurant in Marylebone High Street in London, it’s for lunch as well as for an appetizer. The WOW factor will be a guarantee.
200g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 red chillies finely sliced into rings
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
125ml cider or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, soft boiled, cooked in water then peeled and patted dry
Chopped coriander to garnish (optional)
1. Begin by preparing the chilli sauce, this sauce is easy to prepare and can be used for many different dishes. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir well until it starts to boil, add the chillies and the garlic. Simmer until sugar is slightly caramelised, then add vinegar and salt and bring it to the boil. Remove it from the heat and sauce is ready to go!
2. Fill in a small pan with 2 inch of frying oil and bring it to boiling, then with the help of a slotted spoon carefully add the eggs. Fry for 1 and 1/2 minutes until golden, then remove it with a slotted spoon and drain it with kitchen paper.
3. Place the eggs on a plate and pour the warm chilli sauce on top, around the eggs sprinkle with coriander. NB: If you want to use this as a starter, add 4 more eggs. Cook for 20 minutes.
Recommended Wine: Cote du Provence Rose (France)
APPLE, AMARETTI AND CARDAMOM CRUMBLE – Dessert (Serves 4)
This is a recipe I learnt when working with Peter Gordon, a delicious and easy to make crumble.
8 slightly sour apples (e.g Granny Smith) Peeled and cored
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
18 amaretti biscuits
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g self raising flour
1. Cut the apples into eighths and place in a pan with cardamom and half of the sugar. Bring slowly to a simmer and cook with a lid on until the apples are almost cooked and slightly mushy.
2. Crumble the Amaretti biscuits in your hands and add a third of them to the apples with the vanilla and mix well. Now divide between six ramekins.
3. Melt a walnut-sized piece of butter and set aside. Place the remaining butter in a food processor (you can do this process by hand in case you don’t have a food processor), and with the flour and the remaining sugar blitz into crumbs, tip it into a bowl and mix it with the remaining crumbled Amaretti biscuits. Sprinkle this crumble topping over the stewed apple and gently press down, then drizzle with the melted butter.
4. Finally, place our ramekins onto a baking tray and bake them on a pre-heated oven at 180c/mark 4 until the topping is golden and crunchy. It’s ready to serve. I suggest a scoop of ice cream on the side! Enjoy!
Quote of the month
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien