BUTTERNUT SQUASH BOATS
This is a delicious starter. The natural sweetness of the butternut squash is perfectly complemented by the nutty pumpkin seed and date cream, while the crispy cavolo nero and caremelised nuts add a lovely texture.
• 2 baby butternut squash, halved lengthways, seeds and membrane removed • olive oil, for drizzling • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste • a generous handful of torn cavolo nero (black cabbage or kale), stems removed • caramelised nuts, crushed
FOR THE PUMPKIN SEED AND DATE CREAM
• 2 tbsp pumpkin seed butter or other nut butter, such as almond or tahini
• 2 medjool dates, pitted
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tbsp orange blossom water (optional) [or orange essence]
• ¼ tsp ground chilli pepper
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Arrange the butternut squash halves on the lined tray, cut side down, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, then flip the halves over and bake for a further 10 minutes or until cooked through.
3. To make the pumpkin seed and date cream: Mix all the ingredients in a food processor; whizz for a few seconds. Add small amounts of water until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover until ready to serve. The cream can be prepared a day ahead and stored sealed in the fridge.
4. Heat a frying pan over mediumhigh heat. Drizzle in a small amount of olive oil, add the cavolo nero and cook for about 1 minute, turning over halfway through, just until crispy but not burnt. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
5. Transfer the butternut squash boats to a platter. Top with the cavolo nero. Sprinkle with crushed caramelised nuts; drizzle with the pumpkin seed and date cream.