Recipe: Butternut Squash Pasta

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Butternut  squash is hands down my favourite vegetable – I love it roasted, in risottos or whizzed up into a soup. My husband, on the other hand, is not as keen on the orange starchy vegetable but, thanks to the Jamie Oliver cookbook I received at Christmas, we have now found a dish we both enjoy.

The recipe for Squash Rigatoni is featured in Save with Jamie and I have only made a couple of small changes – I use rosemary instead of thyme as we both prefer it, gluten free pasta as my husband can’t eat wheat and I have sprinkled some pancetta fried in garlic oil over the pasta before serving.

Butternut cooked

Start by roasting a whole butternut squash in the oven (180 degrees/gas mark 4) for one and a half hours.

Butternut cut

Once it is cooked, split it in half, deseed and scoop out the flesh and either use right away or save for another day. The recipe only calls for half a squash so you can use the leftover flesh to make soup or another of Jamie’s recipes such as squash houmous or squash fritters.

Here’s how to make the pasta dish: 

(Serves 4, cooking time: 20 minutes)

Ingredients: 

320g dried rigatoni (or other pasta)

Olive oil

Dried chilli flakes

8 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of creme fraiche

40g blue cheese

1-2 tablespoons of boiling water

Parmesan cheese

Put a generous splash of olive oil and a pinch of dried chilli flakes into a large pan on a medium heat, then strip in the leaves from the thyme (or in our case rosemary) and squash in the garlic through a garlic crusher. Fry for one minute then add the creme fraiche, blue cheese and a splash of boiling water. Simmer gently while you cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain reserving a cupful of cooking water. Season the squash mixture, toss the pasta through it, loosening with the cooking water if needed. 

If, like my husband you don’t feel you’ve had a proper meal unless it has some meat in it, fry some pancetta cubes in a pan until just crispy and sprinkle over the pasta along with parmesan cheese before serving.

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Apologies that my pictures aren’t the best – I cooked this in the evening and with no natural light it is hard to make food look appetising. But take my word for it, this recipe is definitely worth trying!

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Aww, Santa you shouldn’t have…

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{The gifts bearing my name this year included a pair of classic short Ugg boots, the Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette, a Diptyque Baies scented candle, a scarf from American Vintage, Jamie Oliver’s latest cook book and a pair of slippers from The White Company.}

As we tumble headfirst into 2014, Christmas Day is already starting to feel like a distant memory. Our Christmas tree and decorations are still up but by this weekend they will be packed away again for another year. While the festive season is all about being together, enjoying each others company (well mostly anyway – Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the little arguments that seem to rear their head after the turkey has been polished off), it is always nice to find a few presents under the tree. Judging by Santa’s generosity, I must have been a very good girl this year…

Now we’re off to battle the crowds and indulge in a bit of Sales shopping as well as exchanging a couple of gifts. With less than 12 hours remaining of 2013 I wish you all a very happy New Year! X

My Latest TV Addiction

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My husband and I often have wildly different tastes in TV programmes. I like glamour and drama, with a healthy bit of cheese thrown in (think Revenge, Gossip Girl – RIP, I still miss Chuck & Blair – and Made in Chelsea) while he prefers sport, Top Gear or worthy documentaries, which I think I should watch to boost my intellect but just find sooo boring. But now and again our tastes do overlap – we were both avid followers of Homeland (starts again on Sunday, yay!) The Bridge, Borgen and The Americans, to name but a few.

Most recently, it’s TV chef extraordinaire Jamie Oliver’s (is he ever off the telly?) latest series Save with Jamie that has caught our attention. Neither of us is usually that enamored with cookery shows but we both like the idea of roasting a big joint of meat or grilling a side of salmon for a family Sunday lunch and then eeking it out to make another two or three meals during the week. Last Sunday we had roast chicken with all the trimmings and then boiled the carcass to make chicken stock which, together with the leftover meat, was turned into a stew that lasted us two days.

Of course I realise that there is certain irony in a multi-millionaire chef showing us mere mortals how to cut down on our food spend, but if it saves us money and makes meal planning that bit easier then I’m all for it. And say what you will about the ‘Naked Chef’, he is a national institution and you do get the feeling that he does really care about the eating habits of the nation, even if he is laughing all the way to the bank.

Find the chicken stew recipe here

This week’s favourites

This week has had definite highs (the scorching weather for a start) and lows (all three children coming down with the sickness bug springs to mind…).

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A trip to the garden centre at the start of the week to get some new plants and sand for the sandpit.

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Dinner at Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant with the whole family after shopping for more birthday presents for Clemmie. I had a yummy starter of deep fried squid followed by the Black Angel pasta. I then spent the remainder of the meal trying to steal spoonfuls of Cameron’s salted caramel ice cream – definitely having that next time!

Jamie food

Summer is now officially here! Faking it is the only way to tan these days and I can always rely on Fake Bake’s tanning mousse to turn my limbs from lily white to sunkissed. I also tried the St Tropez Tan Optimiser application mitt for the first time and it really helped to blend the colour and get an even coverage. Highly recommended!

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A game of badminton against Daddy in the garden before bedtime (which somehow seems to have moved at least an hour later than usual..):

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Breakfast on the terrace in the sunshine. Freshly baked scones and a large mug of coffee.

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On my way to a fab 40th birthday party that sadly my husband had to miss as he stayed home to nurse the sick children. The £7 H&M dress had its first outing, teamed with metallic wedges from Kurt Geiger. By the way, if you’re wondering why I’m holding my hands funnily it’s because I was rushing to get ready and had only just applied a fresh coat of nail polish!

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