Roasted butternut squash, pepper and pea risotto


Butternut squash is a vegetable I rarely ate until I met Rory. It always reminded me of pumpkins which I distinctly remember not enjoying. Then one night several weeks ago, Rory said he really liked squash, so I decided to try it. Cooking a fairly simple risotto from BBC good food, it was nice enough and the flavours were there, but after cooking it a few times I started to adjust the flavours and what went in my risotto until we created this recipe.

This risotto is still pretty simple, and I believe it is delicious, full of flavour and lots of different vegetables. I think it makes a really nice starter serving 4, or as a main meal serving 2. You could also replace the squash with chicken, and the recipe would still work well.

Hope you enjoy the recipe, let me know what you think

Roasted butternut squash, pepper and pea risotto

1 medium white onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 bay leaf (fresh of dried)
1 butternut squash peeled and chopped into chunks
1 medium bell pepper (red or yellow) cut into thick slices
150 g frozen garden peas
140 g Arborio rice
1 tbsp. Crème fraîche
2 vegetable stock cubes (can use chicken if prefer)
1 cal. spray

Peel and chop butternut squash into large chunks. The best method Rory and I use is to peel the squash, and then to chop the base off and scoop out the middle, chop into thick slices and then into lumps. Place a piece of foil in the roasting tin; add the squash and spray with low cal. spray. Place in middle of pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes, you want the squash to soften not crisp too much.
butternut-squash
Prep the other veg (peppers, onion, and garlic). Tip: For the garlic, chop the end off, and then press down the side of the knife to crush the garlic, this will make it easier to peel. Also, chop the pepper up nice and thick so it does not disintegrate while cooking.

Make up the stock (800 ml) about 20 minutes after the squash goes in the oven. Next, heat up the frying pan on a medium to high heat, spray with low cal. spray and add the onions to soften. Fry for about 2 minutes, spraying more 1 cal. spray if needed. Turn down to medium heat and add peppers and garlic, fry for a further minute, and then add the risotto rice and fry for about 3 minutes.

* After 30 minutes take ¾ of the squash out of the oven and mash into a bowl and cover and leave on side. Turn oven down to about 140°c, place the rest back in the oven to crisp up. *

Turn the heat down to 3 and add the bay leaf. Slowly incorporate the stock, making sure after every addition to stir and let the rice absorb the stock. Make sure to do this section slowly to allow the rice to fully absorb all the stock; this will help with a thick delicious flavour.
butternut-squash-risotto
Once all the stock is incorporated, taste the rice and check its cooked through, then add the mashed butternut squash, and the frozen garden peas. Let this heat through and then add the Crème fraîche and then add to bowls (leave out the bay leaf). Place the roasted squash from the oven on the top of the risotto to serve. Enjoy!
Simple! Such a great meal, very tasty and full of healthy vegetables. Find the print friendly version below.

Roasted butternut squash, pepper and pea risotto

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

    Equipment:
  • Large saucepan
  • Roasting tray
  • Spatula
  • Measuring jug
  • Kitchen foil
  • Grater

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 medium white onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh of dried)
  • 1 butternut squash peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 medium bell pepper (red or yellow) cut into thick slices
  • 150 g frozen garden peas
  • 140 g Arborio rice
  • 1 tbsp. Crème fraîche
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (can use chicken if prefer)
  • 1 cal. spray
  • Parmesan (optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel and chop butternut squash into large chunks.
  3. Line the roasting tin with foil; add the squash and spray with low cal. spray.
  4. Place in middle of pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes
  5. Prep the other veg (peppers, onion, and garlic).
  6. Boil kettle and make up 800ml stock 20 minutes after the squash went in.
  7. Heat up the frying pan on a medium to high heat, spray with low cal. spray and add the onions to soften. Fry for about 2 minutes, spraying more 1 cal. spray if needed.
  8. Turn down to medium heat and add peppers and garlic, fry for a further minute, and then add the risotto rice and fry for about 3 minutes.
  9. * After 30 minutes, take ¾ of the squash out of the oven and mash into a bowl, cover and leave on side. Turn oven down to about 140°c, place the rest back in the oven to crisp up. *
  10. Turn the hob heat down to 3 and add the bay leaf.
  11. Slowly incorporate the stock, making sure the stock is absorbed by the rice each time.
  12. Once all stock is incorporated, it should be a little runny but cooked.
  13. Then add the mashed butternut squash, and the frozen garden peas.
  14. Let this heat through and then add the crème fraiche
  15. Serve this in bowls with the leftover roasted squash on top (don’t eat the bay leaf)

Sakana Pan Asian, Manchester

Rory and I have been officially ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ for a year, mental! How he put up with me over this year is beyond me but he has, and to celebrate we tried out Sakana in Manchester (check it out here). It is crazy the amount of incredible deals you can get in January, definitely the worst time to be on a health kick! I highly recommend eating out in January, we were spoilt for choice, but decided to take Sakana up on the offer of 51% of all food from the A La Carte menu (which was a lot!).

On Friday evening we dolled up, sacked off the diet and drank a bottle of prosecco before heading out to Sakana. Located a short walk from St Peter’s Square tram stop (although we got an Uber because they also have a deal on!), just next to the infamous Albert’s Schloss (you can see where the nights going…).

As you walk into the restaurant you instantly get a great vibe, the front room is a lovely bar serving elegant looking cocktails, with music that is upbeat and friendly. Going through into the restaurant is wonderful; they have the kitchen on show in the back of room, and beautiful décor all around. There is a large tree with red lanterns on which looks really funky and on the way to the toilet they have painted glow in the UV paint in a floral cherry blossom tree, which is so vibrant as you walk through it is beautiful!

Sakana
Sakana
Sakana
The staff were really friendly and helpful, although they had some licensing issue, that meant all drinks were in hard plastic cups/wine glasses, and any bottles of wine were kept at the bar. They were very hot on topping up our glasses so no complaints from us, just a little strange. The menu was huge, so much choice and most of it included in the 51% off deal, the waitress explained clearly what we could and couldn’t have and then gave us time to decide.

Rory and I have big appetites, and we decided we were going all out. SO MUCH FOOD! It was heaven. Instead of getting a traditional starter and main we decided to order 7 different dishes and some rice and pick at it tapas style. While we waited for the food we ordered some thai prawn crackers, controversial to many peoples opinions but I like these more than normal ones, they are crunchier and have so much more flavour, and the sweet chilli dip blew my mouth off!

Sakana - thai prawn crackers
Thai prawn crackers and sweet chilli dip – £3
Before we had even finished nibbling on these the first of 6 dishes arrived. Kataifi King Prawns, these are King prawns wrapped in a soft string pastry (reminded me of rice noodles) and served with a creamy chilli sauce. This was my favourite of all 6. The prawns were perfectly cooked, fat and juicy. The weird pastry string complimented the crunch beautifully and the sauce was delicious with the right level of kick.

King prawns
Kataifi King Prawns – £7
Next up, we had a ¼ aromatic crispy duck, classic order and a delicious one at that. I love duck pancakes, the spring onion and cucumber, the pancakes, hoisin sauce and duck just go together so wonderfully, I wish I could eat this everyday! Really lovely dish, and a staple choice! The duck was shredded at our table in a very quick and easy fashion, and a great amount of quality meat on the table.

Crispy duck pancakes
¼ aromatic crispy duck pancakes – £12
While eating our duck one of Rory’s orders came to the table. I was a little bit taken back by this when he suggested it, but decided to jump in and try it. This was Taiwanese buns with Chicken Karaage; steamed fluffy buns with Japanese fried chicken and sweet and sour sauce. Rory hadn’t realised that it came separate and bit into a plain bun, realising his error he quickly filled it up. I was pleasantly surprised by these; the plain bun acted like the bread of a burger, taking away some of the spice but keeping all the delicious flavour of the chicken. They weren’t my favourite but I would definitely have them again.

Taiwenese buns with chicken karaage
Taiwenese buns with chicken karaage – £9
Next up are two different beef dishes we ordered, a beef Galbi; Korean marinated beef, served with kimchi, sesame seeds, spring onions and chilli with Galbi sauce. The second beef dish; Chinese black bean beef skewers, tender beef marinated in a black bean sauce, these were both a little overdone meaning the beef was chewier than I like, but Rory loved them and ate anything I didn’t want.

Beef galbi
Beef galbi- £11
Chinese black bean beef skewers
Chinese black bean beef skewers – £9
Then arrived the Thai Grilled Chicken (Kai Yang). These were chicken thighs marinated in lemongrass, coriander and turmeric, with a spicy tamarind dip. They were delicious; juicy and flavoursome, and the tamarind sauce complimented the chicken very well.

Thai grilled chicken kai yang
Thai Grilled Chicken (Kai Yang) – £8.50
Lastly we were disappointed with the duck spring rolls. It was a rushed decision as they had ran out of the vegetable golden money bags (which sounded incredible), I’m not sure what the problem with these were, they just lacked flavour and I think a little overdone. Throughout this meal we also had a bowl of jasmine rice which we used to eat some of the sauces; probably an unnecessary order but nice all the same.

Duck spring rolls
Duck spring rolls – £8
So there we have it, a crazy delicious menu, with a huge array of choice, flavours and cooked beautifully, a couple of things could have been done better but I was really impressed, and will definitely be back. With the discount, and a bottle of prosecco all of this was only £30 each plus a tip, pretty good deal if you ask me! Sadly our evening didn’t stay cheap, after leaving we went to Albert Schloss (it would have been rude not to) and ended up buying many shots. But you only live once and it was a wonderful way to spend our anniversary.

Cottage pie with sliced new potatoes


Long time no post. Busy busy busy. Third year of university is really taking it out of me. I feel like I have no real time to myself, just work, work, work. Focusing on the end goal; I will graduate, hopefully with a first, with money in the bank and a job around the corner.

I haven’t posted since before Christmas, as if it is already mid Jan!! Christmas was wonderful, traditional family time, many glasses of wine, as much cheese as I could possibly eat and games all night. I love Christmas at the Chetwynd’s, so much fun and great to have time to see everyone. Missing my big brother this year, as he is out in Australia, but got to speak to him on the phone and he will be back before we know it.

The post today is a pretty simple dish, a twist on the classic cottage pie. Now I love mashed potato more than most, but I also like it full of butter and cheese. Rory and I are attempting a healthy January, (in an attempt to burn off some of the Christmas weight) so with this in mind, I have not been able to have mash the way I want it. But I have created a new recipe using sliced new potatoes creating a very healthy cottage pie. Which, if you are on slimming world, is only 1 syn per portion (using cheese as half your healthy extra a).


cottage-pie-prepped-veg
cottage-pie-oven-cooked
cottage-pie-meal

This cottage pie has all the flavour of a classic, but so much healthier! Hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know what you think. Like, share, comment and subscribe ☺

Cottage pie with sliced new potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

    Equipment:
  • Large non-stick saucepan
  • Medium saucepan with lid
  • Slotted spoon
  • Litre jug
  • 25x25cm ovenproof dish

  • Ingredients:
  • 500g 5% beef mince
  • 80g light cheddar cheese
  • 3 medium carrots sliced
  • 4 sticks of celery sliced
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 cal. cooking spray
  • 600ml beef stock (1.5 cubes)
  • 450g new potatoes sliced
  • Worchester sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 Bay leaf (not essential)

Directions

  1. Prep veg; slice carrots and celery about ½ cm thick, dice onion and garlic. Make up 600ml of stock and start heating up the pan.
  2. Spray the large pan with 1 cal. spray and add the mince, cook until most of the mince is brown and then add the onion and garlic.
  3. Fry off for a few minutes until onions are soft, then add the carrots and celery (fry for about 4 minutes).
  4. Pour the stock into the pan, add the bay leaf, a good splash of Worchester sauce and soy sauce, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for 25-30 minutes (leave lid off last 5 mins of cooking).
  5. While the pan is simmering, finely slice the new potatoes, place in cold water and bring to the boil, leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. (Pre heat oven to 180 degrees)
  7. Once cooked, drain the new potatoes. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the mince mixture to the bottom of the roasting dish, making sure not to take too much liquid. Then cover with new potatoes and sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes until brown, then serve with garden peas (or broccoli)