Food for thought! Butternut squash, a taste of Italy and Abbey Day!

Food for thought! Butternut squash, a taste of Italy and Abbey Day!

Our in-house chef Denise Phillips cooks up her latest yummy treat, and we give a few ideas to enrich your culinary life!

Denise Phillips is a Jewish cook and author

Butternut squash Parcel

This veggie main dish becomes a centrepiece when carved into slices at the table. Serve it with a cider sauce.

Preparation 25mins. Cooking 2hours. Serves 3-4


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 50g Israeli pearl couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion – peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped
  • 25g raisins – soak in 50ml boiling water for five minutes and then drain
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 cherry tomatoes – roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly parsley – roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 100g kale
  • 50g chopped pecan nuts
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • 350ml cider
  • 150ml double cream/soya cream
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C fan/ 190°C/ Gas mark 5.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
  3. Cook for 15 minutes in a pan of boiling water. Drain and leave to cool for  five minutes.
  4. Scoop out some of the flesh, ensuring you leave a shell 2cm thick.
  5. Cook the couscous according to the instructions and set aside.
  6. Finely chop the flesh from the scooped-out butternut squash and put into a frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry for two to three minutes or until soft.
  7. Stir in the cooked couscous, drained raisins, paprika, oregano, chopped tomatoes, parsley and salt and pepper, and mix well.
  8. Season the butternut squash shell and gently spoon the stuffing into the cavity.
  9. Carefully put the two halves of the butternut squash back together to reform the squash and tie with string at intervals.
  10. Transfer to a roasting tin lined with baking parchment.
  11. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, season again and roast for one hour or until the squash is tender but
    still holding its shape.
  12. To make the sauce, put the cider into a saucepan and boil to reduce by half. Pour in the cream, then simmer until thickened. Add the mustard and season.
  13. Blanch the kale in a large pan of salted boiling water for one minute to wilt, drain well and then toss with the extra virgin
    olive oil and season.
  14. Serve the butternut squash with the kale scattered with pecan nuts and the sauce on the side.

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Food for thought

Go nuts for it!

For those wanting an alternative to dairy, Nutritious Delicious is a new range of creamy coconut milk yoghurt launching in three flavours – strawberry and peach (which both have less than three percent fat) and natural (less than five percent fat). Certified vegan, the yoghurts are also gluten and lactose free, with no preservatives or artificial flavours. Available from Tesco, priced £2.50 per pack of four.

Taste of Italy

Terra Terra is an all-day Italian eatery and bar with an open terrace, due to launch on 2 September, in Finchley Road. The menu features Tuscan-inspired options, including seabass ceviche with crushed avocado, pomegranate and coriander, pea and courgette risotto with crispy artichoke and Amalfi lemon posset with fennel and almond biscotti. Walter Pintus, the mixologist behind world-famous bars, including The Ritz and The Mandrake, has come up with Italian cocktails with a twist.

Abbey Days

To celebrate 50 years since The Beatles released their album, Abbey Road, The Ivy in St John’s Wood is offering a Fab Four-inspired cocktail menu and dessert until 29 September. Paying homage to the iconic album cover, the Abbey Road Brownie features a mix of gluten-free, milk and white chocolate brownies with a dusting of icing sugar in the shape of the famous band. Customers can also enjoy cocktails, including Here Comes The Sun, featuring saffron-infused Olmeca Altos Tequila, Earl Grey sake, blood orange purée, fresh orange juice and Earl Grey syrup, and Golden Slumbers, which combines Liverpool Valencia Orange Gin, orange juice, hibiscus syrup and prosecco.

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