There are days when food disasters are unavoidable. Over-ambitious targets, a key ingredient tragically missing at the last minute, an unexpected allergie, or the casual oven malfunction, if you have cooked, you have had your share of epic fails.Yet, from these food debacles, hidden behind the sense of urgency and betrayal is a trepidation! Away from the paved road, and onto the unknown! The tumult of flavors and inventions is suddenly infinite! Be gone treacherous cod!
As the carefully laid plan fades away in the face of reality, ingredients start to re-appear in their glorious simplicity. Suddenly, a disdained loaf of bread, roughly sliced, toasted, rubbed with garlic and topped with creamy cottage cheese, a sprinkle of cumin and sea-salt becomes a treat.
As the guests ring the doorbell and you realize you are standing in the middle of the kitchen unsure of what happens next, here is a thought for you: Don’t panic! Simply serve everyone (including yourself) a crisp glass of white wine, add some upbeat music and invite them to be part (or at least witness) of the creative process! As it turns out, my favorite food stories have often been related to unexpected turn of events. This is how this incredible Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Phyllo pastry recipe was born!
- 1 Squash Halved & roasted (recipe from the Sunny Squash post)
- 1 package Phyllo Pastry leaves (triangles)
- about half a cup of Mixed nuts
- a small handful of Sultana raisins
- 1 table spoon of mixed Spices (pick and choose or all: and divide equally to fill in 1 tablespoon) – Cumin, nutmeg, mild paprikas, cinnamon, hot paprika, ground coriander, ground clove, ground pepper, Turmeric,
- 1 – 2 tablespoon Brown syrup (or brown sugar)
- 1 table spoon soya sauce
- 1 teaspoon thick balsamic vinegar (I use the red one)
- 1 Goat Cheese log (remove the skin and use only the creamy part)
- 2 hard boiled eggs – shelled & mashed with a fork
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Optional: Fresh Parsley, garlic, onion (from the roasted Squash step)
- Melted Butter for the phyllo pastry
Steps: (prepare first the Roasted squash as per instructions and allow to cool)
- Sing along as you bash away your spice mix:
2. Chop the nuts roughly, Not into a powder!- I use a small food Processor but it can be done with a knife
3. Spoon out the Flesh from the roasted Squash and cut into rough cubes, put to fry with olive oil in a pan
4. Add all the spices, and seasoning, (vinegar, syrup, soya, … ) and cook covered at medium/high heat to allow for soft “caramelization” (browning). Gently smash with a fork. You can add water to cook it down. Don’t stir too much, and let cook until it reaches a thick, jam like consistency – Taste and adjust the seasoning. – Preheat the oven to 190C.
5. Take out 2 leaves of phyllo pastry and brush with butter to stick them together (1 is usually too thin) – Place some of the butternut-squash mix to the center, add a spoonful of goat-cheese and top with the eggs.
6. Close the Phyllo by brushing melted butter to the extremities, fold onto the center (see pic) & brush both sides before placing of a baking tray covered with baking paper.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crips & golden
I served it with some fresh, thinly sliced fennel drizzled with Olive oil & lemon and a large tray of cheeses!
From disaster to a deliciously fragrant & unexpected twist, this recipe will have a special place in my repertoire from now on!
How about you, any food drama turned around?