Say bye-bye to boring dinners with exciting recipes from Chefs In Schools, by Nicole Pisani & Joanna Weinberg
Nerissa’s butternut squash cake
• 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
• 125g/4½oz golden caster sugar
• Two free range eggs
• 200g/7oz cooked butternut squash
• 250g/9oz self-raising flour
• One teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Edible flowers, to decorate
For the icing
• 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 100g/3½oz soft light brown sugar
• 85g/3oz maple syrup
• 220g/7¾oz cream cheese
Prep: 15 minutes | Cooking: 45 minutes | Serves: 8 people
“This recipe is one we share with every school we work with,” writes Nerissa Buckley, school chef trainer.
“It was developed out of necessity but became a hit. I was at a school one day and we needed a cake ASAP for lunch. We like to get as much fruit or vegetables to our cakes as we can and I was hunting around for some to put in, when I remembered we were baking butternut squash whole in the oven for the next day. It was a lightbulb moment… and what a yummy result.”
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a 20-cm/8-inch cake tin with reusable baking paper. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat again until pale and creamy.
Add the cooked squash, flour and spices and gently fold in to combine. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until lightly golden on top and a knife or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Make the icing while the cake is cooling: beat the butter, sugar and maple syrup (an electric beater makes this easier) until light and airy, then add the cream cheese, a quarter at a time.
Continue to beat for about two minutes until smooth and thick.
When the cake is completely cool, smear all over the top and sides. Decorate with edible flowers.
• 400g/14oz hummus
• 24 baby vegetables for “planting” e.g. radishes, carrots (with leaves if possible), baby cucumber and tenderstem broccoli, trimmed and peeled, with tops on, or cut into small spears
• Flatbread, to serve
For the ‘black soil’
• 75g/2¾oz stale, good-quality bread
• Olive oil
• 75g/2¾oz black olives, pitted
• 50g/1¾oz pumpkin seeds
• One teaspoon cumin seeds
• Generous pinch of chilli flakes
Prep: 5 hours (drying time) | Making: 10 minutes | Serves: 4-6 to nibble on
“he first time Oli and I made the Edible Garden, a Nopi classic, for Gayhurst School was just an epic moment for me – educational, beautiful, joyful, with the kids all eating vegetables. It was everything in one moment and I remember thinking that we were on to something here.” Nicole Pisani.
For this recipe you’ll need two small loaf tins or other vessels deep enough to “plant” the veg into – tumblers or squat mugs also work.
First make the “black soil”: preheat the oven to 100°C fan/120°C/250°F/gas mark ½. Toss the stale bread in a little olive oil and arrange with the black olives on a baking try and pop into the oven (turned off) to dry out for four or five hours. Place a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the seeds and chilli flakes until fragrant. Transfer to a blender with the dried olives and bread and blitz together.
Tip the mixture back onto the baking tray and rub the soil together to feel if it is dry enough. If not, return to the low oven for an hour or until dry.
Divide the hummus between the loaf tins. Scatter over the black soil and plant in the veg. Serve with flatbread.
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