Ready Steady Cooks Viral Antidote #whatdayisit? Squash, chilli, camembert

Baked squash with chilli and Camembert

Jude asked for a recipe that included butternut squash, Camembert and chilli.

How did she know that Camembert is my least favourite cheese?  Don’t get me wrong – I love strong cheeses: Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stinking Bishop, Un-pastuerised Brie.  But Camembert, no!  I think it all started when we returned from France in high summer 1986 with a boot full of luggage, picnic boxes, buckets, spades and little circular wooden boxes of Camembert.  By the time we arrived home I thought I was a Camembert!

I recommend you have the following in addition to those three ingredients.  Some fresh sage. An eating apple or two. A few shelled walnuts.  Some crusty bread – a baguette maybe?!

Turn the oven on to 200C.  Take your squash and cut it in half lengthways. Lay the two pieces side by side and take out the seeds and the stringy bits! (Keep some of the seeds and plant them end-on in pots then plant out in the garden).  Crush a couple of cloves of garlic and mix with some seasalt, chopped fresh chilli (the heat is in the seeds so if you don’t like it chilli-hot just remove them) and a couple of grinds of black pepper.  Put these ingredients into a plastic bag or a bowl. Add 75ml olive oil.  Whisk it all together.  Now put your squash in there as well and massage the oil all over the squash.

Place the squash side by side in a small-ish baking tray or a terracotta dish/similar. Put in the middle of the oven and roast them for 45 minutes until quite soft. Check with the point of a knife to test ‘resistance’. Leave in a bit longer if not done.

Meanwhile take your Camembert (or Gorgonzola/Roquefort/Brie/soft cream cheese) and cut it to a size where it will either sit in the dimple of the squash where the seeds were, or you might need to chop up the cheese a bit. Either way be generous. When the squash is just about done, remove the pan from the oven, add the cheese to the dimple in the squash, pierce with a couple of sage leaves or fresh rosemary, grind some black pepper and put back into the oven for 15 minutes so the cheese is all runny and bubbling.

Chilli apples on the side

When the squash are ready and the cheese is bubbling over, take out of the oven and rest for five minutes (the squash, not you!) then maybe carefully transfer to a bigger dish and surround them with the apple. Serve it with crusty bread and a lovely green salad.

Of course this will serve four people with generous portions. You could keep some for tomorrow and reheat, or you could scoop the flesh and any cheese into a bowl with half a tin of chickpeas (no liquid) and make a squash hummus to eat with the rest of that crusty baguette.

Hope you enjoy this Jude. And if you don’t like Camembert, use another cheese. Send me pictures!!

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