Tag Archives: chef tom kerridge

Creamy butternut squash pasta bake


I’ve never been fond of Macaroni Cheese, I’m not sure why, but this dish has never appealed to me, but after mooching through Tom Kerridge’s book, A Fresh Start, I saw this recipe for Creamy Butternut Squash pasta bake. I like butternut squash, so I thought I would give it a go.



575 calories per serving

  • 1kg butternut squash, cut into chunks (about 2 cm)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g macaroni
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce

  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 60g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the topping

  • A handful of sage leaves
  • 40g sun-blushed tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin oil (or use olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

How did I get on?

The first thing that needed to be done was to cut the butternut squash into chunks. So for that, I called upon my husband, or rather my husband volunteered as he didn’t want to see me chop my fingers off!  Here’s how he got on:

After he had cut up the butternut squash, not quite as fast as in the video, we put it on a roasting tray, drizzled it with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, where it cooked on the top shelf for 25 minutes at 220ºC/Gas 7.

Once it was cooked and cooled, then comes my favourite part, you put three quarters into a blender and blitz it together.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the macaroni until al dente.

For the sauce, melt the better, add the floured stir for one minute. Then add the milk and whisk until it thickens slightly. Then add the Parmesan and nutmeg and stir until the cheese has melted. Grab your butternut squash puree and stir it through. That’s the most difficult part over with!


Drain the macaroni, add to the sauce and stir well. Tip into a deep baking dish and scatter over the rest of the butternut squash, sage, sun-blushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the oil.

This is placed in the middle shelf of the one, turning on the oven grill at the same time (I have to admit, I forgot to do this!).

Bake for ten minutes and then take out and scatter the pumpkins seeds evenly over the surface and return to the oven for a further five minutes.


The finished dish

This dish was very tasty, a change from your normal macaroni cheese dish. It wasn’t hard to prepare, the most tricky bit being the sauce. There wasn’t much preparation apart from the butternut squash, so once you had prepared and roasted this, the rest didn’t take very long at all.

This makes enough for six people, so if that’s too much, you can freeze it and just defrost it and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes.





Five-spiced Duck Salad



This is probably the simplest recipe that we have tried so far…  Again, it’s from his Fresh Start recipe book.



  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 duck breasts, skin on

For the salad

  • 100g watercress, any tough stems removed
  • 2 little gem lettuces, trimmed and leaves separated
  • ½ cucumber, halved and sliced at an angle
  • 12 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls of beansprouts
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 ripe plums or peaches, stoned and cut into slim wedges

For the dressing

  • 3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. light olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime.

How did I get on?

The first thing to do was to mix salt and the Chinese five-spice powder together in a small bowl, pat the skin dry with a paper towel and score with a sharp knife and rub in the spiced salt.

duck2The next step was to cook the duck, skin side down, in an ovenproof frying pan on a medium to low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.

There should be an app whereby you can smell photographs  because this smelt so good!

Whilst this was cooking, you can make the salad, which is literally putting all the ingredients, sliced and trimmed, for the salad in a large bowl.

You can then make the dressing, again, mixing all the sauces and oils together in a bowl until well combined.

Then you put the duck into an oven at 200 degrees for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Divide the salad between the serving plates and scatter with mint and coriander leaves, carve the duck into thick pieces and lay on top of the salad.


Another simple dish, not unlike the Tamarind Chicken skewers, the dressing for this dish tasted superb, poured over the duck and the salad, plus with the plums, gave this dish a sweet taste to it.  Another variation on a green salad, which was very tasty, I’m loving the addition of fruit to these salads and will be making these in the summer rather than our normal green salad.

Below is a video of this recipe being prepared, very quickly, my husband doesn’t normally work this speedily!!