Oliveology’s Christmas Cooking Workshop

Last Saturday we hosted our vegetarian Christmas feast! Our very own Marianna, along with our resident chef Lida Papamatthaiaki organised a wonderful cooking workshop.

We spent 3 whole hours making delicious food, learning about Oliveology’s ingredients and new cooking techniques. At the end, we all sat around the table, shared all the food we made and was surprised by Oliveology’s Christmas crackers – what a treat!

Our lovely Lida will be hosting more cooking workshops, so watch this space! And don’t forget to make your booking for our Healthier Living Workshop this March with our guest chef Margot Carone. Can’t think of a better Christmas gift!

Our favourite recipe was the stuffed kabocha squashes with mushrooms, spinach & truffle oil. Absolutely delicious and the vegetarian main you are looking for to please your guests. This recipe includes double cream and kefalotyri cheese, but for our vegan dining companions you can simply omit it. Here’s Lida’s amazing recipe.

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 1 hour ~ Total cooking time: 2 hours 45min

Ingredients
2 butternut squashes
2 kabocha squashes
10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sweet paprika (to taste)
Chilli flakes (to taste, optional)
Salt, pepper (to taste)

-Mushroom and spinach filling:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
450g mushrooms (ideally a mix of shiitake, portobello and chanterelle)
60 ml white wine vinegar
250g fresh baby spinach leaves
1 small batch of spring onions
Salt, pepper (to taste)

140ml double cream
220g kefalotyri cheese, grated
100g breadcrumbs
white truffle oil (to taste)

Preparation method
-Preheat the oven to 180C.

-Cut the butternut squash in large cubes and place in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Season the squash with salt, pepper, paprika and chilli flakes and drizzle with half of the olive oil.

-Cut a small slice off the base of each kabocha squash so it will stand up on a baking tray without wobbling. Carefully slice a “lid” off the top of each one too and set aside. Now, with a small, sharp knife, cut into the centre of each squash, then use a teaspoon to scoop out all the seeds and fibres. Drizzle and rub with olive oil the flesh of the squash and season with salt and pepper. Place in a separate baking tray lined with parchment paper.

-Place both trays in the oven and roast the whole kabocha and the diced butternut squash for 45 minutes. Once their flesh is soft, remove from the oven. Set the whole kabocha aside to be stuffed later. Peel and using a fork or potato masher, mash the squash.

-Prepare the filling: Sautee the mushrooms in half of the olive oil, until moisture has evaporated and mushrooms are well browned, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar and stir to combine. Remove from the fire and set aside. Using the same pan, add the spinach and spring onions and cook until slightly wilted and softened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and 40ml of the cream. Add the spinach mixture to mushrooms.

-In a separate bowl, mix the kefalotyri cheese with the rest of the cream.

-Layer the stuffing in each of the kabochas in this order, starting from the bottom-up: butternut squash, kefalotyri cheese and cream, mushroom-spinach mixture, kefalotyri and cream. Gently press mixture down with your hands and repeat layering process with remaining half of stuffing ingredients. Add a generous splash of truffle oil. Finish off with breadcrumbs.

-Place the stuffed kabochas on a baking sheet, without their tops. Roast until the top layer of cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Kabochas should be tender and easily pierced by a paring knife, 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving with the tops.

 

 

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