You have to start somewhere. A brand new year, now almost 360 blank days to be invented and packed with new exciting experiences, a new house to be filled with memories and laughter, music, dinners, familiar faces and new friends. It’s also a new year of work that needs to be shaped. There are just a few ongoing projects for the moment, but I have the feeling that this is the right way, and I will pursue my dreams in a path made of food, writing and pictures.
We have a year ahead, and it will be completely and amazingly new, I’ve never had a stronger feeling. I want it to be new and exciting and I will work to make it brilliant. I already know that we will have so much fun. The air vibrates at the beginning of the new year, it is full of expectations, we’ll make sure not to disappoint them.
You have to start somewhere to create new reassuring habits, something that in the never-ending flowing of the days could bring you back to your comfort zone, the safety of your kitchen.
There will be good days and bad days, calm days or busy days with cooking classes and photos to be delivered, but there will always be breakfast.
It will always be with my pyjamas, sitting at the kitchen table and looking outside at the fields in front of the house. They are now dressed with the cool colours of winter, but they are already hiding the splendour that will cover them in spring with thin blades of green newborn wheat. Then, in the summer, they will explode into golden waves dancing to the warm wind coming from the sea.
There will always be a cake, especially after the weekend.
It will be there, in the centre of the table, for friends coming in the afternoon, or later, because two slices of cake on a cake stand in the centre of the kitchen table create immediately a feeling of home, and I need this feeling of warmth to accompany me throughout the day. And if you come, you’ll always find also tea or coffee, just ask.
Butternut squash cake
Wherever you may stir up the ingredients, or grease a cake pan, choose the flavours and bake a cake, that is home, your home, at least for those moments when the cake bakes in the oven and the good smell of butter and sugar lingers in the kitchen. This butternut squash cake, made for the first time a few months ago for the October issue of Dolci Tentazioni, just reminds me of the good smell of home, of a welcoming kitchen, of a quiet breakfast at the kitchen table.
Since then, I baked the cake several times, fascinated by the moist texture given by the butternut squash pureed with yoghurt. Just like a carrot cake, it stays fresh for days, making it the perfect breakfast cake. The butternut squash is warmed by a teaspoon of grated nutmeg, a spice that goes perfectly with a cup of milk or black tea.
Butternut squash cake
- 350 g (¾ lb) butternut squash
- 125 g (½ cups) full-fat yoghurt
- 3 eggs
- 180 g (2/3 cup) cane sugar
- 125 g (½ ) butter, melted
- 200 g (1 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 50 g (1/3 cup) potato starch
- 15 g (1 tbsp) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Icing sugar to decorate
- Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F, fan assisted.
- Blend the butternut squash and the yogurt with an immersion blender.
- Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric whisk, then stir in the melted butter.
- Stir in the butternut squash purée, then fold in the flour sifted with potato starch, baking powder, and nutmeg.
- Grease and dust lightly with flour a 24 cm ring cake pan. Scrape the batter into the pan.
- Transfer the cake to the oven and bake for about one hour until golden brown and dry inside. Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool down completely on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
More recipes with butternut squash
- Butternut squash savoury strudel. The purpose of savoury pies is to upcycle whatever is left at the bottom of the fridge, or pantry, and give it a new life.
- Butternut squash risotto. This is a simple pumpkin risotto, but if done well, it is one of the most comforting dishes you can imagine, it hugs you from the inside, it is creamy and delicate.
- Butternut squash savoury pie. As my mum’s classic potato cheese savoury pie, but more autumnal, rich and creamy thanks to oven-roasted butternut squash, butter and Parmigiano Reggiano.