I’m not much one for getting up early. Granted I get up at 3am, 4am and again at 5am most nights to let my cat in the bedroom window because the little monster won’t use the cat flap in the kitchen. And I get up again at 6am to give said feline a breakfast snack because if I don’t, the bullying just won’t stop. But that’s it. I don’t get up early for anything else… except when the fine folks from the Expresso morning show invite me over. Because cooking on breakfast TV is fun, and because I get to look borderline hot for the day thanks to all the TV makeup they trowel on.
So when they recently asked me to come up with three recipes that are frugal, but still a feast, naturally I agreed. I opted for butternut because it’s dirt-cheap right now and because there is almost no end to what you can do with this versatile member of the pumpkin family. I made butternut fritters for them, and butternut and chickpea samoosas. But my favourite recipe of the three was this butternut and butter bean paté. It’s rich and creamy, packed with fantastic warming spice and ridiculously healthy to boot.
When I work with butternut, I much prefer to ovenroast it to intensify all those marvellous ‘butternutty’ flavours. Pan frying really small blocks of butternut is also OK in my book, and I could live with steaming it. But boiling it is like wearing yellow court shoes with pink tracksuit pants – it’s just a no.
All you need is…
¾ tsp cumin seeds
¾ tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbs olive oil
¼ tsp chilli flakes (½ if you like a lot of spice)
1 tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup mashed roasted butternut
1-2 tbs water
salt, to taste
pumpkin seeds, feta and edible flowers, to garnish
Dry-fry the cumin and coriander in a clean frying pan until you just start smelling it. Remove spices and bash fine in a pestle and mortar or a coffee grinder. Fry the garlic in the olive oil for a minute over low heat. Take care not to burn it. Next add the cumin, coriander and chilli flakes and fry for a few seconds. Put butter beans and butternut in a food processor and pour over the spiced oil. Blitz until it is smooth. Add one or two tablespoons of water if it is too firm for your liking. Taste to see if it needs a pinch of salt. Chill until you use it. Dish up and garnish with a few drops of olive oil, crumbled feta and pumpkin seeds. Add edible flowers to pretty it up some more.