When I moved abroad, I only brought a few books with me and one happens to be Clodagh McKenna’s cookbook, Homemade. I brought it because she uses only a few ingredients and makes everything look so blissfully yummy. I really didn’t know how big “a star” she was until my recent trip to Ireland. To quote Ron Burgundy, “She’s kind of a big deal.”
From her website, I learn she IS a big Irish celebrity with several cookbooks, television shows, restaurants and food columns in national newspapers and magazines. Currently her Irish Food Trail show airs on PBS and Create TV in the US. She has appeared on The Rachel Ray Show, The Today Show, The Nate Berkus Show and more. I wish I knew. I had no idea – I just like the simplicity of her recipes. She is brilliant!
Upon our arrival in Dublin, we walk through Henry Street where Arnott’s is located. She has not one but two restaurants, Clodagh’s Kitchen and Homemade, in the department store. There is also a bakery. I feel giddy in a slippery noodle kind of way.
The restaurant is understated and charming. Best of all, its emphasis is on locally grown ingredients. Food is ordered cafeteria style so we pick and choose what we want. I have my eyes set on a Fresh Berry Pavlova too but am not able to make room on my tray – any excuse to come back for tea…and let me say, the Irish do love a cup of tea!
These last few weeks, I have been obsessed with butternut squash so it’s no surprise that I am attempting to make a version. With the holiday season creeping up, I thought I’d try to add a little more for color. They say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Hope she’s flattered.
1 butternut squash (18 ounces), peeled, seeded, cut in small cubes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup cranberries, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, toasted (optional)
6 leaves fresh basil, julienne
Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread on a sheet pan, in a single layer, lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes or until soft and golden, turning at least once.Roughly chop the cranberries, julienne the basil, crumble the cheese and toast your sunflower/pumpkin seeds/nuts. In a bowl, toss with the roasted squash.
Something magical happens once it all comes together. A little sweet, creamy, tangy and a bit nutty all in one. Serve warm or at room temperature with hearty bread. I must say they have great brötchen here and I especially love the ones with seeds on top.
With a drizzle of Balsamic Dressing (1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon honey, a small clove of minced garlic (optional), 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper) over the leaves, I then added the butternut salad on top. So many options and so very yummy!
In case you’re interested here’s where my inspiration comes from.