When it comes to entertaining, I’m all about keeping it as effortless as possible. As the host, you are responsible for setting the tone, and being a stressed out mess is the surest way to ruin a party. So my advice is always to keep things simple, plan well and make sure you have fun too. Entertaining can be as pain-free as having some friends round for wine and simple snacks: nuts, a cheese board, crisps and some crudités with a great dip. Rather than emptying out a tub of hummus from Sainsbury’s, I think it’s a nice touch to make your own (it will elevate your party without too much hassle and will always be more delicious). For this Butternut Squash and Tahini dip, the food processor really does all the work so it’s extremely easy to throw together (although do bear in mind the rather long baking time for the squash – this definitely can’t be made in 10 minutes).
I’m a huge fan of Ottolenghi’s recipes, and I discovered this spread in Jerusalem a few weeks ago. I instantly wanted to try it out and was pretty pleased with the results. The recipe calls for date syrup, but I substituted maple syrup (always great with butternut squash), and I couldn’t resist adding a scattering of pomegranates as I’m rather obsessed with this fruit at the moment!
- About 970g worth of diced butternut squash (this is a very large squashed, or I used almost 3 bags of already diced fresh squash from M&S, which really does make this dish effortless!)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 70g light tahini paste
- 120g Greek yoghurt
- 2 small garlic gloves, crushed
- 1 tsp mixed black and white sesame seeds (or all white if you don't have black)
- 1½ tsp maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 180° Fan.
- Spread the squash in a good-sized roasting tin and add the olive oil, cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix everything together well (I just use my hands), cover the tray tightly with foil and roast in the oven for 60-70 minutes, stirring once half way through the cooking. When baked, remove the tin and set aside for the squash to cool.
- Once cool, transfer the squash to a food processor bowl, along with the tahini, yoghurt and garlic. Pulse until everything is combined into a coarse paste (don't let it become too smooth).
- Spread the dip over a plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Drizzle over the maple syrup and finish with a scattering of pomegranate seeds.
What are your favourite nibbles to serve guests?