September 14, 2010

Butter & butternut squash, Mozzarella, Ricotta & Heavy Cream....Who said Fat Free is the way to go?

Last Christmas my husband and I visited family in South Africa. One evening we were invited over for a braai, South African BBQ. One of my favorite side dishes was a butternut squash gratin which I tried to replicate the other night. I found a recipe that I used for inspiration but because I am not sure what  measurements I used for my gratin I will not make an attempt to try to put a recipe together for you. For those of you who eye ball the ingredients when cooking should not have a problem making this one at home. The ingredients were finely sliced butternut squash and potato, half and half, heavy cream, thyme, grated garlic, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese for the top.

I made a baked salmon to serve on the side of the butternut squash gratin because it is quick and easy and creates no mess. Just rub each salmon fillet with olive oil and any choice of spice, bake for 20 minutes and ta-da! If you prefer a slight crust you can place the salmon under the broiler for a few seconds, tip from from my mother in law. 

Tip: My suggestion if you determine to make a butternut squash gratis is to substitute partially or completely the regular potato for sweet potato. Using a mandolin when slicing the butternut squash and potato saves you heaps of time! I bought my Martha Stewart Mandolin at kmart a few years ago, I think i paid less than $15 and it came with four different blades, a very useful tool! 

Butternut squash gratin & baked salmon

Lingon berry - Ricotta Mousse

For Dessert I wanted to make something that I didn't have to use the oven for as I had enough oven required dishes for the evening.  I had ricotta cheese in the refrigerator as well as raspberries so I browsed the web for a ricotta based recipe and found this appetizing one by Giada De Laurentiis. As I was preparing the dessert I realized I didn't have raspberry jam so I substituted this for Lingon berry jam and the result was quite delicious. I often compare the lingon berry with the cranberry as it is a rather bland berry and needs sugar added to it. If you go to the wiki link of the lingon berry you will see a picture of lingon berry jam on a toast,  I don't think I have ever eaten nor heard of anyone having lingon berry on a toast....

1 (15oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of any desired jam
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries or any desired berry that goes with your chosen jam

1) In a food processor, blend the ricotta cheese until light and fluffy, about 20 seconds. 
2) Add the jam and pulse until combined. Transfer to a large bowl. 
3)In a separate bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream until thick. 
4) Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks. 
5) Working in batches, carefully fold the cream mixture into the ricotta mixture. 
6) Spoon the mousse into serving bowls and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
7) Garnish with your choice of berry and serve.

Fun information: The texture of the mouse was a bit unexpected to me as I am not accustomed to cooking with ricotta cheese. The textureof the cheese reminded me of the Swedish cheese cake Ostkaka. Funnily enough, ostkaka is often eaten with lingon berry jam and heavy cream. 


  1. This menu looks and sounds wonderful. As you know, I'm a great salmon/buttersquash fan. The dessert complements it very well and doesn't look too difficult to make. Lovely finish to the meal! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I must try the lingonberry ricotta mousse recipe. My husband's family is of Swedish descent so we always have a large tub of lingonberry jam on hand. I had never heard of lingonberries that until I started dating him, and imagine my surprise when I learned that they eat it with their meatballs! The only other way I've ever eaten it is as a topping for Swedish pancakes, so I'm excited to have a dessert recipe for it.

  3. Hi Jenster, thanks for stopping by.

    I am glad to hear that you always keep a tub of lingonberry jam on hand, it is indeed yummy! Meatballs with lingonberry and gravy is one of my favorite meals!