Thursday 23 November 2017

Recipes: Maria Elia gives butternut squash a makeover

The humble butternut squash receives a makeover courtesy of Maria Elia

Maria Elia uses 18 of her favourite ingredients in her new book, ‘Full of Flavour’, and this week, we are taking a close look at one of them in particular — butternut squash.

Brought up at the stove of her Greek Cypriot father's restaurant in London, Maria's love of cooking led her to travel the world. These international influences have inspired original dishes such as sea bass with creamed corn and porcini popcorn, and ginger beer and tangerine glazed ham. She shares her infectious passion for food and demonstrates how even the most classic of dishes can be transformed into something exciting by an unexpected ingredient, in turn helping to give you the confidence to be creative in your own kitchen.

Each chapter of the book opens with one of Maria's ‘mind maps' — the starting point of her creative process — where she sketches an ingredient and looks at every possible complementary flavour. Whether game, lamb, greens or pulses, all are taken on a ‘flavour journey' so you can see how Maria has developed the recipes and the subsequent variations.

Each dish has been designed not only to excite the palate, but to inspire you to adapt and create your own ideas. It even has some working pages along the way for you to jot down notes. Maria Elia knew she wanted to be a chef from the age of four and has worked in the kitchens of Ferran Adrià at El Bulli and Elena Arzack in San Sebastian. She was head chef at Delfina's in London and at the Whitechapel Gallery, and is now executive chef of Joe's in South Kensington.

Maria was voted one of the Top 10 Female Chefs by the ‘Independent’, and has appeared on various television programmes, including ‘Saturday Kitchen’, ‘Market Kitchen’ and the recent series, ‘Perfect’, and contributes to a wide variety of magazines.

Her first title, ‘The Modern Vegetarian’, was published by Kyle Books in 2009.

‘Full of Flavour’ by Maria Elia is published by Kyle Books, €19.99

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