Nick Cullen serves up a muffin with a twist

SQUASH is one of my favourite winter staples because it’s such a versatile and nutritious vegetable that brings a wonderful colour and flavour to many dishes.

With a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin, squash is also incredible nutritious (it’s often given the ‘superfood’ moniker) and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Butternut tends to be the most popular variety of squash in this country but there are several different types which differ in colour, size and flavour so give them a try.

Squash is a great addition to stews, risotto and curries and can also be used as a pasta filling or turned into soup. It’s also a great alternative vegetable dish for your Sunday dinner; simply roast it alongside your potatoes. Squash takes on an amazing caramelised flavour when roasted; simply peel, de-seed, chop into cubes and toss in a little olive oil and seasoning. Or try mashing it with a few herbs and serve as a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. You can even use squash in your baking; adding it to a cake recipe creates a sweet, moist result similar to that of carrot cake.

Today’s recipe combines the sweet, nutty flavours of squash with salty, creamy goat cheese to create a beautiful savoury muffin.

These baked treats can be enjoyed for breakfast or for a mid-afternoon snack, or try them alongside a steaming bowl of winter soup for a filling and nutritious meal.

You can also freeze these once cooled and defrost as needed.


(makes 12 muffins)

275g plain flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

A good pinch of salt

2 eggs, beaten

250ml milk

100g butter, melted

175g butternut squash

150g hard goats cheese, cubed

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

Pre-heat the oven to 200c/Gas 5/ 400F.

Peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes and drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Allow to cool completely.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 180c/Gas 4/350F and line your muffin tins with paper cases.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, milk and rosemary and stir well to combine.

Next, fold in the goat’s cheese and squash, taking care not to break up the cubes.

Place a heaped spoonful of mixture into each muffin case and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until risen and golden.

Allow to cool on a rack before serving.

The muffins will keep fresh in an airtight container for a couple of days.