Monday, January 6, 2014

Butternut Squash and Feta Muffins - IHCC Time for Tea

I was very excited by the concept of this recipe, which I thought well-suited to this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme of sweet or savoury tea time treats. I loved the idea of a yeast-raised bread chock-full of roasted squash and feta, flavoured with fresh rosemary. 
butternut squash and feta (& onion) muffins
It wasn't particularly labour intensive but some of the ingredients required some prep work: the squash had to be roasted and the onions were to be puréed and added raw to the dough. This last step gave me pause. I have a peculiar relationship with onions; apart from the occasional sliver of spring onion or pickled strand, I don't eat them raw and in my experience, adding them raw to a dish with a short cooking time doesn't cook them thoroughly enough for me. Do I follow the recipe or my own instinct, which was to roast them with the squash first? I decided on the former, but it was with some trepidation and great faith in Donna Hay - but not enough to use the whole onion ;) - that I added raw onion to this bread! 
with some mango-chilli green tea
This turned out to be a very easy, no-knead bread recipe that required only 1 hour to proof before the roasted squash and feta bits were stirred in and the batter was baked. The recipe was for a loaf that serves 8 but since I wanted small, individual servings suitable for tea time, I made 16 muffins instead. The batter rose tremendously during baking and smelled very strongly guessed it, onion.
The texture was dense but soft, more like a quick bread than a yeast-raised bread, and the flavour? Unfortunately, it tasted of raw onion to me. But that was just me....everyone else enjoyed them and didn't think the onion was overpowering. I still love the idea of this bread with its bites of sweet squash and salty cheese and will definitely make it again, but next time, I'll follow my instincts.

The recipe for Butternut Pumpkin and Feta Loaf is from our featured chef Donna Hay's book Seasons on page 174.

Visit here to see what everyone else at IHCC served for tea.


  1. those look so good with the cubed squash

  2. You can see both the squash and the feta in the muffin. Looks tempting. How are you holding up against the weather?

    1. Thank you, Sunita, and thanks for asking. After the ice storm, "frost quakes" and deep freeze of the last few weeks, we're really looking forward to the 7C weather predicted for this weekend, but I have a feeling that it will wreak some new sort of havoc of its own ; )!

  3. I completely understand about raw onion, Zosia! I do like the idea of squash and feta in a bread/muffin. I never think to make savory muffins, but why not?!

  4. I love the flavors in this--feta and squash are such a great pairing. Next time you'll know about the onions. I am learning that gut or instincts are a very valuable thing. ;-)

  5. These muffins look delicious - love the pairing of butternut and feta. I probably would have subbed in some snipped chives in place of the onion as, like you, I'm not fussed in raw onion. And in fact I don't even really like cooked onion in baked goods - I find it a bit overpowering. I think it's wise to follow your instincts.

  6. Hi Zosia,
    This muffins sound good to me! I love raw onions so this is definitely up my alley! I can see how good this must be with a cup of warm tea!

  7. Ingredients like garlic and onions are definitely a matter of personal taste, aren't they? Omit them from a recipe altogether, scale them down to suit your taste, or even add extra for more flavor and it can really customize your recipe. I can see how the onion would blend nicely with the squash and feta cheese, but I'd almost be tempted to omit it as well. Personally I'd like to try one muffin with the onion and one without :) Either way, they look really pretty. I like the little cubes of orange squash.

  8. I feel the same way about raw onion. But adding the feta and squash is such a good flavor mix. Love that you made muffins from it for tea.


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