I'm proud to say that this recipe won the Readers' Recipe Swap for Kids' Parties in the Guardian on 6 August 2016!
Puff pastry cheese straws must be one of the easiest things out there to make. Simply roll out your pastry - or just unroll it if you've bought ready rolled - grate cheese over it, roll again, cut into strips, twist and bake. Hey presto - you have a delicious, moreish, if not particularly healthy snack.
But what if you add a vegetable into the mix? Is it still as easy to make? Do they still work? Are they still tasty, moreish and loved by kids?
The answer to all of these questions is yes!
Butternut squash macaroni cheese is one of our regular meals these days. Miss R won't eat it so it's not the perfect family meal for us, but seeing as R LOVES it and it's pretty hard to get him to eat any vegetables, I make sure we have it at least once a fortnight. So when I was thinking about what might work in a cheese straw, butternut squash seemed like the obvious choice.
The first time I made it I put in far too much pureéd squash and they kind of exploded in a cheesy mess in the oven - tasty but not too photogenic. So I started again and this time they've turned out perfectly.
Here's what to do if you'd like to give them a go:
1 x 320g puff pastry sheet
100g pureéd butternut squash - either steam it or roast it, then blend. You could probably even use a jar of baby food!
100g grated cheddar cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Unroll the pastry sheet. Spread the butternut squash evenly over the top, then sprinkle two-thirds of the cheese over.
Fold in half and gently squeeze the edges shut. Roll the pastry very gently until it's about the same size that you had originally.
Cut into 1cm wide strips, twist a few times and place on a non-stick baking tray. Scatter the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Best served warm from the oven but fine the next day too if stored in an airtight container.
Makes around 10