Za’atar roasted butternut squash, spiced yoghurt and chillies

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Recently I’ve been ordering Abel & Cole’s vegetable boxes on a regular basis, and although I love the fresh organic produce, sometimes I find myself wondering what to cook with certain vegetables.

Sure, I have a few butternut squash recipes up my sleeve, but sometimes you just want to try something new, without knowing what that something new would be… That’s when I’m grateful for my (rather large) cookbook collection. I love to grab a pile of cookbooks and search through them looking for that something I didn’t know I was looking for. This last time it was this wonderful recipe by Sabrina Ghayour from Persiana that caught my eye and I absolutely love it.

I had half of it for dinner the same night and the rest for lunch at work the day after (and received lots of envious looks from my colleagues), but it would work just as well as a starter or a side dish.

Za’atar roasted butternut squash, spiced yoghurt and chillies, serves 4 as a side dish

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe in Persiana.

1 large butternut squash

3 tbsp za’atar

3 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

Yoghurt sauce:

200 g Greek yoghurt 

a bunch of mint, finely chopped (I didn’t have any mint at home and therefore omitted it)

2 tsp sumac

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tbsp olive oil

zest and juice from 1 lemon

black pepper

To serve:

1 bunch parsley

Pickled red chillies (I couldn’t find any and so brought fresh one, sliced them and covered them in lime juice for approx 20 minutes, then chopped into smaller pieces) 

nigella seeds

Pre-heat the oven to 240C. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking paper.

Cut the squash horizontally in half at the point of the bulge. Now halve each portion vertically. Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and discard, then halve each piece vertically again until you have 8 pieces. Peel the squash and cut the pieces into any shape you wish. 

Make a paste with the za’atar and olive oil in a small bowl and rub the squash pieces all over with paste until every piece is well coated. Place all the pieces on to the prepared baking sheet. Season with sea salt, then roast for about 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces of squash), or until the edges start to brown and almost char a little. 

Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix the yoghurt with the fresh mint, sumac, coriander, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and sea salt and black pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients together well, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  

Remove the squash pieces from the oven and place them on a serving platter. Liberally dollop or pour the yoghurt over the wedges, then sprinkle with the parsley. Follow this with a scant scattering of nigella seeds. Lastly scatter over the pickled chillies.  

Sumac pannacotta with lemon jelly

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When I discovered the sumac lemonade on the wonderful blog Taste of Beirut I suddenly realised all the possibilities of sweet dishes with sumac, something that had never thought of before. I have always used it as a spice for savoury food and especially salads, but of course the citrus-y flavour works just as well in puddings!

And I am quite proud of my first attempt: sumac pannacotta with lemon jelly! If you wish you can remove the sumac before you pour it into the cups, but I think it looks quite nice with it in. (I like to see what I eat.)

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Sumac pannacotta with lemon jelly, serves 4

Pannacotta:

200 ml single cream

300 ml double cream

4 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

zest from 1 small lemon or 3/4 of a large 

1 tbsp sumac

2 leaf gelatin 

Jelly:

50 ml water

50 ml lemon juice

50 ml icing sugar

zest from 1/2 lemon

1-2 drops yellow food colouring 

2 leaf gelatin

Soak the leaf gelatin in cold water. Combine cream, sugar, lemon zest and sumac in a saucepan. Bring to simmer and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and add it to the mixture. Stir. Remove from heat and leave to cool for about 20 minutes. Divide between four glasses and leave to cool completely. Place in fridge to set, for at least three hours before adding the jelly.  

Soak the leaf gelatin in cold water. Mix water, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan. Bring to the boil so the sugar dissolves. Add the food colouring. Sqeeze the excess water from the gelatin and add to the mixture. Leave to cool for about 20 minutes. Then divide evenly between the pannacottas. Place in fridge and leave to set for at least two hours. 

Ottolenghi’s one pot wonder

As I might have told you several times already, I am a huge fan of Ottolenghi’s cooking. Mostly I adore his cookbook Plenty but I also like the Ottolenghi cookbook that was published before Plenty.

This recipe is another one of his creations, an all-in-one-pan-kind-of-meal with quite basic ingredients (potatoes, onions, chilli, garlic, yoghurt, eggs) and some unusual seasoning (sumac and tahini) but it made a perfect weekday supper, would be perfect for breakfast or to cure any bad hangover.

Unfortunately I was all out of tahini without realising it, when I made this dish, so I substituted for the next best thing; za’atar and that worked really well.

Ottolenghi’s one pot wonder, serves 2

Adapted from Ottolenghi’s recipe.

olive oil

3 onions, thinly sliced (I only used one red onion)

200 g baby potatoes, sliced into 5 mm thick slices

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 tbsp sumac

salt & black pepper

1/2 tsp caster sugar

1 clove of garlic, pressed

100 g Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

300 g cherry tomatoes on the vine

4 eggs

1,5 tbsp tahini paste (I used 1 tbsp of za’atar instead)

1 tbsp chopped coriander (which I forgot)

Heat up olive oil in a sauteuse pan. Add the onions, potatoes, chilli, sumac, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Then add sugar and garlic, and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Mix yoghurt, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside. In a seperate pan, add the tomatoes, vine facing up, when the pan is hot and cook the tomatoes for 3-4 minutes until well charred. Remove from the pan.

Spread the potatoes and onions evenly in its pan and break four eggs on top. Try to keep the yolks whole. Fry for three minutes, until the whites start to set. Then cover and cook for another minute or two for the whites to set completely. Add dollops of the yoghurt, avoiding the yolks, then sprinkle with tahini or za’atar (again, avoiding the yolks). Place the tomatoes, still on the vine, on top and sprinkle with coriander. Serve straight from the pan.