This recipe is from the Naked Chef, by Jamie Oliver. It has rather a lot of ingredients, but the flavour is amazing, so it is really worth it.
- 1 butternut squash or onion squash
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves (or add fresh thyme while you are cooking the risotto)
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp hot chilli flakes, or two small dried chillies
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
- another tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 head of celery, finely chopped
- 2 more cloves of garlic
- 400g good risotto rice
- 100ml dry white vermouth or dry white wine
- 70g butter
- 100g parmesan
- 2 heaped spoonfuls of mascarpone
- Turn the oven up to 200C and start to prepare the spices. Put the dry herbs and spices and the salt and pepper into a spice grinder, or grind with a pestle and mortar. Once it is all in a fine powder, crush the garlic, and pound it in, and mix to a paste with the olive oil.
- Next, prepare the squash. Peel it if you are using a butternut squash and you don’t like the skin. Cut length wise into eights (half, half and half again) and scoop out the seeds. Rub the squash all over with the spice mixture, and lay it out in a small roasting dish. Roast for thirty minutes in the middle of the oven.
- The roasted squash is just lovely as it is, and if you wish, you could add chickpeas to the recipe. For the risotto, set it aside to cool, and then chop finely. Chop one half more finely.
- Make sure your stock is good and hot to make a good risotto.
- In the risotto pan, head olive oil, and then gently cook the onion and celery for 3 to four minutes, before adding the garlic. Once the vegetables look soft, add the rice and turn up the heat a little. Continue to cook until the rice is turning translucent. Keep stirring so the rice doesn’t scorch or stick.
- When the rice is ready add the wine or vermouth and the thyme leaves, and keep stirring. Once the alcohol has boiled off, start adding the stock and the roughly chopped half of the chopped squash. Add the stock slowly, a ladleful at a time, and keep checking the flavour and texture of the rice. I found the squash quite salty, so you don’t need to add masses more. Wait until each addition of stock has been absorbed by the rice before pouring more in. The rice will be ready when it is tender but still with a hint of a bite to it.
- When you think it is just about ready, turn off the heat, and stir in the rest of the pumpkin, the butter, mascarpone and parmesan.
This makes four very large or six modest portions.
A visitor to my house made this, and then referred me to the Kitchenist website. The stew was delicious. I’m not going to type it out, because the Kitchenist has already done that and you can just click on the link. Instead, here are my top tips for making this.
First of all, I made Barbari Naan to go with it, but haven’t perfected the techniques for that yet, so you’ll need to wait for the recipe. Nan or pitta bread should be good. I also served this with home-made labneh, which was delicious. Recipe for that coming soon. A Greek salad with lots of feta cheese in is also good.
I also found that the recipe needs a bit of salt and pepper, just my own taste, I suspect.
There’s a bit in the recipe that calls for garlic, ginger and lemongrass to be mashed together. I have a small coffee/spice grinder attachment for my bamix blender that I use just for this sort of thing, small and quick. There are a few similar products on the market, really worth while for this sort of cooking.
This is another recipe from Jerusalem by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi. It fits well with my lifestyle in summer; food that can be put in the oven, and then served hot or cold, straight away or for the next meal, part of a large meal or just as a light lunch.
- 1 Large butternut squash.
- 3 red onions
- 50ml olive oil
- 3 tbsp light tahini paste (available locally!)
- 1.5 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 30g pine nuts
- 1 tbsp za’atar (from Seasoned pioneers)
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 240C gas mark 9
- Cut the onions and butternut squash into wedges. I peeled and cut each onion into 6-8 wedges. I cut the squash into 3 equal bits across the way, and then cut each bit into 6-8 wedges, measuring around 2cm by 6cm. Remove the seeds.
- Put the squash and onions in a large bowl, and add 3 tbsp of olive oil, stir to coat, and then add 1 tsp salt, black pepper and mix well.
- Spread the onions and squash onto a baking tray, and turn the squash skin-side down.
- Roast in the hot oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, use a small bowl and a fork to mix the tahini with the lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, crushed garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt. The mixture should be runny, like honey.
- Pour a little olive oil into a pan, and toast the pine nuts over a medium heat with a pinch of salt. Stir, keeping a close eye, until the pine nuts are toasty brown. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Put the roast vegetables onto a serving platter, drizzle over with the tahini dressing, sprinkle over with the toasted pine-nuts in oil, and then sprinkle over the za’atar and chopped parsley.
I enjoyed this better when cooled down to a warm dish, rather than hot. Also good cold the next day.
This is from ‘Cook for Syria’ recipe book, from the club of the same name. The food is great, as is the idea behind the project. This recipe looks quite long, with lots of ingredients, but it didn’t involve anything complicated, and many of the steps can be done while other bits are cooking.
- 1 dessert-spoonful of olive oil
- 100g shredded cabbage, kale or brussel sprouts
- 1 tbsp sumac powder (from seasoned pioneers)
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes or powder
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- salt and pepper
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- Olive oil
- 160g puy lentils or other green lentils
- a bay leaf
- 160g basmati rice
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 6 tbsp greek yoghurt
- Coriander leaves, chopped.
- To make the cabbage/kale layer, chop the leaves and mix with the sumac, chilli, sesame seeds, 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt, and put it into a roasting dish. Roast for 15 minutes at 150C
- To make the butternut squash layer, mix the squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, thyme leaves, honey, salt and pepper. Put this into another roasting dish and roast for 30 minutes at 180C
- The rice layer has more steps. First of all, slice the onions finely, and fry gently in olive oil until beginning to brown and caramelise. Set aside.
- Rinse the green lentils in cold water, then cook in plenty of boiling water with the bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Rinse the rice in cold water, then cook in plenty of boiling water for around 6 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water, and return to the pan. Leave the pan in a warm place for 15 minutes.
- Mix the lentils with the rice, the fried onions, and add the lemon juice.
- Make the yoghurt dressing: heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small pan, then add the cumin seeds. After a minute, add the ground cumin, stir, and then beat into the yoghurt, with the tahini.
- Take 1 large platter, and put the rice and lentil mix at the bottom, then the squash, and top with the cabbage, garnish with coriander leaves.
- Guests should help themselves, adding as much of the tahini/yoghurt dressing as they wish.
Just testing out some of the recipes in the ‘Cook for Syria’ – some of them look quite complicated, or involve ingredients that I can’t get. This recipe was tasty, but I think the original meatball recipe in the book needs a little boost.
- 450g minced beef
- 50g breadcrumbs (I used panko) OR stick one slice of stale bread in a blender.
- 2 handfuls of parsley, chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 1 egg yolk
- salt and pepper
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp tahini
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 2 tbsp water
- pine nuts
- Heat the oven to 180C
- Chop the butternut squash into cubes, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile put the roughly chopped onion in a blender with the parsley, and blend until the onion is finely chopped.
- In a large bowl, mix the mince, breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, cumin, chilli, and egg yolk. Season with 1 level teaspoon of salt and a good grating of black pepper. Get your hands right into the mixture and really knead it together so that it is smooth and consistent.
- Shape into small meatballs about the size of a ping-pong ball, and put onto a roasting tray.
- When there is still 15 minutes left for the squash to cook, put the meatballs into the same oven, and roast the meatballs and squash for a further 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the tahini, crushed garlic, yoghurt, lemon juice and water in a bowl until it is very smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toast the pine nuts in butter for a couple of minutes, until beginning to brown.
- In a warmed serving dish, layer the meatballs and squash, drizzle over the tahini sauce and garnish with toasted pine nuts. The dish should be placed on the table so that guests can serve themselves.