Saffron Couscous with Dried Apricots and Butternut Pumpkin

Lately dishes have been coming together nicely – like this one. I had half a butternut left over from making Sweetcorn and Butternut Fritters, and some beautiful but very hard dried apricots from the Afghan shop that needed to be used up. What better way to do that but with couscous. Those dried apricots, by the way, are such a surprise. They look like nothing when dried, so hard and dark in colour, yet they plump up to flavoursome soft apricots when soaked. I love them.

Roast the pumpkin the evening before if you are looking to save time. This is a very easy dish, and it makes a great salad or side dish. It is from Ottolenghi’s Ottolenghi, the first of his books. It is interesting to go back and browse through Ottolenghi – you can see the journey that Yotham has been on, and the journey that we have been on along with him.

Similar recipes include Couscous Salad with Orange, Couscous with Pinenuts and Sultanas, and Couscous Lunches.

Browse all of our Couscous recipes and all of our Butternut dishes. Or explore our Early Autumn feasts.

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Puy Lentils with Roasted Pumpkin, Sage and Feta

Don’t you love pumpkins especially as they appear with their gorgeous colours in Autumn? For me, they are the very best decoration for the table. Autumn colours, beautiful shapes, a reminder of the delights that Autumn brings.

But eventually it has to be cooked. What is better than a salad or warm dish based on lentils and roasted pumpkin? Butternut can be used.

This is also a very excellent Xmas dish.

This is a recipe from Ottolenghi’s Simple, but I played with it a bit. He recommends butternut, I used pumpkin; he uses dolcelatte, I used feta (as I keep an amazing creamy feta in stock almost constantly), he used Puy lentils, I used a similar one that is deep and delicious in taste – stocked by my whole foods store but unlabelled. It shows how Ottolenghi’s recipes are versatile, so flexible with the ingredients that you have at hand.

The salad can be served warm or at room temperature. It can be made in advance, up to 6 hours. If you want to use tinned lentils, go for it – just skip the cooking step.

Similar recipes include Salad of Butternut and Noodles, Grilled Butternut with Walnut Salsa, and Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad.

Browse all of our Pumpkin Salads and our Puy Lentil recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Roasted Butternut with Spices and Nigella Seeds

Roasted pumpkin is a must-have dish in Winter, and we use butternut pretty much in our kitchen. Jap is another pumpkin we like, but its availability has decreased over the last few years. Red pumpkin used to be available from a few specialty shops but sadly those have closed now.

Roasting or baking vegetables with spices always attracts our attention – we tend to do the same thing. So when Ottolenghi includes cardamom and one of his favourite seeds/spices, Nigella, we are captured. The recipe is easy and no-fuss, compared to many of his other recipes, so this is perfect for a pretty lazy Saturday morning at our place. Mid winter, the weather is sunny, but we don’t feel like rousing ourselves too much today, instead, laying around reading and listening to music. Lazily, I turn the oven on and bake the pumpkin.

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Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta and Tempura Lemon

Butternut Pumpkin features often in our Kitchen in Winter – roasted, in soups and mashed on its own or together with white beans or polenta, in risotto and salads, or in dals and curries. It was a joy to see that Ottolenghi uses it too, of course he does, so another recipe was completed for our project of cooking his books.

This is not a difficult dish, but it does take about 90 mins to bring it together. The pumpkin is baked, polenta is make, tempura batter is made and rested for 45 mins, the lemons are cooked, and then it all comes together. The lemon of the tempura is divine! It is exactly what the dish needs – without the warm, lemony flavours of the flesh and rind the dish falls flat. It reinforces the fact that Ottolenghi’s dishes are meant for all the ingredients to be eaten together. If, for example, there is polenta left over, add lemon juice or other tart ingredients to balance it out. Likewise the garlic that is cooked with the pumpkin – the smoky earthy flavours of the garlic are absolutely essential to the final dish.

This dish is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Buckwheat and Broccolini Salad, Polenta Chips with Charred Tomato Sauce, Polenta Crisps with Avocado and Yoghurt, Caramelised Pumpkin and Peter’s Wet Polenta and Tomato Layers.

Browse all of our Pumpkin dishes and all of our Polenta recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
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