Sunday, 22 June 2008

Butternut Squash with Aubergine Dip and Fennel with Pomegranate

Continuing on Sunday afternoon's cook-off, I have made this for our lunch tomorrow. As I mentioned before, we are huge fans of Ottolenghi and live dangerously close to the Ledbury Road branch. Flicking through the cookbook, we decided that one of the dishes alone would not be enough to satisfy us for lunch, but that if we doubled up, it would be filling and varied enough to keep us going, so this will be the week of the Ottolenghi doubles.
Seedy Butternut Squash with Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses Dipping Sauce
Half a butternut squash
flaked almonds
black mustard seeds
black sesame seeds
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
1 aubergine
pomegranate molasses
juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
flat leaf parsley
olive oil
Firstly, cut the butternut squash into wedges, spray with olive oil and roast in the oven. Blacken the aubergine in the flame of your gas hob (or grill it for around an hour, turning occasionally, until the skin is black). Once the skin is shrivelled and black, cut the aubergine in half and scrape out the flesh, leaving the charred skin behind. Drain for 10 minutes in a sieve and then mix with 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, the garlic and the parsley using a stick blender.
As the squash is finishing roasting, toast the flaked almonds and black mustard seeds (original recipe calls for nigella seeds also known as kalonji or black cumin but we didn't have any). Once lightly toasted, mix with the other seeds and sprinkle over the butternut squash. Add a handful of fresh basil leaves and serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
Fennel with Pomegranate Molasses
Half a pomegranate
Half a fennel bulb
Flat leaf parsley
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Cut the pomegranate in half along its belly and using the back of a wooden spoon, bash the top of the fruit until the seeds begin to fall out easily into the bowl. Thinly slice (or mandoline) the fennel and add it to the bowl, along with the tarragon leaves and flat leaf parsley. Make the dressing by mixing olive oil, lemon juice and sumac in a glass. Pour over the salad and top with crumbled fresh pecorino. The original recipe calls for feta but we had pecorino left over from serving another Ottolenghi salad the previous night (with figs and a honey dressing).
If there is anyone left out there who hasn't got this cookbook, please don't hesitate to get it - it really is one of the best I have ever owned!

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