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So you will all be happy to know that I picked myself up and got over Monday nights dinner. I am really proud of last nights dinner, it was lots of new elements I hadn’t cooked before and everything came out perfectly. Which was the exact pick-me-up I needed for my confidence in the kitchen

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I start my course in 3 days!! So I spent all of yesterday sat with my laptop open and my course books next to me, telling myself I am going to open them and do some preparation. Unfortunately old habits die hard and I managed to procrastinate and find 6 hours worth of ‘very important’ web browsing which occupied me until it was time for dinner.

I did however do some really interesting reading on Nat Kringoudis’s website and now have about 25 tabs open on my computer waiting for me to delve into her blogs in more detail. I would strongly recommend ladies to go and have a read. She was recommended to me by a friend and I absolutely love her and the things I am learning from her.

So now today is the day I will open my daunting books on physiology and anatomy – so wish me luck! In fact today is the day I finally paid my course fees and that means this is it! I am on track for becoming a nutritional therapist in 3 years time!

Anyway back to last nights dinner… I loved it.

During my web browsing I came across Yotam Ottolenghi and some of his fantastic recipes. I think my next investment is going to be his new recipe book ‘Jerusalem’.

The first element to dinner was his recipe for Roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini and za’atar (which I found on the guardian) and adapted it so it was a variety of squash and served on a bed of Quinoa which was fab.

Za’atar.

Za'atar spices

Za’atar spices

Now I’ve discovered Za’atar I can’t seem to get away from it!! Absolutely love this mediterranean spice i’ve found – Have a look at my Chickpea Za’atar salad for the ingredients to make your own.

Squash.

I used a mixture of butternut squash and a carnival squash. I found the carnival squash had a more chest-nutty taste.

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I also cooked both the squash with their skin on. I did this for a health reason as most of the nutrients are found directly under the surface of the skin so when you peel off the skin you are peeling off a huge amount of the nutrients in the vegetables. HOWEVER, just a word of warning that the Carnival squash’s skin was slightly tougher. I didn’t mind so much but just warning you incase it’s not to everyones liking.

Tahini.

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Another new element for me was the Tahini sauce. This was a combination of an organic Mediterranean Tahini paste (from a local Turkish shop) with lemon juice, garlic and water.

I found I had to add some extra water to get the tahini in a more liquid form but this is a great source of protein to add to a vegetarian meal as its packed with sesame seeds.

Once the squash is roasted, the pine nuts toasted and the tahini ready simply add all the extra ingredients and serve! Tasty! (Don’t forget the Quinoa!)

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mmmmmm look how beautiful and colourful it is!

Recipe

1 large butternut squash (around 1.1kg), cut into 2cm x 6cm wedges 
2 red onions, cut into 3cm wedges 
50ml olive oil 
Maldon sea salt and black pepper 
3½ tbsp tahini paste 
1½ tbsp lemon juice 
3 tbsp water 
1 small garlic clove, crushed 
30g pine nuts 
1 tbsp za’atar 
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

Quinoa – cook as per packet directions.

Heat the oven to to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Put the squash and onions in a large bowl, add three tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper, and toss well. Spread, skin down, on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes until the vegetables have taken on some colour and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions: they may cook faster than the squash, so may need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Put the tahini in a small bowl with the lemon juice, water, garlic and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Whisk to the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini as necessary.

Pour the remaining oil into a small frying pan on a medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and half a teaspoon of salt, cook for two minutes, stirring, until the nuts are golden brown, then tip the nuts and oil into a small bowl.

To serve, spread the vegetables on a platter and drizzle over the sauce. Scatter the pine nuts and oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley. Then I served on top of a bed of freshly cooked Quinoa. 

HAPPY CHOMPING

 

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