Posts Tagged 'feta'

roast squash, tahini, pinenut salad

things have been a little rough. again. and so the mournful returns. its not that i dont enjoy the giggling, the car-mel, heart-shaped cookie cutters, and the hand clapping. i especially love the hand-clapping. its just that the world doesnt really present me with much of that. i realise that some of this may come across as martyrdom (cant imagine why, its not like i have inherited any kind of victim mentality). its just that the world doesnt make me want to clap my hands. its wintery and cold. there are not enough hours in a day before it gets dark and so often there are too many. in the words of a boy i know, this is the winter of our discount tent. theres the interminable problem of israel, its barbarity, and the violence inherent in zionist ideology. then, on a more personal level theres the problem of being in the possession of 14 winning mars bar wrappers and henceforth the looming predicament of having 14 mars bars on my person and (presumably) subsequently in my person. theres an exploding wardrobe full of clothes deemed unsuitable, and a devastatingly unattainable little calvin klein dress, hidden behind a curtain, that i cant afford on the salary of a blogger. and of course, theres the intractable problem of the starter, the untrelenting, unforgiving, and unappealing starter which is suffering in the cold and has had to go into hibernation in the bathroom (until it gets its proving oven). the steam and heat of a post shower environs seems to do worlds of good. which is ok… it just makes this world a stranger place to be. in amidst these troubles, there is so little time for cooking and writing. so this was the best i could come up with. but i make no apologies because it was really quite lovely. so here is an improvised, left-over inspired roast squashy (that was a typo but its very funny so it stays), tahini, pinenut and parmesan (and/or feta) salad.

ingredients

1 butternut squash (cut into cubes)

4 garlic cloves

few sprigs of thyme (or rosemary…which id dare say is better if you have it. i did not.)

salt & pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

bunch of spinach and rocket leaves

handful of pine nuts lightly toasted

handful of parmesan (shaved)

for tahini….

150ml tahini paste

2 garlic cloves crushed

80ml lemon juice

1/2tsp salt

2 tbs olive oil

150ml water

handful parsley finely chopped

preheat your oven to 200 degrees. cut up your pumpkin and toss in a bowl with 3 or 4 garlic cloves, olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and black pepper and roast for about half hour or until soft.

to make the tahini bash up some garlic in a mortar and pestle. mix the garlic with the lemon juice in a bowl. add the tahini and mix to combine. then add the water and the olive oil and mix well. check for seasoning and if its too thick just add more water. finally throw in the chopped parsley. set aside.

put leaves on the plate. add the squash on top. then drizzle with tahini. scatter over pine nuts and finally give it some shavings of parmesan. alternatively crumble over some feta. or even alternately do both.

beans, feta, spinach & sumac

sometimes in life you lose your balance. or, to quote a glorious but tragic clown, you “fall off the life horse”. sometimes its less of a fall and more of a plummet. in these times, you have two options. resignation or beans. i choose beans – because they push you, one way or the other, over the edge. generally they seem to straighten things out. something about the fibre seems to act as a stabiliser, sometimes a tranquilizer. desperate as i was for a culinary solution to the problems that come with everyday life, (ie, the cold, a cut on my primary cooking finger, an interaction with a rigid, unforgiving, and unattractive bureaucrat, a 72 hour period which passed without even a hint of productivity, a heavy heart from it all and very heavy camper boots), i turned my attention to beans. i have had some bitter encounters with beans in my time…on more than one occasion, when i was deep in the jungles of central america, my stomach faught with beans – a fight it could never win. and so it was with some trepidation that i approached this recipe. but it was the great enthusiasm from my most dedicated and important eater, whose attitude to food and the discussion thereof can at best be described as indifferent, won me over. and so it was that i climbed back up on the dark, trauma-ridden horse and tried to re-invent my relationship to beans. it was also inspired by a recipe and a photo found in ottolenghi’s new cookbook which suddenly made everything seem ok. so here it is…my bean/life renaissance – thank you to ottolenghi. thank you to my hooded eater, who gave it an involuntary thumbs up. and thank you to snow, who through her ‘oatmeal with the lot’, showed me the power of fibre to make things good again.

ingredients

2 garlic cloves crushed

1 red chilli finely chopped

8 spring onions sliced thinly lengthways

big bunch of spinach

handful of basil

300g butter beans

60g butter

1tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1tsp sumac

1tsp lemon juice

150g feta

finely chop your chilli, crush your garlic and slice your spring onions lengthways into thin strips. then chop the spinach and basil into strips, or shreds, or whatever word you think best describes what you see here

melt the butter with some oil in a fry pan and throw the beans in. cook on both sides for 1-2 minutes each until they get some colour. try not to overcook and let it all go to mush. just before they’re ready, throw in your garlic, chilli, spring onions, green stuff (reserving a handful for the glorious end) and finally the sumac. stir gently to combine and cook for another minute or so.

remove from the heat and let cool a bit until it is just warm. squeeze in the lemon juice, crumble over the feta and toss in some remaining basil. give it a gentle loving stir.

this of course was served with pine nuts – because what isnt in this place? it was, on its second night, eaten as beans on toast. the toast being the first successful sourdough of my ever-lengthening life. and so with little baby bean steps, and giant yeast-based leaps, things seem to be looking up.