Posts Tagged 'salad'

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.


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.


carrot, chicpea, rocket salad

what did i just say? something about no more dinner proper…or something. and yet i couldnt help myself. because of the disappointment and accusations that ensued but mainly on account of my stumbling upon some lovely unseasonal summer carrots, with all the colours of a strange rainbow. and i was drawn to them, like a hungry moth to the flame of a blow torch. once i had them in my cold little hands, what to do with them became the next pressing question. indecision is rife around here, so too self-doubt and a general sense of uncertainty. but come on, theyre just fucking carrots. so i looked in my overflowing, ill-designed pantry and i happened upon some chickpeas. carrots and chickpeas – cant go wrong. i had some garlic floating around (sounds ethereal…it was actually closer to approaching its expiry date..but i picked that little linguistic nugget up from my stories, what taught me all i know.) so i took my floating garlic, picked up some rocket, and decided to roast my carrots and throw it in with the rest. and so i did.


500g summer carrots

4 cloves garlic whole

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

few sprigs of thyme

salt and pepper

couple handfuls of rocket

can of chickpeas rinsed and drained

1/2 red onion finely chopped

couscous – to serve with if you feel it necessary

pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. prepare your carrots. this was unexpectedly laborious and caused a great deal of physical pain. these carrots are too little for peeling so they need a good scrub.

put them into a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. then lay them on a roasting tray. i put a little balsamic over the purple ones. maybe because they reminded me of beetroots. but it worked – they are a little rough and can be bitter…balsamic it helps them find their way to sweetness

they will need 20 minutes in the oven, after which time, take them out and turn them around. put them back for another ten minutes. then remove and set aside

then in a separate bowl – make your salad. throw in some rocket, the chickpeas and the onion. people seem to have an aversion to raw onion. i have developed something of a penchant for its intensity and its capacity to overwhelm. you can leave it out but the carrots are quite sweet, the chickpeas have a sort of mild stogy quality and the onion is quite sharp and lifts it right back up. give it some olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine. add your hot carrots – careful not to break them and and serve warm.

what was sexy in its origins – became kind of unappealing looking. it tasted delicious. but just so we dont have to end on a poo-brown note, may i remind you all of its aesthetic roots:

dinner proper: couscous with chickpea and roasted squash salad

sadly its not all coffee and cookies. mostly it is but sometimes that irrepressible void must be filled with dinner proper (right snow?) snow is the most ardent promoter of dinner proper i have ever met. im more of a chocolate coffee kinda girl. but then i love to cook and its my misfortune that cooking so often ends in eating. this recipe is loosely based on a recipe i found on smitten kitchen (a world shatteringly good representation of all that food blog should be) and from a number of other sources before that. so here it is…amalgamated, collated and ultimately stolen like dylan stole from woody guthrie and claimed as my own. i think its awesomes.


for salad

1 butternut squash/pumpkin (whichever your limited inner city supermarket(?) has on hand.)

chickpeas (250g)



salt/pepper/olive oil

pine nuts roasted (i refer you to nigellas greatest literary allusion ‘for the russian formalists, the point of literature was to make the stone stonier…this, makes the nuts nuttier)

1 red onion chopped finely

for tahini


juice of 2 lemons

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs water

handful parsley coarsley chopped

for couscous

250g couscous

250g stock (whatever works)


pre-heat your oven as hot as it will get. roast pine nuts. forget about them until they burn then run to the shops to pick up some more and start to ask the invariable question – what am i really doing with my life? cut the pumpkin into cubes (a size that fits in your mouth. if there are two of you with mouth size disparity try to find a middle ground). toss pumpkin 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 but still shape retaining. meanwhile put a few spoons of olive oil in a pan, throw in 3 or 4 whole garlic cloves and a stick of rosemary and fry until the garlic is brown. remove the pan from heat. remove the garlic and pour in the chickpeas to coat with flavoured oil. finally add the couscous to boiling stock. remove from heat and let swell for 3 minutes. then add some butter and fork through to fluff up couscous. put the lid back on and let it swell again for another minute or so.

gently mix the pumpkin with the chickpeas, the diced red onion and toss through a couple tbs of tahini. finally scatter some pine nuts over the top. eat with couscous (or serve on a bed of couscous…depending on how many cooking stories you’ve watched today and how far you have drifted from reality).