The warm spices of the Middle East lend themselves quite naturally to autumnal fare. They go beautifully with root vegetables and squash, creating dishes that are comforting and indulgent without being heavy or clumsy. The spice can also be invigorated by the addition of some fresh fruit such as pomegranate seeds or figs, or even golden raisins soaked in jasmine tea. This dish is a layered feast, a meal in itself that looks amazing served on a large platter for people to help themselves. Or this could make an exotic accompaniment to some grilled lamb or chicken. Cook the squash until completely tender and golden all over. The honey will give it a beautiful gloss; the orange will add fragrance and acidity to cut through the full sweetness drawn out by the slow-roasting. The recipe for tahini dressing below is such a winner: just whisk and go…. what home cooking is all about!
Roast butternut squash
1 Butternut squash, peeled, halved, deseeded and cut into 3cm thick slices
½ tbsp Salt
2 tbsp Honey
4 tbsp Virgin rapeseed or Argan oil (olive oil or sunflower oil is fine)
- Preheat oven to 200℃.
- Mix everything together and place in a roasting tray. Bake for 30 mins then rotate the tray and turn the squash pieces, then bake for another 30 mins until tender and golden all over.
- Grate over the zest of half the orange and then squeeze over the juice of all of it.
200g Tahini (room temp)
2 tbsp Chardonnay vinegar
1 Lemon, grated zest and juice
1/2 Garlic clove, grated on microplane
1 tbsp Honey
Large pinch Salt
100g Greek Yoghurt
- Whisk everything together and check seasoning.
150g Feta, crumbled
4 Figs, quartered
1 handful Toasted pistachios
2 handfuls Parsley, roughly chopped
- Spoon the tahini dressing over the base of a large platter, then scatter over the butternut squash pieces, za’atar, feta, figs, pistachio and parsley.