Sunday, 19 December 2010

A dinner party for vegetarians

A couple of months ago I bought Yotam Ottoletghi's "Plenty" with a view to broadening my vegetarian cooking repertoire. It came in handy last weekend when Eran and Melanie came to dinner. We started with a beetroot, goat's cheese, orange and watercress salad dressed with freshly squeezed orange juice and olive oil.

Next came roasted winter vegetable cous cous from the Ottolenghi book. There aren't many recipes in this book for which I have all the ingredients in the house. For this one, I had to buy preserved lemons and harissa paste (I know they could both have been made at home, but I had left it too late deciding on the menu). Carrots, parsnips, shallots, and squash are tossed in spices (cinnamon, star anise, bay, ginger, turmeric, paprika, and dried chilli flakes) and olive oil, and roasted. Then dried apricots, chick peas, and preserved lemons are stirred through. It's finished with a couple of spoons of harissa paste and topped with chopped fresh coriander. The spices give an interesting twist to what might otherwise be boring winter vegetables. It went down a treat with my guests.

To finish, I served chocolate fondants with parsnip ice cream.

The idea was that the parsnip ice cream would contrast with the bitter chocolate in the fondant. It didn't work for me and, although Eran liked it, I don't think I'll be making it again.

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