The kids are back in school!! Time to tackle my never-ending to-do list. In theory. Not quite there yet. My sister visited from NY this past week, so we had much more pressing things to do than tidying up the back garden or organizing summer holiday photos or sorting out the girls’ outgrown clothes. But I do have a friend who is on the ball, doing a proper fall house purge, who kindly gave me a slew of unwanted cookbooks.
Can’t wait to check them out (Everyday Indian and Little Paris Kitchen look particularly good). But before cracking open these new books, I vowed to dust off the cookbooks sitting on my shelves, untouched for the better part of the summer.
Earlier this year I posted an Ottolenghi recipe (Cauliflower Cake) from Plenty More, his most recent cookbook, and I have been keen to try more of his veg-centric recipes, especially with all the gorgeous fresh summer vegetables at the market of late.
So it was recipe nirvana – I found this recipe in Plenty More that got me salivating and I actually had all of the ingredients on-hand!! Woop-woop! Almost….his recipe calls for purple sprouting broccoli, and I’m pretty sure most of you don’t have that lying around, so I’ve swapped it for the much more accessible standard green broccoli.
This mixed veg dish won’t remind you of the sad little mixed vegetable sides so often served at restaurants. The vegetables are boiled briefly so they’re slightly tender, but not mushy, then combined with sesame (from the tahini and the seeds), salty soy, sweet honey, fresh cilantro (coriander) and these beautiful little black Nigella seeds. Serve it over quinoa for a vegetarian main. Or just eat the whole thing as it is for your dinner….as I may or may not have done:)).
Broccoli, Beans and Peas with Sweet Soy Tahini Sauce (serves 4)
Note: Walnut oil can be substituted with any nut oil or use vegetable oil or a mild olive oil in a pinch. Nigella seeds are from a flower in the buttercup family and found in the head, similar to poppy seeds. They look a bit like black sesame seeds but have a peppery taste and are often seen in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. If you don’t have you can substitute with black sesame seeds so you get the same color affect or just use more toasted sesame seeds. If you do buy a jar, they’re nice sprinkled on salads.
10 ounces (300 grams) broccoli, about half of a medium head
4 ounces (120 grams) green beans, trimmed
6 ounces (180 grams) sugar snap peas or snow peas
1 tablespoon walnut oil
3/4 ounce (20 grams) cilantro/coriander leaves, about half of a bunch
2 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (see Note)
2 ounces (50 grams) tahini paste
1 small garlic clove, minced and crushed with a heavy knife so it forms a paste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and about 2 tablespoons of water; you want the consistency to be smooth and thick but pourable, a bit like honey; add a tiny bit of extra water or tahini paste if needed and whisk well.
Trim off the broccoli leaves. If the stems are thick, cut them into two or four lengthways, so you are left with long and thinner stems, similar in proportion to the beans.
Bring a medium pot, with plenty of water, to a boil. Blanch the beans for about 4 minutes, until just cooked but still having a bite. Use a slotted spoon to lift the vegetables out of the water; transfer them to a colander, run under plenty of cold water. Repeat the same process with the peas, cooking it for 2 minutes, and with the broccoli, cooking it for 2-3 minutes.
Once all the vegetables are cooked shake the colander to remove excess water. Place in a medium-large bowl and mix with the walnut oil Mix in most of the coriander and seeds. Pour the sauce on top and finish with the remaining coriander and seeds.
Adapted from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi