Sunday, April 22, 2007

Herbies, Rozelle

Deciding where to live in a new country is hard. I posted on a couple of food forums asking for help and I am still working out if the suggestion of Redfern was a joke. My criteria were quite simple; good fishmonger, butcher, bakery and grocer all within walking distance of each other. I'd got used to not using the supermarket when I lived in Islington, managing with a weekly organic box delivery and the local great butcher, although the winter when I got so serious about food miles that I only ate locally sourced produce will never be repeated. There are only so many things you can do with a swede.

We haven't done too badly with Balmain. It's centrally located so anything that isn't in the suburb is in the next, and Sydney suburbs are really small, so the difference between Balmain and Rozelle is barely noticeable. We're eating mainly vegetarian at the moment so haven't troubled the butcher yet, but I am looking forward to getting to know the guys at AC Meats in Leichhard. Emile's Fruit and Veg seems to be catering to my fruit and vegetable needs, although my lovely new bike means that I am going to be able to get to the farmers market really easily. Once I stop falling off.

But no-one told me about our local amazing food shop. Herbie's Spices is a food mecca. It's only tiny, but this is the sort of store that you'd cross town for. I've just started to stock my pantry so I was just there for the basics but I felt like a WAG in the Selfridges sale. It's quite simply the best selection of spices I have ever seen.

I picked up some garam masala, ground ginger, and some slightly cheaty sambar power to make a vegetarian feast. So last night was lots of dhal, chana masala, garlic naan and brown rice. I'm also on a real allspice kick at the moment and tonight was a roasted pumpkin salad.

750 grammes of pumpkin and butternut squash (you could use either, I was emptying the fridge)
100g chickpeas (I used tinned because I am not organised enough to soak dried pulses)
1tsp allspice
1 clove of garlic, pounded to a slurry with a pinch of salad in your pestle and mortar
couple of handfuls of wild rocket
1-2 tbsps olive oil

3tbsp tahini
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
Another clove of garlic, pounded
warm water to thin

Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees. Begin by peeling and chopping your pumpkin/squash into inch large chunks. Don't go too small or you'll be left with minuscule pieces. Add the allspice, garlic and oil and mix well. Roast the pumpkin for about 20 minutes, or until it's starting to go all roasty and stick to the bottom of the pan. If your oven is fan assisted, I suggest you turn it off, as I find this can make your veggies steam rather than roast.

While your pumpkin is roasting, mix the tahini, rest of the garlic, lemon juice and oil together. It might all seize up, especially if you add the lemon to the tahini first, but the water is there to thin it down. You want the consistency of single cream.

Assemble your salad with the rocket at the bottom, then the pumpkin and chickpeas. Drizzle the tahini sauce over the top. Eat while watching the first night of Australian Big Brother.

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Anonymous ange said...


do love a good roast pumpkin salad - my fave is roast pumpkin lightly coated in ground dried chilli & olive oil, in a salad of raw baby spinach, blanched peas, dry roasted pine nuts and danish fetta cheese. with a wee bit of lemon juice drizzled on.

thought sometimes i wonder how much of why i like it is that it's largely alliterative (pumpkin, pea, pine nut ...)

11:12 PM  

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