All Hail The Dukka

Marion and Colin’s party last night was lovely.  They are such great hosts and the drinks flowed and yummy nibbles were passed around but best of all, their beautiful house was filled with wonderful people.  So many interesting and lovely people there to chat to, most of whom live very locally.  It was so good to see everyone and I feel very lucky to live nearby so many special people.

I was well behaved and managed to have just 3 or 4 glasses of wine (quite an achievement over the road, I can assure you) and only about 3 tiny squares of cheesy bread.  My strategy of eating a substantial supper before going to a drinks party was successful :-).

I am trying to beat my sugar cravings today so I am going for high protein and low sugar food.  Left over new potatoes, parsley and eggs made …..

a parsley omelette with new potatoes plus I added some ham.  Harvey and I shared this omelette,

which meant I had 2 eggs, 1 slice of ham, 1 and a ½ new potatoes and some parsley.  It was delicious.

Then it started snowing!!!  I was horrified.  Luckily it didn’t settle but it was cold and wet.  That didn’t put me off having a walk in the woods with Veg Grower Up The Road.  It is very easy to not go out for a walk when the weather is inclement but actually, I find it increases my sense of achievement if I do go.  We returned home with rosy cheeks and were glad we had been out.  Plus walking with such good company means you don’t even notice what the weather is like.

For lunch I ate something I have never had before!

Purple Brussel Sprouts!  I had them with some tender stem broccoli and a yellow pepper.

I stir fried the Brussels, pepper and broccoli in Tom Yum sauce and added bacon.  Harvey opted for a bacon sandwich instead and he had an orange afterwards as I make sure he has fresh fruit or vegetables with every meal too.

To be honest, the Tom Yum is better as a soup base and did not work so well as a stir fry paste so I don’t recommend it.  But it was edible and I enjoyed the vegetables and bacon.  As for the purple Brussels?  They taste the same as the green ones and still smell as bad 😦 .

For dinner inspiration I turned to a slightly neglected recently, but still treasured friend – Veg everyday!  I was so inspired by flicking though it I made 3 recipes.  Yes, THREE recipes.  Which combined to make one very delicious dinner.  The recipes were adapted slightly from the book to suit Harvey’s taste and to serve 2.

Two key ingredients were a Crown Prince squash (probably my favourite pumpkin/squash) and an aubergine.  The Crown Prince is grey on the outside and a deep orange inside.

This squash is such an unusual colour and I think it goes perfectly with the colour of apricots.  I will remember that colour combo for a future decorating theme!  I didn’t eat the apricot as I am trying to cut down on sugar today, even healthy sugars such as those found in fruits.

The first recipe I made was:

Aubergine Boats

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 pinch of dried chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

  • Turn the oven on to 190 º C.
  • Slice the aubergine in half length ways.
  • Make diagonal cuts, about ¾ of the way through the aubergine flesh from the cut side, taking care to not slice through the skin.  Make about 6 – 10 cuts on each half.
  • Put the olive oil in to a small cup and stir the garlic in (and the chili flakes if using).
  • Spread the oil and garlic over the aubergine, squeezing the aubergine gently so you can poke some of the garlic (and chili) in to the diagonal cuts.
  • Lay the aubergine in a baking dish, cut side up.

  • Put in to the oven for about 50 minutes, until the aubergine flesh is cooked and soft.

When it was cooked, I put some slices of goats cheese on top so they could begin to melt slightly from the heat of the aubergine.

Roasted Squash

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 Crown Prince squash (you could use other varieties)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • A few sprigs of thyme

Method

  • Turn the oven on to 190 º C.
  • Cut the squash in to quarters and scrape out all the seeds.
  • Cut each quarter in to 2 or 3 slices and place on a baking tray.
  • Cut the garlic cloves in half and rub the garlic on the cut sides of the squash.
  • Brush the oil on to the squash.
  • Tuck the garlic cloves and thyme around the squash.
  • Put in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until soft.

When the squash is cooked, scrape the orange flesh and leave behind the skin.  I mashed it slightly, added salt and pepper, a little bit of butter and then served it with the pistachio Dukka sprinkled on top.

My Dukka recipe is quite different to the one in ‘ Veg everyday! ‘ and I will try and make one more faithful to Hugh’s recipe.  But this one was fantastic and we both ate it by the spoonful.  It was hard to keep some back for dinner!

Pistachio Dukka

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 60 g pistachios, shelled and unsalted.
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp salt

Method

  • Put the pistachios on a baking tray and put in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Put the pistachios, spices and salt in to a pestle and mortar and bash until the pistachios are broken up.

Eat!

This Dukka was so simple to make and I can not believe it tasted so good.  We were literally eating it out of the bowl and both really enjoyed it.

I served up our dinner with some lightly roasted cherry tomatoes.

MAKE THIS DINNER!

This is one of the most delicious meals I have had recently.  Every mouthful was full of flavour and every flavour complemented the other.  The squash was smooth and creamy, the aubergine soft, garlicky and spicy, the tomatoes sweet and juicy, the goats cheese chalky and earthy and the Dukka added a good bit of crunch.  Hard to beat a meal like this for flavour and we will definitely have it again.  Thanks Hugh!

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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4 Responses to All Hail The Dukka

  1. Laura Stavro says:

    Zoe, pat yourself on the back for doing so well yesterday at the party and for having a basically sugarless day today. Your body will thank you. Did you know that your body will always absorb more of the nutrients from tomatoes when they are cooked as opposed to eating them raw? Good choice adding them to your dinner.
    I have to try your Dukka for sure. I have never seen your Crown Prince Squash before and would love to find it and try your recipe. It looks so yummy as well as your Aubergine.

    • I have heard that about tomatoes before. Dinner tonight really was delicious and I loved every mouthful. Dukka is a Pakistani side dish. Apparently it is served with a bowl of oil and chunks of bread. You are supposed to dip some bread in to the oil and then the Dukka so the bits of nut and spices stick to the bread. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe used whole cumin seeds and whole coriander seeds which he warmed in a dry pan and then ground in the pestle and mortar with the pistachios. But I only had ground spices so used those instead. He also added sesame seeds (but I didn’t have any) and chili flakes ( I left them out for Harvey). Try it – very quick and easy and so yummy 🙂

  2. Wow, what a lot of yummy food! Looks delicious! I recently posted about purple sprouts too, they are so pretty aren’t they?

    • Hi Vered, I have looked at your blog and your food influences look very interesting. I will be trying out your Brussel sprouts method. I am not a huge fan but persevere with them due to tradition and because they are very healthy vegetables.

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