Last weekend I rearranged all the furniture in my room. My desk has always taken pride of place in front of a large bank of windows looking out onto my garden. But since finishing university, I find I don’t use my desk much at all, so I wanted to make better use of that space and the lovely morning light it receives. I moved my bed closer to the window, and filled the rest of the space with a low bookshelf that houses my cookbooks and blog props, so now when I wake up, the first thing I see is the spines of all my favourite cookbooks, which isn’t a bad sight at all.
At the moment, two of my favourite cookbooks are Plenty More and Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. I love the emphasis Ottolenghi puts on flavour and spice, as well as his use of fresh, raw ingredients. I am particularly enamoured with the rice dishes he creates, and the way he manages to pack so much flavour into a simple grain salad.
That’s what I was going for with this pumpkin & saffron rice pilaf. Sautéing the rice in butter before steaming it gives it a lovely silky texture, and adding the saffron at the end adds a beautiful floral fragrance. The spices of the pumpkin bring flavour and warmth, while the dates and carrot add freshness. The macadamia dukkha is the crowning glory: it adds texture, crunch, and a delicious citrusy flavour from the sumac. Taken together, each of these elements complements the other, and the result is a deliciously light, flavoursome dish.
This is another great dish to take as a work lunch, but it’s also a delicious dinner or side dish at a potluck feast. Leftover dukkha can be kept for a couple of days in an airtight container, and makes a great addition to salads or egg dishes.