Rustic Autumn Comfort Food Perfected by Sofia Wood
Every Friday, Sofia Wood shares some great cooking ideas here on Make it last. This week she teases our taste buds with a hearty comfort food menu that's also such a delight to the eyes.
Comfort food is my thing—just good and simple dishes that have an innate “rusticness” to them. Combining the butternut squash and kohlrabi dishes will create a lovely meal, but both can definitely be served separately as well.
Dukkah Butternut Squash With Chèvre
Have you ever had Dukkah? It’s a wonderful aromatic Egyptian spice mix that I use quite often. The recipe for the Dukkah will make for more than what this recipe needs, so keep the lovely spice mix in a tight sealed jar and use for rubs, dips or just to dunk olive oil dipped bread in.
1 large Butternut squash
2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
2-3 tablespoons Dukkah spice mix
200 g Chèvre
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons of finely sliced mint
Dukkah spice mix:
2 tablespoons almonds
2 tablespoons pistachios
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
Start by preparing the Dukkah. Preheat a dry pan over medium heat and toast the almonds and pistachios for a few minutes until they start getting a bit of color. Transfer the nuts to a mortar bowl and let cool. Toast the seeds, spices and salt until fragrant and golden. Mix the spices with the nuts and pound with a pestle to crush and release all the flavors. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds, reserving for later. Cut the squash into large chunks, no need to remove the skin as it’s edible once the squash has been roasted. Transfer the squash to a large baking tray and drizzle over olive oil, and then rub with a generous amount of Dukkah until it’s well coated. Make sure the squash is not too tightly packed. as the chunks will need a bit of space to brown.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the squash, flesh and skin is soft and easy to pierce with a fork.
Turn up the oven to 220°C grill.
Take out the tray, and roughly crumble the Chèvre over the squash. Drizzle the cheese with honey and quickly pop back into the oven. Grill for another 10 minutes or until the squash and cheese has plenty of color.
While the squash is grilling, rinse and dry the pumpkin seeds and fry crisp in a bit of oil and some salt.
Serve the squash and chèvre with a sprinkle of seeds and finely chopped mint.
Crisp Lemon Kohlrabi With Softly Poached Eggs
This is a very simple dish that feels light and elegant though it’s still very satisfying. The raw kohlrabi has a lovely crunch to it and the taste is somewhere between cauliflower and broccoli stems.
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil + extra for serving
1 lemon, zest and juice
4 really fresh eggs
Splash of vinegar
Salt & black pepper
1 teaspoon finely sliced chives
Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thin slices—preferably with a mandolin. Transfer to a bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and set aside, letting marinate while you poach the eggs.
Heat a medium saucepan with water and bring to a soft boil. Add a splash of vinegar and turn the heat down so the water is just below simmering. Crack an egg into a small dish, like a ramekin or custard cup. Use the back of a spoon to create a whirlpool in the water, and the quickly drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. Let the egg poach for 2-3 minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon, dropping into a bowl of cold water while poaching the rest of the eggs.
Plate the kohlrabi and top it with the poached eggs, some finely sliced chives, salt, pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil.
Upside-Down Poppyseed Yoghurt Cake With Caramelized Kumquats
Upside-down cakes are my new obsession, such an easy way to make a simple cake so much more special. The idea is that you pour the citrus caramel into the bottom of the cake tin and then the cake is baked on top of it.
20 small kumquats
2 deciliters water
2 deciliters brown sugar
2,5 deciliters sugar
3/4 deciliters neutral oil
1,5 deciliters Turkish yoghurt + extra for serving
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 deciliters flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line the inside of a cake tin that’s got a detachable base with parchment paper. Make sure the entire inside is fully covered.
Heat sugar and water in a small pan until boiling. Slice kumquats into slivers and transfer into the boiling sugar and water. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the kumquats are glossy and slightly translucent, and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
Pour the kumquats and caramel into the bottom of the lined cake tin and set aside.
Take a mixing bowl and whip sugar, eggs, oil, yoghurt and lemon juice into a smooth batter.
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then fold into the egg mixture. Mix to a smooth batter.
Carefully dollop the batter over the kumquat caramel. Bake the cake for 35 minutes until golden and let cool. Place a wire rack over the pan, and swiftly invert rack and pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Make sure you don’t wait too long, as the caramel will otherwise stick to the paper. Serve the cake in large chunks with a spoonful of yoghurt.
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