Saturday, January 19, 2008

Another hedgehog slice and Roasted vegetable couscous with lemon hummus

Hello everyone,

Sometimes I am reminded that not everyone is as into food and eating as I am. I heard two comments this week that really stopped me in my tracks. One was from a guy who said "I'm not really a cafe kind of person. I don't go to cafes." Does he exist on take away coffee?

The other one was from a woman in her mid fifties who had me over for lunch. She commented "I've never had anyone over for lunch before. I wasn't really sure what to do." I assured her that putting food on plates and taking the plates to the table pretty much covered it.

This week's recipe is a fabulous roasted vegetable dish. Great way to make sure you are eating lots of vegetables, and non-vegetarians could serve it with meat or fish (it's fabulous on its own though, I can eat this in buckets). Of course, use the vegetables you like, you don't have to stick to what is specified in the recipe.

By special request I am also including a recipe for a hedgehog slice that I made earlier this year for our community dinners in Narraweena. I realised that I already had one hedgehog recipe on my files,so I have called this one "another hedgehog slice". You can rename it however you wish!
Have a good week - hopefully we will see the sun soon.

Love from Jane xx

Another hedgehog slice

(From the Epicure Chocolate book, published by The Age – if you like chocolate you should have this book in your collection, it is excellent).

What you need:
· 2 x 250g packet of plain sweet biscuits
· 1 cup walnuts
· 300g butter
· ¾ cup Dutch cocoa (much better than normal cocoa powder – you can find it in delis and speciality food stores. The “Dutch” refers to the way the cocoa is processed, not country of origin)
· 1 ¼ cups castor sugar
· 3 eggs
· Icing
· 250g good chocolate
· 2 tablespoons of a light tasting oil (not extra virgin)

What you do:
1. Put biscuits and nuts in a food processor and whiz until roughly chopped.
2. Melt the butter, then add the sugar and cocoa and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Remove from the heat and when cooled a little (so it’s warm, not hot), beat the eggs into the mix with a whisk or a Bamix type implement until thick and glossy.
4. Mix in the nut mixture and press into a lamington tin (about 19cm x 30cm). Cover and refrigerate.
5. Make the icing by melting the chocolate and oil in a saucepan on a very low heat and then pour on top of the cooled hedgehog. Tap the tray on your kitchen bench to get all the air bubbles out. Refrigerate again until set and then cut into fingers or squares.

Roasted vegetable couscous with lemon hummus

Serves two

What you need:
· 1 red and 1 yellow capsicum, seeded and cut into squares
· 1 large zucchini, sliced
· 1 small eggplant, sliced
· 1 large red onion, sliced
· ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
· Handful of fresh basil leaves
· 120g hummus
· ¼ cup Greek yoghurt
· Juice of 1 lemon
· 200g couscous

What you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Place a large roasting pan in it as it gets close to temperature to warm up.
2. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle over half the oil, tossing to coat them evenly, then tip the lot into your heated roasting pan. Season generously with salt and pepper and roast for about half an hour, until the vegetables are completely tender and lightly caramelised.
3. From time to time toss the vegetables around to ensure they cook evenly.
4. About five minutes before the vegetables are ready, scatter the chopped basil over them, tossing to combine, then return the pan to the oven to finish cooking.
5. While the vegetables are cooking, place the hummus in a bowl and stir in the yoghurt and half the lemon juice. Season to taste and chill until needed.
6. Place the couscous in a large bowl and drizzle over the remaining oil and lemon juice, stirring to combine. Pour over one cup of boiling water, stir well, cover and leave for five minutes. When ready, fluff up the couscous with a fork.
7. Serve the roasted vegetables on top of the couscous with the hummus and yoghurt drizzled over the top.