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Here's a recipe that never made it to any of my cookbooks. It might feature in future publications of mine, though frankly I think that my current four cookbooks are 'it' for this lifetime.


Israeli Warm Salad of Roasted Pumpkin, Spinach and Zhoug

Zhoug, a well-loved spice paste with Israeli-Yemenite origins, is made of fresh and dried ground spices and herbs, and is used in much the same way as Moroccan harissa. It keeps well under a layer of oil in the refrigerator. Served with warm flatbreads, this delectable warm salad with a zhoug flavoured dressing, makes a wonderful light lunch or entree. Serves 4.

For the zhoug

5 large fresh red or green chilies, de-seeded and chopped,

½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley,

½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves,

¼ teaspoon yellow asafetida,

1 teaspoon dry-roasted and ground cumin seeds,

½ teaspoon lightly dry-roasted and ground cardamom seeds,

1 teaspoon salt,

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil,

For the pumpkin

1 small pumpkin, halved, de-seeded and sliced 2 cm thick,

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil,

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

1 cup finely chopped coriander leaves and stalks

4 tablespoons zhoug

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Served with

100g baby spinach,

4 pieces warmed flatbread

fresh cilantro:

To prepare the zhoug: Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor. When fully processed, drizzle in the oil and process to a paste.

To prepare the pumpkin: Coat the pumpkin in the oil, season with the salt and pepper and place in a single layer in a roasting tray. Roast, turning once, in a hot preheated 220 C oven for 45 minutes , or until the pumpkin is golden and tender.

To prepare the dressing: Shake all ingredients together in a small jar.

To serve: Toss the hot pumpkin in the dressing, then add the baby spinach, and mix well. Serve with warm flatbreads.