My favourite cousin got me my first Ottolenghi book, Jerusalem, as a present in February, and then I went and bought Plenty at the book fair. They've been hanging out in my cookbookshelf all this time and, on the occasion of dinner birthday party for two beloved friends, I fished em out to plan menus. Now these recipes are a little daunting, partly because he seems to use a hundred things in each recipe, but also partly because I'm like erm...really? THIS combination? Are you SURE? But I finally picked some stuff and went for it, shearing it of whatever I couldn't be bothered to do of course, and the results! Oh my god the results.
This stuffed zucchini can be adapted in two ways: either stuff something else with it, or just serve the rice as a pilaf with something with gravy.
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 C short-grain rice
2 T currants
1 T pine nuts
2 T flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus more to garnish (I used the scrunchy one cos it was there)
½ t ground allspice
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t ground clove (I tossed in 4 whole ones go didn't have ground, or the patience to grind!)
½ t dried mint (I used 5 fresh leaves)
3 zucchini, rather big, chopped in half down the middle vertically and then with some flesh scooped out to make a boat
3 T lemon juice (which came to 1 lemon/lime/nimbu)
180ml boiling water
1½ T sugar
Salt and pepper
Saute onion in pan. Once soft, toss in everything all the way to mint, as well as 1.5 T of the lemon juice. Cook for about 5 min. Put the zucchini boats in a shallow saucepan (you know those flat ones with sides. I call em tortilla pans heh.) that can fit em all. Fill each boat with filling, I had leftover filling that i just dumped on top of everything which is why you can't see the boats. Pour the boiling water and the other 1.5 T of lemon juice into the pan but around the zucchini, not over them. sprinkle salt, pepper, sugar. Cover with lid and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes. Check on them and baste with cooking liquid a couple of times. If liquid runs out, which it did for me, add a little boiling water. Take off the heat ad let cool. Serve cold (by which I don't know if he means fridge wala cold or just not hot.).