Spiced swede, tahini yogurt, pickled sultanas and almond-coriander oil

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The poor swede is an incredibly underrated vegetable in my opinion – often confused with the turnip it is round in shape with a green-purpleish skin and a slightly anemic yellow centre. Once cooked however, this develops into a glorious yolky yellow and the taste is similar to squash or sweet potato - sweet, soft with notes of caramel and utterly delicious. I like it roasted but it does make for a good mash too.

This recipe calls for a kick of chilli and I find the coolness of yogurt works very well. The coriander-almond oil is similar to a pesto but rougher and looser in texture. Coriander is fantastic with the spices but if you aren’t a fan basil or parsley will do. Recently I’ve been in a pickle frenzy, pickling anything and everything. The pickled sultanas aren’t essential to the dish but they are a rather lovely addition and take not time at all with no waiting time. The recipe makes more sultanas than you need but you can keep the extras stored in a jar for a couple of weeks to throw into salads etc. I find them especially delicious in pulse dishes or stew type things (ratatouille , vegetarian chilli ) or with smokey fish such as mackerel. If you can’t find swede butternut squash or sweet potato will work too but I urge you to try swede and give the poor guy a chance.

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|Serves 2 (or 4 as a side)|

Ingredients

for the pickled sultanas

  • 150g sultanas (I like a mix of regular and golden)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star Anais
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods (slightly crushed)
  • 250ml cider vinegar
  • 50ml water

For the swede

  • 1 swede
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • olive oil

for the tahini yogurt

  • 150g yogurt
  • 25g tahini
  • sea salt

for the almond-coriander oil

  • 20g almonds
  • handful coriander, chopped (about 2 tbsps)
  • 6 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
  • zest ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
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method

  • Begin by placing your sultanas, bay leaves, star Anais, cloves, cardamom pods, vinegar and water into a small saucepan. Bring just to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly.
  • Switch off the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid for 10 minutes allowing the sultanas to plump up. Remove the lid and transfer to a clean bowl or sterilised jar.
  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  • Peel and chop your swede into roughly 1cm cubes and transfer onto a tray. Sprinkle over your cumin and cayenne pepper, season and toss with olive oil until everything is coated. Cook for 45 mins until your swede is cooked and has slightly browned.
  • Place your almonds onto a separate dry baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minute until they begin to smell nutty. Watch to make sure they don’t burn. Remove and allow to cool.
  • Either finely chop or process your coriander in a food processor until well broken down. (Use the stems and the leaves). Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Repeat with your almonds and transfer them to the bowl with the coriander.
  • Add your olive oil, lemon zest and juice and stir to combine. Season to taste.
  • In a separate small bowl whisk together the yogurt and tahini using a fork until smooth.
  • Transfer your cooked swede to a serving plate or individual plates spoon over a few tablespoons of your sultanas followed by the yogurt and almond-coriander oil. Finish with some sea salt flakes and serve. This is delicious both hot or cold.
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