Paul West whipped together the walnut and broccoli cous cous with hardly a thought for the unfamiliar environment he was in. Though it was a tough act to follow, one by one we gathered in small groups or pairs behind our cooking stations and began our accompanying dish.
Pumpkin, Pistachios and Chickpeas with Yogurt, Mint and Slivered Almonds
1kg of peeled pumpkin, cut into generous bite sized pieces
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground, toasted coriander seeds
400g tin of cooked chickpeas
30g handful of shelled pistachios
1 bunch of mint
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup of no added salt, vegetable stock
1 lemon, zest
½ cup of slivered almonds
1 cup of natural yogurt
1. Heat a deep sided fry pan over a medium high heat and then sauté the onions until they are soft and just starting to turn golden, then add the garlic, cumin, paprika and coriander seed and fry until aromatic.
2. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock and cinnamon sticks and then add the pumpkin and pistachios to the pan.
3. Cover the pan with a lid but leave it slightly ajar so that steam can escape and then sauce can reduce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is just about soft, then add the chickpeas and fold through, continue cooking until pumpkin is totally cooked.
4. To serve, remove the lid from the pan, allow to cool slightly, then spoon over the yogurt and scatter with almonds, mint leaves and lemon zest.
To cook with Paul was a treat, but to sit and eat around a big table, sharing banter about River Cottage and life in the country was even better.