Orzo pasta bake with aubergine

Because I’ve never had a clue about what to do with orzo pasta – and because I barely have time to think of new recipes at the moment – I pinched this from Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book. Orzo pasta is the one that looks like grains of rice, and that’s pretty much how you use it. I should have known. My contribution to this recipe is to swap the specified hard processed mozzarella, which they don’t seem to sell anywhere near me, for the real thing. Also, I swapped the original celery for green beens because, you know, celery.
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Camargue red rice salad

I’ve used a couple of moderately unusual ingredients in this salad. Camargue rice comes from a beautiful mosquito-infested region of France, and I’ve heard it’s technically not really ‘rice’ but that’s what they call it. It has a brilliant nutty taste and can be found in supermarkets (well, Waitrose in Bath at any rate).

Dukkah spice is something I’d never heard of until I saw it on a menu in a swanky pub restaurant a couple of months ago. Then I went in Sainsbury’s and it turns out they actually have their own brand version of it, so it’s either the latest trendy ingredient or something really common that completely passed me by. Anyway, it’s sort of crunchy, with a taste of coriander seeds and dried garlic, and works well in all sorts of salads. Including this one.
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Fatteh with aubergines and tahini yoghurt sauce

Although it doesn’t have the most appealing title, fatteh is a pretty special dish. The Arabic name comes from the crumbled bits of pitta bread that form the middle part of this multi-textured layered concoction. Warm spicy chickpeas beneath crispy bread and cold tangy yoghurt. It’s basically the delicious Middle Eastern chickpea dish balila with a yoghurt dip and some croutons, all in one, but there are many variations. This one adds aubergine to the chickpeas and tahini to the yoghurt. Anything goes, really.
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Roasted celeriac and potato curry

Here’s a basic vegetarian curry that doesn’t require a great deal of effort. Roasting the vegetables separately means they’re guaranteed to be cooked through when you’re ready to serve – there’s nothing worse than preparing to dish up a curry only to find that the spuds still haven’t started to break up properly in the sauce. The mild bitterness of celeriac is excellent with a nice sweet and sour chutney, but you could make this with just potatoes if you’re not convinced.
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