This recipe was published in the Guardian Weekend on 10th September. I was at work, and a collegue thrust it under my nose. I may have mentioned having a bit of a thing for tahini (and you can always tell who’s made a particular batch of houmous). When I looked at it again, later, I was rather excited to see that the head notes mentioned a lovely lady named Tara who I was at Ballymaloe with, and who has since snared the entirely enviable job of being one of Ottolenghi’s recipe testers. Apparently, after testing this one she pronounced that she could eat it by the bucketful, which is a) a wise verdict and b) a good thing because this recipe makes a (small) bucketful.

So I decided to make it this week as a sort of starter for a low key anniversary dinner to have with a certain person who also likes tahini a lot. And garlic. The good thing about long term relationships is you don’t have to worry about smelling like garlic anymore.

Tara has done a good job, because I didn’t want to change a thing about this recipe. Well, except I prefer to think of it as a ‘dip’ rather than a ‘spread’ – I don’t know, the word ‘spread’ just conjures up cheap margarine and sandwich fillings. Basically, you peel and deseed a squash and then roast it for a long time with salt and cinnamon and oil. It looks so appetising when it comes out of the oven, so golden and glowing, that I pretty much decided I would only roast squash like this from now on. Then you dump it in a food processor with tahini, garlic and greek yoghurt. That’s pretty much it, apart from decorating it with sesame seeds and coriander and date syrup. The full ingredients and method are online here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/sep/09/butternut-tahini-spread-batata-recipes

I’m planning to post the other dishes I made for the dinner soon, for the minority who are interested in garlicky romance food.

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