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To make the sauce::
Heat the olive oil in a pan, sauté the onion until soft. While the onion is sautéing crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar with some salt until smooth and add to the onions. Add all the dry spices – saffron threads, ground cumin, ground ginger, paprika, coriander seeds, to the pan and cook ‘out’ for a minute until fragrant. Add the tinned tomatoes, split chillies, cinnamon stick, honey, dates and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes until thickened.
While the sauce is simmering cook the butternut squash and add to the sauce for the final 5 minutes of cooking time.
To roast the butternut squash::
Peel the butternut squash with a potato peeler. Cut in half lengthways, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon then cut into approx 2cm chunks. Place the chopped butternut squash in a bowl and add the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and toss together.
Pour onto a baking tray and roast in a preheated oven at 200/400/Gas 6 for approximately 15 minutes or till tender. Add the butternut squash to the sauce 5 minutes before the end of cooking. Add more water to the sauce if it becomes too thick, season with salt and pepper.
To roast the almonds::
Toss the chopped blanched almonds and olive oil together in a bowl. Tip on to a roasting tray. Cook in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden tossing frequently. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside to sprinkle on to finished dish.
To make the buttered chilli couscous::
While the sauce, butternut squash and almonds are cooking. Place couscous, butter, lemon zest and chilli in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pour over boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave for 1 minute to steam. Remove film and ‘fluff’ with a fork to loosen the couscous grains. Add the chopped coriander. Serve with butternut squash sauce sprinkled with roasted almonds.
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