Category Archives: Tahini

Roasted butternut squash with green sauces…

The temperatures have dropped, there’s a chill in the mornings, the grass is slowly turning back to green, and I can comfortably have the oven on again…yes, autumn is arriving in the UK! Hallelujah!

I say the same thing every year about how much I love autumn, it’s my favourite season, and I celebrated its imminent arrival this year with my first tray of roasted butternut squash of the season..

Skin on, the lightest drizzle of olive oil, and a hot hot oven!

Is there truly anything much better in life!??

On this occasion I ate it piping hot with a mixture of accompaniments..

The totally green sauce is a mix of fresh spinach, mixed herbs, garlic, spring onions, olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, Aleppo chilli flakes, a pinch of cinnamon, salt & pepper.

The other green sauce is fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and mixed roasted seeds.

And all with a buttermilk and tahini sauce.

Yep! My kind of heaven!!!

Green sauces have figured a lot in my dishes recently, they’re a variation of salsa verde really, always with added spices, all very similar, but different! This one was with quinoa, baby plum tomatoes and homous. With a sprinkling of Aleppo chilli flakes and toasted sunflower seeds.

Happy Autumn northern hemisphere dwellers!

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Fresh hazelnuts…

These are fresh hazelnuts, sometimes called cobnuts, and they grow on the trees all along the canal where I walk Bob, and litter the ground.

Most of them have been gnawed by wildlife, but some remain intact and yesterday I decided to pick some up..

They’re so pretty; to me they represent the countryside and regrowth and everything lovely about where I live…although right now the ground is sadly parched from the extended heat and lack of rain 😦

When cracked open carefully, they give up their milky white kernels which can be eaten raw or toasted, and added to all sorts of dishes.

My little haul

Its hard to describe the taste & texture, but they taste ‘fresh’ and young, with a crunch, but not a hard crunch like mature nuts.

I chopped some up and added them to my lunch yesterday: a whole roasted aubergine filled with a roasted pepper, mild red chilli, cherry tomato, spring onion, garlic and tabil spice sauce, and topped with tahini, roasted seeds, and the chopped fresh hazelnuts…

They made an nice addition to the dish!

If you get a chance to try some, I definitely recommend it 🙂

Sourdough naan breads…

There’s been a lot of sourdough action in my kitchen recently, and I mean a HUGE amount, of which I will have exciting news to share with you all soon. In the meantime, a thrown together meal from the weekend that worked very nicely…

I had some bubbly active starter readily available, and someone on Facebook mentioned sourdough naan breads, and that was that…I decided to see what I could create…luckily I took some notes…

Makes 4 small breads

Ingredients

50g active sourdough starter

100g natural yoghurt

150g plain/all purpose flour

20g olive oil

1/2tsp salt

Method

Mix everything together well, knead it briefly then cover and set aside. Let it prove for an hour or so.

Next, split the dough into 4, make the portions into balls, flatten and on a floured surface, roll them out into rounds about 5mm thick – my rounds were very very rough as you can see!

Heat a tawa or large wide pan over a medium heat. Place the breads into the dry pan and cook for several minutes until the surface starts to brown in places.

Turn the breads, sprinkle the surface with olive oil to keep it moist, and cook the underside until cooked through.

Once cooked, stack the breads onto a plate lined with a tea towel and wrap them to keep them warm.

Eat at will!

I served mine with some za’atar mixed with olive oil; some tahini, buttermilk and lemon juice dressing; and a dip made of chickpeas and spinach cooked with green harissa, cooled and blended with tahini, lemon juice and water.

A very nice dinner indeed 🙂

Have a great week…

Aubergine boats…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love aubergines cooked whole, whether over fire on a barbecue, under a grill, in an oven or over a gas burner. The flesh becomes meltingly soft, it is truly the best way to cook aubergines.

Sometimes I remove the skin to use the flesh in a salad or dip, but I don’t like the waste, so I usually eat the whole thing.

However you choose to cook your aubergines whole, do remember to prick the skin otherwise they will explode!

If I don’t chop the aubergines up for various uses, I like to use them whole and fill them with whatever I have to hand..

This one was filled with quinoa and a sauce made of fresh spinach, garlic, almond butter, buttermilk, lemon juice and courgette, and topped with cumin seeds, Aleppo chilli flakes and sesame seeds. On the side is a grilled red pepper dip.

This one is filled with more quinoa mixed with chopped herbs, garlic, spring onions, spices, olive oil, lemon juice, and drizzled with tahini.

Whatever you fill your whole aubergine with, ensure that it is packed full of flavour and not too dry, this will then seep into the soft flesh and create a whole edible wonder 🙂

Hot or cold, whole aubergines work as the perfect carrier for my foods…happy weekend…I think it’s long overdue that I visit Fiesta Friday and say hello to my fellow bloggers….do pop over and see what great food other bloggers are sharing…

A week of wild garlic…

Every year, around this time, I see so many posts on blogs and Instagram of people sharing their wild garlic creations. And each year I’m so envious!!! I’ve tried wild garlic once, having paid a fortune for it at a local ‘posh’ greengrocers, and I know it’s lovely, but I’ve never found any locally to be able to forage for myself…until this week!

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for weeks around where I walk Bob every morning; I know that wild garlic tends to grow in wooded areas, and where we walk isn’t wooded at all. Except for one small area, and this week, there it was! I finally found my own local supply of wild garlic…

In this small wooded area, running along a path we walk up and down regularly, is an area of bountiful, gorgeous wild garlic.

Oh the joy! I cannot tell you how excited I was!!! And by the look of it, no one knows it’s there, or maybe just doesn’t know what it is, which is even better 🙂

I immediately sent the photo above to Kellie, who is a wild garlic guru, to double check my find, but I was pretty sure I was right. I collected some there and then, using one of the nappy sacks I can for cleaning up after Bob, and returned the next couple of days with bigger bags and some gloves and foraged to my hearts content.

So, there’s been lots of careful washing and drying of leaves and stalks and flowers in my kitchen all week, the smell has been amazing, it’s got such a lovely smell, not as strong as bulb garlic, but you can tell what it is; and there’s been lots of concoctions, which I am sharing below. It honestly feels like such a gift from nature, and has made me smile all week; the pure simplicity of collecting, cooking and eating gorgeous fresh food direct form the earth is wonderful – I totally get those of your who grow your own food!

The leaves, stalks and flowers are all edible, and all have different strengths; the stalks have a stronger flavour than the leaves, and the flowers are stronger again, but none as strong as bulb garlic. You can eat them all raw or cooked. You can sauté the leaves like spinach, you chop it and add it to salad, the possibilities are endless. So here’s a few rough ideas to tempt you, apologies for the lack of quantities, I’ve just provided lists of ingredients and suggestions…

Chargrilled red pepper & WG harissa

Long red peppers, chargrilled, peeled and deseeded

Wild garlic leaves and stalks, washed and dried

Tabil spice mix (toasted cumin, coriander & caraway seeds, ground)

Pul biber flakes

Olive oil

Lemon juice

All in a blender and whizzed tougher.

WG & preserved lemon harissa

Wild garlic leaves and stalks, washed and dried

Spring onions, whites and greens roughly chopped

Half a preserved lemon, roughly chopped

Ground cumin & coriande

Pul biber flakes

Olive oil

Lemon juice

All in a blender and whizzed together, but not for too long, it’s nice rustic.

WG flower homous

Make your standard homous recipe but leave out the garlic, and add some carefully picked wild garlic flowers at the end, stirring them in by hand. Leave it a day before eating it for the flavour to develop.

WG cream cheese

Whizz up WG leaves and stalks, or just the stalks, or just the leaves, with your choice of cream cheese.

WG & pumpkin seed dairy free pesto

WG leaves and stalks chopped up with toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil and lemon juice. Add your choice of cheese at will 🙂

WG & spring onion salsa verde

Wild garlic leaves and stems, washed and dried

Spring onions, whites and greens, roughly chopped

Homemade apple cider vinegar

Pomegranate molasses

Ground cumin & coriander

Pul biber chilli flakes

Olive oil

Chop all together in a blender to the consistency of your choice.

WG, tahini & yoghurt sauce

Blend WG leaves and stalks with tahini, yoghurt and lemon juice, and use at will like this, or add to other ingredients to create a dip, like below

Spiced carrot & WG, tahini & yoghurt dip

Carrots cooked in olive oil with red onion and garlic and my Moroccan spice mix, whizzed up with some of the tahini and yogurt sauce from above.

And to finish…

This was a mixture of some of the WG cream cheese mixed with the WG pesto, plus some boiled chunks of sweet potato and topped with wild garlic flowers.

I’ve also sautéd leaves with added spinach and quinoa, and eaten a fair amount of raw leaves in the process too!

I hope I didn’t lose you halfway down the page with all of my WG creations?! If you find some, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have 🙂

Pimping leftovers with Petra’s goodies…

I LOVE leftovers; to me, leftovers, or foods eaten a day or two after cooking/preparing them, taste vastly better than they did on day one. Flavours develop to create something so good that I pretty much always plan for leftovers and extras…

Today I had a variety of cooked vegetables and fresh herbs to use up and I decided to pimp them with some new products in my cupboard: last year my lovely blog friend, Petra, from the blog Food Eat Love, starting selling her homemade food products at her local Saturday market. She started off with amazingly pretty fresh pastas and sauces, and then expanded into sauces and crackers and jams and chutneys. Recently, she sent me some goodies to try, and I have used most of them in my dishes today. Let me show you…

These are what Petra sent me to try…lucky me! The two bottles that you can’t see the labels on are a ‘very hot hot sauce’ and a sweet chilli ginger sauce.

I’m afraid the dry tomato and coconut chutney was devoured first a little while ago, it was so good I literally ate in from the jar in two sittings..

If you can try this stuff, you really should! Included in the ingredients are cobnuts which give the chutney a great texture. But the rest I played with today…

So to today’s pimping…this was my lunch platter…

It includes…

Leftover broccoli & cauliflower, blended with yoghurt, crunchy hazelnut butter & Petra’s sweet chilli ginger sauce which added great flavour to the vegetables.

My homemade garlic mayonnaise pimped with Petra’s very hot hot sauce – perfect pimping.

Leftover roasted carrots & red onions blended with tahini, yoghurt & lemon juice…so good, the lemon juice and roasted carrots always works well together.

Fresh flat leaf parsley & coriander chopped up with my pickled garlic, spring onions, ground cumin, Aleppo chilli flakes, salt, olive oil, my homemade apple cider vinegar & Petra’s caramelised Seville orange & chilli treacle – I often add pomegranate molasses to my salsa verde concoctions and this was a great alternative.

All eaten with Petra’s Carta Di Musica flatbreads which are wonderfully thin and crunchy.

How’s that for a tasty lunch? And a perfect use of leftovers! Even if I do say so myself…;)

So a big thank you to Petra for letting me try some of her great products. I shall be sharing my concoctions with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, which is after all, where Petra and I ‘met’. In the meantime, do check out Petra’s Instagram page if you’re an instagram user and enjoy her beautiful pups as well as those gorgeous pastas…one day I’ll get to try some of them!

Roasted persimmons…

I don’t have much imagery for this post, in fact, I can only offer you one photo; but I can elaborate verbally about this dish and hope that I capture your imagination…

Back in December, I came home from Costco with a box of persimmons, like you do, then realised that I was never going to be able to eat them all myself. I rarely eat fruit as it is, so 6 huge persimmons seemed like a mountain of fruit to me. Plus when I tried one, it wasn’t wholly ripe, or tasty. So I tried roasting some; why not, it works for vegetables, I thought it might perk up my persimmons.

And it did. The slices caramelised and sweetened. I tried some with some tahini sauce, a bit of yogurt and some toasted flaked almonds, and it made a perfect sweet treat…probably just a bit too sweet for me, so the yogurt and tahini were perfect ways to tone it down…

Following this experiment, over the festive period I decided to offer this as a dessert choice for my visiting family.

I cut the persimmons into segments, tossed them with a tiny amount of olive oil, then roasted them for 30-40 mins at 200C, moving them around the pan halfway through. Served with yoghurt, they provided a perfect alternative dessert.

The leftovers lasted a couple of days and were just as nice cold, again with yoghurt and another day with my porridge.

I highly recommend roasting your persimmons! I should imagine they are similar to roasted plums or peaches in consistency, and just provide something different 🙂

I shall be sharing this with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by Shinta and Diann….it’s been too long since I joined in!