Tag Archives: fiesta friday

2015 : the year of sourdough..

  I’ve been going round and round thinking of how to end the year here on my blog, and I realised that there is only one possible way: with sourdough!  

 2015 is the year that I was introduced to sourdough bread and the year has been punctuated with many and various loaves, high and lows, and always learning. 

I baked my first sourdough loaf on 20th January, having been sent some sourdough starter and comprehensive instructions by the lovely Selma. I’d never even tried sourdough bread, but had been totally drawn to the idea of baking it after seeing Selma’s loaves and hearing her enthusiasm for the process and outcome, she held my hand all the way through that first exploration, and for the following months as I got to grips with this new way of baking bread. And I’ve loved it!! I’m so grateful to Selma, and Celia, for bringing this into my world, it’s been great fun. 

I’ve recently been experimenting with different mixes of flours: kamut flour, spelt flour, rye flour, plus adding different seeds. I’ve made a couple of loaves recently including roasted pumpkin seeds which have been really good!  

  Today I began the last day of the year by heating the oven at 6.30am and baking a dough that’s been proving in a banneton in the fridge for the last week. It’s a mix of kamut flour, spelt flour and strong white flour.. 

 I baked it in my enamel roaster, as originally guided by Selma and Celia, and it came out perfectly.. 

   What better way to end the year? And to remember Selma..the first half of this year is full of wonderful memories of lovely Selma, and everything we shared; the second half of the year is full things I wish I could have continued to share with her and of missing her 😦

I’ve loved learning to bake sourdough and watching my son enjoy eating it is a real gift, and so I hope you understand why I chose to end the year with my bread..it’s a gift that Selma gave me that will last for many years to come. 

I also wanted to have something special to share with this week’s amazing 100th Fiesta Friday blog party. 100!!! And it’s been going for two years! Wow! Such an a amazing achievement. The #100 party has been going on over the last week and is being hosted not only by its wonderful creator Angie but also Ginger, Suzanne, Judi and Mollie. Please pop over and see what everyone is bringing to the celebration. 

For now, I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year, with best wishes for a wonderful 2016, and so many thanks for all of your support this year xx 


Za’atar & goats cheese mixed flour sourdough bread…

 I’ve been having fun with my sourdough starter again recently, as you will have seen from my previous post, and may have already seen on Instagram…? Well, this loaf was my biggest experiment yet… 

I’ve seen lots of wonderful looking filled or flavoured loaves of bread on others people’s blogs and have wanted to try out some ideas but wasn’t sure what effect the added ingredients would have on the dough. This week I had put together two different sourdough doughs so decided to risk one of them. 

The dough was a mixture of spelt flour, kamut/Khorason flour and a smaller amount of strong white flour, consequently the dough was quite sloppy and not the easiest to work with. When you use spelt flour, whether using 100% spelt or with a small percentage of other strong bread flours as I did here, the dough initially feels quite sturdy, but quickly loosens up as it proves, it is therefore often useful to bake the bread in a tin to help it keep a shape. I didn’t do that this time which is why when you bake the bread, the dough spreads before it rises during the bake, hence why the bread looks flatter than previous loaves, it made up for its looks in taste though 🙂  

So, I basically put the dough together based on the overnight recipe I’ve used many times before, using 200g spelt flour, 200g kamut flour & 100g strong white flour, 160g bubbly starter & 290g water. It developed and rose beautifully overnight and the next day I used a scraper to pour the dough onto a large tray sprinkled with flour and crumbled mild goats cheese over the top along with some za’atar mixed with olive oil.. 

I then had to use the scraper to loosely mix it through the dough, I didn’t work it too much, then left it to rise again whilst I heated the oven.. 

I heated the oven to 250C (fan) then poured – yes, poured, it was that sloppy! – the dough into my roasting pan, put the lid on, turned the oven down to 220C and baked it for 30 minutes with the lid on, and a further 12 minutes without it. The smell as it baked was AMAZING!!!!!!! OMG! spelt smells amazing as you bake it, so does kamut, put them together with the spices, and woohoo!!! heaven in your nose!  

  I ate it on its own yesterday, it didn’t need anything with it to be honest. By this morning the aroma of the za’atar filled the kitchen and it took all my will power to wait until lunch time to have some! 

I toasted a couple of slices and topped them with ricotta cheese and some cherry tomatoes and garlic that I had slow roasted yesterday.. 

  So good!! And check me out using my gorgeous new bowls from Sytch Farm Studios – I’ve been looking at them and loving them for three weeks now so finally decided to use them…I struggle to use new things! I like to cherish them in all their new beautiful glory for a while, I’m exactly the same with clothes!!

Anyway, I hope you feel inspired to chuck something new in your dough, next time I will add more goats cheese, as it got a bit lost. I hope my lovely friends at this week’s Fiesta Friday enjoy my loaf, do join us and our lovely co hosts this week, the fabulous Linda and Caroline

Have a great weekend! 

How to feed a vegetarian dinner guest..

This time of year, I see a lot of articles and posts talking about what to feed a vegetarian guest should you find one sat at your Christmas dinner table; I always find it interesting to see what suggestions are proffered and I’m afraid, I very rarely agree. So often the solutions offered are pasta dishes smothered in some sort of cheese sauce, or something wrapped in pastry…basically, heavy dishes that, quite frankly, I wouldn’t eat.  Where are the beautifully cooked vegetables in all their glory?? 

So, I thought I would give my view point, being as I am, the ‘vegetarian guest’.. 

It’s funny because in my world, I’m one of many; I share my virtual world with many vegetarians & vegans, and in my real world my two best friends are also vegetarian – it wasn’t a prerequisite of our friendship or anything, it just happened that way; just shows that like minded people are drawn to each other doesn’t it? But if I find myself amongst family or a wider circle of friends, then I’m the alien (throw into the mix that I prefer low or no gluten, I don’t eat any sugar or sweet things, AND I don’t drink alcohol, and I really am an island…but that’s just me, that’s not all vegetarians) but I’m really not an alien, and I’m a lot easier to feed than you’d think..

So what would you think of feeding me if I came to your house? (Let’s pretend for a moment that I don’t have a blog full of ideas…!) Would you be completely stumped? Or drive yourself crazy with worry about the dish for this one person? Or just assume I must want to eat nut loaf?? (I don’t, by the way.)

Stop. It’s easier than you think. 

Do you mind if I offer some suggestions? 

My top tip would be: 

Don’t make your life difficult! Especially if you’re making food for lots of people, don’t let the addition of a different eater at your table cause you stress. 

And don’t make assumptions: I am labelled ‘vegetarian’ by most people in that I don’t eat any meat or fish, but I do eat cheese and eggs. Not all vegetarians are the same. Best to double check with them. 

So…make life easy…

First, tell me what you’re already planning to cook..for example..last year we visited my brother & sister in law over Christmas; my sister in law Tina is a great cook and she cooked a huge roast dinner for 7 of us; knowing how much she’d already have to do, I asked if she’d like me to bring a dish for myself? She very happily accepted the offer with great relief as she had been concerned about it, and I made a small sweet potato casserole which I took with me to heat up in her oven. 

When dinner was served there was about 10 different dishes of vegetables – I really didn’t need my dish too. I would have been quite happy with a plate piled high with lovely veg, and I’d have grabbed some of the nuts and seeds she had in the cupboard and sprinkled them over the top and been very happy. Whenever I cook a roast dinner at home, I just make sure there’s lots of vegetables with it and I eat them with some homous or any dips I’ve made, like the squash below, or with some grains I’ve got leftover from during the week. It’s that easy!  

Butternut squash, beetroot and quinoa 

The only notes I would make here are…consider your gravy, you may need to make a vegetarian version if your guest is a gravy lover (I’m not!); and if you roast your potatoes in goose fat, it’s only fair to to let your vegetarian guest know. Or maybe on this occasion, use a non animal fat to roast your potatoes in? 

The moral of this story is..consider what you’re already making and whether you’ve actually already got an answer in your menu. You may already have a perfect solution…can you make something ahead, like these marinated vegetables, or these, that will just need flinging in the oven in the day? 

Are you doing a dish with meat that you could produce a small amount of it without meat? Could you plan it that way? Make two versions of the same chilli or casserole/tagine for example? 

Or, make a vegetable based soup and offer a platter  antipasti, crudités, bread etc along with it and allow everyone to choose what they want. 

Salads are a godsend; especially warm salads (like the one below) in the cold temperatures; buffets are even better – let your guests choose; and side dishes are often the answer – I’ve often ordered just a selection of side dishes at a restaurant. 


A cordon bleu creation really isn’t necessary. For me, the aim would be to ensure that that guest is made welcome and not made to feel like they are the alien at the table. I can tell you that it isn’t a pleasant feeling.

So, why not just ask me what I’d like? As one of my vegetarian friends said: “I think you’re right, people rarely ‘ask’ what you like to eat, so you can end up with a Supermarket version of what a veggie [supposedly] likes to eat, which, can often be wrapped up in a huge parcel of stodge, ie, pastry. Why do they do that?!” Yes, why do they?? For me it just shows lack of imagination.

Although…if you do fancy offering a pie or flan of some sort that everyone might fancy a bit of, how about making it a healthy, tasty option like this beetroot galette with a lovely light gluten free crust..

 Or make life really easy, and let me bring a dish. I wouldn’t be offended at all. I’d rather not give a hostess added worry and I’d definitely prefer not to be presented with a dish that I’d rather not eat and then feel rude. And I’d really hate to cause any stress or extra work! So let me help. 

Of course, I am a blogger with a list of recipe ideas so I do have a list of suggestions on this here blog in case they be of use, including a Christmas feast I made for guests last year and all of my Pimp Your Veg ideas, plus lots of healthy, vegetarian snack and Christmas cake ideas, but I’m also available if I can be of help.  

 I hope this has been of some help to you and my friends at Fiesta Friday, com hosted this week by lovely Liz and Johanne. Enjoy! 

NOTE: many of these recipes and suggestions would satisfy vegan diets and/or ideas for guests with various food intolerances. 

Disclaimer: these are only my views, not all vegetarians are the same! All the more reason to ask 🙂 

Fava bean and tahini chunky dip with my pastesensation..

I have read and researched many recipes recently for Middle Eastern ‘foul mudammas’ dishes and ‘fattet homous’ dishes.

Foul is a dish typically made with cooked fava beans (dried broad beans), in a sauce of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and cumin, often then topped with chopped tomatoes, onion and parsley. The joy is in the gorgeous sauce 🙂

Fattet is sometimes described as a ‘deconstructed homous’; the dish is literally made up of homous ingredients, cooked chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, all mixed together, heated, and spooned over crispy toasted pieces of Arabic bread, and often topped with chopped parsley and pine nuts. And it is GOOD!!! Eaten warm it is glorious moreish comfort food, often eaten for breakfast, but fabulous at any time. 

I’m sure you will see both feature on here very soon…this dish therefore was borne of a bit of both..

The bowl above includes cooked split fava beans (I soaked and cooked these myself in my little pressure cooker and I find that the peeled and split beans work best for me) mixed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, chopped tomatoes and parsley; I just put the bits together and let it take shape and then ate it cold on its own and alongside other elements. 

I then threw in some of my leftover Moroccan inspired paste and gave it a new dimension..

  And it worked very very well!! So much flavour, layers and layers of it..a whole new piece of paradise on my plate!

  Apologies for the lack of detailed recipe but hopefully this still shares some ideas and inspiration and might make you chuck a few different things together this weekend?  

And finally I am joining Fiesta Friday this weekend, for the first time in weeks! Where did that time go?? Come and join the party, is week co hosted by the lovely Judi and Stef and feast your eyes on the wonderful dishes that everyone makes..happy weekend! 

See you tomorrow with some sweet potato onion bhaji breads…:) 

Butternut squash, sweet potato & carrot with my new spiced paste creation..an absolute taste sensation!!! 

Luckily I have friends that are happy to taste test my kitchen experiments…and this was one of my recent creations…

All I can say is, it was sooooooooooo good, it’s now become a kitchen staple! I can barely find the words to sufficiently tell you how good this tasted. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it, but I can tell you that my friend agreed 🙂 there was none left at the end of lunch!

So, what was it?
By way of research, and out of curiosity, I was recently perusing the shelves in my local supermarket and seeing what new products are on offer nowadays; I don’t shop much in supermarkets so it’s interesting to see the array of cuisines and flavours that are now becoming standard. Whether or not people are experimenting with the more diverse offerings I don’t know, but there is a whole new world of flavours available which I think is great – even better if you have the time and inclination to play with them yourself… 🙂

I came across a tiny jar of tagine paste; the collection of ingredients sounded interesting and piqued my interest, so I had a good look at the label and mused on it at home, then got busy in the kitchen to see what I might produce…this was it…calling it a paste doesn’t seem very inviting but I’m stumped for what else to call it…any ideas anyone? How about a ‘pastesensation’?? Because that’s what it is..

This makes a huge bowl of chunky paste that can be used in various ways, feel free to reduce the quantities.


2 large banana shallots or 4 small round shallots, finely diced

6 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

250g tomato purée

5 tbsp rapeseed oil

5 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp dried pepper flakes

1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds

1 tsp ground roasted coriander seeds

1 tsp dried mint

1/2 tsp Turkish red chilli flakes

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp roasted ground caraway seeds

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp salt


Mix everything together and leave it in the fridge for the flavours to develop overnight and/or for a day.

This can then be used in whatever way you fancy, so far I’ve eaten it as it is, added it to a bowl of ‘foul’ and added it to pan cooked vegetables…which is what you can see in this post, but I do think there is so much more you could do with it. Add it to a casserole or tagine; thin it down and use it as a marinade; use it as a salsa, basically, have a play.  For my root vegetable dish..continuing with my theme of pan cooking vegetables..

1/2 small butternut squash, peeled

1 medium sweet potato, skin on

2 large carrots, peeled

Chop all of these root vegetables into small cubes, all the same size

In a wide based saucepan, heat a tablespoon of your chosen oil over a medium heat

Pan cook all of the cubed vegetables until they start to cook through, agitating a few times as they cook, but not too often, you’re not stir frying these vegetables

Once they’ve started to show signs of being cooked through, add half of the paste mix above and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes

Serve hot as a side dish or as a complete meal topped with cheese, or with chopped spring onions and tahini sauce over a bed of cooked grains like I did. This is quite a rich dish, so the tahini sauce was a perfect addition.

And if you’ve got leftovers, enjoy it all over again the next day, hot or cold. I had some in a wrap with goats cheese for lunch today.

I served mine with leftover spelt, freekeh and my dukkah Topped with the cooked vegetables, chopped spring onions and tahini sauce
I really cannot tell you just how good this is, you’ll just have to try it yourself! But I can tell you, I’ll be making this again and again, and already have done!

I hope you like my ideas, I’m bringing them to  this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosting this week by Kaila and Mila, and hope that they enjoy it 🙂

Pimp Your Veg part 2: spices are your friend! 

 If you have ever read any of my blog then you know that I love spices; these beautifully coloured aromatic powders have the power to not only nourish and heal our bodies, but to completely change any meal. 

Just a teaspoon of the right spice can take a dish from bland to grand! 

When it comes to embracing vegetables and learning to add more of them to your meals, I think spices are your secret weapon. You can bring all the flavours you love to your plate via your vegetables and make them sing.

Likewise you can use dried herbs, but for me, it’s all about spices, that’s where I would begin…and again, I know that lots of you use spices regularly and know far more than me about them, so please pass this onto to anyone you think might find it useful 🙂

Please keep in mind, this is a starting point for anyone looking for ways to pimp their vegetables. And of course, spices can boost any dish, for now, it’s just all about the veg! 

So, where to start? If you stand in front of a selection of spices in any shop it can be overwhelming so this is my advice…

You don’t need to have a huge library of spices immediately; my vast collection has grown over a number of years, but to begin with, I only bought those I needed for particular recipes; as I am not talking about anything so prescriptive, I would start with spice mixes. You don’t need to make your own like I do, (not to begin with anyway, you might fancy trying that later?) for starters I’d look at what is available in your local shops. All I would say is, for me, shop bought spice mixes usually have too much salt, but that’s just me and my tastes, try some and see what you think. 

If you think of the flavours that you like, go with them:

If you like Indian flavours, buy spice mixes with names that you recognise – tandoori, korma, madras, rogan josh, tikka, garam masala (masala means mix). Think of dishes you’ve enjoyed and choose based on those flavours.

If you like Mexican or South American food, try taco/fajita mixes, or creole or cajun, or just smoked paprika. For me, a creole mix is really user friendly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it. 

If you like Middle Eastern flavours, try baharat, ras el hanout, za’atar or harissa. Or try some lovely citrusy sumac. As a note…many Middle Eastern flavours include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and/or cloves, what we might consider Christmassy spices in the UK. If you try baharat or ras el hanout you’ll find these flavours, and they can be quite strong so don’t be heavy handed with these spice mixes until you get to know them .

If you like spicy food, try some chilli powder. 

I would also pick up some cumin powder, it’s a lovely starting point, and some paprika, as it’s so useful.

Be drawn by flavours and names you recognise. 

Where to buy spices? 

You will find lots of spices mixes in supermarkets, but I would also suggest visiting an Asian or Middle Eastern supermarket if you have one nearby, their spices are good quality and they have a fast turnaround, or look online at www.spicekitchenuk.com – they have perfect sized little sachets for an ideal introduction to spices (definitely try their Mexican blend!) and their fresh spices are lovely. 

As a basic starting point for using spices, ignore the directions and recipes on the packets for now and go back to my post about roasting vegetables; once you’ve sprayed the vegetables with oil prior to roasting, sprinkle over a tablespoon of your spice mix and stir it through the vegetables then roast as before. 

Alternatively, in large bowl, add a tablespoon or two (depending on your quantity of vegetables) of olive or rapeseed oil, stir in your spices, then add the prepared vegetables and toss them in the oil and spice mixture. Then roast as before.  

I will come onto other ideas for marinating and seasoning vegetables, but for now, why not throw some spices over your vegetables this weekend and see what you think? Try it with vegetables you’ve never really liked and see how they become something wonderful – for example, try roasting brussel sprouts (outer leaves removed and each one cut in half) in one of the Indian spice mixes, they’re so good! Make sure you roast them until the edges get crispy 😉 

These pics from my kitchen might also give you some ideas…

Above are carrots roasted with cumin and Aleppo chilli flakes. If you’re not a chilli fan, just try carrots with cumin. 

Above are aubergine slices about to be roasted with chermoula spice mix over them. Alternatively try these with ras el hanout or Harissa spice. 

Above…I roasted courgettes and aubergines with a selection of spices…try any one of the Indian spice mixes and see what you think..

Above is kohlrabi, carrot, sweet potatoes and shallots roasted in my own Moroccan spice mix. Try it with cumin, paprika and a sprinkle of salt. Replace the kohlrabi with parsnip or swede (rutabaga) and see just how different they can taste.  Above is mushrooms, red onion, leeks and kale roasted with olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Try a good sprinkle of sumac as something different (for sumac I’d sprinkle over a couple of tablespoonfuls). I threw this together the other day with our dinner..mushrooms, red peppers, red onions and garlic cloves with paprika. Nice with a sprinkle of chilli powder? 

This butternut squash above it roasted with za’atar spice. Butternut squash and sweet potato are great with a Mexican spice mix, especially a creole or Cajun mix. If in doubt, just try a sprinkle of paprika or smoked paprika as a first step and see what you think. 

Basically, be brave! A little makes a lot of difference and you can build it up as you get more confident. If in doubt, just ask 😉 

I’m sharing my spiced vegetable ideas with everyone at Fiesta Friday this week – I hope they like them! Check out what everyone is cooking this weekend with co hosts Judi and Quinn.

Have fun! 

Coming next in the series: getting crunchy! 

Mixed vegetable & wild recipe mini muffins and green pea dip..

 Welcome to Friday! I’m making the most of today, the last week day with my boy before he goes back to school on Monday. I do love having him with me, but I also know he needs to get back to school now, 7 weeks is a long break!! So we’ve had a nice time together today, lots of Mum and Ben time 🙂 And now it’s Fiesta Friday time, hosted this week by the fab team of Effie and Steffi – pop over and join us for some fab food and fun.

During the week I had bits and pieces to use up in the fridge which lead to the creation of these mini muffins; they were inspired by various mixed vegetable fritters recipes that I found online, but I wanted to oven bake them, hence, with the eggs in the mix, they became more like muffins than crunchy fritters. In fact, I think they could therefore be baked in a mini muffin tin if you wanted to, probably easier than handling the mixture like I did, it’s very sloppy. 

This made about 18 (very) mini muffins.


2 cups cooked wild rice (it can be any rice, this is just what I had)

1 medium carrot peeled and grated

1 medium courgette grated

1 cup frozen peas, washed through with boiling water to take the frost off

1 spring onion finely chopped

200g strong cheddar chopped into little cubes

4 eggs

2 tbsp plain flour

Salt to taste

Turkish chilli flakes optional


Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan).

Mix all of the ingredients together well in a large bowl.

Line two trays with foil & spray with olive oil, or use a muffin tin and put a little spray into each dip.

Take small handfuls of the mixture and loosely form them into little mounds and place on the foil or spoon a heaped tablespoonful of the mixture into each dip of the muffin tin. 

Bake them for 20 minutes, carefully turning them over halfway through to create a nice edge.


Tasty hot or cold – good for lunch boxes, or before or after exercise, or as part of a meal.

I ate some with my pea dip, a more defined version of the one I made last week.


1 cup frozen peas, cooked and cooled

250g quark

1 small bunch coriander, chopped

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 small cloves garlic

2 tsp roasted ground cumin

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

Salt to taste 


In a food blender, chop the coriander and parsley with the garlic and and cumin. 

Add the olive oil and the vinegar and salt to taste. 

Add the peas and quark and blend briefly to keep some texture in the mix.   


Have a great weekend xx

Chimichurri inspired pea dip, chickpea & rice flour flatbreads, plus a ‘fiesta’ of dishes in my kitchen..happy Friday!

Its been a busy few weeks, I’ve done a huge amount of cooking for family, but with no time to take photos, it’s been all about getting the food served rather than photographed…I guess it’s only fair sometimes, to actually get on and serve the food, right?? There’s been some great food though, even if I say so myself!! 

But today I do have some shots of some creations from my kitchen in the last couple of days which I am bringing to this week’s Fiesta Friday weekly blog party; this week I am co hosting along with my lovely friend Jhuls..we invite you to join us and share ours, and your food with everyone..

Here’s my offerings for starters…

I’ve seen lots of bloggers talk about and make chimichurri sauce in the past but haven’t yet made it myself, so yesterday I decided it was time. Having seen Anjanas post this week, I used her recipe to make this fresh, green sauce. I won’t type out her recipe, you should visit her blog for that, but let me tell you that’s it’s packed with fresh flat leaf parsley and coriander, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. I like that I could control the amount of vinegar in the sauce, I sometimes find that vinegars spoil dishes for me, so with this I used apple cider vinegar and added it bit by bit and tested it for my tastes as I went along.  

I threw a concoction of ingredients in a pan yesterday, grated courgettes, cooked chickpeas, garlic and my rose harissa spice mix
I then threw in some quark and cooked it further before serving it warm with the chimichurri over the top. Nice 🙂  
I then had some remaining chimichurri so I decided to through in some cooked and cooled peas and some more of the quark and it created a really fresh, tasty dip.  
The flatbreads are loosely based on Indian ‘besan puda’, made with a mixture of besan (chickpea flour) and rice flour..I used..

3/4 cup besan flour

2-3 tbsp rice flour

1 clove garlic, grated

1cm ginger, grated

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 roasted garam masala 

1 tsp nigella seeds

1 chopped spring onion

1 tbsp olive oil 

Salt to taste

Water as necessary 

Put everything in a bowl and add enough water to bring it to a batter. I kept mine quite thick to make breads as opposed to pancakes, but you could thin it out to make something thinner. 
Heat a tawa or wide pan over a medium heat, spoon in half the minute and cook for several minutes on each side until it starts to brown. 
I ate mine with my dip above plus some of my harissa sauce

Really, you can add whatever spices and vegetables you like to these flatbreads, just have a play 🙂

Right, time for me to get over to Fiesta Friday and greet some guests..have a great weekend x

My dukkah with a difference..

Dukkah is typically a mixture of roasted nuts, seeds and spices, all chopped to a tasty crunchy crumb mixture. It is very often mixed with olive oil and bread is dipped into it. It is documented as being Egyptian, and a version features in pretty much every Middle Eastern cookbook I own. There are often slight differences between the choices of nuts used, or the addition of roasted chickpeas, or not…like with all recipes, everyone creates their own version.

I’ve blogged about and made it before, and many times since in various guises, and I’ve been known to eat it unadulterated with a spoon from the jar, or thrown it over salads or vegetables, or included it in dips and marinades; it adds a crunch to all sorts of dishes, as well as great flavour.

I recently made it again with a twist..the addition of roasted hemp seeds for some extra flavour and goodness..

This dukkah is a mixture of..

Roasted chickpeas

Roasted hemp seeds

Roasted sesame seeds

Roasted hazelnuts

Roasted coriander seeds

Roasted cumin seeds 


Each of the ingredients need to be spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roasted in an oven at 180-200C. 

You need to watch them, as they all take different times to roast, and to ensure that they don’t burn or overcook as they will become bitter and ruin the mixture. 

Let them cool and them chop them all together to a crumb texture in a food blender. 

Then use at will!

Today mine became part of a salad with quinoa, grated carrot and courgette, lemon juice and olive oil. Big yum!!!! 

Better late than never..I’m taking this along to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by lovely ladies, Sarah and Kaila, and hope that everyone will enjoy the freshness of this salad 🙂 

Selma’s romanesco, feta and za’atar cakes..


Another of Selma’s recipes that has stuck in my mind are her romanesco, feta and za’atar cakes…this week I made my version..


I haven’t been able to find romanesco so, as Selma suggests cauliflower as an alternative, that’s what I used. I also used a crumbly goats cheese instead of feta as that is a staple in my fridge (and I confess I’m not a huge feta fan…sorry…too salty for me!). I also roasted the cauliflower instead of steaming it as my oven was on anyway and it worked well. 

The week after Selma died I confess I did a lot of ‘consolation shopping’; I don’t eat cakes or chocolate or anything sweet, and I don’t drink alcohol, or have any of those typical consoling foods in my diet, so shopping became my emotional tool, including buying these new measuring cups and little plates…I thought that maybe Selma would like the plates, so I used them to serve these cakes..I quite like the idea that they might represent the tree of life..


The cakes are lovely and everything I knew they would be, and simple to make. I enjoyed them with some of my homemade homous into which I stirred through some of the chemoula spice mix I made for one of Selma’s other recipes

Visit Selma’s wonderful blog for the recipe and check out all of her lovely other offerings whilst you’re there 🙂 




The Fiesta Friday Tribute page to Selma remains open so this is where I shall be sharing this post. Later I will be back with a whole mezze including these savoury cakes for this week’s Fiesta Friday party.