Now for three things you should have in your pantry (if you have a pantry, we have a shelf). They are easy to prepare and boast not only a wealth of nutrition but each in their own rights, a hell of a lot of flavour. If you can find 15 minutes to spare in the kitchen, i highly recommend you make these. Great to have on hand to add panache to loads of dishes- the two spice mixes will transform even the humblest of meal into a regal affair. The tahini so versatile, you’ll be wondering how you got by without it.
Lets begin with the Za’atar. A traditional Middle Eastern blend, there is much speculation as to the origins of this flavour bomb. Components and ratios vary from Iraq to Morocco and all in between. I’ve gone with a blend that most closely fits the flavours i experienced in Northern Africa. Its fresh, with citrusy notes form the Sumac, the Thyme is fragrant and clean and parred perfectly with the earthy undertones of sesame seed. Usually these seeds are toasted but as i’m into the RAW vibes right now we kept them that way. I would recommend toasting however as they release nutty accents which will only further increase the deliciousness.
Advieh- marks the beginnings of my new adventures into Persian cuisine. One that i can already feel a heavy crush towards. This blend is a pungent, floral mix, tightroping the line between sweet and savoury- almost achingly so. Its warm, deep and fragrant. It (like no other spice blend) instantly takes any and every dish to a level of ecstasy usually reserved for exquisite raw desserts. I’m only just getting to know Advieh but already i’m totally calculating how i can apply it to puddings…
RAW Tahini, quick, rich and nutty. Make a big batch, freeze some or not- the applications are pretty endless; the base of salad dressings, dips, smoothies, desserts. Unlike toasted tahini (which is heavenly also) the flavour nestles as a pretty mellow earthiness, so its the perfect canvas for dressing up. With my first batch i added lemon juice, pomegranate and a hint of garlic- the result was so reminiscent of yoghurt that i ditched my plans to make coconut yoghurt (for the meantime anyway).
(Makes a teacups worth)
- 8 tbsp Thyme
- 4 tsp Sumac
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds, raw (or lightly toasted)
- Grind/ bash all the ingredients until quite fine (don’t overwork the sesame or they’ll release too much oil)
(Makes a teacups worth)
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Nutmeg
- 2 tsp Rose Petals
- 2 tsp Green Cardamon
- 1 tsp Cumin
- Grind/ bash until fine
(Make 1 jar)
- 1 cup Sesame Seeds, raw (or lightly toasted)
- Water for soaking (+ 1-2 tsp should you need)
- Soak the seeds overnight if not toasting
- Rinse well and add to a blender, blitz until very smooth (took 5 minutes for me)