Tag Archives: hazelnuts

Dukkah – The King of Spice Blends


There are days where the craving for freshly made dukkah is so strong that I find no satisfaction till a batch is roasted, pounded, and then eaten whilst still warm. 

It has to be said, possibly the best way to enjoy duukah is with bread and extra virgin olive oil. It certainly is the way I most often consume it. But I also value dukkah for its versatility. Once I have a batch made the remainder stores well and can be sprinkled on vegetables before roasting, used as a seasoning to salads, dusted on to meat or fish before cooking, it can be used in dressings, added to yoghurt… I find it such a useful flavouring for so many things that is a staple in my kitchen.


I prefer my dukkah made with hazelnuts. Added to the roasted spices of coriander, cumin, sesame, and black pepper, I add dry roasted hazelnuts (this saves roasting and peeling them). You can swap the hazelnuts for pistachios, or for a less authentic offering, macadamia nuts also makes a nice blend.

I’ve used a mix of black sesame and white sesame seeds because I like the contrast. Plus, I had them in the cupboard – they needed using up. But generally white sesame seeds are the go. The remaining, and just as important ingredient, is sea salt. And it should be sea salt, don’t swap this for any thing else.


The recipe has deliberately been kept to a smallish amount so you use the dukkah up while it’s fresh. It’s so simple to make and really takes no time at all, and can and should be made regularly.

Egyptian dukkah 


1/4 cup dry roasted hazelnuts

1 tbsp white sesame seeds

1tbsp black sesame seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1/2 tsp sea salt

Place the sesame seeds, spices and peppercorns into a fry pan. Roast them on a medium heat till the spices begin to sizzle and pop – don’t walk away at this stage as it won’t take long.

Roughly chop the dry roasted hazelnuts and place in a mortar and pestle with the roasted spices and sea salt; alternatively use a spice grinder. Pound or grind to a coarse consistency – remember to keep it chunky. Check seasoning.

Serve with fresh Lebanese bread and extra virgin olive oil. Store remaining dukkah in an air tight container in the pantry for 2 weeks.

(C) Copy right: Food From Michelle’s Kitchen 2016 Egyptian dukkah

Leek and Hazelnut Quiche


Back in the glorious years of my twenties, I spent a short time in Paris and it might not surprise you to hear that my fondest memory is of eating a perfectly cooked quiche. Don’t get me wrong, the city of Paris was beautiful, the buildings were regal, the Louvre was engaging,  but oh… that quiche! The pastry was crisp, the filling still warm, the egg cooked to perfection.

I embarrassingly remember not even making it out of the door way of the patisserie before inhaling the smell from the brown paper bag and there and then taking my first bite. Of course, now that I’m in my thirties, and oh so much more mature, I’d at least leave the DOOR WAY before greedily gobbling down that quiche!

Now there will be those of you who will run screaming from the room at the thought of making your own  pastry – yes my darling sister, I know that’s you – but really, stay calm! It’s a little challenging the first few times, but like I say to my 8 year old son – practise makes perfect . With just four basic ingredients, a rolling pin, and a little determination you will be rewarded with a sense of achievement when you make this short crust pastry dough with your very own hands.


There is that point, whilst making the dough, that  it will seem dry and crumbly and you’ll wonder where you went wrong, persevere, be patient. The butter and ice water is eventually kneaded into the flour and quite suddenly you will have a smooth dough. You’ll need plenty of flour for dusting the bench as you roll the dough and it should be flipped often to ensure each side of the dough is floured. This will ensure the pastry doesn’t stick to the bench and make a horrible buttery mess.



You’ve probably read some where about blind baking. It’s simply cooking the pastry before you add a filling. It’s not tricky or hard, but is essential for a crisp pastry base. You do this by lining the tart with baking paper – use a large piece – and then weighing it down with rice, or, you can use those fancy ceramic baking pellets. I find the rice works just fine and it can be used over and over again. Store the rice in a container for next time, as once you’ve succeeded with this quiche you’ll want to experiment with other flavours and toppings and you’ll be blind baking pastry cases left right and centre.




I’ve learnt through out my years of baking quiche to keep the filling simple and not over load the flavours. This leek and hazelnut quiche is perfect because the leeks offer a gentle onion flavour and the hazelnuts add a nutty crunch – it’s irresistible. For other combinations of flavoured quiches, as a rule of thumb – two ingredients are sufficient.

So you can see, from a memory years ago, that I hold quiche dear to my heart.  And really the only way I will get to relive my days in Paris – as I can’t see myself getting there anytime soon – is baking a quiche, and eating it whilst still warm.


Leek and hazelnut quiche 


for the pastry

200g plain flour

100g cold butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 tsp salt

5 tbsp ice water

for the filling

1 tbsp butter

2 medium leeks

6 free range eggs

1/2 cup thickened cream

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Sea salt and white pepper


Place flour, salt and butter in a medium bowl. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, break it up until there’s smaller pea size pieces of butter. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the ice water. Fold the flour in to combine the water. Turn the half made dough onto a clean floured bench and using the palm of your hand smear the remaining chunks of butter into the flour, continue to do this till the dough comes together. Don’t over work it once the butter is incorporated, pat it into a circular shape. Rest the dough for 15 minutes in the fridge.

Meanwhile, pre heat oven to 200C. Slice leeks thinly, place in a colander and wash. Heat  1 tbsp butter in a medium frypan, cook leeks gently with salt and pepper for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside. Grease a 24cm removable base tart tin with butter.

Remove dough from fridge. Lightly flour the bench again and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Every fourth roll, flour the bench again and turn dough over and roll on the other side. Roll dough out to a circular shape about 1/2 cm in thickness. Using a rolling pin, roll dough onto the pin – this makes it easy to pick up. Place dough over greased tin and un roll from the rolling pin to fit the distance of the tin. Press dough into the corners and base of tart tin. Again, use your rolling pin to roll over the top of the dough to trim and cut the edges to be level with the tin. Alternatively, you can trim the edges with a small sharp knife. Place the lined tart in the fridge and rest for 20 minutes.

Line the tart with baking paper, fill with rice or ceramic baking balls and cook for 20 minutes. Remove paper and rice and place empty shell back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, cream and chopped parsley in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper. Take the cooked tart shell from the oven, scatter with cooked leeks and pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle the top of the quiche with hazelnuts and then grated parmesan cheese. Place back int the oven to cook for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 5-10minutes. Eat quiche whilst still warm with a simple green salad to the side.









Fried Cauliflower with Hazelnuts and Tahini


Feed me Lebanese food several times a week and I’d be a happy woman. I tend towards the meat-free stuff and go wild for falafels, tabbouleh, baba gahnoush, hommus, and crispy fried cauliflower, yum… crispy fried cauliflower is so good.

I remember tasting fried cauliflower for the first time. My mother had taken me out to dinner, at one of the many Lebanese restaurants that line Cleveland st, on the fringe of Surry Hills. She notified me, even before we sat down, that we’d be ordering the fried cauliflower. I couldn’t believe I was yet to taste it. She’d talked it up. I questioned the idea in my head, would it be soggy? or oily? greasy perhaps? No, no,no. It was crisp, yet soft. It was lemony with a distinct sesame flavour (from the tahini). It was delicious.

If you were to follow tradition, fried cauliflower would be served as part of a meze (this being a selection of small dishes served together). But don’t let tradition stifle your creativity.  I like serving this crispy fried cauliflower with grilled white fish, usually flat head, and a simple green salad. I make extra tahini sauce so there’s plenty to drizzle over the fish too, and serve lemon to the side.

Don’t buy pre cut cauliflower, It must be whole, preferably with leaves and stalk still attached. I just can’t bring myself to buy vegetables that have been pre-cut (I know some of the nutrients have already leached out). This recipe is a cracker because it uses the whole cauliflower. There’s no waste. You won’t need to toss out the wilted left over that you find lurking in the fridge three weeks later.



Fried Cauliflower with Hazelnuts and Tahini 


1 medium sized, whole cauliflower

4 tbsp roasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed

1-2 tbsp chopped parsley

500ml Grape seed or olive oil for frying

For the tahini sauce

2 tbsp tahini

1 large lemon, juiced

2 tbsp hot water

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Place oil in a deep, wide pan (I use my wok) and heat to frying point. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into small florets. Check the oil is hot enough by dropping a small floret into oil, if it bubbles wildly, the oil is ready.

Fry cauliflower is small batches – so as to not over crowd the pan and ensure the oil stays hot enough to fry – for about 2-3 minutes. Turn during cooking, till all sides are golden. Remove cauliflower from oil with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to drain. Repeat process till all cauliflower is fried. Lay out fresh paper towel and place all cooked cauliflower on top. This soak up any excess oil hanging around.

For the tahini sauce combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

To serve, scatter warm cauliflower on a large platter, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Drizzle cauliflower with tahini sauce, chopped parsley and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.