Tag Archives: tahini

Kale And Pickled Carrot Slaw With Green Tahini

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I have about half a dozen fantastic salads I’ve been eating over the summer that have all been on high rotation. There’s barely been a sandwich in sight!

And why not? Salads have become the staple that make me happy. They lessen the guilt of chocolate… cheese… and wine… The simpler the salad the better. Like this kale and quick pickled carrot salad.

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To be honest, a lot of the salads I make use tahini in the dressing (just quietly, I think I’m addicted!). I truly can’t stop eating tahini. I love that there’s always a jar in my pantry. I love that it’s a great source of calcium (among other nutritional benefits). I love that it goes so brilliantly with lemon, let alone when you blend it with lots of parsley too.

Oh, and I only buy the un-hulled tahini. The hull is left on during the processing leaving the nutrients in the tahini.  Basically it’s the wholegrain version.

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This fabulous kale coleslaw is simple and easy but does require a little preparation the day before. The quick pickled carrots may not be as quick as some would prefer. They need a day to pickle. But in comparison to the several weeks that my other pickled vegetables are left to mature, I think they can retain their title of ‘Quick’. Everything else is raw and can be shredded right before eating.

For those who like to dabble in leftovers, this green tahini coleslaw keeps in the fridge far better than one that’s dressed with mayonnaise. It’s fabulous the next day piled in a fresh piece of Lebanese bread, drizzled with chilli oil and lightly grilled.

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Kale and quick pickled carrot coleslaw with green tahini 

 

For the quick pickled carrots – start the day before – makes 750ml jar

3 cups thinly sliced (peeled) carrots – 2mm thick, use a mandoline if you have one

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp cumin seeds

10 whole black pepper corns

2cm piece fresh turmeric sliced, or substitute 1/2 tsp ground dried turmeric

  • Rinse a 750ml jar with boiling water. Place the sliced carrots in the jar.
  • Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, turmeric and 125ml water in a pot and bring to the boil. Cook on a rapid heat for 3 minutes.
  • Whilst hot, pour the pickling liquid into the jar over the carrots. Seal the lid, and leave to pickle on the bench for 24 hours. After 24 hours store the carrots in the fridge.

For the kale coleslaw 

2 cups of shredded kale

2 cups shredded white cabbage

1 large celery stick washed and sliced thinly on an angle

1/2 cup sliced pickled carrots, sliced into thin match sticks

Sesame seeds and chopped mint to garnish

For the dressing

1/3 cup un-hulled tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup picked parsley leaves

1/4 cup water

Sea salt and white pepper

  • Combine the shredded kale, cabbage, celery and carrot.
  • Place all the ingredients for the green tahini dressing in a blender. Blitz for 45 seconds till well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the kale and cabbage and toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and roughly chopped mint.

 

(C) Copy right 2016 – Kale and quick pickled carrot coleslaw with green tahini

Lamb and Chickpea Kofta with Kale and Tahini Salad

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As a rule of thumb I will only make kofta with freshly ground lamb mince. For this you will need to visit a respected butcher. The spices to flavour the meat are important. I use Middle Eastern flavours – cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg. To heighten these spices I add smoked paprika and lemon zest.

Now, not traditional to a kofta mix, but something I think works a treat, are chickpeas. These need to be blended to a rough crumb and combined with chopped parsley and onion to the free-range lamb mince.

Kofta can be cooked in a fry pan, but for a taste that is hard to beat I cook them on the barbecue – rather slowly in fact. This gives them a chance to cook through properly without getting too dark in colour on the outside. This batch took 20 odd minutes to cook. That leaves plenty of time for laying the table, which if at all possible, setting a table in the garden and eating them out side only adds to the experience of this satisfying meal.

 

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A subtly spiced lamb kofta (not the prettiest of foods) needs two things. A good salad; enter kale. And a good sauce; enter tahini.

When crisp sprightly leaves of kale are shredded and steamed they soften and relax and suddenly the kale is vibrant and green with a milder flavour than when served raw. It’s delicious alongside these homemade kofta. Although the salad and kofta are good companions there is no reason why either one couldn’t be made as a dish on it’s own.

Tahini offers it’s versatility in this recipe as both a sauce and a salad dressing. It might be known that tahini – ground sesame seed paste – loves lemon juice, and garlic for that matter, and when combined with the simple pairings of salt and pepper makes a flavour worthy of both these dishes.

And then thee’s the grilled bread, it is optional, yet I find it hard to resist.

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Kale and tahini salad with Lamb and chickpea kofta

Ingredients 

For the kofta

500g lamb freshly ground free-range lamb mince

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground all spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed (use a 400g can of chickpeas and reserve the remaining chickpeas for the salad)

1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

For the salad

4 cups firmly packed shredded kale

Remaining chickpeas (use what’s left of the can from the kofta)

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

2-3 small avocados (or 1 large)

For the dressing and sauce

3 tbsp tahini paste

1 large lemon, juiced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp chopped parsley

Large pinch salt and cracked black pepper

To serve

Grilled pita bread or sliced tomatoes

For the kofta, place the lamb mince, spices, seasoning and lemon zest in a large bowl.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blitz to a small crumb, add to the mince. Put the onion, garlic and parsley in the food processor and chop finely, add to the mince. Use your hands to mix the kofta till well combined. Take small handfuls of kofta mince and shape using the palm of your hand into small sausage like cylinders. Place on a tray and set aside out of the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the shredded kale for 2 minutes, rinse briefly under cold water to cool then squeeze the excess water from the kale, place in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining drained and rinsed chickpeas, sliced avocado and toasted sunflower seeds (make sure they’re cold).

For the tahini dressing, place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine. Check the seasoning and consistency, if the tahini dressing is too thick add a dash of hot water or a little extra lemon juice.

Pre heat a barbecue or a frypan (use a little oil if using a fry pan). Cook the kofta on a medium to low heat so the meat cooks slowly and cooks all the way through, turn regularly to ensure even cooking.  This can take 20 odd minutes on a low barbecue or if using a fry pan maybe 12 – 15 minutes.

Just before serving, take a few tbsp of tahini sauce and dress the salad, toss to combine. Serve the kofta with the remaining tahini sauce. To accompany the meal you might add some grilled pita bread or sliced tomatoes – this is optional.

Not quite hummus

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A good dip is essential for any cooks table, be it a barbecue, picnic, actually for any gathering of any kind really.

I never buy supermarket dips. I think they’re horrible and expensive and filled with processed stuff. I like to make my own. And when it’s this simple, you should too.

I call this dip ‘not quite hummus’ because it’s made with cannellini beans instead of chickpeas, which is the traditional pulses used in hummus. I think it makes a lovely change to the chickpeas but by all means you can substitute the later. Keep in mind butter beans also work brilliantly here, though you might require an extra dash of water as they tend to make a thicker dip.

 

 

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To serve, you’ll need some toasted pita bread or fresh sourdough bread, and raw cut vegetables, or just some store bought crackers.

I’ve found a new love for radishes. I recently purchased a mandolin ( a slicer with a thin setting) and now one of my favourite raw vegetables is thin slices of radish, which work beautifully with this dip. I love the colour and their round shape.

You’ll need a food processor for this recipe and if you don’t have one I highly recommend investing in one. I’ve had mine for 10 years now and there’s been a lot of dips made in that ten years. I couldn’t manage my kitchen without one…

 

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Not quite hummus

Ingredients

1 x 400g can of cannellini or butter beans

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1tbsp tahini (sesame paste)

1tsp salt

large pinch of black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 large lemon, juiced

50ml water

To finish

chopped fresh parsley

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, place in a food processor with the rest of ingredients for the dip and process till smooth. Check the seasoning. Place in a large bowl, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with toasted pita bread or fresh sourdough bread, crackers, sliced radishes, raw vegetables or tabbouleh.

Fried Cauliflower with Hazelnuts and Tahini

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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.

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Fried Cauliflower with Hazelnuts and Tahini 

Ingredients

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.