Tag Archives: za’atar

Roasted Brussel Sprout And Chickpea Salad With Garlic Yoghurt

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A dear friends Aunty who I lived with for six months in Brighton, the UK, (20 odd years ago now), would steam her brussels for hours on end.

On a Sunday morning (it was always a Sunday) she would begin the day by steaming the vegetables for the evening meal (gulp). The poor overcooked brussel sprouts would then sit all day on the stove top sweating in their pot till we all came home from the pub and she’d proceeded to heat them again before serving our Sunday roast with something I can only refer to as muck.

It was a crime against the vegetables and one that brussel sprouts never made a recovery from. That is till this year, when I pushed aside those horrid memories and took to roasting them.

 

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Suddenly there was reason to love this misrepresented vegetable. To write a recipe for it. To post it here on this food blog.

I urge anyone who has a brussel sprout phobia to fight back. To say ‘No’ to hating brussel sprouts, and ‘Yes’ to roasting them.

This quick and easy way of preparing them with za’atar, garlic, chickpeas and extra virgin olive oil is so delicious, and so simple, that it is side dish you will be sure to fall back on time-and-time-again.

It’s a side dish to serve with a roast, or a good steak, or any number of other vegetable dishes like creamy potatoes and baked pumpkin.

And what I really love about this dish is the whole cloves of garlic, roasted with the sprouts then skinned and chopped and folded through Greek yoghurt with mint if you fancy, the taste is strong yet subtle, creamy and rounded.

 

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Roasted brussel sprout and chickpea salad with garlic yoghurt 

600g brussel sprouts, washed and halved

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp za’atar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle at the end

4 cloves garlic, smashed but kept in their skin

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

1/2 cup Greek natural yoghurt

1 tbsp chopped mint

1tbsp lemon juice

Pre heat oven to 200C.

Cut the washed brussel sprouts in half and place in a large bowl. Add the drained chickpeas, za’atar, 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and sea salt and cracked pepper, toss till well coated.

Line a large tray with baking paper and spread the brussels over the tray. Roast for 30 minutes, or till roasted and caramalised looking.  Half way through cooking sprinkle the sprouts with 1 tbsp water to add moisture during the roasting process.

Set the sprouts aside and pick out the garlic, remove the skin and chop it to a fine paste, combine the garlic with the yoghurt, mint, lemon juice, 1 tbsp water, and season with sea salt and pepper.

Dollop the garlic yoghurt all over the brussel sprouts and serve warm.

Roasted Cauliflower and Za’atar Carrot Salad with Spiced Yoghurt

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I don’t care that the weather is getting colder and that raw and crunchy foods are becoming less desirable. I still want to eat salad. I love salad. I’m on a roll with eating salads, and I want it to continue. It makes me feel so good!

So, cold raw salads need to be turned on their head. They need to become warm salads that offer comfort. It’s time to start cranking the oven. And one of the best vegetables to roast in that oven is cauliflower.

Once you’ve cut your cauliflower into slices, sprinkle it with za’atar, and drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil before it goes in the oven to roast.

The hint of sumac – a sour berry – in the za ‘atar gives a subtle sweet tang, off set by thyme and sesame seeds, which are also essential ingredients to a good za’atar spice mix. It’s so simple I could cry.

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I’ve used one of those Spirelli vegetable cutters, the ones that curl and spiral vegetables into beautiful long strands, but don’t let this stop you if you don’t have one. Just cut the carrots into thin matchsticks instead.

Creamy dressings go well with roasted vegetables and a spiced yoghurt dressing couldn’t be easier. A few coriander seeds, a few cumin seeds roasted then pounded and sprinkled on the yoghurt; it’s top stuff!

This salad is for one. So boost up the amounts if you’re cooking for others. Not that cooking for others is always necessary; cook for your self this one time. Make this salad for one, and love it for all the right reasons.

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Roasted cauliflower and za’atar carrot salad 

Ingredients

2 cups of sliced cauliflower florets

Extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tsp za’atar spice mix (look in Middle Eastern stores for an authentic one)

1 medium carrot

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

3-4 tbsp yoghurt

Handful wild rocket leaves

Sea salt

Pre heat oven to 200C

Slice the cauliflower into 2cm thick slices, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, za’atar and sea salt, rub lightly and roast for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the carrot and if using a spirelli cutter spiral the carrot into thick spirals, or use a knife to cut the carrots into thin matchsticks.

After the cauliflower has roasted for 25 minutes, add the carrot and mix lightly. Use a little more oil if the vegetables look dry and continue roasting for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly before tossing through the salad.

Place coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a small, dry fry pan, toast till seeds start to pop. Ground lightly in a mortar and pestle.

Place the washed rocket in a bowl, scatter with roasted cauliflower and carrot, dollop over the yoghurt and sprinkle it with the coriander seed mix to suit your tastes.

Eat whilst still warm.

Za’atar roasted cauliflower soup

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Soups are frequent on my table.

It’s true, soups feature more in the cooler months, when I tend to make them hearty and thick. But I’ll happily eat soup any time – no matter the weather.

You’re probably familiar with za’atar – the dried Middle Eastern herb mix, consisting mainly of thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and sumac . It’s so delicious and really can be used on just about any thing. Grab your za’atar – store bought or home made – and sprinkle it over the sliced cauliflower and red onions. A little oil, sea salt, and black pepper and whack in to a hot oven.

Caramalised roasted cauliflower is sweet and nutty and the perfect flavour base for this soup.

For busy people, a quality store bought za’atar is just fine. I keep some store bought handy for fast flavouring. I can’t always be a kitchen goddess! 

 

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I like to make this soup with vegetable stock – home made if you fancy –  but chicken stock also works well. Now, this is the part where I dread to scare you off. A little blue cheese is added and blended into the soup for richness and depth of flavour. Don’t be afraid. I think it goes beautifully with the za’atar and may not even be detected by those who swear they don’t like blue cheese. By all means, you might add more blue cheese, or leave it out all together. If this is the case, grilled cheddar toast served to the side is a good alternative for combining that cheesy flavour with the cauliflower.

 

Za’atar roasted cauliflower soup

Ingredients

1 cauliflower

1 red onion, sliced thinly

1 1/2 tbsp za’atar

1 1/2 litres vegetable stock

2 tbsp blue cheese – I used Gorgonzola, plus extra for garnishing – optional

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Olive oil

Chopped parsley, to garnish

 

Pre heat oven to 220C. Slice cauliflower into 1cm wide pieces – keep them as much in their natural floret shape as possible – and spread on a large tray. Scatter over sliced onions, drizzle cauliflower and onions with olive oil, sprinkle with za’atar, sea salt and pepper, and rub gently to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.

Place roasted cauliflower and onions in a large saucepan, cover with vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. (if you’re after a thinner soup, add an extra 500ml vegetable stock or water, boil, then simmer for 10 minutes).

Using a stick blender or food processor, blitz soup, add 2tbsp (or more) of  blue cheese and continue blitzing till smooth, taste, adjust seasoning.

Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with chopped parsley. For those, like me, who love blue cheese, crumble extra pieces on top of soup, and serve with plenty of cracked black pepper.