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Homemade tahini

5 Sep


The other day, I asked my husband to pick up some sesame seeds on the way home. Instead of the little packet I was expecting, he plonked a 500g bag on the counter. That’ll to take years to get through, I thought ungratefully…

I know that I have nothing to complain about. My husband and daughters are willing to pop to the shops at a moment’s notice, and generally return with a reasonable approximation of the requested item.

(Not like a former housemate who went to buy half a dozen eggs and returned with a six-pack of beer. “I knew it was six of something,” he said.)

And without that enormous bag of sesame seeds, I might not have discovered how easy it is to make tahini. Or how there is no comparison between fresh tahini and the pale lump of hardened sludge submerged in low-grade oil that is most store-bought tahini. Or how amazingly good it tastes.

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Falafel with tahini sauce

22 Jan

Falafel 2

Falafel are another standby from my student days. With one tin of chickpeas you can produce a dozen crunchy little nuggets to eat alongside a salad, or stuff in a piece of pitta bread with tahini sauce.

Traditionally, falafel are made with uncooked chickpeas or fava beans that have been soaked overnight before being  coarsely ground. This results in a nuttier texture than these falafel. While the outsides are crisp, inside they are soft – almost fluffy.

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Tahini cookies

11 Nov

tahini cookies

Like most schools these days, ours is a “nut-free zone”. While peanuts are their main concern, they have banned all nuts to be on the safe side. This has led to considerable confusion about what counts as a nut – are coconuts allowed? Pine nuts? Sunflower seeds?

Strictly speaking they are all seeds – peanuts, almonds, coconuts, sesame seeds, the lot… And which seeds are considered nuts depends on whether you ask a cook or a botanist.

It’s very different to my school days, when half the class brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches daily, and peanut butter cookies were standard lunchbox fare. Continue reading