There were two ingredients that had me really excited this past week….
1. The gorgeous pomegranates that are around at the moment. They are so juicy and there is something about the look of them that just says buy me!!!
2. Za’atar – this is a Middle Eastern spice consisting of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds amongst other ingredients. I have seen so many recipes lately including this spice mix, and after receiving my Ottolenghi cookbook last week just had to get my hands on some. So a long elaborate plan was hatched, e-mails sent, parcels exchanged and within the week I safely had in my hands, one packet of Za’atar and one little tub of NOMU pistachio and sumac dukkah, all the way from South Africa. So image my surprise when trawling the aisles of Metro here in Rabat, what did I find, a mountain of Za’atar! I nearly did a little dance right there and then!
So to cut a long story short, I now have a mountain of Za’atar to use at my whim!
For the breads:
5g dried yeast
½ tsp sugar
300ml lukewarm water
450g bread flour
½ tsp salt
2 Tbs Olive Oil
For the paste :
4 Tbs Za’atar
4 Tbs Olive Oil
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a little of the water, until it froths. Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast and the rest of the water and the oil. Draw in the flour and work the mixture into a dough. Kneed for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and set aside to rise for about 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 230°C.
Make the paste by mixing together the za-atar with the oil.
Punch back the dough and divide it into about 20 pieces. Flatten the pieces and stretch out into little rounds. Place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet, spread some of the paste over the top and bake them for about 10 minutes until lightly browned.
Served with an Aubergine, Pine Nut and Pomegranate Salad with Dukkah and Saffron Yoghurt from the Ottolenghi Cookbook:
3 large aubergines cut into wedges
Olive oil for brushing
2 Tbsp roasted pin nuts
Handful of pomegranate seeds
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and black Pepper
2 Tbs NOMU pistachio and sumac dukkah
For the yoghurt:
A small pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 3 tbs of hot water
180g Greek yoghurt (I used plain)
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 ½ Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs Olive oil
For the sauce :
Whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth sauce. Season with salt to taste and put in the fridge to chill.
For the salad:
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Brush the aubergines with olive oil and place on a baking tray. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally until the aubergines are golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Arrange on a serving plater and arrange the basil, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts over the top before drizzling with the yoghurt sauce and sprinkling with the dukkah.
A wonderful combination of flavours and perfect as part of a mezze platter.
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