Bread, Growing things, Salads, Soups, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Snacks

Palestinian Za’atar Flatbreads, served with a simple vegan mezze. § Growing Thyme…and other perennial herbs

vegan middle eastern style mezze

 

It’s been mild this November, and my collection of perennial herbs on the allotment is still looking fresh.

 

 

I picked a bunch of Rosemary, Sage, Winter Savoury, Oregano and Thyme.

Many herbs are very simple to grow successfully, even in pots.  They are forgiving, and giving…they accept neglect and continue to provide beautiful, fragrant, interesting flavours throughout the seasons.

Pick up a healthy small plant at a garden centre, or a garden market stall, pot on into a slightly bigger pot, using compost and soil, or plant it straight in the ground, (remembering that not all herbs are hardy).  If you keep herbs in a pot, water regularly, but sparingly.  Some herbs are regarded as annuals but many will go on year after year.  Growing herbs is an economical way of having herbs in your kitchen all year round.

Herbs have many medicinal powers as well as culinary uses.

Thyme can be infused as a tea (with a little agave) as a cough remedy.

Today I’m offering a recipe using fresh Oregano and Thyme, both herbs grow wild on the hills in Mediterranean countries.  I remember driving through Greek Mountains with the heady fragrance of Thyme and Oregano coming in through the open windows with the warm breeze.  Intoxicating.

common thyme

Za’atar Flatbreads are an everyday bread eaten in many Middle Eastern Countries.

Here is my take on a Palestinian style flatbread…..

Za’atar flatbreads, served with hummus, vegan cheese and olives, rocket, radishes, tomatoes and spring onions, and a hot spicy lentil and tomato soup.

4 servings   Continue reading “Palestinian Za’atar Flatbreads, served with a simple vegan mezze. § Growing Thyme…and other perennial herbs”

Bread, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Snacks

Rye Sourdough Loaf with vegan baked cashew cream cheese and pickles

rye bread+baked cashew cream cheese with pickled cucumber and fresh tomatoes

This platter makes me think of a New York Deli,  and with a jar of crunchy pickles from Poland.  Just a fantastic combination…..

First of all I made a rye and spelt (50/50) sourdough loaf.

round rye sourdough loaf

I used the same procedures as I’ve laid out in a previous post:

Adventures with Sourdough:

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Spelt Sourdough

(click on image for link)

 

Ingredients for a 50/50 rye/spelt loaf:   Continue reading “Rye Sourdough Loaf with vegan baked cashew cream cheese and pickles”

Vegan, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Snacks

Tomato Skins…lol… #wastenot

What to do with tomato skins and a simple recipe for tomato and peppercorn cashew cream cheese.

This is a slightly odd one so I’ll keep it short!  Ideally you need a dehydrator and a decent spice grinder, but you can try it on the lowest possible oven setting, and grind with a pestle and mortar.  You also need enough tomato skins to make it worth the faff!

I grow tomatoes.  If you want to grow one thing, make it tomatoes.  You don’t need much space, they will grow very happily in pots and hanging baskets on a sunny patio, and while they need reasonable and consistent attention, it isn’t rocket science.

You won’t regret growing tomatoes because they always taste so much better than any you buy in the supermarkets.  Always.

To grow them, you need to do two things, google ‘grow tomatoes’, and investigate varieties for taste and size. I’m still exploring varieties, this year I grew Marmande Beef Tomatoes, and Black Cherry tomatoes.  My salad tomatoes got the blight.  However, I have had baskets of tomatoes on the kitchen table for over three months, and everyone tends to pop the cherry tomatoes in their mouths like candy.

I make passata to freeze, which is where this blog post comes in.

I personally don’t happen to like tomato skins in my passata and asian tomato sauces, so to make Mediterranean style sauces I either roast the tomatoes in a big roasting pan covered in foil, and remove the skins when they’re soft, before whizzing the pulp in the blender, or I blanche them in boiling water for ten minutes, and skin them before chopping and freezing for Asian dishes.  I’ve probably got about a dozen packs of tomato based sauces in the freezer now that autumn’s here….

So.  Call me mad, but I collected the tomato skins all summer long, and added  them to a bag and froze them.

Now the tomatoes are all gone, (and dearly missed they are too), I have retrieved my collection of tomato skins, defrosted them, laid them out on a parchment sheet on a baking tray and put them in the oven on the lowest setting for an hour.  Once they were less soggy, I transferred them to my dehydrator, again on parchment-lined trays, and set the dehydrator temperature at 40C.

If you dry vegetables at too high a temperature, they are liable to lose flavour.

When the skins were completely dry, (36-48 hours), I ground them into a powder which will keep for a couple of months in an airtight storage jar.
Tip: Once ground, if the powder is still even a little bit moist, put it back in the dehydrator (spread out on the parchment-lined trays) and give it another
blast for a few hours at 40C.

The powder can be added to anything that requires a tomato hit: sauces, soups, veggie stock powder, vegan cashew cream cheese, pizza……or anything else you can think of.

And that’s what you can do with tomato skins! #wastenot

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A recipe for dreamy cashew cream cheese coated in tomato powder.   Continue reading “Tomato Skins…lol… #wastenot”