fresh herbs

Israeli salad with a green herb tahini dressing

25th September 2012

just because…

Because it has been far too long since I last posted here and although I have missed it,  my mind has been full up and spilling over.  So I stop and start in this space, reluctantly abandoning it, vowing to come back later when the flow is complete and coherent.

And now…

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Since our move here, there has been chaos and calmness. There has been rough winds and still days, and finally, it has settled, and that sense of quiet inside has returned.

After my first two weeks in Portugal, one of the many things I missed from Israel was the wonderful salads, loaded with a freshly chopped mixture of raw vegetables, doused in good-quality olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and the typical Israeli vibrant-green flourish of fresh herbs.  Served with hummus, sourdough bread and good olive oil,  it makes a wonderful bowl of raw, earthy goodness for brunch, lunch or dinner.

I make this salad in Summer when I am able to pick small crunchy, cucumbers straight from the garden, a few sun-warmed tomatoes and handfuls of freshly picked herbs.  It is important for the vegetables to be fresh, ripe and flavoursome.

Israeli salad with a green herb tahini dressing

Serves 4 – 6

You can use any vegetables you have on hand or in season, as long as they are fresh and finely chopped.  Add a handful of toasted nuts and seeds or crumble in salty dry feta cheese.  Use whatever herbs inspire you – parsley, thyme, dill, tarragon, mint or coriander, or a combination of all.

ingredients 

1 medium fennel bulb

1 medium carrot

4 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (don’t use big cucumbers)

8 small cherry tomatoes

1 cup small bitter leaves

¼ cup fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, dill and/or mint), finely chopped

a few glugs of good quality cold-pressed olive oil

1 Tbsp za´atar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

preparation

1.  Prepare the vegetables, slice the base off the fennel and remove the first fibrous outer leaf, then cut the bulb in half lengthways, place each half, cut side down and cut lengthways into fine shards – the slices should be almost paper-thin (a mandoline slicer is useful for this.) Peel and chop all remaining vegetables into the tiniest cubes you can manage – approx 3-mm cubes.

2.  Mix all vegetables, leaves and herbs in a large, earthy salad bowl, drizzle with a good quality cold-pressed olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the za´atar – set aside while you make the tahini dressing.

GREEN HERB TAHINI DRESSING

Inspired by Whole Food Cooking Every Day.

ingredients

½ cup/115g tahini  (I prefer the hulled lighter tahini)

½ cup/100g water

2 Tbsp/25g lemon juice

¼ tsp fine rock salt

1 cup/30g fresh parsley leaves

1 cup/30g fresh coriander leaves

½ cup/6g fresh mint leaves

preparation

1.  Combine the tahini, water, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process until you have a consistency that is pourable, adding extra water if you need.

2.  Add the parsley, coriander and mint and process again until the herbs are broken done. Taste, add lemon or salt if needed.

When serving, allow each individual to pour the dressing over their serving of salad.

Lovely served with oven-baked crunchy pita’s, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with za´atar.

Goodness shared from Stacey

green split pea & carrot soup

24th April 2011

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green split pea & carrot soup

Inspired by warm days and chilly evenings.

Sometimes I add ½ tablespoon curry powder and ½ cup coconut milk and replace the dill with fresh coriander – this is also a really nice combination.

ingredients 

1 cup dried green split pea, soaked overnight

3 medium carrots, roughly chopped

4 cups water

½ cup frozen green peas

handful fresh dill and parsley

salt and pepper

drizzling of olive oil/ghee

preparation 

1.  In a soup pot, place the rinsed green split peas, carrots and 4 cups of water/stock, bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the peas are soft.

2.  If you have freshly picked peas or frozen add these to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes – turn off the heat and add the fresh herbs.

3.  With a hand blender, roughly puree the soup until the desired texture is achieved.  At this stage, I tend to add a little more water, but be careful as you don’t want the soup to be too watery.

4.  Taste the soup, and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.

When serving, drizzle a little olive oil/ghee over the soup.

Goodness inspired from Stacey

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