sesame cake (vegan)

27th January 2021

“This cake gets a double dose of sesame, with tahini and sesame seeds in the batter and lots of crunchy sesame seeds to coat the pan, too” – Yossy Arefi. 

It’s simple to make as it only uses one bowl. To ensure even mixing, use the edge of a whisk to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. For best results, make sure you use a traditional brand of tahini that is runny and smooth. I like baking this in an 8-inch square pan to be cut into tidy squares for gifting to friends.

~ holy basil

~ holy Brahmin cow

~ frangipani tree

~ offerings

sesame cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 35 – 40 minutes

Serves 10 – 12 (9 cupcakes)

Recipe is slightly adapted from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi.


6 Tbsp/50g sesame seeds (a combination of black and white is nice) – divided

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed

¾ cup/170g oat/almond milk

¾ cup/150g plus 1 Tbsp light brown/blond sugar – divided

½ cup/120g smooth runny tahini, well stirred

¼ cup/50g neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ tsp fine rock salt

1¼ cups/160g all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cardamom powder (freshly ground)

dried rose petals (optional)


1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Oil a sheet of parchment paper and line it in an 8-inch square baking pan, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons sesame seeds on the bottom and 1 inch up the sides.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and milk, allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add the sugar, tahini, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

3. Add the flour, 3 Tbsp of sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom. Whisk until well combined and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the lined pan, gently tap on the counter to release air bubbles, and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and sesame seeds on top.

5. Bake until golden and a tester comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before serving; otherwise, it may crumble. It’s optional to sprinkle with rose petals when serving.

flavour variations

peach and raspberry sesame cake: Slice 1 small pitted peach over the top, scatter ½ cup/70g fresh raspberries over the top, then sprinkle with sugar and sesame seeds.

date and sesame cake: Fold ½ cup chopped date into the batter.

use another pan

loaf: Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (45 mins)

round: Bake in a 9-inch round pan. (35 – 40 mins)

cupcakes: 9 cupcakes, bake 25 – 30 mins (1 ½ recipe = 14 cupcakes)

salted tahini caramel balls (vegan)

9th October 2020

These lovely luxurious bite-sized balls of salted tahini caramel are so satisfying after a meal.  They are covered in a simple sweet maple glaze with equal amounts of maple syrup and coconut oil. When the cold balls get dipped into the glaze it instantly hardens creating magic!

VIOLAS in the garden, add them to salads, desserts, or fruit. They happily self-sow and despite their delicate appearance, violas are fairly robust.  Sow early spring, then again in late summer, to ensure violas throughout the winter.

salted tahini caramel balls

Inspired by this recipe.

Makes 15 small balls

dough ingredients

⅔ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

⅔ cup/130g Medjool dates (approx 7 dates)

⅓ cup/80g tahini

⅛ tsp fine rock salt

⅓ cup/50g TOASTED pistachio or almonds

glaze ingredients

2 Tbsp/30g coconut oil

2 Tbsp/35g maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract


1. Make the dough: place the coconut, dates, tahini, and salt in a food processor or high-speed blender for 1 minute, scraping down the sides halfway through. Add the toasted nuts and blitz 3 – 4 times until well incorporated. If the dough is still too crumbly to form into balls, depending on the quality of your tahini, add 1 tablespoon of water.

2. Roll into balls, approximately 20g each; you should have 15 balls. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, make the glaze: melt the coconut oil on low heat, turn off the heat, and then whisk in the syrup and vanilla. It will combine into a thin caramel consistency. Set aside for 30 minutes.

4. Once the balls are frozen, take them out of the freezer. The balls must be icy to help the glaze harden. Place a toothpick in each ball and dip into the glaze; place on a cardboard box until the glaze hardens. Whisk the glaze each time before dipping the balls. Once set, re-dip them until the glaze is used up. Towards the end, you may need to place the glazed balls back in the freezer for 15 minutes and heat the glaze slightly again, then continue re-dipping.

5. The balls can be kept in the fridge for 10 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.

zesty turmeric tahini dressing

2nd March 2020

I like to serve this sauce over sauteed broccolini or roasted vegetables. Any leftovers gets drizzled over leafy green salads or scooped up with home-made bread.

~Kasbah Bab Ourika, Atlas Mountains, Morroco~

zesty turmeric tahini dressing

Recipe from Amy Chaplin’s – Whole Food Cooking Every Day.

makes 1½ cups

preparation time – 15 minutes


½ cup/115g tahini

½ cup/100g water

2 Tbsp/22g olive oil

2 Tbsp/25g freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp fine rock salt, plus more to taste

one 4-inch(10cm)/30g piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated (2½ Tbsp)

¼ cup/60g freshly squeezed orange juice

2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

¼ tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste


1.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

2.  Taste and adjust the salt and cayenne to taste.

The colour intensifies as it sits!

Use immediately, or store the sauce in the fridge for up to 2 – 3  days. Bring to room temperature before using and add water or orange juice to thin if needed.


  • If using a high-speed blender, there is no need to grate the turmeric, just roughly chop. Pit the dates and add whole to the blender.
  • If you have particular runny tahini, reduce the water by half and add more as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

5 ingredient almond & tahini cookies (vegan)

17th October 2018

Deliciously moor-ish satisfying cookies that are chewy on the inside (due to the fluid stretchy nature of tahini) and crispy, crumbly on the outside (due to the almond meal).

~the relief and release of autumn

5 ingredient almond & tahini cookies

Makes 12 cookies

Recipe from Cook Republic.

I have written this recipe as-is from the link above, as most people preferred them that way.  My son and I needed more sweet, so the second and third time I baked these –

  • I added 2 Tablespoons(35g) of light brown sugar and found them just right in balancing the bitterness of the tahini.


2 cups/225g almond meal

¾ cup/200g tahini paste

½ cup/130g maple syrup

½ tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

chopped pistachio, almonds or sesame – to garnish


1.  Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Place the tahini, maple syrup, salt and vanilla in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly until smooth and blended. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes.

3.  Add the almond meal to the tahini mixture and mix until a rough dough forms. Let sit for a few minutes for the dough to come together.

4.  Roll 2 tablespoons of the dough in the palm of your hand into a ball. (My dough was quite oily due to the runny tahini I used).  Place on the prepared tray and garnish the cookies by gently pressing the nuts or seeds on top with your fingertips. 

5.  Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. Switch off the oven and let the cookies brown slightly in the hot oven for another 5 minutes before removing. Cool on wire racks.

to note

  • If wanting to use unrefined brown sugar instead of the maple syrup, dissolve ½ cup sugar in ½ cup hot water and proceed with the recipe or for less sweet, ¼ cup sugar – ¼ cup water.
  • Use a traditional brand of Tahini which is runny and smooth.
  • Almond meal is finely ground almonds. I grind whole almonds in my food processor or vita-mix.

anne’s magical sesame-tahini-ginger dressing

18th February 2018

Our Christmas and New Year were spent up in the beautiful, snowy mountains of Boulder, visiting our oldest and dearest friends. As soon as we arrived, a daily ritual was naturally established of cooking and sharing meals, morning and evening communing around a big table and warm fire. On these nights, Anne would arrive with a basket of organic salad greens, which she would chop up and serve drizzled with this magical tahini dressing.

This unique dressing adds a delicious splash of flavour to anything you put it on. Whenever I make it, it transports me to those special evenings shared with like-minded friends.

 Anne’s magical sesame-tahini-ginger dressing

Makes about 2 cups

I like to tear up some bitter-tasting leaves from the garden, add a sliced pear and a handful of nuts and seeds, and there’s a quick salad or steam some kale leaves, green beans or broccoli. For a more substantial meal, cook brown rice, roast some seasonal vegetables and drizzle over this dressing. It is guaranteed to add a bit of magic to any dish.


3 Tbsp/35g sesame seeds 

¼ cup/60g white miso

½ cup/115g hulled tahini

1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

2 Tbsp /40g honey or agave

zest from half a lemon

2Tbsp/25g fresh lemon juice

1-inch/25g grated ginger

2 Tbsp/20g raw apple cider vinegar

½ tsp flaked dulse (optional)

½ cup/100g water

¼ cup/45g olive oil


1.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, lightly toast the sesame seeds until they start popping, and keep toasting for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside for the seeds to cool.

2.  In a medium jar, place the miso and tahini, stir well until pasty and incorporated, and stir in the sesame oil and honey.

3.  Remove the zest from half a lemon and squeeze the lemon juice into the jar; add the grated ginger, apple cider vinegar and, if using, the dulse flakes. Stir well, adding the water until the dressing comes together.

4.  Add the toasted sesame seeds and pour in the olive oil; whisk until smooth and creamy.

5.  Taste and adjust the seasonings until you have a pleasing balance of fat and acid. The ideal consistency is pouring cream; stir in some water or oil until it runs easily off a spoon.

Goodness shared by Stacey

raw halva

7th February 2015


unexpected magic


in unexpected places…

raw halva

Makes 20 -25 pieces.

Original recipe found here.

Use raw organic nuts and seeds that have not been roasted.  When buying sesame seeds, purchase the tan ones as opposed to the white. The white ones are hulled, and may even be bleached.  It’s the hull that keeps the oil inside from becoming rancid.


½ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ tsp vanilla essence

¼ tsp cinnamon powder

tsp rock salt

3 Tbsp tahini

3 Tbsp thick honey

¼ cup pistachios, chopped


1.  Process the sesame and sunflower seeds in a high-speed blender or food processor until you have a coarse mixture.  It’s important not to over-grind, otherwise, the halva will be too moist and affects the final result.

2.  Pour the seed mixture into a medium bowl, add the cinnamon and salt – mix well.

3.  Combine the tahini, honey and vanilla and add to the seed mixture – combine using your hands. If the mixture is not sticking together, add an extra half tablespoon of honey.

4.  Add the pistachios until well incorporated. Form into your desired shapes by firmly pressing the mixture into a round tablespoon measure, flattening with a knife, and tapping them gently on a board until they pop out.  After the first one, dip the spoon into a bowl of sesame seeds. This leaves them with a flat bottom and a gently decorated sesame-seeded dome top. Perfect little bite-size pieces!


Goodness shared by Stacey

sesame lemon biscotti (vegan)

7th March 2014


This is a gift to you – a celebration of sunshine, the hint of spring approaching, the lingering scent of jasmine and just the gratefulness of life.

Kristin made these while she was here attending another magical retreat with our teachers.  She made them to send back with a friend, who was returning to India.  They were discovered in a book called, “The Healthy Hedonist” by Myra Kornfield.  I wasn’t sure whether to call them biscotti, as I changed the recipe a little and choose not to bake them a second time.  They were so tasty and perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with just first baking, that it seemed a shame to meddle in that perfection.




sesame lemon biscotti

Makes about 24 cookies


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup hulled tahini

½ cup maple syrup

grated zest from 1 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch rock salt

½ cup ground almonds

1 cup Spelt flour (I used half white and half whole)

¼ cup sesame seeds


1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180 C.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, tahini, maple syrup, lemon zest, vanilla and salt until emulsified.

3.  Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir in the flour and the almonds until the dough is moistened and well combined – allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes.


4.  Spread the sesame seeds on a plate.  Divide the dough in half and using your hands, shape into a sort of long sausage.  The dough will be oily, but not sticky. Place onto the plate with the sesame seeds and sprinkle the seeds on top.

5.  Using a knife, cut into 1 cm slices rolling the sides just lightly in the sesame seeds.   Don’t worry about how they look as they shape up beautifully when baked.  As you cut, place onto the baking sheet, leaving 2-inches between each biscuit.  Repeat with the second half of the dough.

6.  Bake until the top is starting to brown, 15 – 20 minutes.  Rotating the trays halfway through baking.

This makes a biscuit which is crunchy on the outside and soft in the centre.  If you would like them to be more traditionally biscotti, allow to cool after the first baking, and bake for a further 15 minutes.


Goodness shared from Stacey & Donna

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…


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.


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


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.


Inspired by Whole Food Cooking Every Day.


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


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

sesame-seeded carrot cake

1st April 2011

I know there are many carrot cake recipes out there, but what makes this one special is the nutty addition of raw tahini and the sesame seeds encased all around it.  I have been baking it in two loaf pans, each measuring 22 x 12 cm.  One for us, and the other as a surprise gift for a dear friend or neighbour, to find on their table when they arrive home.

I keep little bits of paper everywhere.  It can drive me a bit crazy at times.  It always seems messy and when I need a certain piece of paper, a book I wanted to order, a poem I found inspiring, things to be done in the garden, messages to pass on to friends, a magical sentence that the children said or a wonderful recipe to try, I can never find them when I need them!  This is what happened to this cake recipe.  To find this little piece of paper scribbled on the back of an envelope took me forever. It somehow found its way into my garden seed box! Pure luck that I stumbled upon it.

It was first made for me by my next-door neighbour, Michal, and I quickly scribbled the recipe down and sort of forgot about it until Anna turned up with this same cake on my doorstep.  As a must-try, of course.  She had taken this cake to another level as she always does, and prepared it so the whole cake was encased with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, top to bottom and all four sides.

This little cake deserves a viewing of my favourite tea corner in the garden.  This is where I sit in the morning after the frenzy of morning duties in getting everyone out the door, and here I sit again in the late afternoon watching the kingfishers swoop down to scoop up a snail or a fat worm.  This is where I sit and take in the sweet smells of blossoming Spring.  At the moment the garden is heavy with the scent of white jasmine and almost overtaken with rambling nasturtiums.  This is a place where I can watch things grow, a place to tend and nurture, to taste and smell, and most importantly to connect me with that flame of existence.  A place where I can sit quietly and listen to the busy buzzing of the bees, the songs of the birds, and grab a moment to take in this secret space of my garden, filling me with a sense of peace and warmness that envelops my whole being.

So please enjoy, and bake this to take to your favourite tea corner in your house or garden.

sesame-seeded carrot cake

Makes 2 loaves


½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 Tbsp cinnamon powder

1 Tbsp ground Allspice

1½ cups dark brown sugar

¾ cup canola oil/coconut oil

4 eggs

¾ cup raw tahini

2½ cups grated carrot – three medium carrots

1½ cups roughly chopped walnuts

½ cup unhulled sesame seeds


1.  Set the oven to 180C/350F and lightly butter two 22cm loaf pans, then gently sprinkle the sesame seeds along the sides and bottom of the pans, leaving enough sesame seeds to sprinkle over the top of the two cakes before baking.

2.  Sift together the flour, bicarbonate soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt.

3.  Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer/hand beater until a creamy consistency, then add the eggs and tahini and mix again.

4.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

5.  Add the grated carrots and the chopped nuts to the mixture, using a spatula, fold them into the batter until all ingredients are combined well.

6.  Divide the mixture between the two loaf pans, sprinkle over the remaining sesame seeds and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.  Test with a skewer for doneness.  The cakes should be moist, but not sticky. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for a good 10 minutes before turning them out of their pans.

Goodness shared from Stacey

tahini baked cauliflower with lemon & tomato

30th January 2011


I arrived back from India, content and complete, with a heart full of beautiful and profound teachings from my teacher and the gentle presence of like-minded friends.  I was excited to come home to see my garden.  I arrived home in the early, early morning and walked out along the paths, the stones crunching under my feet, taking in the shadows and the beautiful, white heads of the cauliflowers glowing under the full moon.  At this time in the morning,  this little garden is eerie but breathtakingly quiet, so beautiful and at peace.  Still sleeping.

Being away from my garden for 3 weeks, I came back to a beautiful, abundant, green vegetable forest.  This was due to all the wonderful rain we had received and the blanket of leaves and mulch I had laid down to keep the weeds at bay.  There were long, crisp leaves of lettuce, some blousey and soft, some crisp and long, and others loose and jagged.  The frilly leaves of the kale, sweet peas’ tendrils reaching up to the moon, the frilled edges of the cabbage leaves sparkling with dew and the wildly, rambling nasturtiums and these enormous cauliflowers.


tahini baked cauliflower with lemon & tomato

With all that choice of wonderful produce, the cauliflowers were the pick for my first dish.  I love preparing it this way as it feels like I stay true to its essence. The tahini sauce becomes creamy and smooth, complementing the soft, melting flesh of the cauliflower and it is a wonderful, dairy-free meal. Recipe from Sher.

Preparation time – 50 minutes

Serves 4


1 whole/650g cauliflower 

½ cup tahini, diluted with 1 cup water, to a pouring consistency

1 – 2 large ripe tomato

generous drizzling of olive oil

juice of half a lemon

sea salt & freshly ground pepper

a handful of fresh coriander, parsley & arugula leaves

to serve

brown rice

soothing tovve


1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Remove the thicker stalks of the cauliflower and break the florets into smaller pieces – steam for 8 minutes until slightly tender then transfer to a baking dish.

3.  Pour the tahini into a bowl, and whisk in the water, beginning with a smaller amount – the mixture will stiffen up.  Gradually add the rest of the water, until the sauce has the consistency of thick cream, you may need to add more water.

4.  Pour the tahini sauce evenly over the cauliflower, allowing it to drizzle down over the florets.

5.  Place in the oven, and roast for 30 – 40 minutes, until tender and lightly brown.

6.  Remove from the oven, using your hands squeeze the tomato over the top, allowing the seeds and juices to flavour the cauliflower, break up the bigger pieces with your fingers.

7.  Squeeze over the lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with sea salt and a good helping of freshly ground pepper.  Garnish with fresh coriander, parsley and arugula leaves.


Goodness shared from Stacey

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