Posts Tagged ‘sesame’

Halva Ice cream

I got this recipe from Raw Living by Kate Wood. I saw her recently on a homeschooling documentary I watched with Alfredo, and the subject of her 3 boys diets was touched upon- she is raising all 3 of her sons vegan, and predominantly on uncooked plant foods. While the interviewer was quite taken aback, she seemed more taken aback still when she asked one of the boys (aged six?) what his favourite food was and he replied without hesitation- “Corn salad! I eat it every day!” (Corn salad is “lambs lettuce”, a very mild green leaf, perfect for salads and green smoothies. And, gardeners, it thrives over winter,apparently)

So anyway, this is one of her recipes and I made it last night. YUM. Sesame seeds are packed full of calcium, PACKED. This is sweetened completely with dates (fibre, potassium and other trace minerals) but you could always add some honey or maple syrup at the end if you like it sweeter. If possible, for recipes where you are not heating, invest in good quality unpasteurised honey for maximum benefits. I have 2 half-built hives in my garage. I’m just saying.

  • 400 grams sesame seeds (soaked overnight)
  • 120 grams fresh dates (pitted) or dried, soaked overnight
  • 500 mls water (I found I needed considerably more with my blender, but add it bit by bit)
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1-2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Blend until it is a thick cream “until there are no seedy bits left” says Kate. I only soaked my seeds for 1-2 hours, so I could not get mine completely smooth and I doubt I ever would with my blender unless I used tahini. I also added a bit of honey at the end.

At this point, you can stir in 100grams of raisins and add to your ice cream maker, but last night was hectic and I didn’t even do that! (though I will, in summer!) It is delicious, and I am using it as a breakfast base, stirring in raisins, chopped banana, organic rolled oats, and eating it as is (maybe a bit of maple syrup got on top….)

Sorry, there is no photo, it just looked like a dodgy bowl of overnight oats but it tasted like sesame caramel heaven.

Happy Friday!

Wholewheat noodles with amazing 10 second sauce

A 3 ingredient sauce is always a winner for me. No-cook-just-mix-it-up? Even better. Wholesome ingredients? My joy is full.  Are you ready? It’s so easy.

Equal amounts of tahini, honey and soy sauce .

I did 1/8 cup of each, and it was enough for 2 large bowls of noodles.

(Optional extras for a hotter sauce are crushed root ginger/chilli/garlic.)

  • Cook your wholegrain noodles (be they wholewheat, brown rice noodles, buckwheat “soba” noodles, wholegrain spelt noodles, whatever….just go for unrefined 🙂 ) Blue Dragon do a wholewheat version. I got quite excited about that.
  • Meanwhile, briefly steam some broccoli and/or peas, or basically, anything green you like.
  • Spoon over some sauce. This sauce is salty-strong, so spoon some over, mix it through and taste before adding more.
  • Sprinkle with copious amounts of chopped spring onion and extra sesame seeds if desired.

GORGEOUS SAUCE!!! No photo. If you make it, take one and send it to me 🙂

This was a pilot version, tested on myself and Isaac, and I will definitely be trying this on the girls. I am thinking about trying a variation with almond or maybe even peanut butter though, as they deeply dislike sesame ( they have both tried it before they declared how gross it was, full marks!)  I am not sure they will like even a variation …..I struggle with food-picky children like the next parent, but I would love to get them enjoying new flavours.

The nights are closing in.

With one copious  lunch salad and a new wholegrain noodle dish under my belt, (literally)  I am about to put on my PJ’s , blitz some sesame seeds and cook myself  us up some tahini toffee. It just seems like the right thing to do.

Make your own tahini

Sesame seeds. A weeny 1/4 cup has 350mg of calcium, and processed into a paste -tahini- they are delicious in savoury dishes – (hummous, and salad dressings being the favourite) and sweet contexts like heavenly halva. Alternatively, tahini toffee anyone? (By the way it is believed by some, that some of the nutrients are made more available when the seed is ground. But don’t let that stop you sprinkling them on salads!)

Tahini is not normally on the shelves of your regular supermarkets, you have to scout out a healthfood store. But fear not! With a mini chopper or food processor, and about 10-12 minutes you can make your own. It is ridiculously easy to make.

You definitely need: Sesame seeds. A food processor

You may need, if desired: A pan. Vegetable oil or toasted sesame oil.

  • The first (optional) step is to lightly toast your seeds in a pan, (no oil needed) for a few minutes. This is not so much to bring out flavour (you may have noticed, they definitely have a strong enough flavour) but to speed up the releasing of the oils. That said, what’s the hurry?
  • Put your seeds into your food processor. I used 100grams. For a larger machine, you will need more, or the blades will never catch it once it begins to break down.
  • Process your seeds, stopping to scrape down the sides if needbe. This may take 6-9 minutes? I have no idea, as I had multiple interruptions of the cute two-legged-two-year-old kind.
  • If you feel you are almost there but not quite…and are impatient like me (Reminder note to self, Beth “What’s the hurry?”) …..droozle in a small amount of oil and process until smooth.

This keeps in the fridge for ages. Mine won’t though. I have some plans for it, involving honey.  (It’s not for me this time- I’m just sayin’.)


Sweet kale salad with pear and tahini dressing

Been eating a lot of tahini toffee lately, so it’s nice to package some tahini in a different way, more in keeping with the green backdrop on this site. But mainly, this was born because I opened the fridge and all I could see for a salad, which is what I fancied, was 3 handfuls of curly kale and  2 spring onions. It must be the Friday dearth again.

I chopped, not knowing how it would all end up. I threw in some raisins, because I love them in salads (I could never do that food combining malarkey. I love fruit in salads!) and suddenly, noticing my mountain of pears, I knew what needed to be done.

Pear and Tahini dressing

The only equipment that is (ever?) required is a mini chopper.

  • 1 ripe pear 
  • 1/2 tablespoon of tahini
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 1/2 a small avocado (See Rule #1: An Avocado Is never Out Of Place in a Salad)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sucanat (I was out of honey, and I cannot eat tahini unless it is combined with quite a lot of sweetness. I just put sugar on my brassica leaves. Is that right?  🙂  )

Blitz until smooth. Pour over your kale leaves and chopped spring onion, and raisins, and just to further offend the School of Never-eat-Fruit-with-other-Food-Groups, I chopped up another pear onto the salad, and a fig. Those 66 figs won’t eat themselves you know.

Mix well, slightly smushing the fruit into the salad as you mix. Ihere is no photo, my camera was dead. Imagine a bowl of curly kale with fruit all over, and a creamy green dressing. It was seriously delicious.

Isaac ate this with me. I mean, even the kale. All is well.


What is toffee doing on this website? It’s made of refined sugar and butter and cream (isn’t it?see, I don’t even know how you make it!) and everything inequivocably non-welcome on this recipe site celebrating unrefined, healthsome plant foods. But here it is. Quite frankly I am beyond excited by this discovery. Beyond!

So here’s the thing. I don’t have a precise recipe until I get myself a thermometer but let me tell you the story.Some good friends introduced us to a decadent treat from Holland and Barrett called Sunita Honey Halva which only contains….honey, and ground sesame paste (aka tahini). The texture was this crumbly cinder-toffee type wonder that I never thought I would eat with impunity again. If you like sesame (I love it!) please find yourself a H&B store immediately and buy a slab. It costs £1.20-odd. I wasn’t sent any samples for writing this. I wish. It’s amazing. I have made halva at home by blending tahini, honey and some sesame seeds, and refridgerating it, but it was the texture that totally blew me away.

So my friends Chris and Sarah who were the benefactors of this blessed product, also passed me the link to a website called Home made recipes– a blog of Lebanese recipes. He explains how to make it. It’s an approximate ratio of   2:1, honey to tahini, (in fact, slightly more honey) and it’s all about heating the honey to a certain temperature, mixing it with tahini, and then leaving it in the fridge for 36 hours and the honeys sugars crystallise in a certain way to create a crumbly-cum-melt-in-the-mouth texture.

 I whipped up a batch last night, bracing myself for the 36 hour wait. Except- I didn’t have a thermometer. I bought one a month ago to make alternative yogurts with, and foolishly left it- still in it’s Jiffy Bag (Ebay) on the side. Within 10 minutes of Thermometer Arrival, Ellie had smashed it on the kitchen floor, by accident. (She was so remorseful, bless her.)

I just decided to wing it, and see if I could work out what “soft ball” stage was by myself.

I couldn’t.

So I left it bubbling for a few minutes and then at no particular moment, mixed in the tahini and popped it in the fridge in a lined tupperware. I wondered if I could wait 36 hours, after having licked the spoon. I didn’t need to. 36 minutes later, it was rock hard, like toffee. I obviously really over-heated it. However, as I looked at this big golden slab, and broke off pieces by banging a knife on it with the back of a wooden spoon, I couldn’t believe that I was eating nothing but honey and tahini.

I was chewing on sesame toffee, containing only honey and sesame seeds. The texture and taste was amazing! Do you know what this means friends? You may not like tahini, but you could add other nut or seed butters in here. Peanut butter, almond butter, and a long etcetera. And most importantly, with a candy thermometer, you can get the exact temperature to achieve the exact texture you want- chewey fudge, crumbly cinder-toffee, hard caramel.Peanut butter fudge. Almond butter nougat.   You could add cocoa, or sprinkle nuts and raisins through it. My head is positively reeling  🙂 

One last word- don’t make this with quality honey from your farmers market; enjoy all that wonderful (and expensive) nutrition unheated. I shall return with more information on this at a later date. I think I shall order a thermometer on Ebay, and go and get my breakfast calcium. A kale smoothie and a piece of  tahini toffee.

Where do YOU get your calcium?

UPDATE: I have now made this several times, though still without a thermometer. Notes to bear in mind:
  • Have your tupperware lined and greased BEFORE you begin.
  • You can also sprinkly sesame seeds onto the bottom of your parchment paper, and then more on top, once the caramel is poured in. It makes it beautiful aswell as simply gosh-darn tasty.In a beautiful jar it would make a stunning gift for a sesame lover.
  • Gently warm your tahini in one small pot while your honey is heating in another.
  • I did not have my hob on full power- mine is a 1-5 setting, I had mine on 3.5.
  • Have a timer next to you and from the moment it begins to bubble nicely, time two minutes. Reduce 15-30 seconds for a slightly softer toffee.Personally I stir constantly to prevent patchy overheating- though I am no caramel expert. (With sugar, they say not to, I think).
  • Do not leave that pan, it can burn easily!
  • Remove from heat immediately after the two minutes, and stir in the tahini. It should be ready within 40 minutes of refridgeration.
  • Do not forget to scrape out the saucepan. I promise you will not regret it.
  • You will need a hammer and sharp knife to break it into small pieces for storage purposes, but when in mouth, it is pretty chewey almost immediately.
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