Thyme

Za'atar Spice Mix

I always find ancient rituals and practises so fascinating. Those special kind of recipes that have been handed down through the centuries... little traditions started by our ancestors so long ago.
Za'atar is one of those special traditions that traces far back in Middle Eastern cuisine. I'm sure that every country and family have their own unique version of this spice mix -  that's one of the things we love about it. But mainly, it's the flavour that we're obsessed with. This beautiful blend of herbs, sesame seeds and sumac is incredible sprinkled on top of so many dishes. It adds an extra twist of flavour and colour to even the simplest of meals - perfect for when you don't have much time. Try it on hummus, salad, soup, roasted vegetables or with olive oil as a dressing... there are endless possibilities for this tasty tradition! 

How to make Za'atar spice mix

Confusingly, Za'atar is also the name of a wild herb found in the Middle East, with a flavour somewhat similar to thyme. This is just a recipe for the spice mix, and doesn't require you to buy the wild herb!

If you aren't familiar with sumac, then we really recommend buying some. This ruby-red spice comes from a type of berry that grows in the mediterranean and middle east. It has a tangy, lemony flavour that tastes amazing and really enhances the za'atar mix. 

Ingredients
6 teaspoons of sesame seeds
4 teaspoons of sumac
4 teaspoons of oregano*
4 teaspoons of thyme*
a pinch of sea salt
*It's possible to use dried or fresh herbs, however you may find the mix lasts slightly longer using dried. 

Method
1. In a small pan, toast the sesame seeds until golden. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. 
2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. We like our za'atar to have more texture, so we just mix it together with a spoon...If you want a finer powder, feel free to grind the ingredients together using a pestle & mortar/processor. 
3. Once combined, place your mix in a jar and it's now ready to use! Store in a cool place and enjoy on your meals.

3 Pulse Stew with Sumac and Thyme

I remember when I first stopped eating meat, everyone under the sun wanted to know where I was getting all my protein, calcium, iron and all that jazz.

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Despite all the doubts for my survival, 5 years later I’m still breathing – and we both genuinely feel healthier and brighter with this conscious way of eating. Luckily for us, plant-based food has become more and more popular over the past few years. The raised eyebrows and invasive questions are less frequent occurrences, but we’re also quicker in our responses. And more importantly, in tune with what our bodies are in need of.

So in search of a dish that is high in protein but also incredibly delicious, Joe spontaneously created this fragrant 3 pulse stew with sumac, thyme and a precious mix of spices. With chickpeas and two types of lentils, this dish is perfectly rich and fulfilling for even the strictest of meat eaters. But it’s the blend of flavours that transform the stew into something special; with dried herbs, sweet cinnamon and lemony sumac combining to create a nourishing bowl of mini-heaven!

Ingredients

2 Medium Onions (Sliced)
5 Tomatoes (Diced)
2 sticks of celery (finely chopped)
200g of dried chickpeas (can be substituted with 1 tin of chickpeas – however these should be added in after the dish has been simmering for roughly 1 hour, or else they may break too easily)
3 tablespoons of split red lentils
3 tablespoons of whole green or brown lentils
5 gloves of garlic, crushed and chopped

A bundle or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of sumac
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 All spice berries
Sea salt to taste
Fresh Parsley to garnish

 Instructions 

1. If using dried chickpeas, soak them in water overnight with half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

2.In a large saucepan, cook down the onion and celery in plenty of olive oil or coconut oil. When the onions are just beginning to turn brown, add the spices to the pan and fry for roughly one minute.

3.Next, add the tomatoes, garlic and a large pinch of sea salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

4. Add your chickpeas and lentils to the pan, stirring well. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours with the lid on.

5.**While cooking, you will occasionally need to add more water to the pan as it gets absorbed by the lentils. We normally let the water cook off so that the stew catches slightly on the bottom of the pan, and then add in the extra water. We find this process really enhances the richness of the dish. **

6..The stew will be ready once the chickpeas become tender and you can mash them with a fork. The final dish should be saucy, but not with too much liquid. By now, it will smell amazing!

7. Before serving, garnish with a little dried oregano and plenty of fresh parsley.

8.Enjoy! We love to eat ours with polenta and dark greens.