For me, birthdays are definitely something to be celebrated. As one gets older though, the celebration is a double-edged sword. Whilst I’m happy to celebrate the occasion, I’m not so fond of acknowledging (or should I say ignoring?) some of the other physical or mental aspects that come with another year. But whilst I breathe and remain in good health, I have something to celebrate, so I will.
I was planning on sharing my birthday cake with you (the recipe that is, the cake is all but gone) but running two chocolate posts consecutively at this time of year seemed like over indulgence, even to me. So here’s one of the dishes served at my birthday lunch last Sunday (yes, I was almost a Christmas baby).
If you’re very lucky (like me) you may just have received Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi as a Christmas present (mine was a birthday gift).
Although I had a small box of za’atar spice, it was past the sniff-by test. So I quickly threw some spices and herbs together using this Internet recipe as inspiration. It’s worth making fresh as the smell and taste is far superior than the bought blend. I had no fresh oregano so substituted fresh thyme, which I finely chopped and added to the spices. Coincidentally that same night, I watched Jamie Oliver’s American road trip programme. Jamie was in New York making za’atar with an Egyptian chef and I noticed the ingredients differed slightly again. That made me feel better.
Inhaling the spice gave me a real zing so I was not at all surprised when the dish turned out to be my favourite of the day. I just loved that the tahini dressing, za’atar and toasted pine nuts not only made the roasted vegetables look exotic, they tasted sensational too. And this is just the first recipe I’ve tried. More please...
I served the pine nuts on the side as my daughter has a nut allergy.
For the recipe, click this link to the original recipe on The Guardian website.
One last thought – I can’t believe I’m writing a blog post on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas!