Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 4 ounces/113 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters tahini, well stirred
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/150 grams all-purpose flour, or matzo cake meal (See tip)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¾ cups/230 grams chocolate chips or chunks, bittersweet or semisweet
  •  Flaky salt, like fleur de sel or Maldon
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, tahini and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and continue mixing at medium speed for another 5 minutes.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl and mix with a fork. Add flour mixture to butter mixture at low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in chocolate chips. Dough will be soft, not stiff. Refrigerate at least 12 hours; this ensures tender cookies.
  3. When ready to bake, heat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat. Use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to form dough into 12 to 18 balls.
  4. Place the cookies on the baking sheet at least 3 inches apart to allow them to spread. Bake 13 to 16 minutes until just golden brown around the edges but still pale in the middle to make thick, soft cookies. As cookies come out of the oven, sprinkle sparsely with salt. Let cool at least 20 minutes on a rack.
8 tablespoons (115g, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120ml) tahini, well stirred
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (90g) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cup plus 2 tablespoons (150g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups (280g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, tahini, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy. (The dough can also be made in a large mixing bowl, stirred with a spatula.)
2. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Add the egg, the yolk, and vanilla, and continue to mix for another minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl during mixing, to make sure the eggs are getting incorporated.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and kosher or sea salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined, then add the chocolate chips. Do not overmix. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
5. Form the cookies into rounds using an ice cream scoop, or your hands. For small cookies make each 1 1/2-inch (3,5cm), for larger cookies, make them 2-inches (5cm) round. Place them evenly spaced on the baking sheets, 3-inches (8cm) apart). Bake one sheet at a time, so you can keep an eye on them, in the middle rack of the oven.
6. Bake the cookies, turning the baking sheet in the oven midway during baking, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges but still pale in the center. For small cookies, about 12 minutes, for larger cookies, about 14 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle cookies with a bit of flaky sea salt, and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. Bake the remaining cookies the same way.

Storage: These cookies will keep for two or three days at room temperature, but are definitely better the same day they’re baked. The unbaked dough can be refrigerated for up to one week, and frozen for up to two months.

African Meatballs

TOMATO SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1  finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • small amount of beef stock

FOR THE MEATBALLS

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cubed day-old firm white bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 500g mince
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped spring/red onion
  • flour, for dusting

Make the sauce:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add onion and cook without browning until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon and stir well to incorporate.
  4. Season generously with salt and pepper, and allow to sizzle for 1 minute more.
  5. Add tinned tomatoes and stock and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  6. May be made several hours in advance, up to a day.

Make the meatballs:

  1. Put bread cubes and milk in a small bowl. Leave bread to soak until softened, about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry.
  2. In a mixing bowl, put squeezed-out bread, mince and egg.
  3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, cloves, coriander and cumin. Mix well with hands to distribute seasoning.
  4. Add parsley, coriander and onion, and knead for a minute.
  5. (May be prepared several hours in advance, up to a day.)
  6. With hands, roll mixture into small round balls about the size of a quarter.
  7. Dust balls lightly with flour.
  8. roast the meatballs in the oven until crusty on the outside.
  9. Simmer meatballs in tomato sauce, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until tender.
  10. Serve with couscous.

Pear and Ginger cake

  • 200g soft butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g  flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 balls stem ginger in syrup, drained and chopped
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • handful of sultanas
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tsp spice (ginger / cinnamon / allspice etc)
  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
  2. chop the pear and mix with the sultanas, almonds, stem ginger and spices.
  3. Beat the butter and sugars together until pale,
  4. gradually stir in the eggs
  5. Fold the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into the mix,
  6. stir through the pear mixture
  7. Pour the mixture into the square silicone pan and smooth the surface,
  8. bake for 1 hr – 1 hr 10 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool in the tin.
  10. Serve warm with cream, or allow to cool completely.

Gingerbread Men

  • 140g butter
  • 100g dark sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 balls stem ginger, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  2. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan.
  3. Mix flour, soda, spices and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
  4. Stir in the butter mix and chopped ginger to make a stiff-ish dough.
  5. chill in the fridge for 5 minutes
  6. make sure it’s at room temperature, then roll out dough to about 5mm thick.
  7. Stamp out gingerbread men, re-rolling and pressing the trimmings back together and rolling again.
  8. Bake for 10/11 mins until golden and still a little soft in the middle
  9. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks.

Chickpea Curry

  • 1 chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 jars chickpeas
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  1. Blitz chilli, garlic, ginger and onion.
  2. Fry the onion mixture, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add coriander, cumin and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and salt, simmer for 4 mins
  5. Add chickpeas and garam masala, simmer, covered for 5 minutes

Miso baked fish

  • 2 cod / mackeral / Melva / Bonito / fish fillets (around 150g each)
  • 2 tbsp shiro miso
  • 1 tbsp mirin / rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or ketjup manis
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 30g fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 spring onions / 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • Handful fresh coriander finely chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6.
  2. Mix together the miso, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a ramekin
  3. Lay each piece of fish on a piece of foil large enough to enclose it, then spoon half the miso mix on top of each.
  4. Add the onions and coriander, then tightly seal to make parcels.
  5. Put the parcels into  the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Unwrap the parcels, lift out the contents and serve the fish. Add lime wedges for squeezing.

good with noodle salad: cooked soba noodles mixed (while warm) with julienne carrots / onions / peppers / garlic, soy sauce or ketjup manis, sesame oil other dressings.

Chestnut and Cranberry stuffing

  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 50ml port
  • 1 onion chopped
  • pack of bacon bits
  • 50g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 450g sausagemeat
  • 140g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 140g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  1. Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour.
  2. fry the bacon bits until crispy, then add the butter and the onion until soft.
  3. Add the garlic until soft.
  4. Cool slightly, then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind
  5. fry small bit to check seasoning.
  6. Bake at 190C for about 40 minutes, until browned and cooked right through

Oat muffins

  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp pollen
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4tbsp yoghurt (almost entire pot)
  • 1 egg`
  • 1/4 cup chopped chocolate / dried fruit
  1. Heat oven to 180C

  2. Mix well – oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, yoghurt, egg and honey
  4. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate/fruit.
  6. Let batter stand at least 5 minutes for oats to absorb some liquid.
  7. Pour batter into muffin cups, filling 3/4 way. (makes tray of 6 plus about 3)
  8. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean, about 17 minutes.
  9. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 days.