Freekeh has a nutty and slightly smoky taste and is particularly popular in the eastern Mediterranean region, although it can now be found on restaurant menus from London to New York.
SERVES: 4–6 people as a main dish
For the freekeh:
25ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons sea salt
150g Medjool dates
1 celery stalk, with greens
50g flat-leaf parsley
1 aci sivri (cayenne) pepper
1 small red onion
500g Greek yoghurt
For the dressing:
40 g (1½ oz) fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
30 ml date syrup, maple syrup or molasses
25ml lemon juice, plus extra to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
125ml olive oil
- Place freekeh in a bowl, cover with cold water and stir well with a spoon. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Then strain the freekeh through a sieve.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add the cumin and sauté. Add the freekeh and sauté briefly as well. Add 750 ml (26 fl oz) of water and the salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the freekeh is cooked but still al dente and the water has completely evaporated, around 15–20 minutes. Then leave to cool.
- Coarsely chop walnuts and pecans; pit and finely dice the dates. Finely dice the celery and chop the celery greens.
- Pluck the herb leaves from the stems and finely chop. Deseed the sivri pepper and slice into thin
strips. Peel the onion and finely dice. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the salad except
- For the dressing, peel the ginger and garlic and chop very finely or grate.
- Whisk together all ingredients except the oil. Pour in the oil slowly in a thin stream and whisk the dressing until it is thick. Pour over the salad and toss well. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.
To serve, spread the yoghurt on the plates, arrange the freekeh salad on top and drizzle with olive oil.
Extracted from Tel Aviv: Food. People. Stories. A Culinary Journey with NENI by Haya Molcho. Published by Murdoch Books, priced £25.
Food for thought:
Which cider you on?
Green & Pleasant are adding a delicious taste of summer to their traditional apple cider, with varieties now available in summer fruits and elderflower flavours. The original blend is made from 100 percent Herefordshire cider apples, with no formulas, chemicals, yeast or water added to the mix. Launching this week, the new flavours are available to buy online via Amazon and also to drink in-house at Mews of Mayfair. www.green-and-pleasant.com
Dukes London has put together a special vegan afternoon tea menu, to coincide with Afternoon Tea Week 2019, which begins on Monday. Priced at £35 per person, the menu features a selection of sandwiches, including mustard and apple slaw; grilled courgette and olive tapenade; hummus, cucumber and avocado; and vegan cheese and fig chutney. There is also a selection of vegan scones and pastries served with your choice of tea, every day from noon. www.dukeshotel.com
Herb your enthusiasm
New York Bakery Co. has just launched Tomato and Herb Bagel Thins into its range. Vegetarian and vegan-friendly, the bagels are free from artificial colours and flavours, and at just 117 calories per bagel are perfect for light lunches. Priced at £1 for a bag of four, the bagels are available at Asda, Ocado and Waitrose. www.newyorkbakeryco.com
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