Middle Eastern Bread with Za'atar Recipie

This is my version of Manakeesh, a popular Levantine food consisting of bread which is most commonly topped with Za'atar.

Yotam Ottolenghi describes za'atar as "A traditional spice blend from Palestine including dried thyme (za’atar) from the hills of Jenin in the north of the West Bank mixed with ground sesame seeds plus a touch of sumac, salt and vegetable oil. Perfect as a dip with Palestinian olive oil and freshly baked bread. This zesty seasoning is served at breakfast in many Middle Eastern countries – can be used with meat, fish, cheese, eggs or sprinkled on a pizza"

I first came across za'atar whilst in Israel and bought a jar back with me to experiment with back home. When mixed with olive oil, I would say that it is somewhat like pesto, with a wonderful savoury and salty taste.  It works perfectly as a topping on fleshly baked bread.

I managed to source it back in the UK in my local organic shop,

Aligator Wholefoods

.  I have also seen it in Fair Trade shops.

This recipe makes a small  round loaf, double all quantities for a larger one!

Ingredients

200g Strong Wholemeal Flour

A pinch of Salt

1tsp dried Coriander Leaf

1tsp dried Parsley

1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper

50ml warm Water (body temperature)

50ml warm Milk (again, body temperature)

1 sachet of Instant Yeast

1tsp Sugar or Honey

2tsp Za'atar

2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

1. Prepare the yeast by placing the warm water and milk in a small jug, then add the sugar and sprinkle with the yeast. Leave this for 10 minutes, until the yeast is thick and frothy.

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, herbs, salt and pepper.

3.. Slowly add the yeast mixture until a dough is formed (you may need to add a little extra warm water if the dough doesn't come together easily.) Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes.

 4. Shape the dough into a disk and place on a baking tray (I lined mine with foil.) Cover this with clingfilm and leave the dough in a warm place to rise for 1-1.5 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C, Mix together the za'atar and Olive Oil in a small bowl and spread on top of the dough.

6. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath. Serve warm with lashings of butter!

Review: Sweet Freedom Choc Shot

Hot chocolate has always been one of my weaknesses, especially during the autumn when the nights are getting cooler and you need that warm comforting mug of something just before bed. I have recently been trying to overhaul my eating and really cut down on my sugar intake, something that threatened to put an end to my occasional chocolate treat.

However, fate was kindly to intervene when I spotted Sweet Freedom's new product, Choc Shot, on the shelf of my local supermarket! Having previously enjoyed using their range of natural sweeteners, I was keen to give this new product a go.

What Sweet Freedom say about Choc Shot:

  • 100% natural
  • Sweetened with our magic ingredient, award winning Sweet Freedom
  • Only 14 calories per teaspoon
  • Low GI / GL - no energy highs and lows
  • Suitable for diabetics as part of a healthy diet
  • NO artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives
  • GM & gluten free
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
  • Made in the UK

Ingredients

: Sweet Freedom® (natural fruit extracts; apples, grapes & carob), water, cocoa, rapeseed oil, natural chocolate flavour 

Price:

I believe I paid £2.99 for the bottle which is 320g (I am an idiot who looses receipts all the time)

My opinion:

I think the squeezy dispenser is a really good idea in general for hot chocolate, as you aren't fiddling about with trying to spoon lumps of powder. It also tastes very much like regular hot chocolate when put in milk, I personally use Almond milk as it imparts a nutty flavour.

I'm also currently trying to cut out gluten from my diet, (to see if it makes a difference in my general health) so the fact that it's gluten free is a real bonus!

What I think is the real USP of this product though is it's versatility, the packaging clearly encourages you to use it in milkshakes or as a chocolate sauce on ice creams and fruit. You can check out how I enjoyed my Choc Shot this morning at the end of this post!

If used in moderation, I think it's a great way of enjoying a treat!

I drizzled mine over my morning

Almond Pancakes

!