Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Watch out, it's the tahini mousse!

It's the accidental discoveries that make pottering in the kitchen a sight more rewarding than feeling your synapses slowly dissolve as you watch another episode of Strictly Come Boredom. Here's my latest incidental dish - tahini mousse. What began as an asian salad dressing morphed, through a slight misjudging of measures, into the fluffy, delicate and playful cousin of that vegan staple, houmous. It was served up last night with a similarly asian-inspired chick pea salad, a green salad and some crusty bread.

Tahini mousse ingredients:

2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
Juice of a lemon
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp water
Dash of soya sauce
Dash of mirin or tsp of sugar


First of all crush and then finely chopped the garlic. Top tip on garlic that I learned from a tutor at the Vegetarian Society cookery school called Ursula Ferrigno, is that it likes to get crushed first, chopped later. Then lightly fry the garlic in half the olive oil, which I find takes the edge off and sweetens it a little. Then add this, plus all the other ingredients barring the water, into a small food blender. Blend it for a minute or so, and then start adding the water, bit by bit, until the mixture in the blender is light and comes up to a fluffy little point if you stick your finger into it. Not hugely hygienic that last bit, but if you're cooking for family and haven't just changed a nappy, I reckon it's ok.

Slightly asian chick pea salad ingredients:

2 peeled carrots
Tin chick peas
Juice two limes
Tbsp fresh coriander
Tbsp sesame oil
Cup of soy-toasted sunflower seeds

First of all toast the sunflower seeds. To do this put a good couple of handfuls of them into a frying pan, without oil, and then start to toast them on a low to medium heat. As they start to brown, hurl in a few dashes of soya sauce, preferably tamari if you have it, and continue to toast, stirring steadily to mix the soya sauce through. Continue for a couple of minutes and then leave to one side. As they cool down, they'll crisp up, and make a really good snack with beer, if you're not about to mix them into another dish.

Peel and finely chop the carrots, rinse the chick peas, and then turn through in a bowl with the lime juice,  coriander and sesame oil. Then at the last minute introduce the seeds, this stops the salad dressing taking a bit of their crunchy edge off.

To serve:

Last night we had the mousse above and the chick pea salad with a mixture of watercress, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cucumber all from those lovely people at Riverford, who leave a box of veggie goodies on our doorstep every week. Yum.

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