Here Zoe will take you through the ingredients for her fattoush salad with a homemade labneh. You will be introduced to the key ingredients for this homemade soft cheese, as well as some of the most iconic spices from across the Fertile Crescent. You will then move onto the components for some easy preserved lemons - the perfect Israeli larder ingredient. Using salt to mellow out their bold, tart flavour, while reinforcing the citrus essence of the fruit, middle eastern chefs have been holding onto this secret weapon for too long!
Specialist ingredients of the week
A bit about the specialist ingredients
Sumac - instantly recognisable by its deep red colour, this spice is made from dried berries. It possesses a distinct tartness and can even be used to replace lemon or lime. It features heavily in the spice markets of Tel Aviv and is a food influence from the Middle East. The word sumac comes from 'summaq' which means dark red in Aramaic - an ancient language from a region of Syria. It's not just popular with cooks though. From the Roman Emperor Nero's physician to indigenous North Americans, throughout history sumac has been used to treat a variety of ailments such as coughs or stomach aches.
Dried Za'atar - A blend of herbs (traditionally including wild hyssop), sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. This spice mix was once mainly used in Arab bakeries but is now common in Israeli cuisine. It is a blend that has also been used for its health benefits throughout history. Wild hyssop was in danger of extinction after mass-harvesting so was placed on Israel's list of protected plants, a controversial move for the land's residents who have used the plant for centuries in their food and so, along with hummus, has become a symbol of cultural conflict.
Nut Mix (pine nuts, pistachio, almonds, cashews) - in the Arab world nuts come with a lot of cultural traditions and customs, for example, traditionally it is seen as polite for hosts to greet their guests with a bowl of mixed nuts. The mix provided is a balance of flavour profiles from the fatty richness of cashews to the fruity crunch of the almonds.
Ingredients You Need
Lemon Paste (pre-prep)