It's the little things that make cooking fun, right? The way a little work here, a little more there, a bit on the weekend or when you get home at night, can turn good eating into something great.
Zoe came bearing gifts when last in town, a jar of her beautiful kimchi each (above) for both Gill and I. Under instruction into the fridge it went to mature, but the immature person inside me simply could not wait, so two days later it was open and by the end of that weekend, was gone. I was rationing as best I could, but Peter and I went crazy-nuts for it. Head over heels. Madness.
I asked for the recipe and, being the kind soul that she is, Zoe posted it for all to see. The thing is, that it's one of those lovely pottering kitchen tasks, not difficult, one that you can work around other things you do. The kind that, as above, make cooking interesting, give heft and oomph to the food you present your people. For me the hijiki is key, short, noodle-like strands of black wending their way through a mixture of fine pickled vegetables. Good with absolutely everything. (Obviously...)
Last night I made a boring - so - meal into something rather better by making up a little jar of something else that's new to me. I bought Alice Hart's Vegetarian when I needed cheering up, wanted something pretty to help me see the good things again. (Did the trick, by the way.) Her tahini seeds are excellent crumbled over the top of almost anything I suspect - much like Zoe's kimchi.
alice hart's tahini seeds
Heat the oven to 200 C (400 F). Spread 200g (2 or 3 huge handfuls, that is) of mixed seeds onto a baking sheet. Toast for 5 mins. Whisk 2 tablespoons of tahini with 1 tablespoon of runny honey, a little crushed garlic and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. I reckon you could add some spice and maybe a splash of something salty, too. Tip the hot seeds into the bowl, coat well, and spread out on the same tray with the back of a spoon. Back into the oven for 5 mins. Cool, then break up. Keep in a tightly lidded jar. Try not to eat too many. Hard, but do.