By now you'll probably have noticed I made a little change. Bidding farewell to Encounter, The Botanical Kitchen has blossomed in its place. Much to the chagrin of my loved ones for endlessly bearing my hesitation and unease I knew from first thought that this new name was ideal. Beginning Encounter I sought non-description, I was preoccupied by my thoughts and ideas for travel, design and food. I felt too uncertain to commit to a direction and too unsure in myself to know what I truly wanted. It seems to be the thread of a common story nowadays; uncertainty. Although this was once considered the hallmark of my generation (twenty-somethings who are just now coming into their own), I feel like it's also crept into the lives of so many more. Whether it be the emergence of a digital era or the possibilities of entrepreneurship; I've always felt a real sense of overwhelm behind that sea of optimism and opportunity. Perhaps it's simply my easily distracted mind but when you want to make the best in this world where do you put down roots to make that happen and how do you know what's the right move. These are all rhetorical questions of course, we all make our way blindly, fingers crossed; the important thing as I'm coming to realise is making good of the time in between. For me in only this short while I've come to recognise my inherent yearning to create beautifully assembled and crafted meals and to reflect that insight The Botanical Kitchen felt right.
Botanical means of, pertaining to, made from or containing plants and it whole-heartedly represents where I want to take my plate. I find the textures, shades and abundance of local produce intoxicating, it's an irrational thrill and to be able to share that seems like the ultimate privilege. So I hope you like it and if you'd like to read more visit this page. But without anymore ado onto this glorious tahini dressing I've been holding out on.
It takes no time at all and its incredibly versatile, making a wonderful addition to any number of plates. Depending on the amount of water you add, a thick blend can stand in as a condiment for vegetables or flat bread; an addition to mezze-style dishes or even as a spread on toast with banana. On the other hand thinning the mixture creates a creamy dressing for salads or grains and a lovely drizzle for soups and stews.
Tahini Dressing / Makes approx. 250mL/ 1 cup/ 8.5 ounces
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup peanuts
1 clove of garlic
A pinch of chilli
Salt and pepper
2 - 6 tbsp of water
Using a skillet over medium heat toast the sesame seeds for 4 - 5 minutes or until golden brown. Set these aside and repeat the process with the peanuts. It best to toast each separately to ensure you don't overdo one or the other. Combine all the ingredients and 2 tablespoons of water in a high speed blender and pulse until they come together in a smooth paste. Add an additional tablespoon of water one at a time and blend further until you reach a desired consistency.
Seasonal guide / temperate climates
Sesame seeds are grown and harvested throughout different regions depending on the season making them a relatively annual crop. It's best to be mindful of where they come from though and buy organic as much as possible as those destined for packaged products can be bleached. As always produce other than local is also best consumed in moderation.
Sesame seed is considered to be the oldest known oilseed crop, indeed their history as medicine dates back thousands of years to antiquity. Grounding the toasted seeds creates a paste known as tahini which is a stable of much Middle Eastern fare. Sesame oil is relatively stable and has a high level of natural antioxidants, though these are all best kept in the refrigerator to prevent oxidisation and spoilage.
Falafel, eggs, asparagus, tomato, toasted rye