Pomegranate molasses are syrupy, sweet and sharp. Adding a drizzle to all sorts of meat or vegetable dishes is a way of injecting this welcome sweet-sharp note into the dish. Adding it to a marinade or the base of a slow-cooked stew is also a very good way to create a sweet and sticky coating.
This tahini comes from a small business in Nazareth, Northern Israel, run by an Arab family. The tahini is considered by many to be the best in the country. It is made in a traditional method using natural ingredients and best quality sesame seeds sourced in Ethiopia. Tahini is in many of the recipes in SIMPLE, enriching the topping for a lamb bake, for example, drizzled lightly over some poached fish or made into a green sauce to be served alongside roasted veg. Kosher.
Black garlic cloves have a wonderfully concentrated flavour: liquorice-allsort-meets-balsamic-wine-gum. The cloves start off as like regular white garlic cloves which are then treated over a long period and allowed to ferment. If white garlic can be harsh (and make your breath smell) then these black cloves are the very opposite: mellow, sweet and umami-rich.
Harissa is a wonderful North African chilli paste, made distinct by the 40-or-so herbs and spices mixed in with the chillies. The difference between harissa and rose harissa is the addition of the rose petals in the latter: they bring a special sweetness to the paste and soften the kick of the chilli.
Chopping up the skin of a preserved lemon and adding it to a dish or dressing brings a real pop of citrus flavour. It’s used throughout the recipes in SIMPLE, cutting through earthy beetroot, for example, or keeping things vibrant in an otherwise comforting dish of braised leeks and eggs.
Za’atar is the green powder made from dried and ground za’atar leaves, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. The leaves have a distinctive, savoury aroma and their flavour is complex. A pinch sprinkled on top of various meat, fish or vegetable recipes or mixed with oil and drizzled over a dish can absolutely transform it. It’s also great sprinkled over all legume-based spreads.
Sumac is the deep red ground spice made from the dried and crushed berries of the sumac shrub. The flavour is astringent and citrusy and the spice can be sprinkled over all sorts of dishes. Eggs are a classic pairing but it works just as well with all sorts of grilled meat, fish and vegetables. Sumac tends to be seen in a savoury context but it can also work in sweet dishes such as sumac-roasted strawberries in SIMPLE.
Ground cardamom brings an aromatic and distinctive sweetness to all sorts of desserts and savoury dishes. It’s there in the soba noodles in SIMPLE, for example, and in the salsa to go with the pan-fried mackerel.
These are all about flavour – smoky and almost chocolate-like – rather than heat so you can really be liberal with what they’re sprinkled over. Scrambled eggs, avocado on toast, in a cheese sandwich.
These dried berries are great to have in your cupboard. They have an acidic tang which sweeter currants don’t and work well through all sorts of fritters, frittatas, omelettes and rice-based salads.