The weather is changing, my heart is lifting with it and my thoughts are turning to entertaining. Well, actually, they’ve already turned that way since I had my London Loop companions round last night and some of my Antic Disposition chums round two weeks ago. I suppose what I mean is that I’ve started thinking more about things to nibble with drinks on a terrace in the sunshine…and dukka (sometimes spelt dukkah) is one of the simplest yet most satisfying. It will transport you to another country even when you are still in N7.
There are tons of recipes for it out there but I find I always turn back to HFW’s; it’s the easiest recipe I’ve found, with the shortest list of ingredients and it never disappoints. However, dukka, a bit like pesto or granola, is quite a personal taste so it’s one of those things that’s ripe for tweaking: add more salt, different nuts, different herbs to make it yours. Add some good bread and oil, dip the first in the second then in the dukka and you have an exotic nibble made from ingredients available in the least exotic of places. Fabulous, I discovered last night, with a rosewater gin fizz…
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s dukka (adapted from River Cottage Every Day)
Makes a cereal bowl-full (it keeps well for a couple of weeks in an airtight container)
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
sea salt, ½ tsp
good olive oil, to serve
hazelnuts, a handful
cumin seeds, ½ tbsp
coriander seeds, 1 tbsp
sesame seeds, 2 tbsp
dried chilli flakes, ½ tsp (or one small dried chilli, chopped up small)
fresh mint leaves, a small handful
bread, to serve
You will also need a mini food processor (a large one won’t be as effective with this small quantity)/hand-blender or a good pestle and mortar.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C/gas 4.
2. Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes (and it really is only 5 minutes) until they are just golden and smell toasty.
3. Remove the nuts from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel for a minute or so. Then rub them with the towel and their skins should just flake off. Put in the food processor or pestle and mortar.
4. Dry-fry the cumin and coriander seeds in a frying pan until you can smell them; this won’t take more than about a minute. Put in the food processor or pestle and mortar with the nuts.
5. Toast the sesame seeds in the same frying pan, until golden, watching them carefully since they will burn very quickly. Add to the nuts and spices.
6. Add the chilli and salt to the processor/pestle and whizz/bash the mixture until just broken up. You want texture not powder.
7. Finely shred the mint leaves, stir into the mixture, taste to see if it needs more salt then serve with bread and oil.