I rocked up at Chorlton High School (which was a bit weird as I did my teacher training there) and all the other 'cooks' and I sat down and had a cuppa and a chat before getting started. I'd been really looking forward to Middle Eastern Spice - Bailey knows how much I love Middle Eastern food and how keen I am to learn how to use new ingredients. The words "Ottolenghi inspired" in the description had also filled me with excitement as he is one of my favourites and a real inspiration.
Leaving the dough to one side to give it time to rise, Wendy now showed us how to make her vegan Couscous Tabbouleh. I've made salads with couscous quite a few times before but never made a proper traditional beautiful, colourful tabbouleh so really enjoyed doing this. I also picked up quite a few good knife skills tips too which will of course be very useful to me in the future.
Next was the dish I'd been waiting for, the "Ottolenghi inspired" Fried Butterbeans with Sumac and Feta. This was surprisingly simple to make, nice and healthy as it's packed full of fresh veggies and also the first time I'd used sumac. It's a gorgeous looking dish and the smells going through the kitchen as these were on the hob were quite something.
By this time I was pretty excited about getting to the business of eating but we had the important matter of our flatbreads to deal with. We rolled out the dough and topped the flatbreads with a little Za'atar. Like the sumac I'd never used this before and I was really pleased to get the opportunity to familiarise myself with another new ingredient.
Once everything was ready came the sociable part of the evening - everyone sitting down and eating together. I liked this as I got to chat to all sorts of people all with the common interest of food and a few veggies and vegans too. All of the food was delicious and perfect preparation for the upcoming summer months of (hopefully) good weather and barbecues. I have a lot of veggie friends and a few vegans too and I know they will love having all of these as accompaniments to some nice meat free BBQ options.