Alex's book of recipes


Egyptian spice and nut garnish.


70g hazelnuts, with their skins

2 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp dry green peppercorns (or white, as an alternative)

3 tbsp coriander seeds

1½ tbsp sesame seeds

½ tsp nigella seeds

½ tsp flaked sea salt

1 tsp paprika


Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan). Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for 20m. Add the sunflower seeds to the tray halfway through, keeping them separate from the nuts. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you toast the seeds.

Put a cast-iron pan on medium heat and leave for 5m to heat up well. Spread the fennel seeds inside and dry-roast them for 30s. Add the cumin seeds and cook for another 30s, or until they start to pop, then tip both into a little bowl. With the pan back on the heat, roast the peppercorns until they start to pop, about 30s, then transfer to a separate bowl. Cook the coriander seeds for up to 1m, until they start to pop, and tip into a third bowl. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sesame and nigella seeds together, stirring occasionally, until the sesame turns light brown, then remove from the pan.

Rub the hazelnuts between the palms of your hands to discard some of the skin. Use a pestle and mortar to chop them coarsely, then transfer to a medium bowl. Lightly crush the cumin and fennel seeds, and add to the hazelnuts. Repeat with the coriander seeds, followed by the peppercorns and then the sunflower seeds. Add these to the nut bowl, along with the sesame and nigella seeds, add salt and paprika, and mix well.


recipe from: 'Jerusalem' by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi