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'Ras el hanout' Sunflower Seed Spread

Living in a country where there is commonly only one big meal a day is both fantastic and challenging. Fantastic because my body has never felt better, in Canada often I would have a sugary breakfast, a biggish lunch and a really big supper. Add to that the sugary drinks and many, many fried foods my body was at best exhausted from all the mess that went into it.

Now, I wake up have a nice slice or two of fresh bio bread with a nut spread and when possible cheese and then in the evening something very similar. So it's important that there are variation other wise it can be very boring. And that's the challenging part, there are lots of pre-made spreads but it's not hard to make your own and the variations that you can do are only limited by your imagination.

So here's my Ras el Hanout sunflower seed spread.

Ras el hanout is a spice mix consisting of: cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. Now the mix I use doesn't have chili peppers as my wife is allergic. But more or less the same. It is a spice mix from north Africa specifically Morocco. And I use it a lot.

You need the following things

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Splash of wine, veggie stock or ...

1 apple, peeled and shredded

1 cupish of sunflower seeds

Olive Oil (or even better good quality sunflower oil)

Salt and Pepper

Lemon Juice.

1ish tsp of Ras el hanout (or curry or anything else you want)

1/2 tsp of cumin powder (I love me some cumin)

Caramelized Onion

1. On low/medium heat when pan is hot add about 2tbsp of Oil

2. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic and stir fairly consistently

3. Onion will start to brown, if your pan is too hot and it looks like it going to burn, add a bit of water and lower the temp.

4. Remember you are caramelizing the onion not simply frying, so take your time and make sure that you aren't crowding the pan

5. When the onions start to brown, splash in the wine/stock.

6. Don't let the onion get to brown, there is a very fine line between perfectly caramelized and burnt and it's better to err on the side of not perfectly caramelized then burnt. Burnt=Bad

Now, before I get to the actually spread there are a few things to go over. First, adjust seasoning to you specifically. The lemon juice adds a bit of a freshness and cuts through the creaminess of the spread, but don't over do it, a little can go a long way. Don't squeeze the shredded apples, you want that juice. And the biggest part, the seeds. If you soak the seeds overnight or for at least 5-6 hours and drain them, you are going to get a completely creamy spread; however, if you are like me and like some texture soak the seeds for 1 hourish ( I did mine for 20 min) it will still be spreadable but there is still some structure (which I like)


1. Add seeds (drained well of any water), onion/garlic mixture, apple, lemon juice, spices, salt and pepper, 1tbsp of oil in to a food processor or mixer of some sort "blender" and blend until desired consistency and taste. Adjust seasoning and blend more. If it's too thick simply add a bit of water until you get the consistency you like.

Remember, it is easier to add salt and spices a little at a time then to try and take them out, so have some patience with this.

And that's it. Simple. And the great thing is, it is completely flexible. Adjust the seasoning to your preference, skip apple or caramelized onion, just remember start with sunflower seeds and a food processor and start slow adding desired spice and moister step by step.


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