Freekeh, Wild Wheats & Ancient Grains are re-emerging from our historical, biblical and cultural past as the modern staples, in our quest for healthy eating. The lost crops have vanished from the ancient civilisations of forgotten eras, reappearing on the global culinary agenda as the nutritious grains that are to reenergise our palates, body and mind.
From a breadth of research in the fields of Northern Israel and years of cooking the green, unripe seeds of wheat, Ruth Nieman explores the traditional agricultural process of gleaning the wheat, roasting the husks on open fires and rubbing the skins to expose the nutty kernels, with the distinctive smokey flavour and delights the reader with innovative, contemporary recipes for the cracked wheat. Freekeh, Wild Wheat & Ancient Grains takes the reader to the foothills of Mount Hermon, where the wild wheat of Emmer was discovered in 1906, and into the biblical Judean hills where the domestication of einkorn, khorasan, spelt and other cereal grains was said to have taken place.
With reference to the Old Testament, historical culinary manuscripts and English literature together with a cornucopia of delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes, Freekeh, Wild Wheats & Ancient Grains; recipes for heathy eating will be published by Prospect Books on 9th September 2021 and available for pre-order now.
Freekeh takes its name from the Arabic verb ‘farik’, meaning to rub, the archaic process of gleaning this ancient, biblical grain, which remains an annual agricultural tradition across the Middle East.
Freekeh is harvested before the wheat is fully matured, and left to dry out in the sun, before the farmers roast the wheatsheaves on open fires of dry thorns in the fields. The blackened husks are then beaten and rubbed to remove the chaff from the fire, leaving seeds of green, with a distinctive smoky aroma. The wheat is coarsely cracked before use.
Freekeh is a nutrient rich, sustainable grain from our historical and biblical roots, which is re-emerging into our diets as a nourishing carbohydrate, connecting our ancient past to the culinary future.
Freekeh with Pinenuts
Freekeh is a cereal grain, harvested in the early Spring whilst the wholewheat grains are still soft, green and unripe. The nutritious carbohydrate is traditionally cooked in Arabic kitchens across the Levant, with gentle spicing and a rich chicken stock to make soups, salads and pilafs. This is a authentic recipe making a delicious accompaniment to meat and fish.
soak the freekeh in cold water for 5 minutes, drain & rinse under running water for a further 2 minutes, to remove any grit of chaff, drain well
place the olive oil in a saucepan & add the finely chopped onion, cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are beginning to soften & turn golden
add the freekeh & the spices to the onions & stir well to coat the grains with the spicy oil
add the stock, season well with salt & pepper & stir, bring up to the boil then reduce the heat & leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the stock has been absorbed & the freekeh still has a slight bite, remove from the heat, place a tight-fitting lid onto the saucepan and leave for 10 minutes to steam & soften the grains
place in a serving dish & add the toasted pinenuts & slithered almonds
When cooking in the Galilee with local women, I was given the tip of starting each cook by placing cold extra virgin olive oil into the pan together with the onion or other ingredients before turning on the heat, as this seals in extra flavour from the outset as they start cooking together.Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend of a number of warming spices including cumin, nutmeg and cloves with a kick of heat from black peppercorns. It pairs beautifully with grains, vegetables and meat and can be found on most supermarket shelves. Rich, flavoured stocks have traditionally been part of the Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries, usually made from whole chickens, water & aromats. The meat is then shredded and often added to the freekeh or burghul. Good quality stock pots can be substituted instead of homemade stock if you haven’t any on the go or in your freezer. Vegetable stock or boiling water can be used for non-meat eaters.
The 24th Gourmand World Cookbook Awards will take place from 3rd – 7th July 2019 in Macao in conjunction with the Beijing International Book Fair, with the focus of this year’s fair being Gastronomy. Macao is part of the UNESCO world network of creativity in Gastronomy, encouraging collaboration and peace universally through food.
At this year’s awards, The Galilean Kitchen a cookbook with a difference encompasses the diversity of cultural flavours and culinary influences from the Arabic communities of rural Galilee. Authored by Jewish food writer Ruth Nieman, her cookbook takes the reader on a journey from the land to the plate, through generations of recipes and stories of local, modest Druze, Christian, Muslim and Bedouin women, whose religious beliefs, eclectic tastes and passion for cooking is showcased through their delicious creations.
Through the cultural inclusiveness of Ruth’s writing and unique flavours of these communities homely dishes, The Galilean Kitchen caught the attention of the judges in the category of Culinary Tourism, winning not only the prize for Israel, but also being awarded a special prize for the Cookbook for Peace, which Ruth will collect at the awards ceremonies in Macao on 3rd and 4th July.
Chefs, food writers, authors and publishers will mingle at the Macao International Book Fair 2019 and with guests and dignitaries from over 60 countries attending, this is a true accolade for Ruth’s debut cookbook, which is currently available on the shelves of Waterstones and Independent Book Shops throughout the UK, Steimatsky’s and many cultural and tourist venues in Israel, as well as on line at Israel Good Food Guide and Amazon. All winners for Israel will be visited by Mrs Yael Lenga Ben-Hur, the Consul General of Israel in Hong Kong on 5th July
All winners for Israel will be visited by Mrs Yael Lenga Ben-Hur, the Consul General of Israel in Hong Kong on 5th July
On Saturday 10th March 2018, Ruth Nieman author of recently published The Galilean Kitchen, will be in Waterstones, Enfield promoting and signing first edition copies of her beautiful cookbook.
Full of cultural flavours from the Arabic communities of Northern Israel, together with personal stories from the local women whose recipes have been handed down through the generations, these recipes from an untapped Middle Eastern region are now available, for you to cook in your kitchens.
Mouth-watering treats from The Galilean Kitchen, including spiced biscuits known as Malateet, will be available to taste on the day, before trying to cook these delicious morsels for yourself.
With stunning photographs on each page and Mother’s Day fast approaching, this is an original and interesting present for any mum who not only loves to cook but also read about the culinary cultures of Druze, Muslims, Christians and Bedouins in this bountiful region.
Visit Waterstones, Enfield on Saturday 10th March & take a look inside The Galilean Kitchen …
Published just over a month ago by Flavoured Books, The Galilean Kitchen is already being well received online, through articles and book reviews in The Jerusalem Post and Hadassah magazine.
The focus of each article is on the cultural flavours that ooze out of the kitchens where Ruth Nieman, author of the cookbook, spent a year gleaning how to replicate these Arabic dishes, using authentic spice blends and fresh, seasonal, local produce.
“There are no cookbooks in these kitchens” Ruth tells both interviewers, “all the recipes are handed down through the generations and by adding a touch more za’atar, a pinch of baharat or an extra clove of garlic or two, the recipe becomes each cooks own”. Ruth then painstakingly deciphered the ‘handfuls’ into cups, grams or tablespoons and puts pen to paper, allowing the reader to create these delicious Middle Eastern recipes from the Druze, Muslim, Christian and Bedouin communities, in the comfort of their own kitchen.
Red Magazine has now published on line Amira’s Cauliflower Sinye from the cookbook as part of ‘Veganuary’ with social media feeds, trending about this comforting, vegan dish.
With beautiful, vibrant imagery throughout the book by photographer Neil Mercer from Kibbutz Tuval, The Galilean Kitchen holds its place on any kitchen shelf along side all Middle Eastern cookbooks and now is available to buy in Joseph’s Bookstore, Temple Fortunes, NW11 & Muswell Hill Bookshop, N10.
Warm up this winter with a hearty chicken, potato and garlic soup, from The Galilean Kitchen.
This fragrant soup, laced with medicinal spices and deep flavours of garlic and lemon juice, is a firm favourite from Nawal’s kitchen, where ‘shorba’ the Arabic name for soup is easy to make and deliciously satisfying to eat on a cold day.
Nawal’s Shorba (chicken, potato & garlic soup)
for basic broth
2 chicken breasts, chopped into large cubes
1 piece of ginger, peeled & sliced
3 –4 bayleaves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
11/2 litres cold water
1 teaspoon salt
for chicken, potato & garlic soup
2 large potatoes, peeled & cubed
6 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
3 lemons, juiced
11/2 tablespoons flour, mixed with 250mls water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baharat
1 teaspoon black pepper
place the chicken cubes, ginger, bayleaves, cardamom, salt & water in a saucepan & boil for 20-30 minutes to create flavour
add the potato cubes, lower the heat & simmer for a further 15 minutes
mix the flour & water into a paste & add to the broth & boil for 5 minutes to thicken the soup slightly, add the cumin & baharat & boil for a further 5 minutes
add the garlic & lemon juice, mix well & leave to simmer for 10 minutes to allow all the flavours to develop
pour into a serving bowl & sprinkle the teaspoon of black pepper on the top
For more delicious recipes, beautiful photographs and delightful stories from the women whose dishes are featured in The Galilean Kitchen, order your copy here…
This time last year, the groves of the Galilee began their annual production of organic olive oil and I started writing this beautiful cookbook, The Galilean Kitchen.
It has been a year in the making (involving lots of writing and LOTS of tasting) and it is with great excitement, I am proud to announce, that it is now ready to bring you the best of this lush region’s dishes, full of cultural flavours.
A cookbook with a difference, The Galilean Kitchen is full of recipes for family meals, using Middle Eastern staples, vegetables and spices, with each page containing tips and easy to find ingredients to cook these dishes in your own kitchen. It tells the stories of the women who have parted with their family recipes, as well as the regions seasonal produce.
First edition copies are now available to order here, and you can look forward to cooking from an untapped cuisine that is waiting to be unleashed into every kitchen and at the same time read about the culinary cultures of the region’s Arabic communities.
Within the rural region of the Galilee, home to a diverse ethnic population, culture and flavours mingle together in the local kitchens where traditional dishes are cooked. Through the eyes and palates of home cooks, The Galilean Kitchen will immerse you in authentic cooking from a social, cultural and culinary perspective, allowing you to re-create the delicious flavours in your own kitchens.
Inspired by my love of Middle Eastern food and the beautiful Galilee of Northern Israel, I am writing a book that enters into the untapped area of Druze villages, surrounded by olive and citrus groves and where with local seasonal produce alone, Sinye, Hubeza & F’tir are prepared from recipes that have been passed through the generations. Coupled with the stories of the local home cooks, their heritage and passion for food, The Galilean Kitchen will be a cookbook with a difference and one to look out for, when it reaches the shelves at the end of the year….
As part of the social element of this project, a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to raise funds for producing, publishing and distributing this beautiful cookbook, full of cultural flavours, whilst promoting a co-operation between the people of this area and discovering new culinary delights too….
Read our story and prepare yourself for a Galilean feast at: https://igg.me/at/TheGalileanKitchen