dukkah crusted game image


I was, as part of the blogger contingent made privy to the results of the second annual Global Flavo(u)r Forecast from spice and flavour masters McCormick and wrote about my conversation with their kitchen head Mark Garcia, here.

In addition to the 5 Big Trends, identified for 2013 and listed below, I discussed my reluctance for the sometimes flippant term ‘trends’ especially in relation to food and asked Mark about global concerns such as obesity and healthy eating, hunger and abusing traditional foods in the name of experimentation. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that post, if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

The 2013 Flavor Forecast

McCormick’s focus (this year) is on five larger themes, and this is the second global flavour forecast they have produced. There are no directives re specific cuisines being ‘in’ or ‘out’ but rather a goal with each theme and specific flavour profiles to highlight the trend.

    • NO APOLOGIES NECESSARY  Diving headfirst into sumptuous flavors to
      enjoy the gratification of a momentary escape. eg Decadent Bitter Chocolate, Sweet Basil & Passion Fruit. Black Rum, Charred Orange & Allspice
    • PERSONALLY HANDCRAFTED  A hands-on approach to showcasing the
      very best of ourselves. Cider, Sage & Molasses – rustic comfort. Smoked tomato, rosemary, chilli peppers in a homemade tomato sauce
    • EMPOWERED EATING  Creating health and wellness harmony through
      a highly personalized, flexible approach. Farro grain, Blackberry & Clove. Fresh Broccoli & Dukkah
    • HIDDEN POTENTIAL   A waste-not mentality, uncovering the fullest.
      flavors from every last part of the ingredient. Hearty meat cuts, Plantain & Stick Cinnamon. Artichoke, Paprika & Hazelnut
    • GLOBAL MY WAY  Discovering the unlimited flavor possibilities
      of global ingredients, beyond traditional roles in “ethnic” cuisines. Mexican Cajeta (caramel sauce) with Anise for savoury applications. Japanese Katsu sauce & Oregano


image courtesy of the Kitchn

image courtesy of the Kitchn

Dukkah is an Egyptian spice and nut blend (usually made of hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios along with seeds such as coriander, sesame and cumin as well as pepper, chilli flakes and salt.) The combinations can vary and usually dukkah is served alongside a bowl of good extra virgin olive or argan oil – to dip and coat chunks of bread. It’s also good mixed in spinach salads and as a coating for fish and chicken.

I’ve been enjoying dukkah since I first spotted it in the grocery stores when I was a student. I have a particular recollection of a really good one made by NoMu – a luxury purchase in those days, it came in a tin can. I think it’s still packaged that way, but these days I make my own. It’s really simple to do so.

McCormick published a set of recipes along with the Flavour Forecast and dukkah features strongly, it is positioned under the trend ‘Empowered Eating’ as a way to flavourfully enhance less exciting vegetables. My recipe of dukkah crusted ostrich is a cross between Empowered Eating and Global My Way – ostrich meat is indigenous to our parts, lean and excellent as part of a healthy eating programme. Like all game, it should be cooked on high heat for the briefest of time.

I paired the ostrich with seasonal asparagus served with a dollop of saffron cream and herby couscous with slices of Turkish apricot – flavours of Africa and the Middle East mingling in one wholesome, healthy dish.


ostrich meat grilled



Serves 4

400 g ostrich fillets (or game meat)

2 T olive oil, plus extra for frying

salt, to taste

300 g asparagus, steamed, blanched and set aside

For the Saffron Cream

2-3 shallots, diced

2 T butter

150 ml thick cream

5-6 strands saffron

salt, to taste

For the Dukkah

50 g hazlenuts

1/2 t ground cumin seeds

1/2 t ground coriander seeds

2 t sesame seeds

salt and white pepper, to taste

For the Couscous

250 ml dried couscous

250 ml stock (very hot, freshly boiled kettle)

1/3 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

5 dried Turkish apricots, sliced


1. Prepare the ostrich fillets to the size you want, pat dry with paper towel, brush with olive oil, cover and set aside.

2. Prepare the dukkah by toasting the hazelnuts and sesame seeds in a dry pan on the stove on medium heat until they just start to colour.  Remove from stove. Pound the hazelnuts in a pestle and mortar until most nuts resemble breadcrumbs, with some nubbly bits. Add remaining ingredients and crush for 30 seconds to mix. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, add the couscous and pour the hot stock over. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove cling film, use a fork to fluff up the grains, taste and adjust seasoning. Add herbs and apricots and mix. Set aside.

4. Prepare the saffron cream by frying the shallots in the butter, with a teaspoon of olive oil, in a small pot until very soft and translucent. Lower heat if the shallots start to brown, keep stirring. Add the cream, salt and saffron. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve and set sauce aside.

5. Heat a teflon coated pan on the stove to high. Dip the olive oil dipped ostrich fillets in dukkah. Coat well on both sides. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sear the ostrich for 30-40 seconds a side (more if you prefer a less rare piece of meat, and depending on the thickness of the fillet).

Serve ostrich with couscous, asparagus with the saffron cream and a sprinkle of sea salt, if you like.



dukkah crusted game


*I will be remunerated by McCormick for my time and any future posts relating to the Flavour Forecast*

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