For a quick Lebanese dip, mix tahini with natural yoghurt, crushed garlic, salt and lemon juice. Mix together until thickened and serve with flat bread.
Adding a small amount of bicarbonate of soda to chickpeas when soaking will help to tenderise them.
Cooking dried beans or pulses
When cooking dried beans or pulses, don't add salt until they are tender. Salt toughens the skins and lengthens the cooking time.
Whole or ground spices can be toasted. While the toasting process is the same for both, ground spices may toast slightly faster than whole. Simply place a dry skillet over medium heat. When the pan gets hot, pour in the desired amount of spice.
How to store spices
Spices will generally be at their best for up to a month, if stored correctly. Store spices in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly.
Always fluff couscous with a fork, rather than a spoon, as this will keep the grains light and fluffy rather than stodgy.