Posts Tagged ‘Mezze’

Avocado & Broad Bean Mash

This makes a nice light starter to share with some crusty bread, crackers or breadsticks.

Wine Suggestion: Rosé because it matches the mood and season, and also because a good, dry, rosé is both refreshing and a good match for food. Today it was the Ch de la Negly “les Terrasses” from the Languedoc.

Avocado & broad bean mash – serves 4

  • 250g podded broad beans, fresh or frozen
  • a large avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
  • a lemon, finely shave with a peeler to get one long strip of zest, then juice to give 1 ½ tbsp
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced

Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and blanch the beans for 2 minutes, then drain, run under cold water and drain again. Remove the skin from the beans and discard, they should pop off easily. Set 50g of beans aside and put the rest into a food processor with the avocado, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of oil and ¼ tsp salt, then whizz until almost smooth.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a small frying pan, then gently fry the scallions and lemon skin for a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved broad beans and a pinch of salt.

Check the the avocado and broad bean mixture for seasoning then spread over a plate, making a rim around the edge. Spoon the spring onion mix into the middle just before serving.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)


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Marinated Piquillo peppers

So easy to prepare, but the real key is getting top quality roasted peppers. If you can find Navarrico Piquillo peppers from Spain then rejoice. They are expensive but the tin is jammed full so you will get several tasty dishes out of it.

Wine Suggestion: This dish works great with an extra dry and savoury Sherry and our pick is a dry Amontillado which is salty, savoury, nutty and yet with super low acidity it is a perfect balance to the sweet, smokey and piquant peppers.

Pimientos del piquillo aliñados (Marinated piquillo peppers) – serves 4

  • 225g piquillo peppers (see above)
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Drain the peppers and either leave whole or tear roughly. Toss with the rest of the ingredients, season with sea salt and black pepper, and leave to allow the flavours to come together for 30 minutes or so.

(Original recipe from Moro: The Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)


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We love and are fascinated by the spices, flavours and textures of the Middle East and Africa and this dish captures all of this perfectly. The spices match the freshness  and zing of lemon, the lamb contrasts with the smooth hummus and some crisp flatbreads give crunch and texture.  The freshness of the herbs balance the warming spices to produce a pleasant mix of warm and cool ingredients, still comforting despite the crisp autumn evening.

A meal in itself or a wonderful mezze / starter to share.

Wine Suggestion: We’d drink a white that has texture and freshness but not too crisp or conversely heavy. The Pinot Blancs from Alsace fit the bill perfectly as they have a bit of perfume and hints of spice as well as attractive light stone fruit flavours.

Hummus kawarma with lemon sauce – to serve 6

  • 1 quantity of hummus (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in the oven or fried in a small amount of unsalted butter

For the kawarma (lamb)

  • 300g neck fillet of lamb, finely chopped by hand
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried za’atar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the lemon sauce 

  • 10g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt

To make the kawarma, put all the ingredients apart from the butter and oil in a bowl. Mix well, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour.

Just before cooking the meat, combine all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the meat in 2-3 batches and stir-fry for a couple of minutes per batch (the meat should be slightly pink).

Divide the hummus between 6 serving dishes and spoon the warm kawarma over the top. Drizzle over plenty of lemon sauce and garnish with some more parsley and the pine nuts.

Basic Hummus – to serve 6

  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 270g light tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100ml ice cold water
  • salt

Wash the chickpeas well and put into a large bowl. Cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.

Drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan on a high heat and add the chickpeas and the bicarbonate of soda. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add 1.5 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and skins, for between 20 and 40 minutes or until very tender (you should be able to crush them between your thumb and finger but they should not be mushy).

Drain the chickpeas and put in a food processor. Process to a stiff paste; then, with the machine running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1½ tsp salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and mix for about 5 minutes or until you get a very smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming. Rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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One of those dishes that was even better than expected.We served this with lamb chops with seven spices but it would make a nice mezze dish or a side for any grilled fish or meat.

Giant Couscous & Chickpea Salad – to serve between 4 & 6

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 120g giant couscous
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Heat the oven to 200ºC/Fan 180ºC/Gas 6.

Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until soft.

Pour the vegetable stock into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the couscous and simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender (check it as it may not take the full 10 minutes). Strain, tip into a bowl and add the chickpeas.

Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the spices and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and stir the spiced onion into the couscous and chickpea mixture.

Add the coriander, parsley, and roasted tomatoes, and season well with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon, 2012.)

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Such a good recipe for hummus we couldn’t stop eating it and had to make another batch! Once you’ve bought the tahini you may as well use it up.

  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • best extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted

Drain the chickpeas, keeping 50ml of the juices from the tin, and rinse.

Put the chickpeas into a food processor, add the garlic cloves and tahini, and process for a few minutes.

Add the reserved can juices, then half the lemon juice and the sea salt, and process until smooth.

Taste and add some more lemon juice, if you like.

Scrape the hummus into a dish, drizzle generously with your best olive oil, sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, and serve as a starter, with  breadsticks and crudités for pack lunch, or with a selection of other mezze dishes.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon 2012.)

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