Mezze Menu Inspiration

Just a short little post here for you guys, as I want to crack on and get this weeks interview ready for you!

I've been having a bit of a crummy time of late, including family bereavement and general life stress. Luckily I have some pretty awesome friends who are willing to come over and be fed whilst we hash out my problems.

I thought I would share with you the menu I whipped up the other night for my friend Amy, who in true top babe style came over at very short notice. I had most of the items needed for my "kind of hybrid Mezze Platter" dishes already, all I needed to get was the chicken and fresh mint!

Most of these dishes are middle eastern, barring the tikka chicken, and work really well as a sharing platter between two, or even more!

My Mezze Platter Menu

Pulled Chicken Tikka - I used chicken drumsticks, coated them in yogurt and tikka spice mix, roasted for an hour and a half on 160, then shredded.

Bulgar Wheat - Add a chicken stock cube for extra flavour

Baked Falafel -  used this BBC recipe which calls for baking, rather than frying, the falafel!

Fresh Mint and Yogurt Dip - Finely dice the mint and mix into natural yogurt

Shredded Slaw - Finely chop up white cabbage, carrots and onions, mix well and coat lightly in cider vinegar. Add some fresh coriander for a garnish!

Roasted Aubergines - I sliced up the aubergine, placed the slices on a grill tray and brushed on olive oil mixed with Za'tar, then grilled each side until blackened.

Let me know if you have any Mezze dish suggestions! I'm going to have to do this again on a grander scale and invite lots more people for sure.

Middle Eastern Bread with Za'atar Recipie

This is my version of Manakeesh, a popular Levantine food consisting of bread which is most commonly topped with Za'atar.

Yotam Ottolenghi describes za'atar as "A traditional spice blend from Palestine including dried thyme (za’atar) from the hills of Jenin in the north of the West Bank mixed with ground sesame seeds plus a touch of sumac, salt and vegetable oil. Perfect as a dip with Palestinian olive oil and freshly baked bread. This zesty seasoning is served at breakfast in many Middle Eastern countries – can be used with meat, fish, cheese, eggs or sprinkled on a pizza"

I first came across za'atar whilst in Israel and bought a jar back with me to experiment with back home. When mixed with olive oil, I would say that it is somewhat like pesto, with a wonderful savoury and salty taste.  It works perfectly as a topping on fleshly baked bread.

I managed to source it back in the UK in my local organic shop,

Aligator Wholefoods

.  I have also seen it in Fair Trade shops.

This recipe makes a small  round loaf, double all quantities for a larger one!

Ingredients

200g Strong Wholemeal Flour

A pinch of Salt

1tsp dried Coriander Leaf

1tsp dried Parsley

1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper

50ml warm Water (body temperature)

50ml warm Milk (again, body temperature)

1 sachet of Instant Yeast

1tsp Sugar or Honey

2tsp Za'atar

2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

1. Prepare the yeast by placing the warm water and milk in a small jug, then add the sugar and sprinkle with the yeast. Leave this for 10 minutes, until the yeast is thick and frothy.

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, herbs, salt and pepper.

3.. Slowly add the yeast mixture until a dough is formed (you may need to add a little extra warm water if the dough doesn't come together easily.) Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes.

 4. Shape the dough into a disk and place on a baking tray (I lined mine with foil.) Cover this with clingfilm and leave the dough in a warm place to rise for 1-1.5 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C, Mix together the za'atar and Olive Oil in a small bowl and spread on top of the dough.

6. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath. Serve warm with lashings of butter!