Mezze platter

The best kind of food informal eating or good for the lunch box, here’s a party of many small foods that you can pick from or make them all. I’ve mixed up the cuisines a little here, with Mediterranean vegetables and middle Eastern grains and hummus-all you need to add is some olive, bread and wine.

Ingredients:

FOR THE TABBOULEH

100g/3 ½ oz heaped ½ cup bulgar wheat, rinsed

6 tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

4 spring onions/scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

1 large handful of flatleaf parsley leaves, chopped

1 handful of mint leaves, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE HUMMUS:

2 x 400g/14oz cans of chickpeas/garbanozos, drained, juice

About 3 tbsp tahini, juice of ½ -1 lemon

A couple of pinches of paprika

2 garlic cloves, crushed

About 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE GRILLED VEG:

4 red peppers, halved and roughly chopped

4 courgette/zucchini, trimmed and sliced lengthways

Extra olive oil

Method:

1.The tabbouleh is all about the herbs so add plenty. Put the bulgar wheat in a pan to about 2.5cm/1 in above the bulgar and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 minuets, or until all water has been absorbed and the bulgar is tender. Drain into a bowl and fluff up with a fork. Add the tomatoes, spring onions/scallions, lemon juice and herbs and season well with salt and pepper.

2.To make the hummus, put the chickpeas/garbanzo in a food processor with the tahini and lemon juice and whiz to combine. With the motor running, add a pinch of paprika and the garlic and trickle in the olive oil, then begin to add about 6 tablespoons of hot water until hummus reaches the consistency you prefer. You can make it as smooth or textured as you wish. Taste and season some more if needed. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with a little more oil and a pinch of paprika.

3.To cook the vegetables, brush the peppers and courgettes/zucchini with a little oil and season well with salt pepper. Heat a griddle pan until it’s hot, then add the vegetables, a few at a time, and cook for a few minutes on each side until char lines appear. Transfer to a serving plate.

Author is HEATHER WHINNEY

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