This is a centre of the table dish, we ate it with smoked mackerel and baked sweet potatoes. In Eastern Mediterranean cuisine it would be part of a mezze, something I will develop on as the blog evolves. I have served this dish as a starter for which it also works well. The beetroots take quite a long time to roast off so do them when you have the oven on for a chicken or something similar as the oven needs to be quite hot. They will keep for a day or so, so you don’t have to use them straight away, just make sure they are at least room temperature when you serve them and not fridge cold.
Ingredients (serves 4 or 6 if part of a mezze meal)
400g beetroots (three large, six medium or eight small)
125g feta cheese (real feta is sheeps milk or goat and sheep mixed)
150g salad leaves, any salad will do it – rocket and watercress works well
35g herbs, I have used chives but any soft herb will do the job
1 small teaspoon of honey
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon
Wash and scrub the beetroots and trim up with a small knife. Cut into wedges and put in a bowl. Toss them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put them onto a paper lined baking tray and roast at 200 degrees for about an hour. Give them a good shake after 30 mins then after an hour take out of the oven. Put them back in the bowl and toss them in the balsamic vinegar. Leave them to cool down.
When you are ready to serve take a plater and cover the surface with the salad. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Scatter the beetroots evenly over the salad. Crumble the feta over that, then dip a teaspoon into the honey and swirl the spoon over the plate, you don’t want to put too much on. Finish off with the chopped herbs.
Posted in Roasted Beetroot and Feta Salad, Uncategorized
Tagged balsamic, beetroot, chives, feta, healthy, honey, mezze, rocket, salas, watercress
Fritters are normally a deep-fried thing. Mine are very shallow fried for colour then finished in the oven. They are a bit like crepes in so much as it takes one or two to find your flow. This works well as a light lunch, a starter or a vegetarian option. The main ingredients are courgettes and feta so don’t worry if you miss out on the cumin or the capers it will still taste great.
I tried to work this recipe without flour but they were just too delicate so I have added a spoonful of spelt flour which binds it and gives it strength. You can use any flour. I don’t cook with flour very often but I always have a bag of white spelt flour in my cupboard for the occasions that it is called for.
500g grated courgette
100g feta cheese
8g mint leaves (20 leaves)
1 tablespoon of tahini
1 tablespoon of spelt flour (or any other alternative flour will do)
1 tablespoon of capers
1 teaspoon of cumin
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon
Squeeze the water out of the grated courgette – you can either use a tea towel by putting the grated courgette into the middle, then gathering it into a ball and twisting until the water comes through. You can also use your hands, be thorough with this otherwise the excess water thins down the mix.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Put the grated courgette in a bowl, crumble in the feta then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well with a spatula. You should have a thick, moist mix.
Put your non stick frying pan onto a medium to high heat. Let the pan get hot then brush the surface with oil, just enough to prevent sticking. Always do a tester first, just so you know how it will behave. With a dessert spoon drop the mix onto the oil. Don’t mess with it too much as it takes a minute to set. Loosen the edge with a egg slice then flip, it needs to be a golden brown colour. When the other side is done put it onto a baking tray lined with oven paper. Wipe the frying pan with kitchen paper and start again until you have made four. You can prepare these in advance.
Put the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes. Leave for 5 mins to cool off a bit before serving.
Cherry Tomato Salsa Ingredients
1 small packet of cherry tomatoes (any variation will do, the redder the better)
1 spring onion (a shallot will do)
1 red chili (de-seeded)
Squeeze of lime or lemon
Squeeze of orange
2 dessertspoons of olive oil
Quarter the cherry tomatoes into a bowl. Finely chop the spring onion and the de-seeded chili. Add to the tomatoes with lemon, orange juice and olive oil. The orange juice is not for its taste or sweetness it’s to counteract the sharpness of the lemon, this enables you to use less salt. Sir well then add salt and pepper to taste. Ideally this can be made well in advance as it gives the flavors time to permeate.
Posted in Courgette Mint & Feta Fritters with Cherry Tomato Salsa, Main dishes, Savoury Dishes
Tagged capers, cherry tomato, cumin, egg, feta, fritter, light lunch, mint, salsa, spelt, tahini
Red lentil soup is a soup rooted in Middle-Eastern cuisine particularly Lebanon and Israel. It is a solid source of protein and dietary fibre, as well as being tasty and economical. This ‘half an hour soup’ could easily be made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. I have kept it close to its roots taking it to another level with a feta, yogurt and herb mix. This works well if you are trying to eat a small lunch as it will keep you going until the evening.
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g red lentils
60 ml sunflower oil (4 tablespoons)
4 litres of vegetable stock (good stock powder is fine)
1 small tin of chopped tomatoes
2 medium sized onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 fresh red chili or a pinch of cayenne pepperFor the garnish
1 small pot of natural yogurt (120g)
100g Greek feta cheese
1 spring onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
10 grams of fresh coriander
10 grams of fresh mint
Heat the oil, then add the chopped onions and pressed garlic. When the onions and garlic are soft add the spices, chili and black pepper, stir into a thick paste. Add the red lentils, then the stock and tomatoes. Stir together, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for a further 25 minutes. Turn off the heat.
With a stick blender or a food processor pulse the soup 8 or 9 times. Don’t blend until it’s a smooth soup, pulsing just brings it together. If you don’t have either accessories don’t worry it will still be good.
Season with a few drops of fresh lemon and sea salt
Put the yoghurt in a bowl, crumble in the feta, add the lemon zest, chopped mint and spring onion. Mix really well with a few drops of lemon.
Pour the soup into the bowl, add a generous spoon of the feta mix in the middle then the fresh coriander broken onto the yogurt-feta mix. I like to drizzle a few drops of olive oil on the top (optional).
Posted in Red Lentil Soup with Feta & Coriander, Savoury Dishes, Soups
Tagged cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, feta, fibre, garlic, onions, red lentils, soup, stock, yogurt