Mini Meze from the Med

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I really enjoy making a selection of meze or tapas dishes now and again either for lunch or dinner. Most of my flavour influences come from the Mediterranean, however I do like to make little dishes to mix and match from other parts of the world too. I think that my pleasure in preparing meze food is down to the fact that it gives me a ‘summer holiday feeling’ for a while because when I go abroad (mostly to the Med) I like to explore all the little bistros and restaurants as these often serve up the most delicious food.

I love ordering meze when I eat at restaurants as it makes the whole dining out experience more fun and intimate. I also like to re-create this atmosphere in the comfort of my own home by choosing a few or more of my favourite dishes to make, getting some vibrant serving bowls and lighting some candles.

I mostly serve meze with warm pitta bread cut into small strips, but any type of cracker or bread that suits you will also work well. The selection below will feed about 3 – 4 people.

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Ingredients

Aubergine Dip

I eat this vegetable almost every week as there are so many things to make with it. One of my favourite recipes using aubergine is to simply roast it in a hot oven and mix the flesh with yoghurt and some seasoning. Simple, fresh, healthy and tasty!

2 aubergines

500g greek yoghurt

1 tbsp tahini

juice of  1/2 lemon

2 tsp dried mint

salt and pepper, to taste

 

Paprika Lemon Chickpeas

Out of all the pulses, I definitely eat chick peas the most. They have a wonderfully creamy texture and nutty flavour and this is one of the simplest ways to eat them. The dressing is ridiculously easy but the flavours mixed together with the chick peas are out of this world.

2 cans chickpeas

3 tbsp olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp paprika

salt and pepper, to taste

 

Lamb & Feta Burgers

I do not cook with lamb often, but when I do buy it the only things I tend to do is roast it, make a casserole with it, or make kebabs with lamb mince. In this recipe I made the mince into little burgers but it would be great shaped as kebabs too.

500g lamb mince

1 red pepper

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp mild chilli powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp tomato puree

100g feta cheese

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

 

Directions

Aubergine Dip

  1. Preheat oven 200°C/Fan 180°C/gas 6. Pierce the aubergines with a sharp knife and place in the oven for 30 mins until soft and well-roasted.
  2. When aubergines are cool, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in the yoghurt and tahini. Add the mint, salt and pepper. Put in fridge until ready to serve.

 

Paprika Lemon Chickpeas

  1. Drain chickpeas from the cans and empty into a bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover for 10 mins and serve at room temperature.

 

Lamb and Feta Burgers

  1. Grate red pepper and onion into a large bowl. Add lamb mince, tomato puree, crushed garlic, paprika, salt, chilli powder and oregano.
  2. Crumble the feta cheese into the mixture and combine all the ingredients together.
  3. Divide the mixture into 8 balls and shape them into burgers.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers until cooked.

 

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