Another Fine Mezze….

29 Nov

 “The weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful…” 

These cute little pastries were another part of the Thanksgiving mezze I served on Friday night to our friends Caroline & Jean and that song could have been written for us. As the rain continuously lashed down outside, we were inside enjoying a glass of pink cava by the roaring fireplace. So roaring, in fact, that the glass door of the fire broke about 10 minutes before they arrived and smoked out the whole house! The Washer Up wasn’t amused- we had to let all the smoke (and heat) out by opening the doors. But alls well that ends well, it didn’t take long to heat back up again. We definitely all had a rosy glow. Whether that was from the fire or the cava I couldn’t say but we had a fantastic evening. It’s so lovely to spend time with friends, sharing food and stories around the dinner table, giving thanks for all the beautiful things in life…

These little Muhammara Cigars are another recipe I found on www.tasteofbeirut.com. Muhammara is a dip made from walnuts & hot red pepper paste.  Its addictive taste is one I remember serving at the restaurant on a Lebanese Evening and then wanting to serve it with everything. It is great as a dip for raw veggies or with flatbreads or crackers. In fact it is good on just about anything. The idea of mixing it with feta cheese and then rolling it in filo pastry before baking them into hot crispy, cheesy nibbles is one I could not resist. Some things are just meant to be…

Apparently everyone has their own personal recipe for Muhammara using different nuts and different amounts of the other ingredients. This is mine, why not discover yours…. 

Muhammara Cigars

adapted from a Taste of Beirut recipe

makes about 12- 15, vegetarian

For the muhammara

  • 1oo gr walnuts
  • 100 gr almonds
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  •  the juice of 1/2 a pomegranate (or a tbsp pomegranate molasses)
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste (or any hot chilli paste)
  • 150-200 gr jar roasted peppers
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • about 75 ml olive oil
  • salt

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth but still with some texture. Taste for seasoning you may need more salt or chilli paste, maybe some lemon juice…

You will only be using about 1/2 of this mixture for the cigars, just store the rest in the fridge and serve as a dip, a pasta sauce, on a baked potato or even as a sauce for meat or fish.

For the Cigars

  • 1 packet frozen filo pastry (defrosted in the fridge overnight)
  • 2oo gr Greek Feta cheese
  • 100 gr grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar or manchego are good)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 egg white
  • white pepper
  • melted butter or olive oil to brush on the filo
  • sesame seeds

Leave about half of the Muhammara in the bowl and store the rest in the fridge. Crumble in the Feta, add the grated cheese, chopped onion, white pepper & egg white and blitz again until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Lay a long piece of foil on your worksurface and brush it with oil or melted butter. Lay the filo out flat, cut into two squares then cut each square diagonally into quarters so you end up with eight triangles. There should be about 8 layers of the filo pastry, take 3 or 4 layers off of the top of one of the triangles and use these as the wrapping of your first cigar.

Lay the triangle with the long side facing you on the buttered foil. Brush the 3 corners with butter then place heaped tablespoon of the mixture a little way in from the long edge and start to roll it up like a spring roll. Brush with more butter on top of the rolled cigar and fold in the edges to seal them. Don’t worry if they are a bit of a mess, mine were, just stick them together with the butter or oil and hope for the best!!

Continue rolling all your cigars, you should get 16 triangles but filo can break easily sometimes, I only managed 12. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Place all the cigars on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, brush the tops with a bit more butter/oil then sprinkle over some sesame seeds. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until browned and serve immediately….

I served these with a Tahini Yoghurt & Mint sauce made with the wild mint we picked by the side of the river.

Tahini, Yoghurt & Mint Sauce

Vegetarian served 4 -6 as a sauce

  • 2 pots greek yoghurt about 250 ml
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tsp tahini paste
  • a handful of chopped fresh mint
  • salt & black pepper

Mix the lemon juice in with the tahini until smooth then add all the other ingredients and stir until well combined. Taste for seasoning.

This sauce is great to serve as part of a mezze. It goes really well as a sauce for falafels or my recipe for Honey Spiced Aubergines here. It would also be fantastic with lamb kebabs. You can add some toasted cumin seeds for more flavour, some minced garlic or even some grated cucumber would be lovely……

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11 Responses to “Another Fine Mezze….”

  1. Roxan November 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    The glass on the fire broke out? how scary! Glad everything got under control though. I have never heard of cava before, and had to google it. I’d love to try it sometime. These cigars look absolutely scrumptious.

  2. Sabrina Modelle November 29, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    My mouth is watering at those aubergines and those cigars. Mmm so glad I found your blog. Or so glad you found mine first and led me to yours. I’m totally hooked.
    Delicioso,
    Sabrina

  3. tony ward November 30, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Who is this person that has never heard of CAVA ????

    She should get out more !!!!

    Fabulous foods and glad you had a good evening with the two grande dames of the campo !! xx

  4. Tes November 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Ohhh wow those aubergine slices looks so heavenly. I definitely have to try your tahini, mint and yoghurt sauce :)

  5. Savour the Senses December 2, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    These look delicious! Even though you are a vegetarian, could you suggest a meat protein that you think would be goo to add inside the cigars as well? Anybody else got any ideas?
    Great recipe! =)

    • foodblogandthedog December 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

      Maybe some cooked minced lamb would work with the flavours but as mezze dish it works really well as it is, no meat necessary. Give it a try you might surprise yourself!! New Zealand looks amazing by the way always wanted to go. Have you been to Waiheke Island? A friend said it is gorgeous…

      • Savour the Senses December 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

        Thanks, I am going to try it first with no meat. =) I didn’t get a chance to go there but the country is really pretty practically everywhere you go! My current blog is actually http://savourthesenses.wordpress.com I guess my click through settings were just old. Have a peek if you’d like!

  6. Kathryn Coulibaly December 5, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    What a fantastic idea! I really think vegetarians are so much more willing to experiment and try global cuisine. And that sets a really great example for those of us who might not be meat-free all the time but who are definitely trying to move in that direction.

    Thanks so much for sharing these recipes.

    Kathy
    http://www.kidculture.wordpress.com

  7. filipinorecipe December 8, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    i’ll try your recipe..hope it works!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Restaurant Review and Recipe: Muhammara – Roasted Pepper and Walnut Dip « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - January 6, 2012

    [...] time I had tried Muhammara in a restaurant. I have made it myself before and used it to stuff these Muhammara & Feta Cigars (gorgeous). Samarkanda’s muhammara was much sweeter than mine and it was lovely because of [...]

  2. Sweet Potato and Feta Cigars with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - October 31, 2012

    [...] The tahini yoghurt sauce is one of my favourite things, it is totally delicious. You can serve it just as a dip with flatbreads or raw veggies, or I have served it with these Cauliflower Fritters, these Baked Falafel Cakes and these Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut) Cigars too. [...]

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