Tag Archives: cigars

Sweet Potato and Feta Cigars with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce

31 Oct Sweet Potato Cigars Filling

 Just because it’s Halloween I am purposefully not posting a pumpkin recipe. I’m not of fan of Halloween and this is my pathetic attempt at rebellion.

This year I actually purchased hideous Halloween sweets from Mercadona for the lovely children next door who knocked incessantly on my front door last year.  I studiously ignored them because I didn’t have any sugary, chemically, teeth-rotting unhealthy products to give them. They repayed my kindness by chucking eggs at our front door, so The Washer Up went mad and chucked them back at the neighbours front door. So this year I bought sweets. I hope they’re happy.

So anyway, this is  my kind of treat, filo pastry cigars filled with roasted sweet potato, feta cheese, spring onion, fresh coriander, parsley and red chilli. Unsurprisingly Middle Eastern in origin and unashamedly Ottolenghi of course, who else? He has a new TV programme starting in November on More4, needless to say we are very excited.

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.

Sweet Potato & Feta Cigars Recipe

Makes 6 cigars, serves 3-4, vegetarian. Adapted from Ottolenghi for The Guardian

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 400 g), scrubbed clean
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 75 g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 red chilli deseeded & chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry (defrosted if frozen)
  • olive oil for brushing
  • sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 200C. Prick the sweet potato a few times with a knife and place directly on a rack in the oven. Roast for 45-50 minutes until soft and cooked all the way through. Cut in half lengthways and leave until cool enough to handle.

Scrape out all of the sweet potato flesh into a bowl and mix with feta, spring onions, herbs, chilli, salt & pepper mashing with a fork. Taste for seasoning and leave to cool completely.

When ready, preheat the oven to 200C, line a baking tray with parchment and brush with a little oil. Unroll the filo pastry sheets and cover them with a clean tea towel to stop them drying out. Remove two sheets together and place them on top of each other on your work surface with the short end facing you, so you have a double layer sheet. Cover the rest back up with the tea towel.

Cut the two sheets in half lengthways this will make two cigars. On the left hand double layer strip, put a few heaped tablespoons of the filling in a sausage shape about 2 inches from the end of the pastry nearest you, leaving a centimetre free at each side end. Brush the pastry with a little olive oil and start to roll up your cigar around the filling, fold in the two side ends at about half way through and brush with a little more oil every now and then while you finish rolling up the cigar. Brush the top with some oil and place on the lined baking tray. Continue with the rest of the filling, you should get six cigars. You can refreeze (or refrigerate) the unused pastry.

Sprinkle a few sesame seeds over the tops of the cigars and bake for 25 -30 minutes until golden brown and cooked.

Tahini Yoghurt Dipping Sauce Recipe

Serves 3, vegetarian, gluten-free

  • 1 pot (125 ml) goat’s or greek yoghurt
  • 1 heaped Tbsp tahini paste
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint or parsley
  • salt & black pepper
  • cumin or sumac to serve

Mix all the ingredients together well making sure the tahini is mixed in and taste. Adjust lemon, salt or tahini to suit. Serve in bowl sprinkled with a little cumin or sumac and a few fresh herb leaves.

These are the perfect sweet treat for an evening huddled on the sofa with all the lights turned off pretending you’re not in…

Happy Halloween!!

Another Fine Mezze….

29 Nov Muhammara Pastries

 “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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