Middle Eastern Mezze

30 Sep

The first recipe for my mezze is a homemade yoghurt cheese called Labneh which is flavoured with herbs & spices. If someone told me a few months ago that I would be making cheese I would have laughed in their face but this is really easy – you have to try it because it’s delicious! 

Spiced Labneh (Yoghurt Cheese)

Spiced labneh Recipe (Yoghurt Cheese)  

Serves 4 as part of a mezze 

 Vegetarian

  • 750ml natural yoghurt(unsweetened) you can use greek yoghurt or I used low-fat & it worked.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp sumac * (or 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes & 1/2 tsp paprika)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil

 

*Sumac is a crushed dried berry used in Middle Eastern food it has a smoky citrus spicy flavour which works really well in this dish & is also great on salads & on grilled Halloumi or Feta. 

  1. Line a sieve with a double sheet of kitchen roll and spoon the yoghurt in.(you can use cheesecloth but who has cheesecloth!?)
  2. Place the sieve over a bowl so the liquid drains into it, make sure it is a deep enough bowl to catch the liquid so it doesn’t leak into your fridge.
  3. Put the whole lot in the fridge overnight or longer if you can.(Emptying the bowl of liquid before you go to bed)
  4. When you are ready remove the yoghurt from the kitchen roll into a bowl -it should be quite firm.
  5. Mix in the spices, herbs, salt & pepper
  6. Tip it into a serving bowl drizzle with olive oil & garnish with fresh mint & coriander.

 

It really is that easy and tastes fantastic so give it a go, you can use whichever spices you like but this combination is great.  

The authentic way to serve this is to oil your hands, roll it into little balls, arrange them in a dish with olive oil in the bottom & garnish with fresh herbs. As I am serving this with Onion Flatbreads I prefer to serve it in a bowl to dip into. 

Onion Flatbreads & Labneh

 This is best recipe for flatbreads ever. It makes really moist flavourful breads with no stress, honestly! 

Onion Flatbreads Recipe 

Makes 4 large flatbreads Vegetarian

  • 1 small onion finely sliced (you can also use red onion, spring onion or leek)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • salt & pepper
  • 255gr plain flour
  • 2 tbsp mild olive oil  (plus 1 tsp for frying)
  • 125 ml hot water
  1. Heat a tsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds, onion, chilli flakes & black pepper and fry for  about 3 mins. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a bowl mix the flour, olive oil and fried onions together with a good pinch of salt
  3. Add the hot water and stir everything together & work it into a dough
  4. Knead this on a  well floured surface for a few minutes until soft, smooth & elastic.(Add more flour if it’s really sticky)
  5. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for about 20 mins.
  6. Cut into quarters & roll into 4 balls using more flour to prevent sticking.
  7. Flour your rolling pin and roll out the flatbreads to about 3mm thick
  8. Preheat you oven to 18o degrees
  9. Preheat a non stick frying pan until hot (Don’t add any oil)
  10. Dry fry the flatbreads over a medium high heat one at a time until browned & crispy . About 2 mins on each side.
  11. Keep the flatbreads warm in the oven while you cook the rest.
  12. Serve hot with you choice of dips or curry dish.

 

These are also really good served with my favourite Roasted Aubergine Dip. This has a sweet, spicy, fresh flavour that is perfect as a dip with flatbreads,  as a sauce for pasta or as a topping for a delicious bruschetta, grilled with crumbled feta & garnished with fresh mint..heaven! 

Roasted Aubergine Dip

Roasted Aubergine Dip Recipe 

Vegetarian Serves 4 as part of a mezze with extra to use for pasta sauce 

  • 1 large aubergine ( or 2 small)
  • 1 red pepper deseeded & chopped into big chunks
  • 1 1/2 red onions peeled & cut into wedges
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or a tbsp dried thyme)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • a handful of fresh mint & coriander plus extra to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Cut the aubergine in half lengthways, put on a baking sheet cut side up, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
  3. Put in the oven on the top shelf for about 45 mins until slightly browned and softened.
  4. Meanwhile line another baking sheet with foil and spread the rest of the prepared veg & whole garlic on it.
  5. Drizzle with the olive oil & balsamic then sprinkle over the dried chilli & thyme leaves. Add sea salt & black pepper.
  6. Toss together with your hands to coat everything well.
  7. Put in the oven on the top shelf.( move the aubergine down to the middle shelf)
  8. Cook for the remaining 35-40 mins until browned & sticky.
  9. Leave to cool slightly.
  10. When the aubergine is cool enough to handle scrape out the flesh in to a food processor, add the rest of the roasted veg, lemon juice, tahini & fresh mint & coriander.
  11. Pulse until combined but don’t over do it.
  12. Chill if you can wait (it is not compulsory!)& check for seasoning.
  13. Garnish with fresh herbs

Serve with flatbreads for dipping &, if there is any leftovers, use as instructed above –  delicious!! 

Also used in recipe for 70’s Stuffed Tomatoes

Roasted Aubergine & Veg

The Finished Mezze

2 Responses to “Middle Eastern Mezze”

  1. thefooddoctor August 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    If only it wasn’t 11 pm!
    all those messe recipes are so tempting!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tyrokafteri – A Greek Chilli Cheese Dip with Homemade Goat’s Cheese « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - August 24, 2011

    […] made Middle Eastern yoghurt cheese (labneh) before by straining Greek yoghurt in the fridge overnight but I’d never gone one step back […]

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