The second wave of figs (higos) are just starting to ripen here now. This means that we have lots of figs.
We actually have a huge carrier bag full of them in the freezer that was given to us by our friend Leigh, thanks Leigh! Fig chutney was one of the first (in fact the second) recipe that I posted when I first started this blog last September. I’ve just made some more, it tastes great, really aromatic and spicy and it is amazing on a cheese sandwich.
We have just found a Lebanese restaurant in Alhaurin de la Torre called Beirut. It’s been there for ages and I don’t know why we haven’t been before because it has a huge amount of vegetarian dishes to choose from. We popped in for lunch on the way to the Viveros Guzman (an amazing garden centre) and ordered a vegetarian mezze called Katastroph to share.
Each little dish that they brought out was delicious. The hummus was the creamiest and the baba ghanoush was the smokiest that I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot. This was followed by a tabouleh, which was really fresh and was mainly fresh parsley (not a lot of bulgur) which is a good thing. The falafel were light and flavourful. All too often falafel can be heavy, dense and bland. Not these, there was an ingredient in there that I couldn’t recognise but was really familiar, something like fennel seeds, but not. All this was served with a really soft, light arab bread.
Then they brought out the thing that was, for me, the highlight. Sambusik (or sambousek) are little mini pasties, like samosas, but smaller. They seemed to be made out of the same dough as the bread and were stuffed with feta and onion or spinach and lemon. TO. DIE. FOR. Especially the feta and onion, like a mini cheese and onion pasty but softer. By the way I am not getting paid for this review, nor do they know that I am writing it. It is just something I had to share.
I researched it and found this recipe for the dough. It is not as soft and bread-like as theirs but it is really easy to work with, I added some fennel seeds to the dough for extra flavour too.
The fig chutney and feta combination was just born out of the fact that I have so much fig chutney and wanted to use it. It’s spicy sweetness contrasts really well with the salty, creamy feta. It would make a fabulous tart filling too. Just spread some on a puff pastry circle and crumble over the feta, cook at 220 C for about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden and sprinkle over some fresh parsley to serve.
You could also use fresh figs as the base if you don’t want to bother making the chutney.
Those were the step by step pictures, in case you were wondering. This is the finished product.
I decided to make my own harissa sauce to go with this because, as you know, I have a mountain of chillis and it may be the only chilli sauce I haven’t made yet!
This sauce is hot so I mixed it with some greek yoghurt to serve with the sambousek.
Fig & Feta Sambousek with Homemade Harissa Sauce
For the harissa sauce:
Makes about 250 ml, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Taste Food
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tin/jar (200 gr) roasted red peppers, and any juice (I used piquillo peppers), roughly chopped
- 3 red chillies, stemmed and finely chopped with seeds
- 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
- 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper
- a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Toast the seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, but do not burn. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grid to a fine powder.
Put the peppers, chillis, garlic, ground seeds, tomato puree, olive oil and parsley in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding more oil or tomato puree, if necessary, to get the desired consistency. Season with the salt & black pepper and taste (a tiny amount). You may want to add more salt or a pinch of sugar. Pour into a sterilised bottle/jar, seal and keep in the fridge until needed.
For the Fig & Feta Sambousek:
Makes about 16 small pastries, vegetarian
- 225 gr (1 1/2 cups) flour (I use Atta wholemeal), plus extra for dusting
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fennel or cumin seeds
- 110 ml (1/2 cup) warm, not hot water
- fig chutney, see my recipe here
- 100-150 gr greek feta, cut into small cubes
- fresh parsley leaves
- sumac (optional)
- olive oil for brushing
- harissa sauce (see above)
- greek yoghurt
Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, then stir in the seeds. Add the olive oil, stir it around then make a well in the middle and pour in the tepid water. Fold the flour into the water, turning the bowl as you go until it forms a sticky dough.
Flour the work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and no longer sticky about 2 minutes. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least an hour.
Flour your work surface and rolling-pin and roll out the dough to about 3mm thick. Cut out small circles (I used a water-glass) about 3 inches diameter. Lift the excess pastry away from the circles, re-roll it and cut out more circles, you should get about 16 in total.
Spread the circles on your work surface and put a teaspoon of fig chutney in the centre of each one. Top this with a small cube of feta, a parsley leaf and a small pinch of sumac.
Lift up two opposite edges and seal them around the filling. Seal the two other ends, pinching them together to create a four-cornered sambousek (see pictures above). They can be refrigerated at this point.
Preheat oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Brush the baking paper with olive oil and place the sambousek on the tray, you may need two trays. Brush them with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Mix some harissa paste and greek yoghurt together, tasting until you get the right balance for you. Top with some fresh parsley leaves.
Serve the hot/warm sambousek with the harissa yoghurt sauce and sprinkle over some more fresh parsley.