Arabic Inspired Mezze Meal

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I absolutely love travelling and have created numerous boards on Pinterest of my dream destinations as well as the food of these countries.

As I mention in the video, two of the countries I have a deep desire to visit are Morocco and Turkey. I can already visualize visiting the markets bursting with mountains of spices, dates, and various other beautiful and interesting ornaments. I can hear the music, smell the incense, and picture the electric blue, and greenish turquoise, coloured doors of the riads (traditional houses) and villas. Morocco is known for its vivid and colorful designs, and interesting architecture.

I do admit to having a colourful and vivid imagination, and an interest in architecture, so I do believe that Morocco will be a good fit! And as for Turkey, I believe that the Turks enjoy their food, so I foresee no major problems there. I just have one concern…The Turkish word for breakfast, kahvaltı, means “before coffee.” Whaaat? No coffee before breakfast?!
Oh well, I’ll just have to get around that one by indulging in a very, very early Turkish breakfast!

I’ve digressed…One of the dishes I LOVE making for guests is Tabbouleh. It’s a great mezzo style meal, but also goes well served as a side salad with a main meal.

This Tabbouleh recipe is a Middle Eastern inspired dish.

Ingredients:
One cup of bulgur wheat, but I used pearled wheat, instead. (To cook this required one cup of pearled wheat to four cups of water.)
A fresh punnet of parsley
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil
Sachet of pitted olives (about 200 grams)
One large purple onion (peeled and cut in to four)
300 grams Sundried tomatoes.
Clove of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Rinse the pearled wheat with cold water and place in a pot with the water and bring to the boil, once it has reached the boil, turn the heat down, cover, and simmer gently for about 40 minutes- to an hour until tender. Drain
Let the wheat cool down in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, place your fresh parsley, purple onion, sundried tomatoes, pitted olives, teaspoon of cinnamon, garlic, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. (I love olives so, in addition, I used two teaspoons of olive tapenade)
Mix all together
Place the contents of the bowl into a food processor.
Blend together.
Add to the cooled down pearled wheat. Mix and serve cold.

This dish goes really well with crispy, warm flatbread, cheeses, and wine, etc. The flatbread also goes really well with roasted beetroot hummus, so I’d like to suggest that you make both of these dishes when next you are entertaining and want to serve something out of the ordinary.

Ingredients:
5 large beetroot
1 can of chick peas (400 grams)
2 large chili peppers
3 whole cloves of fresh garlic
2 tablespoons of butternut
1 punnet fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to drizzle
Flat bread for serving. (I bought mine from the store, alternatively, make my spelt flat bread I made on this post)

Method
Wash the beetroot, and cut off both ends of each beetroot.
Cut each beetroot into four pieces.
Place the cut up beetroot, the onion, the garlic, and the two chili peppers, on a baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil.
Place in the oven at 180 degrees until fully cooked.

 

Once the ingredients have cooled down, place them into a food processor along with all the other ingredients. Mix together for four minutes (or until smoothly blended)

Place in a bowl, and serve when cooled down.

Watch the video below for the full recipe and tutorial on how to make the Tabbouleh.

Beetroot Hummus Byrd and Bean

Roasted Beetroot Hummus byrd and bean

Roasted Beetroot Hummus byrd and bean

Spelt Flatbread Recipe

 

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

I love variety – in life, in clothes, in people, and mostly in food!
I struggle to make the same recipe over and over again, opting rather to try out different variations.

This recipe is a good example of ‘a little bit of this, and a little bit of that’, and voila, variety! Who can resist the enjoyment of munching on thin flatbreads ladled with different, delectable toppings? I certainly can’t!

If you think that the title of this recipe sounds like a mouthful, then believe you me, the end result will most definitely be more than a mere mouthful, in more way than one.

Recently, I found myself with a fridge full of delicious, leftover odds and ends, the sum total of which didn’t quite have the makings of a substantial meal. So, instead of letting the tidbits go lonely, I decided to make a flatbread base on which to sprinkle them.

What is bricolage, you may wander? It means something that is constructed or created from a diverse range of available things. Ta da! My kind of approach…

Why spelt? It leaves me feeling fuller than normal wheat flour does, but without feeling heavy or bloated, and it is also wheat free. (Triple yay!)

According to an article published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in March 2005, when researchers analyzed and compared nine dehulled spelt samples to five soft winter wheat samples, they found that the spelt offered a higher amount of certain minerals, such as copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. These minerals are naturally high in the bran of the spelt grain.

But I have digressed, back to the recipe…

The flatbread base recipe was inspired by this recipe that I spotted online:

Easiest 5-Ingredient Spelt Flatbread

I made two flatbreads, and had fun deciding what to use for the toppings.

Toppings:

Figs
Feta cheese
Chopped fresh, purple onions
Chopped and fried white onion
Fresh, crushed garlic
Basil pesto (bought from the store – GASP!)
Mushrooms
Fried bacon

Previously when I made this recipe, I topped it with small cubes of butternut, caramelised onions, and crushed walnuts…it was mouthwateringly delicious! When next I bake a flatbread, I am going to top it with carrot hummus and smoked chicken. Anyone care to join me?

Spelt Flatbread Base:

2 1/2 cups of Spelt flour
1 tsp black pepper
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup of hot water
2 TBS Olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180C
Combine the Spelt flour with the baking powder, salt, and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl (unless of course you want a messy, white, flour avalanche)
Slowly stir in the hot water, and the olive oil, and mix together.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into a ball, and cover it with a cloth or tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Leave it covered for 30 minutes.
Grease two baking trays with non-stick spray or butter (Be lavish here!)
Sprinkle your working surface with spelt flour.
Place the dough ball onto the counter, and cut it into two equal parts.
Place each ball onto a separate greased baking tray.
Knead the piece of dough so that it stretches out into your desired flatbread shape. Mine did not reach the corners of the baking tray.
Place in the oven for 10- 15 minutes, or until the bases are browned and slightly crispy.
Place the toppings onto each base, and pop back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

Spelt flatbreads are a delicious and versatile treat to serve when one is doing non-fuss entertaining, but it’s still ideal for all the health conscious friends.

Please comment below, and let me know which bricolage toppings you use on your flatbread creations. I’d love to know.

 

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage Flatbread

Byrd and Bean Spelt Bricolage FlatbreadSpelt

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