Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Fusion dinner

A vegetarian fusion dinner - meze-tapas-antipasti...

This dinner is not a typical winter meal nor an ordinary combination of small dishes. In this selection you can sample the Greek tzatziki (1), the Near Eastern hummus and falafel (2 and 3), the Italian mozzarella (4), two Mediterranean salads (5 and 6), and the Mexican guacamole (7). This flavor-extravaganza not just a random cultural mix, it is a fine selection of my favourites. These are the perfect party foods, can be made in advance, and just pulled out of the fridge when the guests arrive, fresh and ready to nibble.


This cold dip is usually served with grilled meats but loves veggies too, oh yeah.

You will need:
200 ml yoghurt
a cucumber
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

1. Strain the yoghurt. Line a strainer with a cheese cloth, pour in the yogurt and let the excess liquid to drip down.
2. Peel the cucumber and grate on the large hole side. Squeeze out the excess juice.
3. Mix the cucumber and the strained yoghurt. Season with salt. Add the minced garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well.

Tip: Serve with fresh dill or mint. I sprinkled with caraway seeds.


The core of this Levantine (modern Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Syria) dip is the cooked chickpea but the soul is in the seasoning.

You will need:
120 g dried chickpeas
3 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 fat cloves of garlic
pinch of salt

1. Soak the chickpeas overnight (min. 12 hours).
2. Next day boil them in plenty of water. When the chickpeas are soft, drain (keep some cooking liquid) and let it cool.
3. Add cold water and rub off the skin (should come off easily), it will rise to the top. Just fish off and discard.
4. Put the cleaned chickpeas into a blender. Season: tahini, garlic, olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Blend well.
If you prefer a bit thinner dip, add some reserved cooking liquid.
5. Serve with extra olive oil and ground cumin.


Buffalo mozzarella, bocconcini
Unripened, mild, semi-soft cheese, size of a small egg, originated in Naples.

You will need:
mozzarella di bufala campana bocconcini
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme

Arrange the mozzarella balls, pour over the olive oil and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Done.


Olives, artichokes, and semi-dried tomatoes
This aged trio makes any party unforgettable.

You will need:
olives, pitted
artichokes in olive oil
semi-dried tomatoes
olive oil
fresh rosemary and thyme

1. Cut the artichokes in quarters. Put them in a bowl.
2. Add the olives and the tomatoes.
3. Dress with olive oil, and season with fresh thyme and rosemary leaves.


Fresh tomato and cucumber salad
Nice crunchy salad with the fresh taste of lemon and parsley.

You will need:
a cluster of cherry tomatoes
a cucumber
a small bunch fresh parsley
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

1. Peel the cucumber and cut into chunky slices.
2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half or to quarters (depending on the side).
3. Thinly slice the red onion.
4. Mix all the veg. Dress with olive oil. Add the lemon juice and the salt. Mix in the chopped parsley.


This avocado-based dip was made by the Aztecs.

You will need:
2 avocados (alligator pear)
4 small tomatoes
1 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
a bunch of cilantro (coriander)
a jalapeño or a serrano pepper
the fresh juice of 2 limes
a pinch of salt

1. Mash the pitted avocado flesh with a fork. Add the lime juice.
2. Chop finely all the remaining ingredients: onion, garlic, cilantro, chili, tomato.
3. Mix the avocado with the chopped ones. Season with salt.

I hope you like this fusion. Enjoy!

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