WoF 2015: Persiana feast, the mezze

Ah, the Weekend of Food. It’s one of the highlights of my year, and 2015 was no different. You can read about our full weekend schedule here, but first, let’s get to the lowdown on the mezze.

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Om. Nom. Nom.

I won’t write out all the recipes for this year’s dinner (unlike last year’s French feast), because you all just need to buy Persiana (I promise Sabrina isn’t paying me for this!). I will, however, detail our menu and how the evening was put together. It was quite a drawn-out affair, but that’s just how we liked it, interspersed with board games and lots of laughter!

I’ve added comments for each dish to show any changes we made to the ingredients or cooking methods, as well as tasting notes. A general note was that Sabrina loves a lot of garlic and chili, and whilst I normally can’t get enough of either of those things, we did tone it down ever so slightly!

A-mezze-ing

A-mezze-ing

Smoked aubergines with garlic

We added only half a bulb of garlic, rather than two full bulbs, and it was just enough. The addition of the eggs at the end made the ‘dip’ so creamy, and is such a clever way of stretching the dish. Even though I don’t like tomato, I was a big fan of this mezze, and I think it could work really well as a comforting weeknight dinner!

This photo doesn't do it justice...

This photo doesn’t do it justice…

Hummus

There are so so many different ways to make hummus (I have a couple recipes for it on the blog already, including one from WoF last year), but this time, we opted to roast the garlic in tin foil before adding it, as well as upping the olive oil quantities. And the entire process was made a lot easier with my new Philips Avance Collection blender, a magnificent machine with a strong motor that absolutely destroyed our chickpeas to make the smoothest, creamiest hummus I’ve ever had! We used dried chickpeas and soaked them for 36 hours before boiling them and blending them hot – this helps the creaminess.

Always garnish with a dash of olive oil, za'atar, and paprika

Always garnish with a dash of olive oil, za’atar, and paprika

Turkish feta pastry cigars (Sigara Borek Peynir)

These were expertly rolled by The Baking Medic and made us realise that feta without mint is like Frodo without Sam. We didn’t have any nigella seeds, but we substituted for sesame and chia seeds, which worked just as well.

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Filling, prepared in advance

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Buttery fingers, making sure the pastry sticks together

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Sprinkle, sprinkle

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The filling spilled a little – we may have wrapped the pastry too tightly…

Spiced lamb kefta 

These were a labour of love, and we need to make them every day. In fact, my flatmate did make them again just yesterday, and we practically fell over ourselves to gobble them up! The fresh flavours from the herbs are incredible, and the addition of pine nuts is what really pushes these ‘meatballs’ over the edge.

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All the freshest spices and herbs

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Knead and form

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Shape and place

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FRY THOSE BALLS

What a beautiful sight!

What a beautiful sight!

Turkish white bean salad (Piyaz)

This one was a bit too spicy and pungent for most of us, but definitely cleared out the nostrils! Loved the tahini dressing, but may reduce the chili flakes next time…

So much parsley!

So much parsley!

Cucumber and radish salad

We loved the roasted pine nuts, but otherwise this one was a little ordinary.

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Everything we made was stunning, but if I had to choose, I would pick the lamb kefta as my favourite mezze. Lamb mince is so much more flavourful than beef or pork, and all the incredible ingredients made it a veritable taste explosion!

Read about the rest of our evening here.

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