Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Middle Eastern vegetarian meal

Although we are meat-eaters, we do love our veggies too. In the Summer-time we often have meals of the "Mezze" style - ones which involve a number of small dishes on which you can graze (preferably whilst sitting outside in the garden, though that has not been possible so far this year in view of the dismal weather conditions). This post is a description of one such meal, which we had recently. Although I have described it as "vegetarian" I really mean "non-meat", since it did involve eggs.

The inspiration for the meal was the (unexpected) availability of some really nice finger carrots.

"Amsterdam 3 Sprint"

Jane made some Humous with canned chickpeas. Her version is a low-fat one using only a small quantity of oil, but it is full of lovely flavours, such as cumin, ground coriander, lemon juice, sesame seeds and paprika. The finished article is admittedly very dull to look at (a bit like peanut butter!) It needs to be served in a good-looking dish and tarted-up a bit with a garnish. But looks are not everything and the texture and flavour are wonderful.

As well as the Humous, Jane made a carrot puree, which actually had a texture rather similar. This was made with mature (shop-bought) carrots, not the lovely tender young ones from the garden. Flavourings included ginger and chilli, and for a striking contrast of colours the dish was garnished with a lot of chopped parsley.

Carrot puree with chopped parsley
Another dish on this occasion was home-made Tzatziki - the main ingredients of which are cucumber, yogurt and mint. I'm not fond of this, but Jane likes it, and it seemed entirley appropriate in the context of this meal.

For dipping up these things we served the finger carrots (of course), sliced home-grown cucumber, celery sticks, Webbs Wonderful (iceberg-style) lettuce, boiled eggs and (probably the star of the show) Jane's home-made wholemeal pitta bread.

The pitta bread came out really well - nice and light and puffed-up with a big cavity inside. They would have been ideal for eating stuffed with some spicy lamb!

I haven't got a photo of the complete meal, because things appeared at different times - for instance, while we were assembling the main thing we nibbled away at olives, gherkins and home-grown cherry tomatoes. Here's a picture of most of our meal.

It's a pity I don't have any radishes available in the garden at present, because they would have gone well with this meal too...

P.S. Lara liked the carrots too...


  1. Looks delicious and I love the photo of Lara enjoying one of your carrots!

  2. Home grown veg, a little bit of effort, and bingo, a deelish meal.

  3. Great meal for this time of year, very healthy. Hope you're getting the super weather we're getting in ireland. 3 days of sunshine and 2 more to come!

  4. That looks like a great dinner for a summer night. I must remember it. Pity your summer hasn't been so good this year.

  5. Your pitta bread looks amazing - what recipe version do you use?

  6. What a delicious meal it must have been. The Carrot Puree recipe seems simple and nice. I shall try it out one of these days.

  7. Oh yum, I repeat once again Mark, dinner at yours??

    If you haven't already posted it, I'd love the recipe for Jane's pita bread, I'd love to try my hand at some.

  8. Carrots are among the few vegetables which genuinely do taste different when grown organically.

  9. Lara really enjoying it :). Fun healthy meal time Mark.


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