Vegetarian Mezze


 Can’t go to the Mediterranean…bring the Mediterranean to you…

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 A wise man once said “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. Travel definitely makes you worldly in more than one way. Through travel one creates timeless memories and also learns about great histories, rich cultures, beautiful art and my most favourite, local cuisine. If I could I would be on a perennial holiday.

Unfortunately life isn’t a bed of roses, most of us have something called ‘a job’ and ‘a boss’ waiting for us Monday to Friday – day in day out! The dreary grind of everyday life makes travels and holidays seem like a dream.  

While a holiday may not be on the horizon for you, your kitchen is right where you left it last night! Why am I telling you this? Well go back and read the tag line, it’s true – Can’t go to the Mediterranean…bring the Mediterranean to you… Lets take a culinary cruise to the Mediterranean.  Today I will be showcasing three vegetarian mezze. Each of them unique in texture and flavour, but what’s common in them – they are a taste of the Mediterranean and so easy to make. Time for a drum roll – Potato and Cream Corn Fritters, Caper Lemon Brussel Sprouts and Paprika Beans with Goats Cheese.

‘Mezze’ or ‘Tapas’, depending on the country of origin is one of the most popular variety of appetizers or snacks in the Mediterranean. They can be served both hot and cold and overtime have evolved into an entire meal. The whole idea behind serving these appetizers is to encourage conversation among the crowd, giving people an opportunity to eat, drink and chat.      

So without further ado, fasten your aprons we are off to the Mediterranean tonight!

Potato and Cream Corn Fritters

Ingredients:  8  Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves:   4           

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  • Five medium-sized potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • 200 gms of cream corn
  • 1/2 cup of coriander
  • one egg (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • salt to season
  • Olive oil to pan fry

Start by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. The cream corn has a lot of moisture and will easily bind the ingredients. However you can add an egg if you think the mixture is dry.

Make round patties by rolling the mixture in the palm of hands, you should roughly have about eight to ten patties.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the patties and cook them until crispy on both sides.

You can serve this dish with tomato sauce or tzaziki.

Lemon Caper Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients: 6     Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 

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  • 300 gms of brussel sprouts, halved
  • Three tablespoons of salted butter
  • Two tablespoons of chopped continental parsley stems, finely chopped
  • Two teaspoons of capers
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to season

 Begin by steaming the brussel sprouts for about seven to ten minutes until they are soft and keep aside.

Melt butter in a pan, add parsley stems and capers, followed by the steamed brussel sprouts.

Toss the brussel sprouts, making sure the butter coats each of them. Once they are slightly charred season with salt and toss again.

Finally drizzle with lemon juice, give it a final toss and they are ready to serve.

Note for my vegan readers, to make this dish vegan simply replace butter with almond butter or extra virgin olive oil.

Paprika Beans with Goats Cheese

Ingredients: 11     Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

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  • 400 gms of canned red kidney beans
  • 400 gms of diced canned tomatoes
  • One medium-sized onion, finely sliced
  • Two to three garlic pods, coarsely chopped
  • Two tablespoons of goats cheese
  • Two teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon of ground cumin powder
  • One teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

Heat olive oil in a pan, add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.

Now add the diced tomatoes followed by smoked paprika, cumin and sugar. Cook this sauce base for five to seven minutes on a medium heat.

Time for the beans, one tip – always rinse canned beans before cooking with them to get rid of all the salt and grime. Add the beans, half a cup of water, cover the pan and cook the beans for seven to ten minutes on a medium heat.

The beans are now ready to serve. Garnish with crumbled goats cheese and fresh parsley. To make this dish vegan simply avoid the goats cheese.

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Next time you have a dinner party and don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen, try out these three lip smackingly delicious under 60 minutes recipes.

For now think of the Mediterranean and get cooking!!!

 

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