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Falafel, flatbreads, tabbouleh and dips

If you’re thinking of hosting a dinner party, try cooking up these simple mezze recipes which are guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser

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This recipe is a great one for sharing with friends around a table. A mezze is one of the best dinner party menus because not only does it look and taste excellent, it looks like it has taken hours of preparation when in actual fact, it’s really simple! So here is a collection of a few mezze ideas which are great as they are, or can be added to or removed as you see fit. If you’re entertaining adamant meat-eaters, simply add some lamb koftas or chicken kebabs. If you hate mangos then add baba ganoush instead — it is completely up to you! For ease, I have chosen to use shop-bought flatbreads which can be put in the toaster or under a hot grill for a couple of minutes before serving.

Falafel

1 tin of chickpeas

½ red onion

3 tbsp plain flour

½ green chilli

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp ground cumin and ground coriander

½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt and pepper

50g halloumi

Oil for frying

Making falafel is probably one of the most simple things in the world, and this one will make more than enough to snack on for weeks to come. To make these falafels simply throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until it comes together. Divide the mixture into 5/6 pieces if you want larger falafels, or into 8/9 if you want smaller ones. Heat enough oil to cover the falafels in either a pan, or (ideally) a deep-fat fryer. While you’re waiting for it to heat up you can stuff the falafels.

Take one falafel and squash flat in the palm of your hand. Take a cube of halloumi and press it into the falafel before forming back into a ball around the halloumi. Repeat this process for all the falafels. When the oil is hot, add the falafels and fry for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

Hummus

2/3 tin of chickpeas

Juice of 1 lemon

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp tahini

100ml extra virgin olive oil

1/2tsp ground cumin

Handful of flat-leaf parsley

Pinch of salt and pepper

Exactly like falafels, making your own hummus is incredibly easy and so much better than the shop bought stuff! Almost all hummus recipes will contain chickpeas, lemon, oil, tahini, and seasoning. On top of these, you can flavour it with pretty much anything you like. Harissa works really well, or you could make an Indian-themed hummus by adding spices such as garam masala and ground coriander, whilst a smoked chipotle paste and paprika make for a delicious smoky accompaniment to Mexican dishes. If you haven’t already spotted the theme here, again all you need to do is put all the ingredients apart from the oil into a food processor, or into a jug if using a stick blender, and blitz. Slowly add the oil until you have the desired consistency and taste to see if any extra seasoning is required.

Amba sauce

1 mango

1 large lime

2 cloves garlic

¼ teaspoon mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and turmeric

De-stone the mango and put the flesh into a food processor. Finely dice or crush the garlic and add to a frying pan on a fairly low heat. Cook the garlic for around 2-3 minutes before adding the spices to toast for approximately another minute until the fragrances begin to be released. Add this to the food processor and blitz the mixture until smooth.

Tabbouleh

120g bulgur wheat

500ml vegetable stock

1 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon (zest reserved for decoration)

1 handful chopped mint and parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the bulgur wheat in a pan and cover with the hot vegetable stock. Simmer gently for approximately 15 minutes, or until the liquid has nearly disappeared. Finely chop and add the mint and parsley. Once cooled, add to the bulgur wheat along with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. At this stage, you can once again add pretty much anything you fancy to the tabbouleh. You could easily add some finely diced spring onions or roasted vegetables, or try adding some feta and halloumi. Finally, if you’re entertaining and looking to show off some fancy presentation skills, simply cut a pomegranate in half and bang the seeds out onto the tabbouleh before finishing off with some fresh herbs.