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Emma x

Tag: Banquet

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” – Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland.

We’re at the end of book themed month (where did that go?!) and so I’ve decided to end like we started and do a week of recipes themed around one book – this time that good old favourite Alice in Wonderland! I’m from Oxford and there’s loads of Lewis Carrol references around the city that I’ve been trotted around since I was very young, so I’ve always had a fondness for this crazy story. Although it’s technically a children’s book I think the actual themes and plot are pretty incomprehensible and I remember being really confused with it as a kid, but re-reading the book now in my early adult years I’m finding it much more insightful and interesting.

So, back to why we’re here, the food! When doing an Alice in Wonderland themed week on a food blog it’s kinda compulsory to do a Mad Hatter’s tea party so that’s what we have. This is an all bells and whistles afternoon tea, but you could scale it back if you don’t want to spend two days baking. If you really don’t want to bake that much you could just take inspiration from what I’ve put together and buy the elements from a shop. I have to admit to being sooo tempted to just buy a bakewell tart on my way out of the shop when I was buying the ingredients for this! In my opinion a ‘complete’ afternoon tea needs…

• Finger sandwiches

• Scones

• Some kind of cake

• Some kind of biscuit

• Something made out of choux pastry (e.g a profiterole)

• Something made out of Shortcrust pastry (e.g a tart)

• And of course lots of tea!

I’ll be posting a recipe a day which you’ll be able to find on the main page of my blog, or on this post where I’ll be collating all the links…

First up is the base of all afternoon teas – finger sandwiches!

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches

Scones

Banana, Cinnamon and Rum Friands

Bakewell Tartlets

Passion Fruit and Chocolate Profiteroles

Chocolate Ginger Biscuit Shards

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

I’ll admit to you now that I am one of those hummus freaks who gets inexplicably excited when hummus is out at a party. Until a few weeks ago I didn’t touch the stuff for reasons I’m not quite sure why, but when it came to this idea of doing a Greek meze thing it had to go on the menu, and now I can’t get enough of it! Hummus is also insanely easy to make as you just whop everything into a food processor and blend until smooth, and whilst it may seem easier to buy a tub from a shop, the best thing with making your own is that you can alter the amounts of stuff you put in for your own personal preference. If you prefer your hummus more sharp, add more lemon, more spicy, and more paprika, more salty, well…you get the gist.

Recipe

Makes 1 meze dish

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g Canned chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Garlic cloves, skinned and crushed
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • 4 tbsp Water
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika, plus extra to dust
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • A few Pomegranate seeds
  • A few coriander leaves

Method

  1. Drain the chickpeas into a sieve and then rinse them under cold water.
  2. Put the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, tahini, water, and paprika into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
  3. Taste the mixture and then season to taste with the salt, pepper, lemon juice and cumin. Spoon the mix into a bowl and then garnish with olive oil, pomegranate seeds and coriander. Finish with  a sprinkle of paprika and serve with lots of pita bread!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Falafels

Falafels

It’s time for these lil’ chickpea balls of happiness to enter the meze-sphere. These are made with chickpeas, cumin and lots of other lovely stuff, which all come together to make some very tasty kinda non-meat meatballs. These can be a little dry on their own, so they’re best served with something juicy like the roasted aubergine dish I posted yesterday, or some delicious homemade hummus!

Recipe

Makes 8

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 250g Chickpeas
  • ½ tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Mixed herbs
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Small chilli
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • 1 Medium egg
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. Put the vegetable oil into a small pan and put over a medium heat. Finely chop the shallot and then add this to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until starting to caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes before taking off the heat.
  3. Drain the chickpeas into a sieve and then rinse and dry them. Tip the chickpeas into a bowl and add the onion and garlic. Mash the mixture so the chickpeas are all broken down and then add the cumin, herbs, lemon zest, and chilli. Mix together and then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the egg to the mix and then stir to make a sort of dough. Divide the mixture into 10 small balls. Place these onto a lined baking tray and then leave in the fridge to chill for half an hour.
  5. When ready take the falafels out of the fridge, drizzle with the olive oil and then put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm with lots of hummus and salad!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Aromatic Aubergine Bake

Aromatic Aubergine Bake

First meze dish up is this delicious aubergine bake! This one, like most of the others, will taste amazing as a dish on it’s own, but also works fantastically in this meze banquet. The aubergine is gently spiced with something called rasel hanout, a middle eastern spice blend that works incredibly with earthy vegetables like aubergine, and will also work really well with courgette, squash and tomatoes. This dish will be a warming, nourishing taste to the banquet, which will balance well with the other lighter, sharper dishes.

Recipe

Makes 1 Mezze dish

Time: 10 minutes, plus cooking time

Ingredients

  • 1 Aubergine
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 tsp Rasel Hanout
  • 4 Vine tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper to season
  • 50g Feta
  • 25g Pomegranate seeds
  • A handful of Parsley to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Chop the aubergine into small chunks. Heat the oil in a pan and then add the aubergine. Brown it on all sides and then add the peppers and the rasel hanout. Stir to coat everything in the spice and then leave to soften for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then take off the heat. Season with a little salt and pepper and then tip the mix into an oven-proof serving dish.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes around the dish and then put the whole thing in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Once out of the oven sprinkle over the feta, pomegranate, and parsley and serve warm!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

The Odyssey: Greek Mezes

The Odyssey: Greek Mezes

So, to continue with book-themed month, this week is going to be a meze-a-day inspired by the Odyssey! I read this book back in June as a bit of research for a piece of playwriting I’m doing, and I enjoyed it way more than I expected. I think books like the Odyssey and the Iliad have become stereotyped as boring, old Greek things that only scholars or nerds read. Well you may be right there, as I am a bit of a nerd, but it’s a much easier read than you’d think, and whilst I wouldn’t call it a page turner it does have an exciting and interesting plot line.

So, back into the land of food. I couldn’t think of a particularly interesting way of re-imagining the plot line of the Odyssey into a single dish (those who’ve read it will sympathise) so I decided to do more of a banquet-style thing. In the book there’s a lot of talk of hospitality and food, and a lot of big food celebrations whenever someone new came over to someone’s house (which was pretty much all the time). There’s also a lot of travelling, and the book looks at the whole of Greece, (or the islands that make up Greece if you want to be picky about when the Greek Islands became ‘Greece’), so I thought a selection of Greek mezes (or tapas) would be appropriate celebration of all this.

This is going to be the intro page to the banquet, but over the next week I’ll post a recipe a day of each of the individual mezes, so by the end of the week you’ll have 7 meze dishes you can mix and match! I’ll also post the links to each of these on this mother-post page so you can find all the recipes here.

First one up is this delicious, warm aubergine bake!

Aromatic Aubergine Bake

Next one up is this dish of delicious falafels…

Falafels

Homemade Hummus

Pita Bread

Tabbouleh

Greek Salad

Lamb Koftas with a Mint Yoghurt Dip

Thanks for reading!

Emma x