Mediterranean mezze table


Today I had invited my Finnish friend for lunch. She has also lived in London for well over 10 years. We usually meet out for lunch once a week, once every two weeks and often go for tapas or Lebanese, Turkish or Greek mezze. We both love the chance to try a little bit of many different dishes at one go.

So rather than one big main course I chose to go down the mezze route preparing a selection of Italian, Greek and Eastern Mediterranean inspired little dishes.

Koussa bil Tahini, Roast aubergine and pepper dip with fried pitta triangles
Normally I wouldn’t mix Italian with the rest of it, but to be honest I had some cute mini Mozzarella and fresh basil I wanted to get rid of. So I thought what the heck, we could explore the north and north-eastern Mediterranean shores in one go!

I have always loved Greek food, but after our honeymoon to Santorini it has an even more special place in my heart. The feta and tomato shrimp was a nod to the gorgeous Saganaki prawns I had for lunch in the little fishing bay of Vlichada. Such a happy day it was riding our bike around the island with my brand spanking new husband. The saganaki prawns were messy as hell to eat, because they came in their shells, but they tasted just divine. 

Vlichada fishing bay

Garides Saganagki
One of the recipe ideas for this lunch came from a work lunch to a Lebanese restaurant called Levant near Bond street station. We had a spread of mezze and mixed grills and one new acquaintance to me was a dip called Koussa bil tahini – Courgette with tahini. It was love at first taste. I couldn’t find a recipe anywhere online, so I just winged it. The end result was actually quite yammy, but not very like the Levant version. I will keep trying and might post a reworked version later.  I will have to visit the place again, not just to try to work out the recipe, but also for the ambiance – if you are into Middle-Eastern food and culture, Levant is definitely worth a visit.

This was my Mediterranean mezze lunch menu

Koussa bil Tahini
Roast aubergine, bell pepper tahini dip
Baked artichoke parmesan dip
Pitta crisps and warm ciabatta slices
Pesto mozzarella tomato salad
Feta tomato shrimp
Stuffed mini bell peppers
Mushrooms a la Greque
Cucumber, dill and yoghurt salad

Koussa bil Tahini

2 mid sized courgettes (roast in oven until very soft for about 1h)
2 tbls of tahini
1 garlic glove
3 tbls of lemon juice
2 tbls of yoghurt
Salt and pepper
Put everything together in a blender and mix. 

Garides Saganaki

2 shallots or 1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
400 grams of shelled and deveined king prawns
4 large tomatoes (or tinned - juices reserved)
1/2 cup of dry white wine
100 gr feta cheese
Fresh or dried oregano and mint or greek herb mix
Pinch of paprika and red chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a pan, add onions and a sprinkling of salt, fry for 2 minutes. Add garlic and fry for another minute. Add tomatoes and white wine and simmer until slightly reduced. Add herbs, paprika and chilli. Season. Add shrimp and crumble feta on top. Cover and simmer until shrimp are pink, or place in 200C oven for about 10 min until shrimp are done and feta starts to melt.

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