Veggie mezze with grilled halloumi and falafel

Like I said in my previous post, the challenge of this months daring cooks was the reason we had our own private mezze party at home.
The most important part of a mezze meal for me is the huge variety of dips and spreads that come with it. I love to indulge myself in the creamy loveliness of all those wonderful Mediterranean sauces with just a chunk of bread or some fresh pitas!
Forget the delicious roasted meats and the lovely fish the Greek are famous for, just concentrated on the many dips and sauces that accompany almost every traditional Greek supper.
And even more wonderful is the fact that most of these dips are veggie! No problems when you go down to a typical Greek tavern by the beach with some friends for some ouzo and mezze. Its veggie heaven for them.
And for me in the kitchen too, cause no need to cook differently for the non meat eating friends that came to the party!
To spoil them a little bit extra I made some grilled halloumi cheese and falafel to go with their dips. But you can just as well serve it with some pita bread! They‘ll love it anyway!

INGREDIENTS TZATZIKI
500 grams Greek yogurt
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 cucumber
2 tablespoons of chopped dill
1 tablespoon of ouzo
salt and peper
olive oil

INGREDIENTS TARAMASALATA
125 gram fish roe (better order this a couple days in advance at your local fish shop.)
1 small onion
the juice of halve a lemon
2 slices of a old white loaf bread
1 small boiled potato
a splash of vegetable oil
a splash of cold water (I used corn oil)
2 sneetjes oud wit brood

INGRDIENTS MAROCCAN CARROT SALAT
400 grams of carrots
salt
5 cloves minced garlic
4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
½ red hot chili pepper
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika powder
cilantro
1 teaspoon of crushed cumin seeds
4 tablespoons of olive oil
the juice of 1 lemon

INGREDIENTS TYROKAFTERI
250 grams feta cheese
125 grams ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
50 ml olive oil
50 gram roasted bell peppers


INGREDIENTS GRILLED HALLOUMI
olive oil with garlic essence (or pop in some cloves when you heat the oil.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1,5 tablespoon of chopped parsley
250 grams halloumi cheese
fresh cilantro
Pepper

INGREDIËNTEN FALAFEL
250 grams chickpeas
3 tablespoons tahina
parsley
cilantro
salt
cumin
zathar
1 red hot chili pepper
1 chopped onion
paprika powder
olive oil

TZATZIKI 

For a nice, creamy tzatziki you better start one day in advance. Let the Greek yoghurt drain for a night in a strainer, so all the liquid can flood away and you are left with a creamy thick yoghurt.
Now take the cucumber and peel it. Then deseed it en grate it. Then pop the grated cucumber in a strainer and let it drain for a night. You can sprinkle some salt over the cucumber. Salt always helps when drawing out moist!

The next day you add the shredded cucumber to the yoghurt and you mix this together with the minced garlic, the ouzo and the chopped dill.
Now season this with some salt and pepper.
Just before serving you drizzle some olive oil on top and you garnish with a little bit of extra dill.
 
TARAMASALATA 

Soak the bread in some cold water and leave it a couple to drain in some of the moist. Now squeeze out the excess liquids from the bread and leave to rest on a kitchen towel.

Depending on your fish shop it could be that you need to drain the fish roe under some running water. Fish roe can be quit salty! So taste a little bit and then decide if it’s necessary to drain.
Now add the fish roe, the chopped onion and the filling of the boiled potato to the bowl of your food processor. Mix this all together at the highest stand. After a couple of minutes at the broad and mix it again until you get a thick paste.

Now add the vegetable oil very slowly to the mixture, until you see that your pasta combines. Be careful not to use to much oil! You don’t want a taramasalata that is polluted with greasy oil stains!
Now poor in the lemon juice and add a little bit of cold water. Now whiz this all together one last time!

Now the most important part… taste! The taramasalata must be creamy and thick, but it also needs to melt on your tongue. When it’s not quit that yet, add a little bit more oil and taste again. You can season it with a little more lemon, pepper or salt!

MAROCCAN CARROT SALAT 

Peel and cut the carrots in round pieces. Boil the carrots in some water with a little bit of salt till they are just about al dente. (Watch it that the carrots don’t go to soft! You don’t want to end up with mushy carrots!)

Now mix in a bowl the minced garlic with the chopped parsley, the red hot chili pepper, the paprika powder, a little bit of salt and some cumin seeds.

Take a large non stick fry pan and heat a little bit of oil in it.
When the oil is hot enough at the herb mixture to it and poor in a couple of tablespoons of the carrot water.  
Stir and let it come to the boil.
Let the sauce and the carrots cool before adding them together and season with a splash of lemin juice. Now let the carrot salat rest for at least a couple of hours before serving!
 
TYROKAFTERI 

The easiest spread of all!
When you roast your own peppers its important to let them cool down and remove their skins before using them. When you use store bought peppers, let them drain for about 30 minutes.
Now add the feta cheese, the ricotta cheese, the lemon juice, the olive oil and the bell peppers in the food processor. Mix it at the highest stand till you get a creamy paste.  And you are done!

 GRILLED HALLOUMI

Combine the oil, the lemon juice, the pepper and the parsley in a small pot together as vinaigrette.
Let the halloumi drain a couple of minutes before slicing him into 1 centimeter pieces.

Heat a grill pan (or when the weather gets a little better the BBQ!) and grill the cheese at every side. Don’t worry about the cheese melting. It wont! Halloumi is a cheese especially made to cook and grill with.

Dry-fry all the slices until they are golden brown at both sides. Now place the cheese on a plate an poor over the vinaigrette. Just before serving sprinkle over some fresh chopped cilantro!

FALAFEL

Falafel is best made with dried chickpeas. It ask a little more efford then stained beans, but it will only help you get that awesome flavour! Let the chickpeas soak for 24 hours in cold water, drain them and cook them in some light salted water. When they are cooked through, drained them and leave them for a couple of minutes.

Now pop the chickpeas into the foodprocessor and mix into a creamy pasta. Then add the tahine, the chopped parsley, the red hot chilipepper, the garlic and the onion and blend this into a thick dough. Now you can flavor this to your liking with some zathar and cumin powder. Whiz it together and place the dough for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator! Roll small balls from the dough and fry them until they are nice golden brown and crisp! Let them drain on a kitchen towel en serve them with some chopped cilantro! 

Inspiration for these dishes comes from the wonderful cookbook The food of the Greek island written by Aglaia Kremezi.
The recipe for the grilled halloumi is from the cookbook Nigella Bites from Nigella Lawson.
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One response to “Veggie mezze with grilled halloumi and falafel

  1. I discovered halloumi a few years ago as I moved to Cyprus, never heard of it before. But straight away I fell in love with that delicious cheese that is so versatile and gives its special note to so many dishes. Very often we try new halloumi recipes and there is not one week since then, that we won’t have at least one meal with halloumi, not to speak about BBQs, where having halloumi is a must.
    Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe and giving me some new ideas.

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