I love Middle Eastern food in all shapes and forms. Nothing satisfies me more than tucking into a nice mezze platter. However as all the exotic ingredients have to be flown from half way across the world it is hardly a sustainable way to eat! With that in mind I decided to challenge myself to make a wild mezze platter with UK versions of all the middle eastern favourites. This would include a wild humus, wild falafals and wild vine lives.
So lets begin with the substitutions before I go into the recipes.
- Chickpeas – boiled chestnuts
- Seasame seeds (tahini) – hazelnuts or
- Vine leaves – Dock leaves (boiled twice and drained), charlock, Hedge garlic, lime leaves etc, etc
- Olives – unripe sloes
- Tomatoes for salsa – haw berries.
- Lemon juice – Sumac berries
- Peel two handfuls chestnuts, and then crack about a palm full of hazelnuts.
- Boil them together until both are soft in just enough water to cover them
- Drain reserving the water
- Blend the two together, using a hand-held blender, slowly adding the water as you do so.
- Add a little oil and some spices if you feel it needs it, you can use sumac, toasted hogweed seeds and beech oil.
Dock Dolmades or Dolma
- Boil the dock in two changes of water, discarding the water each time.
- Fill each leaf with a teaspoon of cooked barley flavoured with mint, dried sumac and thyme.
- Boil two handfuls of haw-berries in just enough red wine vinegar to cover them (could use cider vinegar) along with some spices of your choice (chilli, crushed coriander seed etc)
- Strain through a sieve and serve
- Boil up some peeled chestnuts
- Strain and pat dry (the water can be used to make a nut stock or gravy)
- Use a blender or potato masher to crush them to a pulp.
- Work into falafel shapes with your hands and fry until browned on the outside
- Take a number of unripe sloes and leave in brine solution for one to two weeks depending on when you remember they’re there
- Place in a sterilized jar, cover with vinegar, seal and leave
- That’s it
Serve it all with pita bread and seasonal leaves (i.e. chickweed, wintercress, sorrel in the autumn/winter)