15 June 2011

GUEST BLOG: Marvellous mezze

By guest blogger JUDITH KATHRENS

On Saturday 12 June, Deanna took 12 people through a whirlwind of wonderful Middle Eastern food which included lamb koftas, stuffed vine leaves (dolmades), spinach and feta parcels, and a lot more besides. I really didn't think that so much food could be produced in one morning but thanks to her it all went without a hitch.

There was a lot to pack into three hours and every one of the participants was gainfully employed chopping, soaking, drying, frying, rolling and folding. Some of the work was quite fiddly but everyone made really neat little rolls of vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts and sultanas which were then steamed with lemon juice.

The spinach had to be dry to go into the filo pastry for the feta and spinach parcels, and Max proved to be a spinach-squeezer extraordinaire - I think he has found his calling!

For the koftas, chilli and coriander were added to minced lamb which was then rolled into balls and fried, while Deanna demonstrated how to make tomato houmous and a delicious aubergine dip.

The day was a great assault on the senses, full of amazing smells and tastes. A big thank you to everyone who took part - and ate! - with such enthusiasm, and thanks too to Alicia who was volunteering for the first time.

Some of the coments from participants...

'I really enjoyed the session – really friendly and interesting, and clear that the aim was for us to enjoy the session. Loved the eating together at the end – a really excellent lesson.' Chloe Brew

'Really interesting and flexible format.' Emilly Beir

'I found the session very interesting and useful and would defo do it again and recommend it to someone.' Charlie Hall

'Learning new techniques, getting wise words from the chef! Nothing could be improved – genuinely nothing. Thank you very much for a fantastic, cheap but invaluable course.' Dannielle Peet

'The general cooking tips (cutting an onion etc!) were great and I really enjoyed making dolmades and spinach and feta filos.' Jenna Sharman

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