Saturday, February 13, 2010

Daring Cooks February - Mezze

The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make Mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

4 teaspoons regular dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon table salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar


Place flour in large bowl and make a well in the centre. In the centre mix yeast and warm water, then add oil. Fold flour over the yeast and then add salt and sugar, mix until well. Turn out and kneed well for roughly ten minutes, until the dough is soft, elastic and smooth. Place in a large buttered bowl, cover with a moist tea towel. Leave in a warm place for 40 minutes until doubled in size. Knock down and kneed gently, before allowing to rise for a second time.

Divide into 16 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and roughly 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.

Preheat your oven to 200

Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn't puff up, don't worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.


Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.

1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)
2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)
additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste

Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Beetroot Tatzici

2 cups plain Greek-style yoghurt
2 beets peeled and halved
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste

Roast beets in a 200 degree oven, for roughly 30 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool completely and then roughly chop.

In a bowl mix well, all ingredients. Add beets and mix gently. Keep chilled


  1. That beetroot dip looks so colourful and I bet was delicious (we use a lot of beetroot in Australia) your photographs are so colourful and really show off the food so well. Excellent work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Your mezze plate is just gorgeous! And I love the beetroot tzatzici - it looks like ice cream! I imagine it tastes just wonderful!

  3. Your photos are awesome! Thank you so much for cooking along with me this month. Your food looks so delicious and the beet dip is just stunning. Your pita looks great too!

  4. Now that is a great idea.. using beet instead of cucumber. I love those daring cook challenges. I've recently been approved to join the daring cooks. I hope to take this challenge. So interesting how the outcome is for each person, really shows imagination. Cheers.

  5. I've actually never really been into Beets, A, I'd always seen those canned ones. I really liked this dip though, the sweetness was lovely against the tart yogurt.

    Good Luck on your first challenge powderate.


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