A few weeks ago we had some friends over for the enthusiastically titled ‘Middle Eastern Feast’. In keeping with the theme and the Middle Eastern tradition of generous hospitality and an abundant table, our own table positively groaned. Food from Greg & Lucy Malouf’s Turquoise and Barry Vera’s Feast Bazaar featured as well as some personal creations. We enjoyed Syrian White Bean & Feta Dip, Smoky Eggplant & Tomato Spread, Moroccan Semolina Bread, Kefta Tagine w Tomato & Eggs, Fez Chicken, Couscous, Tomato & Cucumber Salad and finally, Turkish Semolina & Walnut Cake with Turkish Delight Icecream. Toss in some Olives, Zataar Crispbread and Labneh and it was a veritable banquet.
I must make special mention of my favourite dip of all time by Queenslander Suzanne Quintner. Suzanne’s Harissa has featured on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Maze’ menu in Melbourne. Be sure to visit her website to view the amazing array of authentic North African products and support local business. Her Roasted Carrot & Cumin dip was as popular as it always is and that’s really saying something because I am no fan of carrots. This thick spread is great accompaniment for so many things, so I will post the recipe another time.
But the purpose of my post is not to boast about the dazzling array of food we enjoyed but rather, how to tackle the dazzling array of leftovers. I never expected that we would eat all of the food but still wanted to re-create the mood of bounty and profusion. After sending a care package off with the guests, there was still plenty to work our way through. Half the chicken was despatched to the freezer, as was half the cake. (Who knows, you may be the lucky recipient if you drop in.) We enjoyed a restorative soup for lunch the next day, made from the poached chicken broth with couscous, shredded chicken and roasted capsicum and then the remaining kefta for dinner. Some of the leftovers went into this simple Sunday night dinner. Like all good magpies or colonisers, this brings together the foreign and the local in a type of Middle Eastern Pasty, hence the title ‘East Meets West’. It’s a combination of old fashioned ideas, traditional flavours and bold new horizons.
- 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
- 1 cup eggplant puree or cooked, chopped eggplant
- 1/2 cup grilled capsicum – chopped
- 1/4 cup raw couscous
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1 tsp zataar
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- zest of 1 lime/lemon or a combination
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander/parsley or a combination
- seasoning to taste
- 2 sheets shop made puff pastry
- 1 egg for glazing
- Combine all ingredients except pastry and egg, in a bowl. Make sure you use raw couscous as this helps to absorb moisture in the mix which assists pastry to stay crisp.
- Lay pastry sheets flat and cut into quarters (you will have 8 squares)
- Divide mix between pastry squares. Beat egg and then brush all edges of pastry.
- Now, you have a democratic choice. You can either fold the pastry over to form a triangle or, a rectangle.
- Press edges together to seal parcel. Another democratic choice – you can flute the edges or crimp with a fork.
- Brush top of parcel with remaining beaten egg.
- Place parcels in fridge to keep pastry cool whilst you pre-heat the oven to 225c.
- Place chilled parcels in hot oven and immediately reduce temp to 200c. Cook for approx 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.
- Remove from oven, cool slightly, serve with leftover tomato and cucumber salad and a dollop of natural yoghurt.