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Middle Eastern flavours for the perfect mezze picnic

PUBLISHED: 12:19 12 August 2014 | UPDATED: 12:19 12 August 2014

Mezze Picnic -  © www.susieskitchen.com

Mezze Picnic - © www.susieskitchen.com

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Pack light with this perfect mezze picnic

INGREDIENTS - SERVES 6

Pepper, aubergine and preserved lemon salad

3 red peppers

2 aubergines, 1 cm slices

6 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 preserved lemon

1 tbsp capers

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

A squeeze of lemon

Cumin-roasted carrot and goat’s cheese salad

750g young carrots, sliced

4 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil

1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

100g Rosary Ash goat’s 
cheese, crumbled

Broad bean and dill hummus

350g broad beans, podded

5 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tbsp tahini paste

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 lemon, juiced

3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

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Method

1 To make the pepper and aubergine salad, preheat the oven to 2200C (200 fan) / GM7 and roast the peppers whole for 45 minutes or until blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, then leave to cool. Peel off the skins, discard the seeds and tear the peppers into strips.

2 Brush the aubergine slices with oil and season with salt and pepper, then cook in batches in a hot griddle pan for 4 minutes on each side or until nicely marked. Scrape out and discard the fleshy inside of the preserved lemon and finely chop the rind. Mix it with the capers, garlic, parsley and any leftover oil, then toss with the peppers and aubergines. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, then leave to marinate at room temperature until ready to serve.

3 Cook the carrots at the same time and temperature as the peppers. Arrange in a shallow layer in a roasting tin, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender inside and toasted round the edges. Leave to cool before tossing with the parsley and goat’s cheese.

4 To make the hummus, boil the broad beans in unsalted water for 4 minutes or until tender. Plunge into iced water, then drain well. Transfer the beans to a food processor with the oil, tahini, garlic and half of the lemon juice and blend until smooth. Stir in the dill, then taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and more lemon juice 
as necessary.

5 Pack everything into well-sealed containers and accompany with flatbreads and olives.

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Susie Carter - Susie’s Kitchen

“A picnic in the height of summer has got to be one of the most joyous things in life, though deciding on a menu can be tricky. If you want to enjoy your al fresco lunch in a secluded spot or half way round a long circular walk in the countryside, packing light is a must. My advice would be to save the heavy cooler for the wine and choose foods that taste their best served at warm room temperature. Anything you can eat with your hands from a communal platter also helps, which is why the Middle East is my go-to area of inspiration.”

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Stephen George, Berry Bros. & Rudd

“For a leisurely lunch in the open air, my requirements are simple: wine, bread and olives. But Susie’s mezze upgrades this to an excellent light meal, and I think a zingy white is required. To partner the goat’s cheese – the best of which, to my mind, comes from the Loire – a crisp Sancerre will be just the trick. And when it comes to matching cheese few wines are better than an off-dry Riesling. For my third wine, I have followed Susie and opted for the Lebanon and a rather wonderful red.”

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