Middle Eastern Feast

With the holiday season approaching (way too quickly) I couldn’t resist posting about an end of year party we hosted last year for the wonderful South Dowling Sandwiches team. It was a middle eastern festive feast suitable for celebrating a successful year and spoiling their staff.
When our guests arrived we served a beautifully refreshing honeydew melon iced tea and smokey paprika and rosemary toasted almonds in the garden.
The table had the tiniest paradise pears dotted down the centre and each place had a little take home gift of cranberry pistachio biscotti.
We created a buffet style dinner to evoke the feeling of a holiday celebration table.
This Iranian yoghurt dish (basically a fancy tzatziki) is perfect for a summer feast and looks so pretty when dotted with dried rose petals.
Maast O Khiar – Iranian yoghurt and cucumber and mint
Serves 6 as part of a mezze
Recipe from ‘Persiana’ by Sabrina Ghayour
• 1 large cucumber, coarsely grated
• 2 tsp dried mint
• Generous handful of golden raisins
• 500ml Greek yoghurt
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• olive oil, to serve
• chopped walnuts, to serve
• finely chopped fresh mint leaves, to serve
• rose petals to serve
Squeeze out water from grated cucumber.
Add dried mint and raisins to cucumber.
Add yoghurt and mix well.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and chill in fridge until ready to serve.
To serve: drizzle with olive oil, scatter walnuts, mint and rose petals.
The star dish of the night would have to have been this incredibly exotic Iranian chicken stew with an intense flavour developed by slow cooking the meat in pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts.
My other favourite dish is super simple to make (I’ve provided the recipe below). The citrus salad looks like jewels on a plate and it compliments any savoury spread perfectly with a balance of sweetness and acidity.
Moroccan Citrus Salad
Serves 4
Adapted from ‘The Jewelled Kitchen’ by Bethany Kehdy
• 1 lime
• 1 orange
• 1 blood orange
• 1 pink grapefruit
• Seeds from 1 pomegranate
• 2 tsp roughly chopped pistachios
• 2 tbsp clear honey
• ½ tsp orange blossom water
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp chopped mint leaves
Trim the top and bottom of the lime so the flesh is revealed. Cut through the peel downwards from top to bottom, following the shape of the fruit to cut off all the peel and pith.
Turn the lime on the side and cut into slices.
Repeat the same process with the remainder of citrus fruit.
Arrange on plate overlapping different colours.
Sprinkle over pomegranate seeds and pistachios.
Mix honey and orange blossom water in a small bowl. Drizzle over fruit.
Dust with cinnamon and sprinkle over mint leaves.
There was definitely an atmosphere of complete celebration and we were so happy that our guests enjoyed their evening feasting and dancing the night away.
We made sure dessert was the cherry on the top with a delicious cherry, pistachio and coconut cake served with Duffy’s famous vanilla ice cream.

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