Basic houmous recipe

Serves 6-8 as a starter

  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration)
  • 4 tsp tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed sea salt
  • 6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Paprika
  • Coriander or parsley leaves feature-header15
Photo © Google


Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and seven tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the cans. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the oil while it runs.

When the mixture is fully combined and smooth, tip it into a serving dish. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and decorate with a few whole chickpeas. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped coriander or parsley leaves, for colour.

Photo ©


Yalanci Dolma; “Fake” Dolma

Serves 10

  • Vine leaves
    3 dozen

  • Olive oil
    6 centiliters or 1/4 cup

  • Chopped white onions
    15 centiliters or 2/3 cup

  • Long grain white rice
    25 centiliters or 1 cup

  • Pine nuts
    8 centiliters or 1/3 cup

  • Crumbled dried mint
    15 milliliters or 1 tablespoon

  • Ground dried oregano
    2 milliliters or 1/2 teaspoon

  • Salt (or to taste)
    2 milliliters or 1/2 teaspoon

  • Cinnamon
    1 milliliter or 1/4 teaspoon

  • Ground black pepper
    1 milliliter or 1/4 teaspoon

  • Lemon juice
    6 centiliters or 1/4 cup

  • Boiling water
    35 centiliters or 1 1/2 cups


Dolma Wrapping

Photo © Google


Prepare the vine leaves (see instructions below).

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over low heat. Sauté the onions for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the rice. Stir the mixture frequently for 3 minutes.

Add the mint, oregano, and salt. Stir the mixture for 2 minutes. Then turn off the heat and wait several minutes before stirring in the cinnamon and pepper.

Construct the dolma, one by one, forming 2 by 5 centiliters (2/3 by 2 inch). First, lay a leaf on the work surface, dull side up and with the stem end facing you. Place a rounded tablespoon of the rice mixture in the center of the leaf. Fashion this mixture into a horizontal (left to right) rectangular mound. Fold the stem end over the rice mixture. Next, fold over the sides of the leaf. Finish making the cylinder by rolling the package away from you. Expect to make about twenty dolma.

Line the bottom of a large, thick, wide, and flat-bottomed sauté (or other shallow, straight-sided) pan with a single layer of the unused vine leaves.

Place the dolma seam side down in the pan in neat, semi-tight rows.

Pour the lemon juice evenly over the dolma. Next, pour the 35 centiliters or 1 1/2 cups of freshly boiled water over the dolma.

Weight the dolma down with a heavy, heat-proof, flat plate that just fits into the pan. This helps prevent the dolma from losing their symmetrical shape as they cook.

Bring the preparation to a simmer over low to moderate heat. Cover the pan and gently simmer the dolma for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.

Turn off the heat, remove the lid and plate, and let the preparation come to room temperature. The rice should absorb the excess liquid as it cools. If not, drain off the remaining liquid.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. In the former case, refrigerate the dolma for at least 1 hour. If you transfer the dolma from the pan to a serving platter.
Photo © Google




For the Sugar syrup

  • 500 g caster sugar
  •  ¼ lemon, juiced

For the Baklava

  • 1 x 375 g pack of Antoniou filo pastry
  • 500 g ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 350 g pistachio kernels, crushed (Turkish, unsalted)


Photo © Google


To make the sugar syrup, place 600 ml of water and the sugar into a medium-sized pot and cook over a medium heat. Add the lemon juice.

Take off the heat once it is syrupy and dense, but without caramelising. Cool at room temperature and then pour into a jug. (Do not cool in the fridge or iced water as it will make the syrup too thick.)

To make the baklava, preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the filo to the size of a 30 cm x 20 cm x 4 cm deep tray. Divide the filo pieces into two and cover with a damp cloth.

Brush the base and inside of the tray with the ghee using a pastry brush.

Place one filo piece at a time into the tray, brushing each layer. On every three layers, sprinkle a very thin layer of crushed pistachios (to aerate the pastry while cooking).

Once you are halfway, coat the pastry with a thick layer of pistachios. Continue to layer the pastry and brush with the ghee. Once again, on every three layers, sprinkle a very thin layer of crushed pistachios until there are ten layers of filo left. Don’t sprinkle any pistachios on the last ten layers.

With a sharp knife, cut seven equal pieces width wise and six equal pieces lengthwise.

Pour the remaining ghee over the filo, making sure it goes into the cuts of the filo.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, turning if needed for even cooking.

The baklava is ready once golden brown. As soon as the baklava comes out of the oven, pour the room temperature sugar syrup on the hot baklava. Rest for 30 minutes to absorb the sugar. Decorate with crushed pistachios.      
Photo © Google



%d bloggers like this: