What a pleasure to cook and serve a buffet inspired by Ottolenghi’s cookbooks.

To prepare a buffet you need at least 8 guests. The idea is to join and share together. You spend some time in the kitchen to prepare. The whole job starts with the menu, preparing your shopping list and organizing the cooking by reading the recipes carefully (and adapting if you prefer). In my junior years of doing this, I started making my own draft of ‘when to do what’. Especially when you combine cooking with a job organizing is the most important thing. For 12p you can serve 4 appetizers (each for 4p) and serve 4-6 different dishes (meat/fish/vegetarian/carbs spread over the different dishes), each prepared for 4-max 6p.

Today I post the appetizers, tomorrow I will post the main course buffet.

– Baba ganoush: smoked aubergines with pomegranate

Halve 1 ½ kilo of eggplant, make a few incisions in the meat. Put them on baking paper (flesh below). Add a drizzle of olive oil. Grill for approx 20 mins in the oven ( 225°C). They are ready when the skin is starting to become black and cracked. Cool down. Remove the skin. Drain for at least an hour. Mix the eggplant with 2 chopped garlic cloves, zeste of 1 lemon, 2 tables spoons of lemon juice, 2 table spoons of chopped fresh parsley, a few chopped fresh mint leaves,½ teaspoon of salt, black pepper. Add 1 table spoon of tahini paste. Keep the dip at room temperature. Taste before serving, add extra pepper or salt. Garnish with seeds of a pomegranate and fresh herbs. Serve with little grissini of pieces of pita bread.

The preparing of the eggplant, until the draining can be done the day before!

-spicy chickpeas

2017-05-20_00.59.31[1]Soak 300 grams of chickpeas 1 day before in a large amount of water and 1 table spoon of bicarbonate. Rinse, put the chickpeas in a large casserole. Add 2 l of cold water. Boil for 1 hour. Drain the boiled chickpeas. When dry, put the chickpeas on baking paper. Mix with ½ teaspoon of chili pepper, 1 table spoon of grinded coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good drizzle of sunflower oil. Mix the chickpeas with the oil and herbs. Put in the oven at 180° for approx 30 mins. Stir regularly. When they are crispy, remove them from the oven. Serve the chickpeas warm or at room temperature.

-Beignets of courgettes with a Greek yoghurt sauce.

The whole dish can be pre-prepared. Reheat the beignets in the oven or serve them cold.

For approx 24 beignets, grate 600 grams of courgettes roughly. Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt. Leave in a colander for 15 mins with a weight above (to remove the maximum of fluid). Mix the drained courgettes with 2 chopped shallots, 2 chopped garlic cloves, zeste of 2 limes, 4 table spoons of ‘self-raising’ flour, 2 battered eggs, 1 table spoon of baharat (herbal mixture from the Middle East), 150 grams of feta cheese in little pieces, salt an pepper. Mix everything carefully. Bake the beignets in sunflower oil (2 table spoons for each beignet). Turn and leave on baking paper to reheat (or to finish the baking, if the beignets are not yet firm enough). For the dipping sauce, mix 200 grams of Greek yoghurt (or sauer cream) with chopped coriander, ½ teaspoon of baharat, zeste and juice of 1 lime.

-Filled mushrooms

Simple large white mushrooms, 500 grams in total filled with a mixture of farro, feta and herbs.

Remove the stem of the mushrooms. Put on baking paper. Boil 1 little cup of farro (or similar) in a larger amount of salted water. Chop 1 small onion and 2 garlic cloves in tiny little pieces. Add ¼ of a pickled lemon in tiny little pieces, 50 grams of feta cheese, 1 table spoon of chopped parsley, 1 table spoon of chopped fresh thyme, pepper and salt. Mix everything together. Fill the mushrooms with the mixture. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven at 180° for 15-20 mins. Serve warm

-Fluo-green peasoup. Served real cold or heated.

Fry 4 chopped shallots, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 spicy green pepper in some olive oil. Add 1 chopped leak, and 2 chopped potatoes. Simmer for 5 mins. Add 2 liters of vegetal stock. Cook for approx 10-12 mins until the potatoes are cooked. Add 750 grams of frozen peas, 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook for 2 mins. Put the casserole in ice water to cool down (and to keep the lovely green color). Mix and seef the soup to get a velvetlike structure. Serve really cold of hot (but prevent cooking). Add a bit of cream for the color. Prepare the soup 1 day in advance to save time.

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