Mezze platters: Feta, herbs & courgette balls + Gremolata French yellow beans

Inspired by my latest Greek trip, these easy mezze platters are a flavourful summer bite: savoury and salty, with soft and rich feta to upbuild the fresh flavours.



Feta, herbs & courgette balls

Makes 14

Vegetarian, Nut-free, Soy-Free, Gluten-Free option included, Vegan option included

Not even a week ago I was having my last lunch at a Cretan taverna serving some gorgeous deep fried courgette patties. Loved them! but since having trouble digesting fried foods I necessarily had to come up with a baked version. 10/10 for the subtle flavour of caraway seeds and the mixed herbs that I couldn’t put my finger on (but my best guess is parsley and dill). Feta was my addition as I wanted to give some more texture to these balls - courgette , zucchini or marrows have a lot of water content and no matter how you cook them, they’ll have a soft/mushy texture. Feta and breadcrumbs help, as well as the crunchy crust that forms around them. Either way, I personally love their juicy texture and any dish that involves this delicate veggie 💚


Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp psyllium husks

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground flaxseeds

  • 1 1/2 tbsp water

  • 500 g courgettes, finely grated

  • 75 g feta cheese, crumbled (for a vegan version, substitute with salted tofu of vegan feta)

  • 50 g regular or gluten-free breadcrumbs

  • green part of 1 spring onion, finely chopped

  • 10 g fresh dill, finely chopped

  • 10 g fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/4 tsp crushed caraway seeds

  • lemon zest from 1/2 lemon

  • chill flakes, to taste

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Other:

  • greek yogurt, to serve

  • pumpkin seed oil or extra virgin olive oil, for serving and decor

  • mix of marinated olives

  • Greek seasoning for feta cheese, to sprinkle

  • fresh basil

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/347°F and line a tray with parchment paper.

  2. In a cup, mix the psyllium husks together with the flaxseeds and water. Mix and let it sit for a few minutes until they absorb all the water. This will be your binder or egg replacer.

  3. In a bowl, mix the grated courgettes together with the crumbled feta, breadcrumbs, spring onions, herbs, garlic powder, caraway seeds, lemon zest, chili flakes and salt and pepper.

  4. Add the binder and mix it together with the courgette mixture.

  5. Scoop around 3/4 tbsp of the mixter and shape into balls.

  6. Place on the prepared tray. Spray each ball with a bit of olive oil.

  7. Bake the courgette balls for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

To plate and serve them, scoop Greek olive oil on a wide plate. Drizzle with oil and add courgette balls. Sprinkle feta seasoning and decorate with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Gremolata French yellow beans

-an idea

I'm a sucker for French yellow beans. Romanian cuisine has quite a few stunning dishes that feature them in different age stages.

My grandmother would cook the young ones by simply blanching them and then dress them in sunflower oil, salt and freshly smashed garlic. Sometimes parsley too.

Another way of enjoying them would be in thick soups: tomato based, sour cream ones, with or without smoked meat. These would feature the more matured beans that have started to develop some of the beans and growing up these soups were loved by adults and hated by the children.

One of my latest fav versions is this one that uses a parsley and basil gremolata and a touch of lemon zest and feta cheese. It's a wonderful side dish but I have to say I eat this as a main. Slightly warm or cold but I prefer it warm. Love dipping my bread in the leftover juices. Use your best olive oil for this.


I won't give any measurements for this and simply present it as an idea.


You'll need:

French yellow beans, feta cheese, parsley, basil, lemon, garlic, your best extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and salt


Blanch the beans and set aside.

Make the gremolata by mixing equal parts of super finely parsley and basil together with lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and salt.


Transfer the blanched beans into a frying pan (I like using my copper frying pan or the stainless steel one) and add a splash of water, a drizzle of evoo, some salt and pepper. Quickly warm it on the stove.


Take it down and add gremolata, just enough so all the beans get covered in the sauce. Mix gently as the beans are frail. Add the feta and give it another gentle mix. Taste test it and adjust with salt, black pepper or lemon juice if needed. That's it!