Vegeterian Middle Eastern Zucchini Fritters (Ejeh)

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Little Miss 4 hates green. No, not green in nature, or her clothes or the colour itself, she hates green in food.

She will spot the tiniest micro spec of green no matter how much I blitz or puree herbs or green vegetables into her food. Really, she has a knack for it!

Ejeh (and fresh cucumbers too but we’ll get to that another day) is the exception. She will demolish and devour a fritter in 6 seconds flat especially if I serve it up in fresh Lebanese bread teamed with her favourite pink pickles .

This is one of those recipes that is both frugal, adaptable and seems a little too simple however don’t be fooled, the combination of garlic, zucchini and fresh herbs team up beautifully and when fried properly, it is both crunchy and soft at the same time. Magic!

Ejeh is as amazing served piping hot straight from the pan as it is eaten cold the following day.

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Middle Eastern Zucchini Fritters (Ejeh)

  • 2 large zucchinis, grated
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1 large bunch dill finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch flat leaved parsley finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil to shallow fry

Squeeze excess liquid out of the grated zucchinis by either squeezing it over a sink which is both therapeutic and messy or place the grated zucchini into a muslin cloth, twist and squeeze the liquid out. Discard the liquid. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well. Shallow fry large tablespoons at a time until golden brown.

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Armenian Ich or Eech Salad.

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I mentioned in my last post there will be recipes that give you parsley teeth. This is one of those recipes.

My husband calls this one ‘Armenian Sang Choy Bow’ because its best enjoyed in a lettuce parcel. I call it ‘Reverse Tabouli’ because its a little bit of parsley and a whole lot of bulgur. The actual name for this traditional Armenian salad is Ich. Or Eech Salad. Or just get in my mouth salad.

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Its gloriously delicious, and its one of those salads that gets better with time. Make it and leave it overnight and see how gorgeous it is the next day. Possibly (if there is any left) even better on day 2.

Be sure to use the finest bulgur you can buy. And if you really want to be adventurous, you could even substitute it for quinoa, cous cous or any other fine grain. The main flavour here though is the combination of the pastes, lemon and the fresh herbs.

  • 1 – 1 ½ cups fine bulgur ( #1)
  • Hot water – enough to cover bulgur in a bowl
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dry mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lemons
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ½ cup green onions/shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes finely diced

Place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover it with hot water. Leave for 30 seconds then drain well. Add all the ingredients and stir well. Cover with glad wrap and place it in the fridge for at least an hour for all the ingredients to make love. Serve and enjoy with crunchy iceberg lettuce.

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Zucchini and Tomato Dolma (meat and rice stuffed vegetables)

You say Sarma, I say Dolma.


In the ‘Armenian Wog World’ there is a bit of confusion over the name of this dish, however all will agree their Mum makes it the best. It’s highly subjective however all will agree it’s a classic and there is nothing better than coming home to a big plate of mixed vegetable dolma smothered in garlic yoghurt mopped up with Lebanese bread.

Essentially it is minced meat, onion and rice and herbs stuffed into your favourite vegetable of choice. Traditionally Lebanese zucchini is a must, and then really you can add whatever is in your crisper. I often stuff tomatoes, capsicum, baby eggplants, and even cabbage leaves.

Now, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’m pregnant and tomatoes have been a no go due to their acid and my terribly sensitive belly. Hubby dared to groan about pub food again so I decided to be a good wifey and cook him a good Dolma. The smell floating through the house was so divine and I just HAD to give it a try, knowing truly what the consequences would be. Well I am SOOOOO happy to say, I mopped up a big plate of Dolma, popped a few Mylanta’s (ok so I double dosed on the chewable tablets) and I managed to keep this dish down! Hooray!

zucchini dolma

Zucchini and Tomato Dolma.

  • 10-12 Lebanese Zucchini’s
  • 10 large tomatoes
  • 400g minced lamb or beef
  • 1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Water, salt and pepper

Garlic Yoghurt to serve

  • 1 cup Greek style yoghurt
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Using a sharp knife or spoon hollow out each zucchini and tomato.

zucchini dolma

In a bowl, grate or finely dice (as small as you can) the onion, and add the meat, rinsed raw rice, dried mint, chopped fresh parsley (I used a tablespoon of dried parsley because I didn’t have fresh on hand but if you do go fresh), a teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and use the mixture to stuff each vegetable.

zucchini dolma

Place all stuffed dolmas into a large saucepan and in a separate bowl, combine the tomato paste, enough water to completely cover the dolmas so that they are submerged and a teaspoon of salt. If your pot is quite large, you may need another teaspoon of salt. Pour the tomato paste and water mixture into the saucepan and if you find the dolmas are floating to the top, use a dinner placed upside down into the saucepan to keep them under the water level.


Bring the pot to the boil for about 5 minutes; reduce the heat to medium and simmer for a further 25-30 minutes until the rice and meat is cooked through.

To Serve, combine all the ingredients in the garlic yoghurt and mix well to combine. Drizzle over the top of the hot steamy Dolma or serve on the side. Whatever floats your boat? Enjoy!

Sorry for the awful photo and sauce smudges! I just couldn't wait a minute further dig in

Sorry for the awful photo and sauce smudges! I just couldn’t wait a minute further dig in

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

When the lovely Claire from ClaireKCreations contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in joining a ‘Foodie Secret Santa’ with other food bloggers from around Australia I squealed with delight. Why of course I’d love to receive gifts in the mail so the answer was yes. She then said its not one present or two, but 3 different presents and I squealed some more!

This was back in November so for the last month I had ideas swirling through my mind as to what I would mail out to my 3 secret Santa participants.

I settled on orange and spice because those flavours remind me of Christmas and decided I’d make dark chocolate coated candied orange peel. I absolutely love orange and chocolate anything and it was so hard not to just polish the plate I had to mail out.

So yes lucky Secret Santa recipient’s, twas I, the Gourmet Wog that made that box of yumminess.

What I didn’t really take into consideration though was the weather and as I was standing at the post office with my 3 goodies all boxed and wrapped up searching through my blackberry to find the email with the recipient’s home address’s is that all 3 were located in the sunny north. QLD. Nice.

My beautifully decorated choc coated orange peel would arrive as one box of melted chocolate mess with orange things floating through it. I’m sure/hope it still tasted good!

I skinned 3 kilos of oranges to get enough peel for 3 participants. It turned out to be just enough and I ended up freezing the actual oranges once they were peeled for later use.

If you’re curious to see what other bloggers received, we tracked our goodies using hashtag #foodiesecretsanta in twitter, facebook and instagram.


What did I receive? Well this lucky gal was just so grateful to receive something other than bills in the mail, and even luckier because all 3 goodies were so delicious. Present one was Bread and Butter Pickles and homemade dukkah, present 2 was home made honey mustard, and present 3 was salted caramel peanut brittle and maple dukkah. Amazing! Thanks Secret Santa!! xx

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

  • 3 kilo’s oranges, peeled.
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • About 10 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 200 grams good quality dark chocolate

Remove the skin from the oranges (pith/white part too) and cut into strips. If you’re fussed about presentation or OCD you can make square them up and make them all even in size but I went for the ‘rustic’ look (or the ‘I can’t be bothered doing the extra step because I have a crazy cat two year old running amok beside me). Actually, I like the rustic look, it makes them appear home made!


Put orange peel into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring it to the boil for 2 minutes. Drain it, then repeat the process 3 times. This helps reduce the bitterness from the peel.

After you do this 3 times, bring all the listed ingredients (except the chocolate) to a boil and simmer away on a mid to low heat for 1 hour until the peel is translucent.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Remove the peel from the syrup and place on a drying rack for a minimum of 6 hours. I did this step at night and left it to dry overnight for a better effect.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and carefully dip each orange peel into the melted chocolate. Place the choc coated orange peel onto some parchment/baking paper to dry.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Once the chocolate has set, you can store them for up to 2 weeks.

Dark Chocolate Coated Spiced Candied Orange Peel

Yummy Crunchy Oven Roasted Curry Chickpeas

crunchy curry salty baked oven roasted chickpeas

Every year I say I’ll do my Christmas shopping in November and get it out of the way.

Every year.

Every single year I end up doing it last minute, battling car park rage, shoving the crowds out of my way, while dealing with aching pregnancy feet/ screeching baby/one year old with pooplosions/terrible two tantrums.

It seems this year is no exception.

With 13 nights left till Christmas day we’re yet to put our tree up let alone do our shopping for the big fat wog family and I’m starting to stress just thinking about it.

Apologies in advance to my blogging friends and loyal readers for the lack of posts lately. I just have so much on and so much yet to do.

This working full time, being a mother, wife, chef, cleaner and blogger gig is hard work!

Yesterday I could have done some shopping but instead decided to enjoy a cold one under the sun, with my feet up, nibbling on curry chickpeas and it was bliss. Christmas stress can wait another day.

My recipe for crunchy baked curry chickpeas is the ultimate beer snack. Perfectly crunch, salty and yummy it’ll have you going back for more. And the best part of it is they’re pretty good for you

crunchy curry salty baked oven roasted chickpeas

Yummy Crunchy Oven Roasted Curry Chickpeas

  • 2 cans (400g) chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Rinse and dry your chickpeas thoroughly with a paper towel. You don’t want any excess moisture.
Combine all the ingredients together, toss well to evenly coat and spread out onto a flat baking dish
Bake for 20 minutes, switch the oven off and leave chickpeas inside the oven with the door closed for a further 20 minutes to dry out.

Open a cold beer, guzzle it down while you enjoy your salty crunchy chickpeas!

Chickpeas will keep crunchy for up to 3 days if stored in a air tight container.

Flavour variations: Don’t like curry? Why not go for these combos: cumin/paprika/salt …cayenne pepper/garlic powder/salt….sweet tooth? Cinnamon/sugar…

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Ok, now let’s set things straight, this stuff is potent. I mean ‘brush your teeth eight times and you still have garlic breath’ and ‘garlic is coming out of every pore’ potent. You will be burping garlic for 12 hours and cursing yourself the following morning. But fear less, it tastes SO good you will make this again time after time.

If you haven’t tried Toum before, I’m so sorry you poor thing. Grab yourself these pantry essentials, blend and emulsify then come back and praise me. Lebanese Garlic dip is a gastronomically sensation, and must be experienced by all!

All Lebanese restaurants will serve up their version of fluffy and creamy garlic dip with charcoal chicken or shawarma, along with pink turnip pickles. They also usually sell the stuff on the side for about $5-$8 for a small 100ml pot. Now you can make your own for a fraction of the price, but be warned, it’s truly addictive and you may never be able to eat chicken without it.

I have found through experience there are two ways of making this. Those scared of raw egg can make the first version (however it takes a lot longer and requires a lot of patience) and those who aren’t really concerned about raw egg can make the easier and quicker version that takes less oil

The first version requires a heavy duty food processor. The food processor will be on continuously for ten minutes so please use a good quality processor so that the motor doesn’t burn up. The second variety uses a blender and can be made in 3 flat!

I have also found through experience that Sunflower Oil is by far the best to use for this recipe. Please do not use olive oil. It is too strong and will completely change the taste of the dip. Also, try to buy local garlic, not the Chinese variety. It makes all the difference. Unless of course you live in China and Chinese garlic IS your local…

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Version One: Eggless ‘Food Processor’ Toum:

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups Sunflower or any other neutral Oil. Do not use olive oil
  • ½ cup peeled whole garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Put salt and garlic cloves in food processor and pulse. Scrape the sides until all the garlic is the same in size.

Turn on the food processor once again and do not stop it until done. In a very thin stream, add ¼ cup oil very gradually. Please do add it very slowly, don’t rush it or the sauce will split. Once you have added ¼ cup oil, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice also very slowly, drop by drop. Add another thin stream of ¼ cup oil then 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Keep doing this until you have used up your lemon and oil. The process will take 10 minutes. Be patient. If your sauce has split by the end of it and isn’t a fluffy dip, you can try to add 2 teaspoons of cold water or add 1 icecube and wack on the processor again for a few minutes. If that hasn’t worked, abort mission or *gulp* add a raw egg white and process for another 3 minutes.

Version Two: Quick and Easy ‘Blender’ Toum

  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole
  • 1 egg white
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons iced water
  • 1 cup of Sunflower or any other neutral oil. Do not use Olive Oil

 Put the garlic cloves and salt along with ¼ of the lemon juice in the blender, and blend on medium, scraping down the sides. Add the egg white. Add ½ cup of oil in a slow and steady pour.

Turn the blender onto its slowest speed and add the rest of the lemon juice slowly then once again add the second half of the oil slowly and steadily.

Finally, add the 2 tablespoons of ice cold water and it’s done.

If the dip has split, try adding another egg white and blitz on high for a couple of minutes.

Slather and spread. Devour. Burp. Regret. Eat some more.

Incredible Lebanese Garlic Sauce aka Toum Dip

Crunchie Baked Kale Falafels.

baked kale falafel

There’s no stopping my Kale plants. They seem to be thriving in their little home and the more we cut them the more the flourish.

We’re eating kale every single day! Honestly, do yourself a favour, get down to your local nursery and buy a punnet of kale. They just doesn’t stop giving.

When I made my Kale Tabouli last month I started to look think of other recipes that I could substitute kale with. I figure if kale could easily replace parsley then why not falafels?

I decided to bake them instead of frying to keep things healthy. Hot out of the oven, they looked good and I teamed them up with a tahini sauce and simple garden salad for the photo, however when it came to the taste test I wasn’t sure If I liked them. They tasted quite ‘grassy’ however teamed up with my Lebanese turnip pickles, cos lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, a garlicky tahini sauce and a dash of chilli all wrapped up on Lebanese bread, they made quite a tasty meal and I forgot these falafels were even kale.

Crunchie Baked Kale Falafels.
• 4 cups kale leaves (stems removed)
• 1 400g can chickpeas, rinsed
• 2 garlic cloves
• 2 Tablespoons tahini
• 4 table spoons lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 4-5 tablespoons flour
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Small bunch of fresh mint leaves.

Pulse the kale, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and cumin in a food processor until it forms a thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir through the flour. I added 4 spoons of flour, but if your mix is still wet and not solid enough to form small balls, add more flour.

baked kale falafel

baked kale falafel

Form them into ball like shapes and squish them down a bit to flatten

kale falafel

Pop them into a preheated oven and bake until golden brown
Best eaten hot and crunchy.

baked kale falafel

Middle Eastern Za’atar Crumbed Eggplant Chips

Middle Eastern Za'atar eggplant chips

Finding whole food snacks on my quest to avoid processed foods has been challenging. I usually reach for carrot sticks and the always present bowl of homemade hummus in the fridge for snacking emergencies. When I’m not hungry, just peckish, I make kale chips.

Today however, I had the munchies, bad.

Do you know that feeling when you feel like something but just can’t put your finger on what you actually want? You pace the kitchen, check the fridge, then the pantry, then the fridge again just in case something magically appeared that wasn’t there 4 seconds ago?

There was an eggplant in the crisper, stale bread on the bench and a bag of zaa’tar in the pantry.



Middle Eastern Za’atar Crumbed Eggplant Chips

  • 1 large eggplant (aubergine)
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • ¾ cup bread or panko crumbs
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup za’atar spice mix*
  • Sea salt
  • Olive Oil or spray

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Trim the ends of the eggplant and discard. Slice the eggplant into 2 cm thick slices then across to make ‘chips’.

Pour the flour, bread/panko crumbs and eggs into separate bowls. Combine 1 tablespoon of za’atar into the beaten eggs, then 1 tablespoon za’atar into the breadcrumb bowl and another tablespoon za’atar into the flour bowl.

First the flour

First the flour…

...then the egg mix

…then the egg mix

and finally the breadcrumbs

and finally the breadcrumbs

Toss the eggplant chips into the flour, dunk them into the egg mix and finally into the breadcrumb bowl. Sprinkle any remainder za’atar spice mix over the top.

Lay the coated eggplant chips onto a baking tray, spray lightly with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt flakes while they’re hot.

Middle Eastern Za'atar eggplant aubergine chips

To serve, combine a simple yoghurt dip by combining natural Greek style yoghurt, olive oil, dried mint and a sprinkle of paprika.

The nature of eggplant means these chips won’t stay crispy for long, so devour immediately and satisfy those cravings!!

*Za’atar is a spice mix found in all Middle Eastern specialty stores, and now in most deli’s and supermarkets. Za’atars fragrant and tangy mix contains dried wild thyme, sumac and sesame seeds.

Za'atar spice mix

Za’atar spice mix

**If you’re not feeling adventurous enough to try Za’atar, you could easily transform this dish from Middle Eastern to Italian by substituting za’atar with fresh parmesan cheese.

Middle Eastern Za'atar eggplant chips

Homemade Ricotta Cheese! Easier than you think!

homemade ricotta cheese recipe

“Cheese, I just love cheese! Really I do!!”

Does anyone else remember this cartoon? A little female mouse declaring her love of the good stuff? I remember watching this cartoon on 1001 Rabbit Tales as a young child and it’s the one line that has stuck with me throughout the years.

I can’t say the word ‘Cheese’ without putting on my best southern belle accent ‘I love cheese, really I do!’

Once you’ve tried my recipe for homemade ricotta you’ll never buy the supermarket version again. It’s almost too easy to make it at home and the taste is out of this world. Eat it warm, eat it cold, bake it, spread it, sweet or savoury.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

  • 2 litres full cream milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or plain white vinegar


Pour the milk, cream and salt into a saucepan. Heat the milk, stirring it constantly to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Just before it comes to the boil, add the lemon juice or vinegar, stir it once only and let it simmer it 1-2 minutes only. Remove from the heat and let the pot sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.

seconds after the lemon juice was added

seconds after the lemon juice was added

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth (minimum 2 layers) and place it over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey gently into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. The liquid collected in the bowl is whey.


After straining at room temperature for an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese.

I usually discard the whey into our vegetable patch, however there are many uses for it from baking with it to bathing in it a la Cleopatra

Homemade ricotta cheese will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, in a sealed container.

homemade ricotta cheese recipe


I’ve given in and joined Twitter. Yes, it’s time I embrace modern social media and get with the times, so if you would like to hear my head chatter, follow me HERE

While we’re at it, be sure to say hi on my Facebook page and ‘like’ me. You know you want to 😉


Kale Tabouli

kale tabouli

It looks like Tabouli

It smells like Tabouli,

Heck, it even tastes like Tabouli.

But this, my friends, is no ordinary tabouli! You see, it has no parsley.

So what’s that green stuff, I hear you say?

It’s kale! Glorious, raw, antioxidant-rich, superfood craze kale!

Get out of here!

I can hear all the Lebanese population ‘tsk tsk tsk’ me.

My Egyptian born mother is shaking her head in disapproval.

Can a tabouli be made without the main ingredient parsley? Why sure! Why not 

I have a glut of kale at the moment and I’ve found it to be most delicious in its raw form, uncooked and vitamin rich, combined with lemon juice, olive oil and all the other tabouli necessities like bulgur, tomatoes and cucumber, it makes for one very tasty and nutritious lunch.

A while back, I was sent the above hilarious you tube vid for a laugh. Now, every time I open the cupboard and see bulgur staring back at me, I can’t help but do a little tabouli dance.

‘Tabouli, Ta Ta Tabouli, makes me shake, shake shake my booty’

Yes, you know you want to.

Ok, it’s nearly Friday and I’m feeling silly. So grab some kale, shock the Middle Eastern population, sing a little Tabouli jingle and shake your booty.

Kale Tabouli – Serves 2 as a side dish, or one very hungry person for lunch

  • 5 stems kale
  •  2 tomatoes
  •  2 cucumbers
  •  1/3 cup fine bulgur
  •  Small bunch of fresh mint
  •  1-2 juicy lemon
  •  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 small clove garlic, finely minced.
  •  Sea salt to taste

Start by placing the dried bulgur to your salad bowl. Top with lemon juice and the olive oil. Leave it aside for 10 minutes until the bulgur has completely absorbed all the lemon juice and oil. Add minced garlic and season with salt.

kale leaf

Remove stalk from kale and only use the leafy part on top.

Remove the stalks completely from the kale. You only want to use the leaves in this recipe.

kale tabouli

Finely chop the kale as small as you can get it so it resembles chopped herbs. Add it to the wet bulgur mix.

Dice tomatoes and cucumbers, and shred the mint. Add to the bowl.

Give it all a good toss, using your hands. Taste for seasoning.

Enjoy and boogie.

kale tabouli