Fatayer is a pizza-like dough stuffed with a herby cheese filling in this case. They are found throughout North Africa and the Balkans in differing variations and are traditionally served during breakfast or as a snack with a hot drink.
The combination of the salty cheese, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and nigella seeds makes these fatayer irresistible. I used feta cheese since it is more readily available but if you wish to make the fatayer more authentic, use akkawi cheese.
I have also tried a combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, using half of each, which was equally tasty but more subtle and creamy. Experiment with different cheeses and see what you like best. I prefer the tart tanginess of feta.
Tip: Shape the fatayer as soon as the dough finishes resting. To keep the fatayer from puffing up too much and losing their shape, it is important to bake them right away. I made the cheese fatayer into boat-like shapes, which is the way they are traditionally made, but you can use any shape you prefer, including making them into mini pizzas.
450g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
300ml warm water
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
200g crumbled/grated cheese of choice (I used 100g feta, 50g parmesan, 50g boursin)
½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch of mint, finely chopped
½ tsp baking powder
3 spring onions, finely sliced
Freshly grated black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg
For the dough: Place salt, caraway, nigella seeds and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
For the filling and constructing: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined.
Divide the dough into 6-8 equal pieces.
Roll out into an oval shape.
Put 1½ teaspoons of the filling in the middle and spread.
Lift one edge and press the ends. Do the same with other edge making a boat-like shape.
Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
1 tsp each of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, toasted and ground
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp flour
Pinch of chilli powder
Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until well combined and a paste is formed. You can pulse the mix to keep it a bit chunky if you prefer.
Shape the mix into balls about the shape of a large walnut.
It is traditional to fry falafel but I like mine dry fried in a pan. This is also a very healthy way of cooking them. Place the pan over a medium heat and pop the falafel balls in. cook them for about 4-5 minutes or until turning a nice deep brown colour. Flip them and cook the other side in the same way then remove. Can be eaten hot or cold.
These can be made into burgers, stuffed into pitta breads, served with salad, olives, cheeses, dunked into humous or tzatziki, topped with tomato sauce, anything.
These flatbreads are stuffed with salty cheese, garlic, coriander and parsley before being griddled on the barbeque for a brilliant smoky flavour.
Suluguni is a stringy, salty cheese from Georgia; it’s not easy to find (try Russian delis), but it has a special stretchy texture and makes a welcome change from ubiquitous halloumi. I have used halloumi in the image shown which has a wonderful savoury saltiness.
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g suluguni or halloumi cheese, roughly chopped
50g fresh coriander – stalks and leaves
50g parsley – stalks and leaves
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1½ lavash flatbreads, about 30cm x 50cm (or use 6 flour tortillas)
Lemon juice to serve
Put the garlic, cheese and herbs in a food processor and whizz to a paste. Season to taste.
Cut the whole lavash into quarters and cut the half lavash in half to give 6 pieces. Divide the filling among the flatbread pieces or tortillas then fold into parcels.
Wrap the parcels individually in lightly oiled foil, pop them on the barbecue and cook for about 10 minutes. The filling will melt inside. Alternatively, heat the foil parcels in a dry frying pan for a few minutes each side or brush the unwrapped breads with sunflower oil and cook in a griddle pan over a high heat or under a hot grill for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.
These beauties are surprisingly easy to make and taste way better than anything you’ll find from your local take away. They are gluten free and if you omit the butter, dairy free too.
As with many of my recipes you can adapt them to your liking by adding different spices, aromats and herbs. Why not use the batter to turn other meat and vegetables into bhajis too?!
I have mixed gram flour with rice flour to give a little extra crunch to the batter as well as wholesome, subtle nuttiness. In the images shown, I have used 1 red and 1 brown onion to give a mix of acidity and sweetness.
(Makes 8-10) Ingredients:
60g gram flour
30g rice flour
1 Tbsp ghee or butter, melted
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp each turmeric, garam masala
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp curry paste (I used madras)
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely minced
2 tsp root ginger, finely grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
2 onions, halved, core removed and thinly sliced
Vegetable oil, to cook
Sift the flours into a mixing bowl then stir in the ghee and lemon juice and just enough cold water to bring it to a consistency slightly thicker than double cream. Stir in the spices, aromatics and herbs and add salt to taste. Stir in the onions so they are well coated.
Fill a large pan a third full with oil and heat to 180C– a drop of batter should sizzle as it hits the oil, then float. If you have a digital thermometer, use it here for far more accurate results. Meanwhile, put a plate lined with kitchen paper next to the hob. Put the oven on a low heat.
Once the oil is up to temperature, shape tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into balls with two metal spoons. Drop into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan then stir carefully to stop them sticking. Cook for about four minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden, then drain on the paper and put in the oven to keep warm while you cook the next batch. Serve with chutney or pickle and lemon wedges.
Here is a really good recipe to prepare ahead. It can be served hot, warm or cold and packed as a picnic item or plated up with salad or vegetables, potatoes and gravy as a winter warmer.
Play around with the flavourings you like in the sausage mix. Add different sausage meat such as Toulouse, Cumberland or Linconshire. Add fresh herbs, spices, berries, dried fruits, apple, nuts, chestnuts, mustard, bacon… anything!
The addition of lean pork with the sausage makes the plait a little less greasy than a standard sausage roll and takes on the added flavours well.
2 eggs, divided
1 tablespoon water
6 pork sausages of your choice, skinned
200g lean pork mince
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and ground
1 block frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Beat 1 of the eggs and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
Mix remaining egg, sausage, pork mince, bread crumbs, onion, rosemary, fennel and cinnamon with seasoning in a large bowl until well blended.
Carefully roll the puff pastry out and place on lightly floured work surface. Cut lengthwise into 2 rectangles. Create strips by making 1½-inch long cuts 1 inch apart down both long sides of each pastry rectangle.
Spoon ½ of the sausage mixture down the centre of each pastry rectangle.
Dampen the edges of the pastry strips then fold 1 pastry strip at a time over the sausage mixture, alternating sides, overlapping the prior strip to enclose the sausage mixture. Place on the prepared baking tray.
Lightly brush the braided pastry with the beaten egg and water mixture.
Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the sausage meat is cooked through. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Cut each pastry into 3 pieces to serve.
the sausage meat is cooked through. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Cut each pastry into 3 pieces to serve.
Bread that requires no kneading, no waiting to rise and takes just minutes to cook? Oh yes! And the garlic and herb butter is uber simple and tastes amazing. This bread goes so well with so many dishes. Bubbly, charred, light and fluffy bread covered with garlicky, buttery yumminess. No need to thank me.
For the flatbreads:
350g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
350g natural yoghurt
For the garlic and herb butter:
2 cloves of garlic
a bunch of fresh soft herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, basil, dill
40g unsalted butter
A pinch of salt
Add all the flatbread ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon and then use clean hands to pat and bring everything together.
2. Dust a clean work surface with flour and then tip out the dough.
3. Knead for a minute or so to bring it all together (this isn’t a traditional bread recipe, so you don’t need to knead it for long – just enough time to bring everything together).
4. Put the dough into a floured-dusted bowl and cover with a plate, then leave aside.
5. For the garlic butter, peel the garlic cloves and grate them finely.
6. Pick the herb leaves onto a chopping board and finely chop them, discarding the stalks.
7. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, then stir through the garlic and chopped herbs and set aside.
8. Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour, then divide the dough in half and then divide each half into 6 equal-sized pieces (roughly the size of a golf ball).
9. With your hands, pat and flatten the dough, then use a rolling pin to roll each piece into 12cm rounds, roughly 2mm to 3mm thick.
10. Use a knife to cut 6 lines into the centre of each round, leaving about 3cm at each end.
11. Place a griddle pan on a high heat, then once hot, cook each one for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until bar-marked and puffed up, turning with tongs.
12. Brush the flatbreads all over with herby garlic butter as they come off the griddle, then pile onto a serving board so everyone can dig in and help themselves.
Tip: If you don’t need so many breads or you need even more, the great thing about this recipe is you use half the yogurt to half the flour so adjust the weight accordingly. 100g each of yoghurt and flour will give you 2 flatbreads as a side to a meal.
Fancy a change from poppadoms? These curry crackers are really easy to make, lightly flavoured with spice and fresh coriander and then baked making them crisp… and healthy!
2oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
2-4 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 180C. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl then add the curry powder and chilli powder. Make a well in the centre and add the chopped coriander and water. Gradually incorporate the flour and mix to a firm dough.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth then leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Cut the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces and knead into small balls. Roll each ball out very thinly to a 10cm/4in round, sprinkling more flour over the dough as necessary to prevent sticking.
Arrange the rounds on two ungreased baking trays then bake for 15 minutes turning over once during cooking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.