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Hot Hummus Recipe – and a review of Mezze, Small Plates to Share

‘Mezze Small Plates to Share’ is a new mezze recipe book by Ghillie Başan, dropped onto my doormat this week and as soon as I dipped into its pages I was transported into full-on feast of mouth-watering mezze. Not least the hot hummus recipe.




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If you read my last post about Crete’s best eats you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Mezze so I was keen to get stuck into the book and its recipes. Mezze Small Plates to Share is filled with moreish mezze recipes from the Mediterranean to the Middle East accompanied by some beautiful photography. Mezze small plates to share is a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate.

Mezze Small Plates to Share – review

Mazza in (Syria and Lebanon) is also known as Meze (in Turkey and Greece) but whichever way you spell it the word is derived from the Arabic ‘Maza’ meaning to ‘taste’ or ‘relish’. In Greece, the word comes from the longer form ‘Mezedes’ meaning ‘little delicacies. 

Mezze is a long-held tradition in the Middle East and Mediterranean and is the perfect way to share lots of small tasty dishes during a leisurely social gathering. Mezze can be enjoyed at any time of day, as a snack with just a few select dishes, or as a full-blown feast with selections of hot and cold, sweet and savoury, dips and flatbreads to ensure every last morsel is mopped up and savoured.


Turkish Breakfast TableA memorable Turkish breakfast is Gorome, Turkey

The introduction to the book gives a fascinating insight into Başan’s travels around Turkey. The time she encountered an extraordinary feast of ‘hammam mezze’ with an animated group of naked women (you need to read it!) to ‘the moment that a mouthful of mezze changed the course of my life’. These are recipes with both heart and history and they’ll transport your imagination as well as your taste buds.

Mezze small plates to share is divided into five sections. Each section starts with a brief intro displayed on a background of beautiful authentic tiles. The short narrative tells a little about the recipes within, their origins and author’s insights.  The food is presented on traditional Middle Eastern serving disheswhich adds a sense of place beautifully.

After the introduction, the book covers basic mezze, then cold mezze which includes nibbles, dips and salads. The hot Mezze section is the biggest, serving up dips and purees, fried and sauteed dishes, pastries, pies, stuffed vegetables and fruit with kebabs and pan fries. There’re also some fish and shellfish recipes and a wide variety of vegetarian dishes throughout the book.


Table of Mezze dishesMezze Selection. Image Credit: Jan Baldwin


There’s a sweet mezze section and to round off, there’s ‘After Mezze’. It’d be wrong to finish a mezze meal without raki, coffee or mint tea and this section has these all covered. The recipes are all very do-able with a few dishes that would take a little more time and effort. I’m really looking forward to preparing a mezze table next time we have friends or family round.

To get a taste of working with the book I followed the recipe ‘Hot Hummus with Pine Nuts and Chilli Butter’ from the ‘Hot Mezze’ section as I’d not made hot hummus before. The recipe is easy to follow and as I already had most of the ingredients it was an no brainer. I halved the recipe and there was still enough for four. I served it with chunky bread and both Mr Jones and I loved it. I whipped it up in around 20 minutes plus cooking time. It’ll make a good sharing dish with friends so I’ll be making this again.


hummus-humousDish of Hummus in Dubai


From the book Mezze and small plates to share

I first had this heavenly hummus some 30 years ago in a tiny village near Kars in eastern Anatolia. Taking refuge in a simple, one-roomed dwelling after a hazardous journey through PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) territory cloaked in darkness, the hot, creamy dip, baked in a clay dish, was as welcome as it was soothing.

It was such a memorable discovery that I have been writing about it, and enthusiastically devouring it, ever since. When most people think of the word ‘hummus’, they think of the ubiquitous thick, smooth, chickpea purée served at room temperature with pitta bread or crudités, not this delectable, hot version, called sıcak humus in Turkish. I add yogurt to the traditional recipe to make it more mousse-like and utterly moreish.


Recipe for Hot hummus with pine nuts and chilli butter

2 x 400 g cans chickpeas, drained and thoroughly rinsed 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 2–3 garlic cloves, crushed roughly 4 tablespoons olive oil freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons 2 tablespoons tahini 500 ml thick, creamy yogurt sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons pine nuts 50 g butter 1 teaspoon finely chopped dried red chilli warm crusty bread, to serve Serves 4–6 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

How to make Hot Hummus 

Instead of using a pestle and mortar to pound the chickpeas to a paste in the traditional manner, make life easy and tip the chickpeas into an electric blender. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and whizz the mixture to a thick paste. Add the tahini and continue to blend until the mixture is really thick and smooth. Add the yogurt and whizz until the mixture has loosened a little and the texture is creamy. Season generously with salt and pepper and tip the mixture into an ovenproof dish.

Roast the pine nuts in small frying pan until they begin to brown and emit a nutty aroma. Add the butter to the pine nuts and stir until it melts. Stir in the chopped chilli and pour the melted butter over the hummus, spooning the pine nuts all over the surface.

Pop the dish into the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until the hummus has risen a little and most of the butter has been absorbed. Serve immediately with chunks of warm crusty bread.


Mezze – Hot hummus with pine nuts and chilli butter. Taken from Mezze by Ghillie Basan, photography by Jan Baldwin, published by Ryland Peters & Small.
What I love about this book is that it’s interwoven with the author’s personal anecdotes which give fascinating insights into the traditions of mezze.  There are variations on the recipes – how a sweet dip can have lemon juice added to turn it into a savoury dip and how to serve Moroccan mint tea the right way.
There are tips on which mezze work especially well together and the history behind some of the recipes is fascinating. For example, Mother-in-law’s meatballs are prepared for the new bride by her mother-in-law. The meatballs are hollowed out to create shells which contain a spicy filling before being sealed again.
Making and presenting the meatballs signifies that the new bride must be discrete about her new family.  Fortunately, they weren’t too discrete to share the recipe! 
If you want to get your hands on a copy of Mezze small plates to share you can find it here.






Victoria Prince

Thursday 20th of August 2015

I have never been abroad, so my travels have been limited! But from my limited travels, my favourite is definitely fish and chips by the sea :) (and a whippy ice cream after!)

Suzanne Jones

Friday 21st of August 2015

Coming from a seaside town myself I couldn't agree more!

louise baxendale

Thursday 20th of August 2015

Paella in southern spain!

Suzanne Jones

Thursday 20th of August 2015

Oh yes - and Spanish tapas too!

emma kinsey

Thursday 20th of August 2015

tunisian brick

Emily-Ann (grownupgapyear)

Tuesday 18th of August 2015

Mmm, that hummus recipe looks amazing - I'm definitely going to try it next time I have friends over for dinner. I am a big fan of "sharing" meals, there is something so lovely about sitting around a table piled with food. One of my favourite dishes is a huge pan of paella placed in the middle of the table in Spain - heaven!

Suzanne Jones

Tuesday 18th of August 2015

The hummus was sooo good! I'll be making it again - it's so easy to do too. Love paella! Thanks for entering and good luck...

Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

Tuesday 18th of August 2015

It has only recently occurred to me to start making dips and sauces from scratch, so far I've only made homemade guacamole and pesto, which were quite easy but I'm very tempted indeed to try this hot hummous recipe - it sounds absolutely delicious! Greek/Southern Mediterranean food is some of the most fresh, healthy and delicious in the world in my opinion :)

Suzanne Jones

Tuesday 18th of August 2015

I'd like to have a go at pesto - love those pine nuts! I've heard that the Mediterranean diet is very good for you and tastes wonderful too so it's a win/win :)

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