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SO SAD to say goodbye today to our amazing Tasty tuesday contributor, Cassie Lucas of Firecracker!  Cassie is leaving us this week with a flavour packed Middle Eastern inspired lunchbox, combining cauliflower fritters with a lush green herb salad and a bunch of tasty store bought snacks to complement the main event.  HUGE THANKS to Cassie for joining us this month… don’t forget to show us your inspired lunch ideas via instagram using the hashtag #loveyourlunch ! – Lucy

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Middle Eastern Lunch.  Incorporating cauliflower fritters, herb salad, hummus with store-bought veggie crackers, and a ricotta / apple / turkish delight combo drizzled in honey for dessert.  Dip dish – Hay tray from CULT. Surface – Porcelain tile from Ital Ceramics. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

It’s easy to get sick of sandwiches at lunchtime, so it’s always nice to virtually transport yourself to an exotic location once in a while, with a slightly more flavour packed lunch.  This Middle Eastern inspired lunchbox packs a real flavour punch. The elements I’ve included are inspired in part by my sister’s recent trip to Israel, especially the cauliflower fritters and herb salad.

But it’s not only the taste that is important when planning your lunch.  Looks are important too!  I think a supremely colourful meal like this one can really get you pumped about planning your lunch, and keeps you anticipating your amazing home-prepared lunch all morning! The brightest component in this case are the super fun store-bought bright pink pickled turnips – I can’t get enough of pickled goodness right now!

I know there are a few more than eight ingredients in the Ottolenghi-inspired fritters but they are super worth it!  Most of the other elements are based around store-bought options, such as the crackers, hummus, pickles and turkish delight, making this a super easy and achievable lunch to recreate at home.

INGREDIENTS AND METHOD

For the cauliflower fritters

Small cauliflower, cut into little florets
1/2  cup plain flour,
1/2 cup chickpea flour
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus whole leaves for garnish
2 shallots, finely chopped (approx 1/4 cup)
1 garlic clove, minced
4 large eggs, preferably organic
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups sunflower oil, for frying

Add the cauliflower to a saucepan of salted boiling water. Simmer until very soft, this usually takes 10-15 minutes.

Put the flour, chopped parsley, shallots, garlic, eggs, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to make a smooth batter. Add the warm cauliflower. Mix, smashing the cauliflower into the batter with the back of a wooden spoon.

In a fry pan, heat 2/3 inch of oil over high heat until very hot. Working in batches, spoon in the cauliflower mixture, allowing three tablespoons per fritter. Fry in small batches, adjusting the heat so the fritters cook but don’t burn. They should take 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Drain the fritters well on paper towels.

For the lime sauce

1/3 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the lime sauce put all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. I like it with lots of lime and coriander, don’t be shy here because the yoghurt is powerful!

Serve this lime sauce with your fritters and garnish with fresh parsley.

For the herb salad

1 cup coriander
1 cup parsley
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup Dill
1/2 cup snow peas sliced finely and blanched
2 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
A sprinkle of dukkah
1 tablespoon of chilli flakes (add more if you like it hot)

Mix all the herbs and snowpeas and dress with lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Toss through the sesame seeds, chilli flakes and sprinkle dukkah over the top.

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Herb salad components.  Large timber dish from Muji.  Surfaces – both porcelain tiles from Ital Ceramics. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

For the side snacks

For this Middle Eastern inspired lunch box I like to mix in some fun snacks, including pink pickled turnips, some dip and flat bread crisps. These particular turnips are available from Cedars Bakery in Preston, but you can find similar in any Middle Eastern grocer. I paired these with these amazing beetroot and hazelnut and zucchini and almonds crackers from Terra Madre, and your favourite hummus.

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Dessert components.  KAKUDO dish – Mr Kitly. Surface – Porcelain tile from Ital Ceramics. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.

For the sweets

Turkish Delight (my preference is the Greg Malouf Rosewater available at Curds and Whey at the Queen Victoria Market)
Ricotta (preferred brand is Alba – available at Curds and Whey)
Granny smith apple sliced as discs
Honey

And what better way to get through the 3.00pm slump then with a delicious and almost healthy sweet treat (omit the turkish delight if you’re watching your sugar intake). This little snack is also inspired by the exotic flavours of the Middle East. Slice the apple in discs removing any pips. Layer it up with ricotta and drizzle it with honey. Add a pinch of cinnamon and finish with the Turkish delight. A super delicious combo!

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Middle Eastern Lunch ready to go! Timber circular lunchbox - Mr Kitly. Anodised aluminium cup – vintage.  Surface – Porcelain tile from Ital Ceramics. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins/The Design Files.