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by Daphne Lambert


serves 6

12 fresh vine leaves

225g long grain rice

zest of 2 lemons
1 onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

50g sultanas or currants
50g toasted pine kernels
small handful parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp finely chopped thyme
2 tbsp lemon juice
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
sea salt & freshly-ground black pepper

olive oil


Oven 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4


Remove the hard stems from the vine leaves, plunge them into boiling water until they wilt, strain and refresh in cold water.

Cook the rice with the lemon zest in plenty of salted water until barely done and strain.

Cook the onions in the olive oil until soft, add the sultanas, pine kernels, herbs, lemon juice and cinnamon and stir into the warm rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place a vine leaf vein-side up on a working surface and, depending on the size of the leaf, place up to two tablespoons of stuffing near the base of the leaf. Fold over the base then fold in the two sides and roll upwards to the top to make a neat package. Stuff all the leaves in the same way then place them tightly together in an oiled oven proof dish with a lid. Half cover the dolmas with hot water and brush the tops with olive oil.

Cover with greaseproof paper and cook gently in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the leaves are tender. Cool and store in the fridge.


Pitta bread

450g spelt flour

12g fresh yeast

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

275ml (approx) tepid water

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt


Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast, and 6 tablespoons of the tepid water. Cover with a little flour, and leave until it begins to bubble. Add the sesame seeds. Then mix with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and enough of the remaining water to make a firm dough. Knead the dough well for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your fingers. Coat the inside of a clean bowl with the olive oil, put in the dough, and roll around to oil the surface. Cover the bowl with a dampened cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1½ - 2 hours).

Turn the dough on to a floured board and divide into six. Flatten each piece with a floured rolling pin, forming ½" thick ovals. Place these on a floured cloth in a warm place. Cover with another cloth and leave to rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to the highest setting and pop in two lightly oiled baking sheets. When the pittas have risen, slip them carefully on to the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes without opening the door.

Cool on a rack then wrap in a tea towel for your picnic.


Red pepper dip

3 red peppers, halved and deseeded

4 tablespoons olive oil

125g skinned almonds soaked overnight

1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme

salt and freshly ground black pepper


oven 220C/425F/gas mark 7


Rub a little oil over the peppers and place cut side down on a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes or until the skins start to char in the preheated oven. Remove the peppers from the oven and immediately pop into a bowl and cover with a plate to seal in the steam leave the peppers to cool.

When cool peel off the skins & roughly chop the pepper flesh. Drain the almonds and place into a food process and whizz into a fine crumb add the remaining ingredients and whiz until smooth. Pile into a container suitable for your picnic


Hemp paté

225g shelled hemp seeds
550ml water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chilli powder


Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz for a minute. Place into a pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring all the time. The mixture will separate into ‘curds and whey’. Simmer gently for 2–3 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Place a piece of cheesecloth over a sieve sitting on a bowl and tip the mixture into the cloth. Gather up the cloth ends and tie up securely with a piece of string. Hang up over a bowl to drain overnight.

Remove from the cheesecloth and refrigerate until needed


Baba ganoush

4 aubergines

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini

paprika/salt & pepper

Olive oil


Lightly oil the aubergine and grill or roast in a hot oven until tender and charred. Remove and allow to cool. Cut the aubergine in half and scrape out the flesh. Process the flesh in a food processor with the remaining ingredients until you have a purée. Pack into a serving dish.

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