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Leiths Advent - DEC 13 - Honey & Co Festive Mezze Recipe

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Leiths Advent - DEC 13 - Honey & Co Festive Mezze Recipe

Photo by Patricia Niven.

A Middle-Eastern inspired festive mezze dish from the wonderful Honey & Co; Poached quince with curd cheese and honeyed hazelnuts. Sarit Packer of Honey & Co tells us, " Even if you aren’t going to make your own curd or indeed this recipe, try making the honeyed hazelnuts, it is one of the tastiest preparations in this book and needs no accompaniment. You can use as much sea salt and chilli as you dare, they’ll be better for it." This sounds is the perfect seasonal snack.


Serves 4 as a starter 2 as a light main

For the Quince
2 large quinces
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

For the Curd Cheese
550ml full fat milk (you can use goats milk if you prefer)
100 ml single cream
150 g natural yogurt
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon – maybe 2

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper

Honey Hazelnuts
100g roasted whole hazelnuts (medium oven for 10-12 minutes)
Heaped tbsp of honey
Generous pinch of sea salt
Pinch of chilli flakes

To Serve
I large bag of lambs lettuce or baby spinach (100g) – washed
Small bunch of mint – leaves picked


  1. Cooking the quince: Cut the quince with the skin on into 8 segments; remove the core with a sharp knife. (if you are using pears then use 3 and quarter them instead.)
  2. Cover them with water and add the lemon juice, sugar & cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and then simmer until they soften (approx 10-15 min) allow to cool in the liquid.
  3. Making the Curd: Bring the milk and the cream to a boil, stirring to avoid them burning, watch it, you don’t turn your back on a pot of boiling milk
  4. As soon as it has boiled add the yogurt and salt and mix, return to the boil, drizzle the lemon juice all around the milk, you will see it start to split, leave it on the heat and don’t stir so as not to interfere with the curd formation.
  5. Boil for 2 minutes and turn the heat off. You should see the curd separates from the whey, if it hasn’t you may be missing some acidity so you can add extra juice.
  6. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Carefully pour into a cheese cloth in a large bowl or into a stocking in a vase, allow to whole thing to rest for another 10 minutes without lifting the cloth out of the whey, then lift it and hang to drip dry. I like my curd soft and I will only leave it hanging for up to 30 minutes, but you can use this method to make a firmer cheese by adding another tsp. of salt and hanging it overnight, it will resemble a feta.
  7. To assemble: Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients with the lamb's lettuce and mint leaves. We like to serve this on individual plates with a little mound of green at the top, then the quince wedges, a spoon full of the curd cheese on the side of the plate and the honeyed hazelnuts on top of the curd, you can sprinkle with some more chilli flakes if you want and some freshly ground black pepper.
Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich

Author: Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich

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