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dolmades stuffed vine leaves with fresh herbs and edible flower petals

dolmades with tagetes petals, dill flowers and fresh herbs

warm earthy flavours meet with fresh citrus and dill in a wonderful summer delicacy

 

these dolmades use the herbaceous flavour and rich colour and texture of the tagetes, with the fragrance of dill and mint flowers, to make a perfect picnic or lunchtime snack. you can make them all year round, using pre-packaged vine leaves, or in the late summer months, fresh vine leaves are available until mid-september. the dolmades store well in the refrigerator, needing only a splash of olive oil and lemon juice for serving.

 

the recipe happens to be vegan, gluten free, and low in fat and salt, so just about anyone can enjoy them. kids can also help wrapping the little parcels with you - a great way to spend a holiday afternoon in the kitchen.

 

seasonal, pretty, and very tasty - what's not to love?

 

ingredients

at least four dozen large fresh vine leaves - a pre-cooked packet will do fine if necessary. be certain you have enough.

350g cooked white rice rice

1 large tomato, skinned and deseeded, chopped finely

1 medium onion, chopped finely

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

75g toasted pine nuts

spices: 1/2 tsp allspice powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

herbs: handfuls of flat leaf parsley and flowering mint, and the flowers from two heads of dill

flowers: the petals from 6 tagetes flowers for the filling, 1 or 2 more for serving

1 tsp of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

700ml vegetable stock

olive oil and lemon juice to serve.

equipment

a large pot with a well-fitting lid, a clean tea towel, greaseproof paper, and a plate that will fit inside the pot. a large bowl for mixing the filling

method

if using fresh vine leaves, cook them for 15 minutes in simmering salted walter, then rinse thoroughly with cold water. pre-packaged vine leaves will also need to be rinsed. having done so, let the leaves drain in a colander, and use them while still damp

in a little olive oil, gently fry (sweat) the onion and garlic until translucent, then, in a bowl, combine with the cooked rice, tomato, pine nuts, spices, salt and pepper

wash and chop the parsley and mint finely, and add to the mix with the dill flowers and tagetes petals

lay the clean tea towel in a large pot, so that it lies flat on the bottom, and comes up over the sides

assemble the dolmades by placing a vine leaf on a clean surface and add approximately 2 teaspoons of the rice mixture. fold the top of the leaf over the mix, then the two lower lobes of the leafs, then one side of the leaf. finish by rolling the parcel on to the remaining side of the leaf, to create a small cigar shape

place the dolmade on the tea towel in the cooking pot, and tightly pack its companions around. when complete, there should be two or three layers of dolmades packed liked sardines. packing them snugly keeps their shape as they cook

pour the stock on to the dolmades, so they are covered. place a square of greaseproof paper over them, and the plate on top of that. the weight of the plate, which sits inside the pot, compresses the dolmades as they cook

fold the tea towel into the pot, put the lid on, and simmer at a very low heat for 1 hour

remove the dolmades when cooked, allow to cool, serve with a generous drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon, and adorn with the colourful tagetes petals.

 

watch out, these are moreish - particularly with a nicely chilled white wine

 

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