09 Apr2007


We had a couple, who are good friends, as guests for the long holidays at the beach. They wanted to be referred to as RAM for this post since their names begin with R and M… lunch2They volunteered to prepare a lunch for one of the days of their stay and they decided on a Mediterranean influenced Greek/Middle Eastern/Italian appetizer/dip/salads spread… When they arrived at the beach, they unloaded a shockingly large amount of ingredients/food in several coolers and boxes and bags…it looked like they were going to cook for a small army. But the totally ambitious, delicious and over the top spread featured several dishes, but in the end, they only made about 60% of what they had planned for the first lunch (so of course, they cooked most of the second day’s lunch as well) since we were all afraid we would physically explode from the number of dishes! If only we have 10 or more Marketmanila readers to help us finish the food that lunch! What was on the menu? Feast with your eyes… up top, a mixed plate with a little of everything. Here on the right, M chopping like crazy several bunches of parsley and herbs for the various salads and dips, and below a partial photo of all the dishes for lunch…


We had a wonderful oven grilled fennel salad with sliced oranges, red onion and a orange and olive oil vinaigrette. It had some chopped herbs and olives for saltiness. This was superb…a nice variation on a fresh fennel and citrus salad…


A second salad on which tasted wonderful but involved a phenomenal amount of prepwork was a taboulleh or parsley salad. This one had some bulgar wheat, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers as well and a lemony dressing…


We also had a salty and intense black olive tapenade…


A creamy hummus made from chickpeas (garbanzos) and tahini…


A tatziki or cucumber, yoghurt and herb dip…


A baba ghanoush or eggplant dip…


…and some pesto made with fantastic fresh basil and toasted pine nuts mixed with lots of parmigianno reggiano and pecorino romano. Not photographed were some mixed red and yellow grilled peppers and of course, lots of pita segments for the dips. Together with some nice white wine or sparkling water, this was a perfect vegetarian yet incredibly satisfying lunch!




  1. wil-b cariaga says:

    both me and my gf love Mediterranean food, I always cook for her veriations of these stuff. . . missing her now. . .

    Apr 9, 2007 | 6:58 am


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  3. alicia says:

    Your mezze looked absolutely incredible and the plating was again, just lovely. What a wonderful vegetarian lunch! That orange and fennel salad is just mouth watering! I was wondering, isn’t baba ghanoush eggplant dip and taramasalata the dip made from carp caviar? I thought what I used to buy as taramasalata was a spread made from caviar(the tarama) and a creamy/mayonaise type consistency… (excellent,btw on pita chips or a bagel!)But I could be wrong, as they say, its all Greek to me!
    P.S. Can RAM cook for the next eyeball too?

    Apr 9, 2007 | 8:17 am

  4. Marketman says:

    alicia, you are SO RIGHT, I have edited the post above…many thanks for that correction!

    Apr 9, 2007 | 9:05 am

  5. tulip says:

    That’s my ideal lunch! But then everybody is too lazy to prepare for anything during holidays including driving to the beach.
    Marketman, if you need volunteers to help you finish some food…I gladly volunteer. I’ll just be in the neighborhood, will knock at your doorstep by meal time. hehehe

    Apr 9, 2007 | 1:55 pm

  6. Zita says:


    Try using curly parsley next time for taboulleh, not as intense as flat ones though but it’s the one that my mother-in-law uses when she makes them (she’s lebanese). Also she soaks the burghul to soften it up a bit. Only thing lacking there is hummus. Lovely spread! If you need another version (chuncky) of the hummus give me a buzz.

    Apr 9, 2007 | 2:38 pm

  7. Zita says:

    Oh, I didn’t see the hummus pic. Sorry.

    Apr 9, 2007 | 2:38 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Zita, thanks! Our guest used a mixture of curly and flat leaf parsley for the taboulleh… it was still intense for my tastebuds but good. And yes, she did soak the burghul to soften it…

    Apr 9, 2007 | 2:40 pm

  9. corrrine_p says:

    I also volunteer to vacuum clean your food.hehe. I love greek food. I made hummus successfully the first time 3 weeks ago. That grilled fennel salad looks utterly delicious. Just sad that few of my friends like mediterranean food.

    Apr 9, 2007 | 3:06 pm

  10. sam says:

    this is exactly the inspiration i need after stuffing myself moments earlier with Mum’s traditional Easter dinner. I may just have similar spreads in the next few weeks to atone for all that ham, goat cheese tart and fruit/custard excess. thank you for the wonderful suggestion. (burp!). it’s spring and i am running behind my summer goal. i need to fit into those trunks in time for waikiki in three weeks, MM. i think i will just continue reading the posts and cut my servings ;). wish me luck.

    Apr 9, 2007 | 3:25 pm

  11. Teresa says:

    Hi MM! Happy Easter to you and your family! This is quite a feast, my kind of feast! I am vegetarian and I love Mediterranean food. I love everything your friend prepared, not only it is fresh but prepared with love :-) In fact, all these items are staples of my apetizer spread whenever we have company. I also love stuffed grape leaves or dolmades, minus the meat of course, and feta cheese on top of salads. I definitely would have been a good help to polish off that wonderful array of food, yum! Have a good day!

    Apr 9, 2007 | 10:18 pm

  12. Katrina says:

    Happy Easter, Marketman and family! This mezze spread sounds just delicious, and healthy to boot. Perfect for Holy Week, actually, since you don’t feel at all deprived even if there’s no meat. I’ve just returned from a very indulgent Easter holiday, sacrilegious as that may sound. For 5 days, we ate so excessively and relaxed so thoroughly, complete with daily home visits from the masseuse, that Felipe says we were treated like Kobe beef!

    Apr 10, 2007 | 12:09 am

  13. Candygirl says:

    Hi MM, where can I find Tahini?

    Apr 10, 2007 | 1:08 am

  14. Marketman says:

    Candygirl, they sell tahini at Santis delicatessen in small tubs… They must sell it elsewhere as well… It looks like a thick sludge or thin paste.

    Apr 10, 2007 | 5:52 am

  15. Mary says:

    Hi there, they also sell Tahini at Healthy Options

    Apr 10, 2007 | 8:20 am

  16. audball says:

    that was a lovely menu, marketman. hope you don’t mind my asking, but what do you think of vegetarianism? would a vegetarian resto survive in manila? thanks.

    Apr 10, 2007 | 9:19 am

  17. mackenzie says:

    Baba Ganoush, Taboulleh, Tzatziki. I don’t know what I like more, pronouncing them or eating them. :)

    Apr 10, 2007 | 10:13 am

  18. Marketman says:

    audball, I think being able to stick to a vegetarian menu is amazing. I can’t do it all the time but I do like vegetables. I think a vegetarian restaurant would have difficulty as some guests can’t hack it… I think a restaurant with heavy vegetarian selection and a meat choice would have a better chance…

    Apr 10, 2007 | 11:32 am

  19. Trin says:

    Just to add to your options… Tahini’s also available at ASSAD, an Indian Grocery on U.N. Avenue right across Unilever.

    Apr 10, 2007 | 5:26 pm

  20. Daisy says:

    Dear MM,
    Thanks for posting this. I love taboulleh or parsley salad. We had in during one gathering and I thought it was “tabuli” I even thought it was “tambuli” hehehe. thanks for posting the correct spelling. We enjoyed it ala taco placed in romaine lettuce leaves without utensils. It was really good! where do you get the bulgar wheat aside from Helathy Options?

    Apr 11, 2007 | 11:16 am


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