Five Minutes With Chef Michael Rantissi And Hospitality Guru Kristy Frawley On Their New Book, Hummus & Co


Spinach and Pine Nut Rolls
Spinach and Pine Nut Rolls
Hummus & Co has everything you need for your own Middle Eastern feast, straight from the kitchen of Kepos & Co, here we catch up with chef Michael Rantissi and hospitality guru Kristy Frawley, on their new book.

When and how did you hatch the plan for Hummus & Co?

Our first cookbook, Falafel for Breakfast, was published through Murdoch Books in 2015.  Hummus & Co is our follow up cookbook.  Murdoch Books approached us to do the second book last year which we were really excited about. We workshopped lots of ideas but decided this book would be ideal to show the recipes we like to cook at home rather than recipes from Kepos Street Kitchen or Kepos & Co, although a few dishes do sneak in like the churros!

What is the food philosophy behind the book?

Hummus & Co is a collection of recipes that we like to cook at home when we are entertaining but also dishes that we’d cook for each other.

We love entertaining (when we have the time) so the recipes in Hummus & Co are quick and easy to prepare which means when means you don’t need to spend the whole night in the kitchen.  The sharing table is a great way to entertain.  Serve the food on platters, guests can help themselves and it brings everyone together.

A lot of the recipes are made as share dishes.  The recipes all work well together so you can create lots of different menus.  Some dishes from the brunch chapter would also be delicious served over dinner.  The vegetables or salads could be served as side dishes but also the quantities increased and made as main dishes so there is a lot of flexibility in the cookbook.

The recipes are designed to make the ingredients shine.  The recipes can also be adapted to your taste so easy to add in a bit more chilli if you like or a larger handful of fresh herbs.  

What’s mealtime like at your home? What are recurrent dishes on the table?

Given Michael’s crazy hours at the restaurants during the week we normally eat late afternoon, around 4.30pm/5ish.  Kristy does the home cooking and in winter it could be soups or a braise but in spring summer it would be vegetable salads, and some protein.  We only have a few nights off together during the week so Kristy cooks on these days as she works from home.  Michael likes to have a break from cooking!  Our go to dinner on a Sunday night is often steak with loads of vegetables and salads.  Another favourite is roast chicken.

What’s your ideal festive menu?

There are lots of recipes in Hummus & Co that can be used to create the perfect festive menu.

We love making dips for our guests on arrival so that is the first thing for them to snack on when they arrive.  The taramasalata or muhamara are delicious.  The Moroccan lamb cigars is a great pass around canape.

A whole fish is an excellent dish to serve over the festive season. Instead of the rainbow trout you could use a larger fish.

Last Christmas we served the sugar snaps with sujuk and that worked really well with the turkey and ham.

The Turkish delight pavlova is an impressive dessert.

Salads are always great as most can be made in advance and then add the dressing just before serving.  

If you are looking for a festive alcoholic drink some of the tea recipes could be adapted by adding some vodka or rum and making a cocktail.

What Middle Eastern ingredients would you like everyone to try?

Michael Rantissi – pomegranate molasses or date molasses which can used in a dressing or glaze.  Also freekeh and that is delicious in salads.

Kristy Frawley – kataifi pastry because it can be used in savoury dishes like the lamb kanafeh or sweet with the banana kataifi tarte tatin.

Find our favourite recipes from Hummus & Co in the December 2017 issue of MiNDFOOD


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