Dolmades -a warm weather treat

40 mins

30- 40 mins

Servings: 4- 6

A tasty treat that is perfect for outdoor eating for a picnic or on a sunny terrace.
These are best made with fresh vine leaves if you are lucky enough to have a grapevine or know someone who does, or you can use preserved leaves in brine that are available in jars at supermarkets or delis.
If using fresh leaves, pick the new growth so the leaves are not mature and more pliable. Blanch the leaves in boiling water and lay them out flat on a cloth lined tray or rack to dry out. Pat dry and sprinkle or spray with olive oil. they can be stored stacked up in a container.

1 cup long grain brown rice
1/2 cup pre soaked and cooked barley (optional)
1 onion chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped (optional)
1 lemon sliced
olive oil
5-6 cloves fresh garlic
For meat option
200 gms lamb or beef mince
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic

Add the onion and washed rice to a pan and cook in a little olive oil until onions are translucent.
Add 2 cups of water and cook until rice is just par boiled – about 7 – 8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice and add the chopped herbs.
If using ground beef or lamb, lightly saute the mince in a little oil with some oregano, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and add to the par cooked rice mixture.
Lay a grape leaf shiny side down on a tray and add a tbsp of the rice mixture to the wider bottom end of the leaf.
Fold over the bottom of the leaf and roll, fold in the two sides towards the centre.
Roll the leaf towards the top to make a rolled package. Do not roll too tightly as the rice will need to expand when cooked.
Repeat with remaining mixture
Line a pan with a layer mature leaves drizzled with olive oil. Lay the rolled up vine leaves in a layer over the leaves. Dot over with quartered slices of lemon and slivered garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and about a cup of water.
Cover with an upturned plate and steam for 20 -30 minutes.
Allow to cool – drizzle over with more oil and refrigerate. Serve with olives and slices of lemon.