Respect for food, our own effort and the ingredients that went into it is so important, especially when traditional kitchens give us so many creative things to use leftovers to create a new dish with minimum effort. That is why traditional “fakorizo” is made in…
This is probably considered the simplest, most everyday family meal in Greek families. Even then, a simple dish can have its secrets. Equally loved and loved by children, this starchy soup brings back childhood memories as a comforting and filling dish. Although soaking lentils is…
Even though artichokes are in season both in spring and early autumn, seeing them always reminds me of spring, fresh tastes and new beginnings. Artichokes do seem to have a bad reputation as being difficult to clean and manage which put me off for years. Actually the are quite simple to handle once you learn how. And if your “yaya” (Greek for grandmother) is not able to oblige, there are plenty of online videos or step-by-step articles to show. However, nothing beats actually buying a few and trying them out yourself. If all else fails, you can substitute fresh for frozen ones, though the taste of the fresh ones is more distinctive.
Having said that in this spring dish with the strong flavors of the yearling lamb and black olives, frozen will do the trick. just remember to add them defrosted and later in the dish as they only need about 15′ cooking time.
- 1.5 kg lamb or young goat, in large cubes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 onions, finely sliced
- 4 thyme spigs
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 2 bay leaves
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1 l. stock
- salt and pepper
- 8 fresh artichokes
- 1 lemon cup
- 600 g new potatoes, small and scrubbed
- 175 g Kalamata olives, pitted
- 50 g butter
- 2 tbsp plain white flour
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
Pat dry the meat. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and fry the meat in batches until well browned, over a high heat. Remove and set aside. Lower the heat to low and add the onions. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes until softened and golden. Return the meat and add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, orange zest, juice, stock and season well. Bring to the boil, then allow to simmer gently, covered, for 1,5 hours.
Prepare the artichokes, brushing all cut surfaces with the lemon cup to prevent discoloration. Cut in half. Add to the casserole, along with the olives and new potatoes. Cook covered for a further 30 minutes.
Gently cook the butter and flour together to make a roux in a small saucepan. Gradually whisk in the strained liquid from the casserole and simmer for 10′ before returning to the casserole. Check seasoning, remove any herb sprigs and the bay leaves. Pour over the sauce, stir in the thyme and serve.
It’s a great blessing to have friends who share your interests, especially when they’re willing to share their own experience. Calliope comes from small Stomio Larissas in central Greece and is fortunate to receive regular reinforcements in the form of food parcels from her village.…
The best seafood is fresh! Agreed, but come Tuesday afternoon, counting down the minutes, the seconds until dinner time, the best seafood fast and readily available. So fresh shelled mussels in the refrigerator or in the freezer (if you have thawed them) is a delicious, nutritious and inexpensive shortcut when weekday dinners need to be ready in no time. Mussels are particularly rich in iron and vitamin B12, so very useful when fasting for Lent or for young kids where every bite counts.
The frozen mussels are pre-cooked and easy to overcook, so you will need to reduce the cooking times you will see below by half. With a little care they will remain tender. If you read the recipe through so that the steps are clear and you have your ingredients prepared, dinner is ready in 20-25′.
- 2 tbsps. Olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 500 gr. tomatoes, grated
- A few basil leaves or 1 tablespoon Basil pesto
- 4 garlic cloves
- 500 gr. Mussels, rinsed and shelled
- 60 ml white wine or 2 tbsp lemon juice if you are serving children
- 400 gr. Spaghetti
- grated lemon zest and finely chopped parsley for serving
In a saucepan saute the onion in half the oil, until translucent. Add half the garlic and 30″ later the grated tomato. Season and allow to simmer uncovered for about 15 ‘-20 ‘.
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, add the spaghetti and boil for 2 ‘ less than the label on the packaging. Have the colander ready.
In the meantime, in a large wide frying pan, sauté the remaining oil, the remaining garlic with the mussels for 2 minutes and add the wine. Allow to evaporate while adding the basil to the tomato sauce. Stir the sauce well and pour into the pan with the mussels. Simmer for 2 ‘, then add the strained spaghetti, stir well and take off the heat. Serve immediately with the lemon zest and parsley.
The Talagani is a cheese closely related to the traditional Greek Mastelo, Formaella and mostly with the Cypriot Halloumi. It is produced exclusively from sheep’s and goat’s milk and, like its cousins, has a robust texture that allows you to grill it even straight over…
Chutneys have only recently become popular in Greece, although dried and fresh fruit are used often in dishes and some traditional fruit leathers might be served with cheeses, the concept of savory marmalade, as I often have to describe it, is still quite new. When I recently made a batch for a school bazaar, reaction followed a straight line from skepticism, through enthusiasm after a quick taste, then straight to the question “so where are you from”. Quite aptly, as I am indeed half Irish.
What I enjoy most about chutneys, apart from their intense taste, is the way you can open a jar and put together an interesting and complex snack in the minutes with just a few ingredients. Like this grilled Talagani cheese with Chutney, ready in a few minutes.
I also enjoy the slow process of filling our cellar, on slow, lazy afternoons. A key factor in driving yourself up the wall or tiring yourself out is to just aim at filling a few jars at the time instead of trying to process huge amounts in a day. You don’t really save yourself any trouble or time. At the end of the day I would feel tired with a bombed-out kitchen.
- 450 gr. Pumpkin
- 600 ml cider vinegar
- 450 gr. brown sugar
- 225 gr. sultanas
- 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange, unwaxed
- 2 tbsps salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 tsp mild chili pepper
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 125 gr. blanched almonds
Peel and remove any seeds from the pumpkin. Cut the flesh into 2.5 cm pieces. Use a large, wide, preferably shallow pot with a thick bottom, or ideally a maslin pan. Add the cider vinegar and sugar and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add all the ingredients except the almonds, carefully. Stir well and bring the mixture back to the boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about an hour until the mixture becomes soft and thick. In the beginning when the mixture is still runny, it does not need very frequent stirring. Towards the end, however, as it thickens, you will need to stir often and watch over it so it doesn’t catch and burn. It will be ready when drawing a wooden spoon through the mixture creates a clear trail which fills up slowly. Add the almonds, stir and remove from the heat.
Using a sterile metal funnel with wide spout, fill the warm sterilized jars, cover with the lids, close tightly and turn upside down. If you are using metal screw caps, make sure they have the special coating to make them vinegar safe. Your chutney will have matured in about 20 days but it can be preserved for months. Once you open it, keep it in the fridge. It accompanies cheeses and cold meats.