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How to always have nutritious pulses handy

How to always have nutritious pulses handy

When preparing beans I usually soak and sprout twice the amount needed for my recipe. Leftover pulses are stored in the freezer for immediate use in another recipe. What does “sprouting” mean? First, I wash the pulses well. Then, I soak them in plenty of…

How to have fresh bread every day

How to have fresh bread every day

There must be a Dutch oven or no-knead bread recipe on almost every self-respecting food blog or site. When Mark Bittman first mentioned Jim Lahey’s recipe, in 2006, in the NY Times, it became one of their most popular articles. The use of the Dutch…

“Lemonato” Beef with broccoli and lemon sauce

“Lemonato” Beef with broccoli and lemon sauce

In the midst of this constant barrage of information on modern nutrition, the value of vegetables remains constant and undeniable. In the traditional Mediterranean diet, we very often see imaginative combinations of vegetables with (sometimes only a little) meat or fish, depending on the season and the local cuisine. I think it’s the lack of time that has taken us away from this tradition. The result is to limit our sides to the classic starches such as rice, potatoes and pasta. They last long and cook fast, but as we rely on them every day, we forget that so many other options are available.

I really believe that variety ensures nourishment. On the other hand, especially midweek, I really really don’t want to have any extra pots to deal with. So I try to incorporate as many vegetables as I can, into our main meal. Combined it with a raw salad, I can be pretty sure we’re covering our daily requirements. I use the variety of colors as a guide to ensure the variety of nutrients on our plate. So I will combine this green-dominated dish with a colourful salad with white and red cabbage, carrot and pepper.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 1 kg free range beef, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 750 ml approx broth or water, heated
  • 2 tsp coriander, crushed
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 broccoli, divided into florets
  • Salt and pepper

Heat a heavy bottomed pan well. Dry the meat well and lightly season. Add the oil to the pan and saute the meat from on sides in batches. Keep the meat aside and add the onion and leek to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic with the coriander and immediately after that, add the meat. Stir well and add enough hot broth, so that it almost covers the meat. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the meat is done, about 1 hour. Check in between, in case you need to add a little hot broth or water.

Peel the main stem of the broccoli and cut it into slices. Stir the mustard into the lemon juice until it dissolves well. Once the meat is done, add the lemon with the mustard and the broccoli stem and stir well. Arrange the broccoli florets over the meat so that they cook in the steam of the sauce. Cover and let the broccoli steam for 10 minutes until cooked through. Adjust the seasoning and serve warm with the lemon zest.

Roast chicken with corn and chickpeas

Roast chicken with corn and chickpeas

This is one of our favorite recipes, made throughout late summer and early autumn. With the beautiful Indian summer we’ve been having this October, I was happy to make it with the last fresh corn from the Farmer’s market. Like a farewell to the bright…

Minced lamb with chickpeas

Minced lamb with chickpeas

The original recipe is called Keema Chole and is Indian, belonging to Punjabi cuisine. It exists in many traditional versions, but this is not one of them. I prefer a somewhat drier and faster version by Mark Bittman that I saw on NYT Cooking, made…

Grassfed beef  with borlotti beans

Grassfed beef with borlotti beans

It’s funny how borlotti or cranberry beans also have two names in Greek: chandres (beads) or barbounia (red mullet, yes really). They are so beautiful that I almost feel sad when I see them lose their color cooked. Their slightly sweet and hearty tasty, quickly compensates us. We also like buying them fresh from the farmers’ market and podding them together with the kids.

In this traditional recipe they are combined with grassfed beef and slow baked in a clay pot. Lamb also suits them. When making casseroles, I prefer to saute the meat and vegetables first before braising, as it makes for a tastier and more presentable dish. Which is why I usually prefer the cast-iron pots that let you start cooking on the hob finishing off in the oven. The clay pot though is much more forgiving, as it seems to magically impart flavor to everything inside it, even when its just thrown in and allowed to gently cook with no supervision.

I love this dish for two reasons. Firstly, it’s really great for very busy days. Days when you have only have 10 ‘-15’ prep time and still want to have something delicious and comforting for dinner.

The second and equally important reason is that you can, in this particular recipe, prepare it with the children and let them feel the pride of preparing a whole meal from scratch. As you understand, you should allow for a little more prep time in this case. Kids can easily pod and wash the beans. They can chop the onions in a food processor. They, can also cut the carrots, too, if they’re not using a knife yet. You only need to peel and chop the sweet potatoes, as their so hard. I added them because their taste reminds me of chestnuts. Borlotti beans go very nicely with chestnuts for a vegetarian dish, but this is a recipe for another day.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 kg grassfed beef, in portions
  • 2-3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary or sage
  • 200 ml wine or tomato juice if you’re serving in children
  • 800 gr. podded fresh borlotti beans
  • 750 ml homemade broth or water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: 3 white sweet potatoes, cut into large pieces

Scatter the onions and carrots around the bottom of a clay pot and place the beef on top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season. Add the rosemary and the wine or juice. Layer the beans on top with enough broth to just cover them. If you are using the sweet potatoes, place them on top with rest of the olive oil. They will cook in the steam of the sauce.

Cover and place the pot in a cold oven setting the temperature to 220C for about 30 minutes so the stew comes to the boil. Lower to 160C for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with a fork that the meat is cooked through and very soft. The fork should go right through it. If the vegetables have released a lot of juice, let the casserole cook uncovered in the oven to reduce 10 minutes and allow to rest uncovered for another 10 minutes on the kitchen counter.

Free-range chicken with runner beans

Free-range chicken with runner beans

At home we prefer traditional or free range chickens. Their taste is incredible, the rearing conditions are humane and their nutritional value is higher. Even though the difference in cost might seem high, 2 large 3 kg hens with proper management, can provide at least…

Greek “Briam” traditional veggie traybake with sausage

Greek “Briam” traditional veggie traybake with sausage

This is a classic summer dish that I keep making well into October as the produce and the weather is still so summery. A little bit of sausage goes a long way in persuading my kids to happily down this trayful of veggie goodness. As…

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

This is my mum’s recipe, which was usually the centerpiece of our birthdays as children. I still rely on it for my own children and for their friends. It is a delicious cake, dairy free, moist and firm enough to cut into any shape the kids have dreamed up.

To give you an idea of its versatility, so far, it has become a fairy hill, a bulldozer, a butterfly, a dragon, a rabbit, a house, a pool for minions, a rainbow, a piñata, Elsa’s palace, a Ninjago ship, a train, a Mcqueen track and so many more that I do not remember anymore.

You can glaze it as it appears in the main photo and decorate it with carrot truffles and broccoli for the carrot tops. Just pass the grated carrot from a small pan with a little sugar to make it sticky. Let it cool a little, so you can touch it and shape it.

You can also add mascarpone cheese beaten with a little honey, a drop of vanilla and add some chopped up walnuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 mug brown sugar ( or palm sugar)
  • 4 eggs (add 2 more eggs if using palm sugar)
  • 1 mug all-purpose flour
  • 1 mug self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon grated or a mix of cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, all grated in the ratio you prefer
  • 1 mug coconut oil, melted
  • 3 mugs carrots, grated (approx. 500 gr.)

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture turns white with the whisk attachment. Sift the flour, baking soda and spices together. Add the dry mixture gradually to the bowl. Once it’s mixed in well, add the melted coconut oil. Finally, take the bowl out of the mixer, add the grated carrot and fold into the mixture, gently using a large spoon.

Pour in a well greased cake mould and bake for about 50 ‘ or in muffin forms and bake for about 12-15 ‘. Check with a clean knife. It’s ready when the knife comes out clean.

When it comes out of the oven, leave it 10 minutes in the form to sweat a little and then unmold it on a wire rack to cool completely.

Grassfed beef in lemon sauce with green beans

Grassfed beef in lemon sauce with green beans

This is such a classic Greek summer recipe. Bringing wonderful aromas and nourishment in the same dish, combining the fresh tastes of green beans, lemon and herbs. The best way to prepare green beans is in good company. Casual conversation and plenty of helping hands,…