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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, 

Braised yearling goat with peas

Braised yearling goat with peas

Potato, rice, pasta… Potato, rice, pasta. And yet there are so many other combinations for meat. It is not a modern tendency not to rely on starches every day. It is the wisdom in all the traditional kitchens that maximizes nourishment at the family table 

Zucchini e fiori risotto

Zucchini e fiori risotto

I love spring and all the variety and freshness it brings. One walk through the Farmer’s market and there is just such an incredible choice of produce. You just need to be extra careful and cook it while it is super fresh. I mean winter potatoes or even summer tomatoes will give you a few days to figure out what you want to do with them, but zucchini flowers are another story. Though delicious, they are also very delicate and so pretty.

This is a quick and very simple recipe and the kids are delighted to be eating flowers. My daughter is certain she is eating fairy food every time petals show up on her plate. As always, very fresh vegetables and good homemade stock will guarantee a delicious result.

  • 1+1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 zucchini, diced
  • 6 zucchini flowers
  • 300 gr carolina rice
  • 1 Lt homemade stock
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to serve.
  • Fresh mint to serve

Remove the zucchini flower petals, tear into strips and set aside. Melt half the butter along with the oil in a large wide pan on a low heat. Add the onion and carrot with a pinch of salt and gently fry for a few minutes until softened. In the meantime heat the stock in another pan until almost boiling point.

Add the garlic to the onion and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the rice to and stir well until coated in oil and translucent. Turn the heat up to medium and start adding the stock one ladleful at a time. Stir well and wait until the stock is absorbed each time before adding more. Once you’ve added half the stock, add the zucchini and flower strips, then season well. Stir through and continue adding the stock until the rice is cooked through, soft and creamy. With the last ladleful, add the cheese and butter and stir through. Take off the heat, leave to stand for a couple of minutes and serve with some fresh mint.

Stewed Octopus with pasta

Stewed Octopus with pasta

I have been meeting the most wonderful people from all over the world at the Onion Athens‘ cooking workshops over the past few months. I adore sharing traditional Greek recipes just as much as learning participants favorites too. Just last week Garry and Cindy mentioned