Tag: Dairy Free

Braised cabbage with lamb – Kapuska

Braised cabbage with lamb – Kapuska

Winter cabbages are so sweet and tasty, especially when braising gives the such a silky taste. Stuffed cabbage leaves may very well be my winter favorite, but we’ll leave those for another day. In this recipe we are looking a a very easy, fast, midweek,…

Whole braised cauliflower kapama

Whole braised cauliflower kapama

Kapama is a traditional way of braising in Greece, by placing a pot on top of a baking tray. I first tasted cauliflower kapama made the traditional way at my Aunt Sophia’s. This is an everyday, simple dish, usually served during the period of Lent…

Greek Sofigado stew with quince

Greek Sofigado stew with quince

Sofigado is a traditional recipe from the Ioanian island of Lefkada made with yearling goat or lamb. Modern versions include beef, but the strong deep-flavored sweet and sour sauce really complements darker red meats.

As potatoes used to be scarce towards the end of autumn, the islanders would use the plentiful quince that was in season and would offset its tart taste with pekmez, a thick and sweet syrup made of grapes.

Many recipes pair it with rosemary, though the version below includes cinnamon and cloves as per the recipe was handed down to me by my grandmother. This is one of those dishes that improves if prepared the night before. You can heat it up and add the quince on the day of serving.

 Recipe

  • 1 kg goat or lamb in portions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 70 ml vinegar
  • 1 cinamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 500 ml stock or water, hot
  • 100 ml pekmez
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 quinces

Dry the meat well, while heating the pot. Add the oil and brown the meat on all sides in batches. Keep aside and add the onions to the pot. Cook for 7′ and add the garlic. Return the meat to the pot and add the cinnamon and cloves. Add the vinegar and allow to evaporate for 2-3′. Add just enough stock to cover the meat. Bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 1,5 hours. Check and add hot stock or water if needed.

As soon as the meat is done, add the pekmez, season and stir well. Peel and cut the quinces into wedges, removing the core. Add them to the pot one by one as you go along, so that they don’t turn brown. Cover and allow to cook in the steam of the simmering sauce for about 20′. Once they are soft but hold their shape, remove the spices and serve.

Baked eggs in two ways

Baked eggs in two ways

I was very lucky to see a recipe of Jamie Oliver’s for baked eggs on Sunday morning. I happened to have all the ingredients for the Mexican version and decided to try it. I admire him incredibly for his quality, well-designed recipes. His simple presentation…

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 oven radiates heat while keeping in the moisture of the dough. This helps create the wonderful crust found on breads baked in professional steam ovens.

Whenever I made this bread I was delighted with the result and played with various variations. However, when play soon became necessity when I needed to go dairy -free because of my kids’ allergies. Food labeling was so tricky, that I only ate what I had made with my own two hands.

A few years later I learnt about Artisan Bread in Five from a friend. It was a similar recipe but the bread was baked on a pissa stone and emptying water in a hot baking pan in a preheated oven was involved. With my natural clumsiness, I immediately knew that any attempt to do so would lead me straight to the ER. However using a Dutch oven was suggested as an alternative.

What impressed my though was their claim that you could store their dough up to 14 days in the refrigerator without any problem. This meant that by preparing in a large amount of dough 5 minutes, we could have fresh bread, pita and even pizza base every day with very little fuss.

Bread with 10 days maturation dough

I’ve tried the recipes above for at least a week in the fridge and they do keep well, you can experiment with whichever you prefer. My favorite version is as follows:

  • 700 gr. warm water
  • 10 gr. active dry yeast
  • 1 kg of flour
  • 15 gr. salt

You can find the Artisan Bread in 5 method for the Master recipe here. Their books are quite interesting and I’ve certainly made good use of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book.

Soon you will find recipe variations with olive bread, chocolate and nuts, turmeric and pizza. If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll find out soon as they are ready.

http://manacooks.com/el/kolokythosoupa/
“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…

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.

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…