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 …
Tag: Dairy Free
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 …
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.
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
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.
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 …
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.
- 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.
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 …
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, really do make light work. Don’t be wary of accepting of help from eager children, as long as they know how to handle a small paring knife. An elastic bandage placed in advance on one’s thumb before trimming, can come in useful as well. Imparting knowledge becomes more successful, it seems to me through sharing tasks in relaxed company. I also think that sharing kitchen tasks allowed neighbors of older generations to get through infinite chores ans still keep up to date with the latest gossip.
If you feel like trimming fresh beans is just a task you simply do not have time for, prepared frozen beans will do fine, waiting patiently in the freezer until the time comes to liven up your plate.
- 1 kg stewing beef in small portions
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, sliced
- 100 ml white wine (omit if serving tochildren)
- 800 ml homemade stock, warm
- Salt and pepper
- 1 kilo green beans, prepared, fresh or frozen
- Juice and zest of an unwaxed lemon
- Half a bunch of mint, just the leaves, finely chopped
- Half a bunch of dill, without the thick stems, finely chopped
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot, while drying the meat with a paper towel. Add the olive oil to the pot and brown the meat well on all sides in two batches. Set aside, then add the onion and carrot to the pot and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, rubbing the bottom of pan with the wooden spoon to incorporate the caramelized juices from the sautéed meat. Add the garlic and the meat and stir well. Add the wine and allow to evaporate. Season and add enough stock to almost cover the meat. Cover the pot and allow to simmer at a low heat for approx. 45 ‘, checking occasionally to see if you need to add more stock.
When the meat has softened, add the lemon juice and place the green beans on top. Cover and simmer for about 25 ‘. Do not stir the beans into the sauce, as they essentially be cooked through by the steam, allowing them to keep the bite in them and not end up soggy.
Check the seasoning. Add the zest and herbs and shake the pan to distribute. Cook for 5 ‘ without a lid to allow any excess liquid from the green beans to evaporate. Once the sauce has reduced, serve warm.
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 …