Gingerbread biscuits from our kids’ hands to yours. We made this short video before Christmas with the children. It is a perfect way to spend a quiet afternoon away from the cold and crowded streets in the lead up to the holidays. With a little …
In Zakynthos, my grandmother’s island, we make the round “Kouloura” on Christmas Eve. It is a lovely Lenten sweet ceremonial bread. Every year since I got married, we gather around the table, raise the Kouloura together in our hands, over the incense burner and chant …
I’ll never cease to be amazed by the incredible wealth of traditional kitchens and their ability to create hearty and delicious dishes out of almost nothing. The ingredients of this dish are simple and economical, but with a little artistry from the cook, they also become fine dolmathes, stuffed cabbage leaf parcels, a classic choice for winter’s festive tables. You see, they are delicious, presentable and symbolize abundance because of the many rice grains and plenty of cabbage leaves. The everyday version of this is “lachanorizo” cabbage with rice. Delicious and fast, this Lenten dish leaves time for the preparation of the holidays.
So here I decided to give the dish a little festive upgrade in order to accompany this delicious ossobuco. Red cabbage gives it an unusual blue/purple color. It’s darker than what you see in the photo and can stay that way if you skip the lemon juice at the end. You could serve it with lemon wedges to be squeezed on each plate. Then everyone at the table can witness the transformation from blue/purple to purple/fuchsia in front of them. The kids will be fascinated (hopefully). Along with the pine nuts, I added some pomegranate seeds. Give them a try.
Recipe for purple risotto
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 1 small red cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
- 300 g short-grain rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 litre homemade broth, warm
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 50 g pine nuts, lightly toasted
- juice from a lemon
- parsley or dill, finely chopped
Soak the raisins in hot water, for a few minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the leek lightly for 5 minutes over medium heat. Once soft, add the cabbage, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Covering for five minutes and allow to wilt. Turn up the heat, add the rice and mix well. Add the bay leaf and half the hot broth and stir. Once it boils, add the raisins, cover, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Check a couple of times in the meantime, to stir and add more broth if needed. That depends on how much liquid the cabbage leaves while cooking. When the rice is done, add the pine nuts and lemon juice, stir well, sprinkle with dill or parsley and serve.
Osobuko, the perfect cut of beef for a no-fuss, delicious Sunday dinner. Minimal effort is required as it only needs time, care and quality ingredients. I have used a free-range beef shank, cut into slices of about 4 cm. This thickness allows it to keep …
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.
- 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.
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 …