Author: the other food interpreter

spaghetti with bottarga

Spaghetti with Bottarga

Bottarga either you like or you don’t. As for us, we think it’s unique. The greek version (avgotaraho) is cured grey mullet roe and is produced in the lagoon of Messologi (and nearby Aitoliko) in western Greece, where the romantic poet Lord Byron caught a cold and died in 1824. The most renowned greek producer is Zafeiris Trikalinos, a man with a vision.  The family business started in 1856, when stories about Lord Byron were probably still told by people who witnessed them first hand. Mr. Trikalinos likes to stress the nutritional benefits of his product, as if anyone needs to be convinced to consume it! Avgotaraho is not cheep, nevertheless in the following recipe we advocate that more is better! Serves 4 500g spaghetti 8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 200g leeks, white and tender green parts, finely chopped 3 spring onions, finely chopped 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 Tbsp lemon juice bottarga, 32 very thin slices zest of one lemon Mix the bottarga slices with …

lahmajoun

Lahmajoun

Before food globalisation lahmajoun existed on the fringes of food choices in Greece. You could find it mostly in Armenian restaurants and did not even feature in culinary choices of the part of my family that arrived from Asia Minor. Nowadays it is very much in vogue, and some of the best street food in Athens. This healthy pizza alternative (without the chilli flakes) is a great dinner idea for kids. For the dough 620g all purpose flour 2 tsp sea salt 300g milk 45g olive oil 9g dried yeast dissolved in 3 Tbsp lukewarm water 1 tsp caster sugar For the topping 580g minced beef (or lamb or a mixture of both) 140g onion 80g red bell pepper 2 plum tomatoes, deseeded (you can use canned tomatoes) 1 clove of garlic (optional) 20g parsley leaves 40g olive oil 2 Tbsp tomato paste 2tsp sweet paprika 2tsp ground cumin 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional) 1 tsp sea salt Start with the dough. Add the sugar to the dissolved yeast and stir. Set …

Roasted Leg of Wild Boar

This wild boar is irresistible, and always a success at dinner parties, not to mention the fact that you can have any leftovers cold in sandwiches. There are a couple of instructions you must follow: marinate for 3 days,  stick to the high temperature cooking instructions and use a not-too-big tray so that the marinate does not evaporate completely. Adapted from an epicurious recipe. Serves 8-10 2,5-3kg boneless leg of wild boar 1/4 cup coarse sea salt 1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper For the marinade 4 cups red wine 2 dried bay leaves 50g fresh sprigs of thyme 2 Tbsp black peppercorns 6 cloves 1 carrot (about 60g), cut in 1cm chunks 1 onion (about 120g), cut in eighths 1/4 cup red wine vinegar To roast the wild boar 20 cloves For the sauce 2 cups chicken stock 2 Tbsp thyme honey Rub the wild boar with the salt and pepper, place it in a shallow dish, and refrigerate for 36 hours loosely covered. To prepare the marinade add the wine , bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, …

chickpeas with leeks

Chickpeas and leeks, a vegan feast

Chickpeas have existed forever in the Mediterranean. They have been found in Jericho, and they were probably consumed under the walls of Troy by the Myrmidons. They are cheap, nutritious and connected to historical memory (ground chickpeas were used as a cheap alternative to coffee during the big wars of the 20th century). Most bizarrely, roasted chickpeas are eaten as a snack, similar to nuts; I had not had them for a number of years, and thinking about them reminds me of ‘simpler times’. They go exceptionally well with whiskey. To prepare the chickpeas 200g  dry chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water 150g onions, finely chopped 800ml water 4 Tbsp olive oil 1 pinch sea salt For the leeks 6 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, cut into 2cm pieces (about 700g) 3/4 olive oil 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional) 1/2 cup white dry wine 1 cup grated or puréed tomatoes (fresh or canned) 1 tsp sugar (optional, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes) 3 cups very well drained boiled chickpeas sea salt and …

bruschettas

Bruschetta Improvisation

It is Saturday, you are running around like crazy, you had no time to prepare a decent lunch, you want to stay at home and you are not in the mood to make compromises. What can you do? Open the fridge and reach out for some basic ingredients. Make something simple, festive and delicious. Spread it over some toasted bread and voila! Bruschettas extraordinaires! Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a quick main dish For the avocado spread 1 ripe avocado 1/2 tsp dijon mustard juice of 1 lemon (or less) 3-4 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped salt to taste (optional) freshly ground black pepper For the bruschettas 8 toasted slices of sourdough bread avocado spread 1/2 quantity of spicy feta cheese spread (tyrokafteri) sliced cherry tomatoes very thinly sliced parmesan very thinly sliced ham extra virgin olive oil red bell pepper, cut into thin strips pickled  gherkins, sliced parsley leaves for garnishing Combine the avocado, dijon mustard and lemon juice in a mini food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, …

Old fashioned Vanilla Cake

It does not get more homey than this cake. Enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate or with a cup of coffee! Serves 8-10 250g butter (plus 1 Tbsp butter for greasing the tin) 160g sugar 4 eggs 1 cup full fat milk * seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod (or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract) 280g self-raising flour, sifted (plus 1 handful for dusting the tin) 1tsp baking powder 50g raw unsalted almonds, ground icing sugar for dusting Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Use a pastry brush and 1 Tbsp melted butter to grease the bundt cake tin really well. Take a small handful of flour and dust lightly around the inside of the greased tin. Turn upside down over your kitchen sink and knock gently to remove any excess flour. Combine the butter and caster sugar in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla seeds and the milk and combine. At this point the mixture will probably look a …

shrimp, artichoke and feta pasta sauce

Shrimp, Artichoke and Feta Pasta Sauce

Did you have a frantic Saturday? Are you dreaming of a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc and a quiet evening at home? If yes why not prepare some pasta with this easy and festive sauce? I found it in my mother-in-law’s handwritten recipe book and can see why this is one of my husband’s favourites. Just be cautious to use the most tender artichokes you can find, because otherwise they can destroy the dish (and give anybody a reason to complain…) Serves 4 500g linguine or other long pasta 500g  raw shelled frozen shrimps, very well defrosted 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional) 4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 Tbsp ouzo 1 cup jarred marinated artichoke hearts in olive oil, drained and quartered 250g tomatoes, blanched, peeled and pureed (or grated canned tomatoes) 1/4 tsp sugar (optional, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes) 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped (plus some more for garnishing) 1 pinch of dried oregano 1 Tbsp lemon zest 1 cup feta cheese, cut in 1cm cubes sea salt and …