Author: the other food interpreter

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 …

chicken with crushed green olives

Chicken with (fresh crushed) green olives

This is a dish we prepare in autumn with chicken or pork, while the olives are still fresh and bitter. It is a recipe that my grandmother brought form Asia Minor. We cook it with fresh crushed green olives but you can substitute with regular green olives you can easily buy. We prepare our crushed olives end of October. We crush the olives with a stone and put them in a brine. Depending on your tolerance on bitterness you can have them in three to ten days. You can also put them in olive oil and store them, but we think that they loose their spark if kept more than 2-3 months. Serves 6 1 whole chicken (about 2kg), cut in 8 pieces 1 cup olive oil 1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes 500g onions, finely chopped 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped 1 cup dry white wine 2 cups tomatoes, grated or pureed 1 tsp sugar (depending on the acidity of the tomatoes) 1/2 cup warm water (or more if necessary) 250g green olives (fresh crushed if possible…) …

olive harvest

Olive oil and the Salt of the Earth

A family member is an olive oil zealot. She keeps an olive grove and produces small quantities of olive oil to perfection. She has a mastery over the process from beginning to end and makes no consents to comfort. She spares no cost and redeems all favours during harvest in November. For these few days she turns from the easy-going and agreeable person she is to a warden of iron feast – and that we can attest. This year even our toddler picked his first olives, to his great delight and everybody else’s. But the result is proportional to the determination. After same day harvest and pressing the zealot turns modest, but with the content of the old master who knows that her work cannot be bettered. For those of you who (like me in the past) have not tasted fresh cold pressed olive oil of the best quality, let it be known that the distance from the stuff you get even in the good delis is similar to that of an ok wine to a French …

brioche buns, fish burgers, wasabi mayo

Fish and Shrimp Burgers, a Wasabi Mayonnaise and Brioche Buns

Part of the burgers’ charm is that you can assemble them yourself in a glorious tower. During the assembly you anticipate eating the ingredients – the stronger they taste the better. We also ‘bricolaged’ the recipe from  different sources. The mayonnaise is adapted from Blumenthal, the buns from an Ottolenghi recipe and the burgers we developed ourselves after several attempts. The combination here works very well for us. Serves 4-6 For 4 brioche buns (or 6 smaller) 2 Tbsp lukewarm water 1 tsp active dried yeast 190g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp salt 20g caster sugar 2  eggs 75g cold unsalted butter, cut into 2cm dice, plus extra melted butter for brushing the buns sesame seeds or/and nigella seeds (optional) Place the lukewarm water and the yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer, stir until dissolved and leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Then add the remaining ingredients, except the butter and mix together with the aid of a spatula. Using the hook attachment mix on low speed for about …

Small Shoes, an Eggplant Recipe

Small shoes (papoutsakia) is a somehow weird name for a food. There are many variations of aubergines-topped-with-something. The greek standard is with traditional béchamel, but we prefer this topping, according to the recipe of Aglaia Kremezi’s greek yogurt béchamel.  The rest is our family’s interpretation. Serves 8-10 The eggplants 5 eggplants (about 1,5kg) olive oil, for brushing sea salt freshly ground black pepper The meat sauce 1/2 cup olive oil 500g minced beef 200g onion, very finely chopped 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped 1/2 cup dry red wine 1 cup freshly grated tomatoes (or chopped canned tomatoes) 1/2 tsp sugar (optional, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes) 1 pinch ground allspice berries 2 Tbsp black raisins (optional) sea salt freshly ground black pepper The greek yogurt “béchamel” 4 Tbsp olive oil 4 Tbsp cornflour 2 cups full fat cold milk 1 cup full fat greek yogurt 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste 1 cup grated gruyère cheese sea salt, to taste Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan)  and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut the eggplants …