All posts filed under: featured

homemade ketchup

Ketchup for our burgers

Our burgers are a bricolage of Ottolenghi brioche buns, Hawksmoor ketchup and beef from our butcher. To be honest, we are not big ketchup fans, but this is another animal! We feel grateful to the Hawksmoor guys who included the recipe in their cookbook “Hawksmoor at home”, and we can attest that the result tastes as good as the stuff they have in the restaurants. Our touch is that we prepare our own compote instead of using  tinned apples or pears. For the patties we use our butcher’s mix and make brioche buns according to the recipe of Ottolenghi. For the tomato ketchup 1 kg tinned or very ripe fresh tomatoes 250g tomato purée 250 g apple compote or tinned apples 50g onion, peeled and cut in half 200g fruit sugar 1 clove garlic, peeled 50 g Maldon sea salt flakes 200ml white wine vinegar 8 whole black peppercorns 1 whole allspice 1 clove 1 whole star anise For the apple compote 2 apples,  peeled, cored and cut in chunks 25g caster sugar water Start with the apple compote. In a …

artichoke moussaka

Artichoke Moussaka

The greek moussaka is a true fusion dish, created by Tselementes, a  greek chef and cookbook writer of the begining of the 20th century. Tselementes  has been demonised in the last decades for not being a ‘purist’ and the rest. Although many of his recipes are too rich for todays tastes, with his moussaka he invented a quintessential dish that spawned more ‘purist’ discussions about ingredients, methods e.t.c. In any case, during this time of year artichokes grow in our garden, and we use them instead of aubergines causing a small scandal in the family. The greek standard is with traditional béchamel, but we prefer the greek yogurt béchamel, according to the recipe of Aglaia Kremezi. We think the combination tastes great . The artichokes lemon juice 10 fresh artichokes (or 10 frozen artichoke hearts) The potatoes 3 medium potatoes (350g), cut into thin slices olive oil, for brushing the eggplant and The meat sauce 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 250g onion, finely chopped 70g carrots, grated 1 clove garlic 700g minced beef 3/4 cup dry …

happy easter

The bad conscience of a meat eater

Seht ihn! – Wie? – als wie ein Lamm. (Behold Him! – How? – As a Lamb.) -BWV 244 ,’Matthäus-Passion’ On Easter Sunday Greeks roast a lamb. That is, a whole lamb is skewered on a spit and roasted over charcoal. The spit usually pierces the scull of the animal or appears though the teeth, next to the prolonged tongue, in pure gore fashion.  Family and friends gather around the spectacle and celebrate Easter, preferably in gardens and yards in the countryside, among poppies, chamomile and daisies. Jesus is associated with the innocent lamb, scarified during Easter. What perverse association established the custom of lamb eating on that very day I do not know. Perhaps a suppressed kurgan inclination managed to resurface in the most sacred of celebrations to mock the orderly Christians, betting on the carnivore within. Or, even more bizarre, it has to do with something much more sinister and ancient: cannibalism. We have not completely lost the association to the living young lambs, sweet and innocent, recipients of our affection. Nevertheless we eat them, teaching …

asparagus quiche

Wild Asparagus and Manouri Quiche

For this quiche we use wild asparagus or, if we can get hold of, ovries. Ovries or Avronies (in greek) are the shoots of tamus communis, a plant that is native and grows in the wild in the Mediterranean. They are supposed to be slightly toxic before cooking and the French call them ‘herbe aux femmes battues’ – obviously they were used to treat bruises. Ovries look and taste a bit like wild asparagus, they are however more bitter – the bitterness goes away if cooked in boiling water. They are considered a delicacy, and, like asparagus, go very well with eggs. Manouri is a greek semi-soft, fresh white cheese made from goat or sheep milk. If you can not get hold of manouri you can substitute it with ricotta. Manouri has a delicate taste (or according to my husband-the food interpreter, bland taste). For a more intense result substitute half of the manouri or ricotta quantity with crumbled feta. For the pastry 230g all purpose flour 1/2 tsp sea salt 100g cold unsalted butter, cubed 25g egg, …

salt cod fritters

Salt Cod Fritters (Bakaliaros Skordalia)

Bakaliaros skordalia (salt cod fritters with bread garlic sauce) is sort of greek national institution. You have it on National Day and Palm Sunday, both in spring. You associate it with blue sky, parades and childhood memories – until you have to carry your own toddler to the parade. The deep fried bakaliaros and the garlic in skordalia make a tastebomb. It is also a game theory dish. Equilibrium is reached when everybody have it and can bear each other’s garlic consumption. We like to have it the whole year round and for some time we were in the quest for the perfect recipe. After experiments involving soda siphons Blumenthal style, I think we found our definite answer to bakaliaro perfection in an adaptation of Argiro Barbarigou’s recipe. Here it is: Serves 4-6 For the salt cod fritters (bakaliaros) 1kg salt cod fillet, desalted 260g all purpose flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp sugar 2 tsp baking powder 330ml beer 20ml ouzo olive oil for frying To desalt the cod (24-36 hours in advance) Rinse the …

Extra Virgin Green Olive Oil, cold pressed

Every autumn Popi recruits workers, volunteers  and semi-volunteers to harvest the olives. When it comes to olive oil she is a perfectionist. The green olives have to be combed down from the trees gently, inspected one-by-one and carried to the oil press within a strict schedule. Luckily for all in the last years she has settled for one of the presses half an hour drive away, a big improvement over the long drives of the past, when she had confronted and discarded every facility in the prefecture. This year someone suggested to use harvest machines for speed. When we arrived the device was flat on the ground, Popi looking down to it in disgust and explaining that is was a really bad idea, the way it hurt the fruit.  Popi goes around, inspecting how all are performing,  and explaining what great fun it is to gather the olives: ‘It is not at all tiring, only a great opportunity to exercise, and that only for the first day, then it is not even a challenge’. As sunset approaches she intensifies her rounds of disks full of meatballs and …