All posts tagged: feta cheese

eggplants with tomato sauce and feta

‘Mad apples’ with tomato sauce and feta

Eggplants are a staple food of the Mediterranean summer. At the same time they never got rid of an air of mystery. First, the name. The Greeks call them ‘melintzana’, which is a strange sounding word for such a familiar crop. It is a byzantine combination of the Arab ‘bāḏinjān’ and the Greek ‘melas’ – black. The Italians call it melanzana , which sounds close to  mela insana – ‘mad apple’, echoing the origin of the crop from the toxic nightshade species. Then, the origin of the cultivated specie: is it India, China or SE Asia? Perhaps it was domesticated more than once, reminding us of the debate of origin of the homo sapiens. Did we play for eggplants the role nature played on us on our way out of Africa, combining different evolutionary trails, still not fully understood? Then it is the colour of the black variety, unlikely to anything other fruit: black and shiny, ready for interpretation by an oracle – or like a missed opportunity to inspire an Italian art nouveau movement in the early …

Summertime Spaghetti

Tomato, garlic, basil and feta pasta

In a hot summer day, we sometimes want something that is easy and fast to prepare. The first idea is pasta with fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, basil and garlic. And talking about garlic, Thannasis Veggos comes to mind, my favourite of all the Greek actors and comedians. He was the archetype of the poor working man in hard times, dignified and humane, always in a hurry, never giving up and trying to come into terms with social roles and en-vogue fashion.In one of his masterpieces of the 60s he is a detective, looking up to James Bond. In an assignment he has to mingle in a hippy – flower power community. Part of his disguise, and instead of a necklace of flowers around his neck, is a string of garlics, like the one you find in the open markets or old school groceries. What great art! So garlic, besides everything else, reminds me of Veggos. And there is plenty of garlic in this easy, summertime pasta. It is not even a recipe, but it suits …

nettle omelette

Stinging Nettle Omelette

Nettles are some of the most irritating plants. Tellingly they feature in an early 20th century expressionist opera, where one of the (obviously distressed) protagonists declares that they grow out of her, but is too weak to weed them out. The grove next to our house is full of them during spring, but we are somehow reluctant to pick them. Instead we let some grow in the garden in Anavyssos, and collect the most tender leaves – of course with long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves. When cooked they become harmless and add an extra aroma to the recipe. They are great in pies and risottos and make delicious omelettes. Serves 2 1/2 cup olive oil 40g spring onions, the white and tender green parts, chopped 100g young nettle tops, washed, dried and chopped coarsely (Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves when you’re handling them) 30g dill, chopped 4 eggs 15g milk 80g feta cheese, crumbled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Whisk the eggs  in a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt, a few grinds …

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 …