All posts tagged: greek

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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…) …

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 …

greek salad on pitas

Oven Baked Greek Salad on Pita Bread

Pita bread topped with cheese and some vegetables and then grilled must have been one of the most ancient snacks. It is so tasty and obvious, that one wonders why food preparation evolved beyond it! We love this variant, with greek salad on top. The tension of the ingredients is kept, it is super light and very easy to prepare. The reward is disproportional to the effort or calories though! The only constraint is that you must serve it immediately, hot from the oven! Serves 2-3 6 small sized and thin pitas 6 -8 cherry tomatoes, sliced 1 medium onion (120g), finely sliced 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced 2 Tbsp capers 150g feta cheese, crumbled 1 Tbsp Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced 1 pinch dried oregano freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan). Place the pitas on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. In a bowl combine the onions with the olive oil and the salt. Let the onions in the marinade for 15 minutes, then …