All posts tagged: quick and easy

fig salad

Figs, rocket and ‘xinotyri’ salad

When in Naxos we have more figs than we can handle. Just two fig trees produce such quantities than we do not even have to stretch more than where our arms reach to collect whole baskets. We feel somehow obliged not to waste such glorious fruits and we try to come up with new ways to prepare and preserve them. Two years ago we decided to use them for chutney. I do not remember with how many kilos of dubious fig chutney we ended up. This year we continued to explore. We wanted to combine with other local ingredients. Potatoes, fish and protocyladic art were opted out… but honey and xinotyri    – the local variety of goat cheese – were a hit! We adapted the following salad from Ottolenghi’s ‘The Cookbook’. Serves 4 600g figs ( approximately 8 large figs), washed and cut into quarters 200g xinotyri from Naxos ( or any goat’s cheese of your liking), cut into large chunks 100g rocket leaves (preferably wild) handful of basil leaves 2 Tbsp thyme honey …

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 …

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, …

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 …

Jurassic affinities : Chicken drumsticks, spicy and fragrant

Even growing up in the pre-Jurassic Park era I was fascinated by dinosaurs. The relevant sections in illustrated books were my favourite. I recall the species, and even now get annoyed whenever one gets re-classified and receives a new name. I regretted the fact that I would never encounter a magnificent t-rex or diplodocus. And then, discoveries in China proved that birds are the decedents of dinos! Not only that, but for a period birds evolved to fearsome predators, on the top of the food chain! It somehow was soothing that I could look at ostriches and even humble chickens and think of a more glorious ancestry. And, at least, we know how they tasted. Like chicken! Serves 4 4 Tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp honey 4 Tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped 1 Tbsp ground cumin 2 Tbsp dijon mustard 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional,depending on your spice tolerance) 4 Tbsp dry white wine 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1kg chicken drumsticks (about 10) coarse sea salt For …

fanouropita

Lost and found: vegan olive oil cake

Did you loose your car keys or partner? Did your boss fire you? Are you a shadow puppeteer and business is not going well? No worries – just prepare this cake with seven or nine ingredients, take it to church, divide it to forty pieces and give it away. It is a ‘Fanouropita’, in honour of Saint Fanourios, a martyr that was rediscovered in the 14th century, when an ikon was dug up while fortifying the walls of Rhodes. The local bishop Nilos (Nile) interpreted the icon and concluded that it depicted the passions of a forgotten martyr. So the cult of Saint Fanourios started. The Saint’s name sounds like ‘reveal’, and people started praying to him to ‘reveal’ lost items, persons or jobs. As to why he became the patron saint of the shadow puppeteers, no one knows. Perhaps it has something to do with the odd number ( 7, 9 or 11)  of ingredients required to prepare the cake – or the words that have to be spoken while baking it. In any case it …