Τετάρτη, 26 Οκτωβρίου 2016

Spaghetti and tuna sauce


Today is not only the Festive day of Saint Demetrius, but it's also International Pasta Day, so we celebrate it with something delicious but without so many calories.(Therefore less guilt!). Actually in my family we don't need special days, the whole year round is a celebration of pasta. Too bad for my dear husband who is on diet at the moment...

For 3 hungry people  we need a packet of spaghetti, a can of tuna in oil (200 grams), a small carton of concentrated tomato juice (250 grams), one small chopped onion, a teaspoon of dry oregano and a teaspoon of dry basil.You can always use fresh herbs if you have them but then you will need to double the amount. Salt and pepper according to taste, but for this amount I add one teaspoon of salt.

Put the water to the boil and when it's bubbly add a full tablespoon of salt and the spaghetti. Let it boil until it is cooked to the point YOU like it. Others prefer it "al dente", others prefer it well-cooked, just like their Mama used to make it. Meanwhile in a sauce pan, heat the the oil, add the onion and let it sizzle for 3 - 4 minutes. Then add the tomato, the herbs, salt and pepper and half a glass of water. If the sauce is a bit sour, add a teaspoon of sugar. Let it simmer while your pasta is cooking. Before you drain the spaghetti, add the tuna to the sauce, stir until it disolves and take the sause pan off the heat.

Drain your pasta, put it back in the pot and sprinkle with extra-virgin olive oil. Toss the pasta and you are ready to serve. It is a common belief not to combine fish and cheese but we break the rule and add some ground white cheese on top, such as dry mizithra.

Enjoy the dish and the day!





Τρίτη, 25 Οκτωβρίου 2016

Beef Burgers and Potatoes


The daily nightmare is back What shall I cook today? First glance in the freezer: Only beef minced meat.Now in greek cuisine this may result in many different dishes from the most complicated, such as "mousaka" to the most simple ones such as "spaghetti bolognese". Today I'll go simple and make beef burgers and potatoes roasted in the oven.

- 500 grams of minced beef
- 1 large chopped onion
- 300 grams breadcrumbs*
- 1 cup water
- 1 full tablespoon of each: chopped mint, chopped parsley
- a pinch of thyme leaves and rosemary
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.

* For a gluten-free recipe replace the bread with 8 tablespoons of oats.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until you have a soft mixture. Add more water if you have to. Put the bowl in the fridge for half an hour so that the flavours develop. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks, add some salt and, if you like, paprika.

In a well-oiled baking tray, form burger patties, place the potatoes around and add 1 glass of water. Sprinkle with olive oil and put in a pre-heated oven at 220C for about an hour.

A glass of wine and greek salad with feta cheese would be the best company.

Enjoy!

Τρίτη, 5 Απριλίου 2016

Stuffed vine leaves "Dolmadakia"

Stuffed vine leaves with ground beef and rice
It is a different flavor. It is true that not everyone likes them, especially if your first try is with preserved vine leaves which sometimes are very tough and leave the impression that chew a package along with its string!
But the fresh leaves are tender and melt in your mouth. Their sour taste raises the usually indifferent ground beef and make them memorable.
For a few days a year, April and May, when I find fresh leaves in the market, I wash, drain and put them in the freezer. From there directly to scalding and I have fresh leaves for another three months at least. I like to stuff them with a mixture of ground beef and rice but there is also the vegetarian alternative, only with rice.
For 4 people we need:250 grams of grape leaves

1 large onion, chopped1 1/2 cup of olive oil 1 cup of rice300 grams of ground beef1 shot of ouzo (optional)1 cup warm watersalt, pepper, a handful of fresh mint, choppedthe juice of a large lemon
Wash the leaves and add little by little in salted boiling water. Let stand 3 minutes, then put into a bowl with cold water. Once you finish the process put them in a colander until you prepare the filling.
In a small bowl put the minced meat, onion, rice, 1/2 cup oil, mint, salt, pepper and ouzo. Mix to make a mixture soft enough, and if necessary add a little water.
With a spoon take a bit stuffing and place on the base of the leaf. Fold both ends and then wrap them in a 

roll. The truth is that at the beginning it needs a little effort to get down to the point but after the 4th or 5th dolmadaki you'll have no problem.
We throw the remaining oil to the pot and place each dolmadaki in concentric circles from the outside to the center. Depending on our pot we will make one or two layers.
Sprinkle with a little more oil to the surface and cover into the pot with a plate upside down. This will help to keep them firmly in place and not unfold with cooking. Add enough hot water to reach the middle of the dish, cover the pot and simmer for about half an hour.
Once ready, remove from heat and pour the lemon juice. Cover again and leave to cool completely. So it is better to start cooking early.
We can accompany with extra egg-lemon sauce or even with tzatziki.
Good appetite.


You can find the recipe in Greek here.
 

Πέμπτη, 2 Ιουλίου 2015

Watermelon rind (traditional Greek spoon-sweet)

Traditionally summer asks for spoon-sweets and cold refreshing water.

Served in a saucer that was built specifically for this, with the brim turned upwards to avoid spilling drops of the syrup. A silver or metal tray and below the crocheted napkin "semedaki" of our Mom. Unfortunately, what once had been a sign of tidiness, today has become to be considered as kitsch.

Times might have been difficult and the greek coffee that came with the spoon-sweet made from roasted chickpeas but the sweets were made from the most fanciful fruit or vegetable the housewife of the era could devise : from the famous small eggplant to small tomatoes or even green olives!

Yet, when you sat at the small table in the courtyard and here came the humble disk balancing the goodies, you felt as the honored guest and the hostess did feel as the lady of the castle. And of course, not a word spoken about "Thanks, I won't have anything, I'm on a diet." Such insult would be unthinkable. You swallowed two mouthfuls of the sweet, you drank  some refreshing water and felt a moment of happiness.

So what to choose? Watermelon rind or fat pumpkin? Since this year we are not going to eat a decent watermelon due to our bad weather, let us at least keep its skin to have something good come out of it.

I'm looking into my small notebook with recipes. By the way, do you keep such a notebook yourselves? One where you have gathered all the wisdom of your mama, grandma, aunt?

Every time I try something new and find I like it, I get my pen and start exercising calligraphy like a good student. Sure, you'll tell me, nowadays when you can find everything you want on the internet, you keep on writing in a notebook with a pen?

Actually, yes. I feel that the time spent writing the recipe and the love I put into this activity will be asorbed by the paper and from there will go to whomever inherits my notebook, just as I find even today scattered slips of paper from my Mom.

Therefore I will share with you the page from my notebook and wish everyone a good summer. (However, I have to give the recipe in English, since the original is in Greek!)

Ingredients:

4 kilos of  watermelon or pumkin rind peeled on the outside
4 kilos of sugar
2 glasses full of water
2 spoonfuls vanilla extract
a small lump of limewash
lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

Cut the watermelon or pumkin rind in small squares (1.5x1.5 inches) and peel them so that you have only the white part. Dilute the limewash carefully in a big pan, add the rind, and let it soak overnight. This procedure will make it crisp on the outside and mellow on the inside. The following morning wash thoroughly changing the water about 10 to 12 times until it comes out crystal clear. Put the rind in a big pot, cover with water and let come to the boiling point. Do this 3 times to ensure that all residue of limewash has gone. Next, prick the pieces with a small fork and put it again in the pot with the sugar and 2 glasses of water. Let it boil until the syrup begins to thicken. Take it off the fire, add the vanilla and the lemon juice and let it cool in the pot overnight so as to absorb the syrup. The following morning it is ready to be put in glass jars.

Μπορείτε να δείτε τη δημοσίευση στα  Ελληνικά εδώ.


Παρασκευή, 24 Απριλίου 2015

Pasta Salad, quick'n'easy


Ok, this might not be a greek authentic recipe, however is one of our family's favourites and it's the best I can do on a busy, hectic day.
I use low fat ingredients as much as I can and I put the bowl in the fridge for those especially hot days, which are not so far away.

So, for two hungry people I need:

- 250 grams of pasta
- 1 small can of tuna in salted water or 150 grams low fat ham (chicken or turkey)
- 1 cup of low fat greek yoghurt (200 gr)
- 2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 1 small ripe tomato, diced
- 3-4 fresh leaves of basil or parsley

Boil the pasta in abundant salted water, strain and put in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss gently. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix gently again.
You can serve it immediately or let it cool in the fridge.
It's also an excellent idea for a buffet dinner.

Enjoy!

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