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Stuffed vine leaves – with yoghurt sauce and warm!

Stuffed vine leaves - with yoghurt sauce and warm!

Here’s a new recipe for stuffed vine leaves! They are one of my favorites and yes, it requires patience but the result is priceless!

Serves 4 people

30 vine leaves parboiled and cooled
1 glass of white or brown rice, half glass of bulgur wheat
a bunch of dill, chopped finely
salt and pepper
grated onion
spicy red pepper paste
pine nuts – optional for the warm version
olive oil

for the sauce:
olive oil, yoghurt, garlic and mint

Ok, this is not your usual stuffed vine leaves, it is more wintery and warming! Because it is served warm and with a nice yoghurt sauce.

How to make it?

1.Mix the grated onion, finely chopped dill, rice and bulgur. Add some salt and pepper.
2. Fill each of the vine leaves, by placing a spoonful of the stuffing first then closing from the bottom ends slowly. Place some of the torn leaves at the bottom of your pan. Then put each wrapped leaf tightly, next to each other.
3. Put a big spoonful of spicy rep pepper paste, in the a bowl of lukewarm water (suppose 4 glassses of water, enough to go on top of the piled, stuffed leaves in the pan) Also cover the food with a porcelain plate then put the lid on.
4. Start with high heat, once the water is boiled, simmer it down for until the leaves get softer. It takes about 20 – 25 minutes usually.
5. Crush one or two garlic to your taste and mix it well with a bowl full of yoghurt. Add some salt, mint and olive oil.
6. Once the food has cooled enough to eat, serve immediately with the sauce.
Enjoy : )

photo 1

Brown lentils, courgettes and bulgur wheat

brown lentil

I made this light lunch couple of days ago and since I made so much, it lasted for the following day as well. So, it serves 4. I forgot to take a picture but will replace the one above soon.
I suggest trying it with fine bulgur or even brown rice instead, it tastes good. Serve with any type of grilled meat or like I do, with halloumi. And a bit of salad.

What do I need?
1½ glasses of coarse bulgur wheat
2 or 2½ glasses of boiled water
1 large onion, chopped

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1½ green or red chilli peppers
1 finely chopped large courgette
1 tin of brown or green lentils, or soak your own
½ a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (or use ¼ bunch of mint)
Black pepper and salt to taste
Olive oil

1. Fry the chopped onions and garlic until brown, then add the chopped chilli. But do not touch your eyes, like I did!

2. Whilst the onions and chillis are cooking, chop the courgettes in cubes then add them, stir well, over a medium hob.

3. Boil water in another sauce pan. Always boil more than you need and always have a sizing glass or cup. Mine is an old Nutella jar.  This will be kept to one side, and added to the other mixture as you go.

4. Mix the bulgur wheat into the courgette mixture.  Stir well, then add 2 cups of warm or boiling water. The water level should be just higher than the mixed veg and bulgur in the pan. Add the salt and pepper. Close the lid, bring it to boil.

5. Once boiled, turn the hob down to its lowest setting. Let it soak for about 5- 10 minutes.

6. Taste whether the bulgur is cooked.  If it is soft enough, then switch the hob off, and let the food rest for ten minutes.

Enjoy!

Celeriac soup with croutons and parsley

It has been a long year I have not updated this blog but back again with new and nice recipes.

Celeriac is a vegetable I quite often eat as marinated with olive oil but this time, I did a very British hearty version a soup!

It worked quite well with parsley.

Here is the recipe:

1 medium size celeriac, cut into cubes
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 medium size potato (grated)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 spoonful of olive oil, butter makes it heavier for my taste

For the croutons:

1 spoonful of truffle oil
a big piece of rye bread, cut in cubes
And if you really want, single cream or yoghurt to top

The recipe is very easy, if you boil the celeriac cubes about 5 minutes separately, makes a difference.

Fry the onions and garlic then add the potatoes and a glass of warm water. Stir, then add the celeriac cubes. Cook about 5 minutes then add 4 – 5 glasses of warm water. It should cover the celeriac just about not too much, not less.

Bring it up to boil then simmer, close the lid. 20 minutes later, check the celeriac cubes, if they are almost melting, then it is time to blender. If not, cook a little bit more.

Once you blendered, you can add some single cream in. Or instead, when you are serving, add a dollop of yoghurt in the soup bowls.

For the croutons,

Get a small non stick pan, warm it up then add the bread cubes. You have to watch it carefully otherwise it burns. Add some truffle oil – you can use walnut oil as well – then add some mint and red pepper flakes, stir well.

Chop some parsley and use for decorating the soup.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halwa – Helva- Semolina for weddings and funerals

halwa

Here we are with a very special recipe indeed… For weddings and funerals… to sweeten our mouths…

500 gr semolina
250 gr butter
1 pint (568 ml) semi skimmed milk
500 gr sugar (may be less)
pine nuts (as much as you like)
ground cinnamon

1. Heat the pan (I used an iron casserole) at maximum level, add the butter, once it is melted, add the pinenuts and roast them until they turn brownish.
2. Lower the heat on the hob, add the semolina and begin stirring it. Now this will take 35 – 40 minutes so you better have a good podcast on or some nice music or a book on the other hand!
3.  Once the colour of the semolina begins turning yellowish, switch the hob off.
4. Add the whole milk and continue stirring, because it is too hot, the semolina will absorb all of it.
5. Then add the sugar, switch the hob on (make sure it is the smallest one) continue stirring, it will look slurry, do not get disheartened it will taste delicious! Stir until the sugar melts and is absorbed by the semolina, it takes about 5 minutes so do not go anywhere otherwise you might burn it!
6. Switch the hob off, put a kitchen towel in between then close the lid, let it cool down a little bit.
7. Place the desert on a glass serving plate with the help of a big spoon. Serve with cinnamon!

Enjoy!

Puy lentils, cous cous and greens

puy lentils

Summer is coming and here is a dish which you can not refuse on a hot day served with some cider! Yummy!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
250 grams of puy lentils (washed and boiled, leave it in a bowl nicely peppered)
250- 300 grams of wholemeal cous cous (try to find slightly bigger ones or risi might work! use 100 gr for each person as a main dish)
1 red, 1 yellow pepper
4 – 5 pieces of spring onions
2 – 3 cloves of garlic (I added some dried garlic as well)
half or a whole can of dried tomatoes
a glass of white wine
thyme
salt and pepper
redpepper flakes or tabasco
olive oil

1. Boil the puy lentils for about 20 minutes till they get crispy, but soft. Add generous amounts of blackpepper, then let it cool down.
2. Boil some cous cous with a drizzle of olive oil and again, cool it down.
3. Chop the peppers and fry them gently with a bit of olive oil and dried garlic.
4. Once the peppers are soft enough add the dried tomatoes with chopped garlic, stir them gently for a couple of minutes.
5. Mix the puy lentils, add generous amounts of thyme, stir it, then pour some white wine, simmer it down for 5 – 10 minutes.
6. Add the cous cous and stir well, then pour this mixture into a bowl.
7. Finally add the chopped spring onions then serve with  a drizzle of lemon juice on it and some yoghurt aside!

Enjoy!

Solar Cooker

This is something I came across today…
wonderful idea! and good for tackling the
climate change! Hoorah!
(wonder if I can cook borek with it?!)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

Spanakopita – Spinach and Feta pie

pie

This traditionally Greek recipe is nothing too different to beautiful Borek but gives a nice pie feeling in the mouth when cooked with puff pastry and is very easy! I changed it a little bit but this recipe comes from my Irish friend (as I recently found out that his lovely Greek girlfriend cheated us saying she cooked it: )

I think the spinach is in season right now and tastes great so I suggest popping into Blackheath Farmer’s market and buying some.

Here we go:

1 pack of Puff pastry
1, 5 or 2 blocks of feta cheese
2 packs of spinach (I used two bunches of spinach bought from the farmers)
3 eggs
Half an onion (I used a whole onion)
Chopped parsley
Chopped dill
Pepper
Sesame seeds (I used black seeds which you can find in Middle Eastern shops)

How do I cook spanakopita?

1. Handful by handful, wash the spinach, leave in water, add some drops of apple cider vinegar  as it kills the left over germs, drain.

2. Finely chop the onion and gently fry it in some butter until it turns
soft, then leave that aside to cool a little, do the same with drained spinach.

3.In a big bowl crumble the feta until it’s all broken up, then add the
three eggs, a handful of chopped parsley, a generous amount of dill, the
fried onion and lots of black pepper. Using your hands, mix it all
together until it’s evenly mixed.

4. Butter your pie dish then cut the puff pastry into two, you have to open it up in the shape of your pie dish. Then add the bottom layer of pastry.

5. Fill the filo with the mixture and spread it out as evenly as possible, then cover with the rest of the pastry. Add some milk to the bowl that contained the feta mixture then brush the liquid over the top of the pie. Finish by sprinkling sesame seeds on top. (or blackseeds)

6. Cook at 180 degrees until the top goes brown, then cover with foil and
cook for a further 20 mins or so.

Like a lot of food it tastes better after it has been cooled and
reheated later : )

Enjoy!