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.


Stuffed Redpepper (with bulgur wheat)

Now, I think this recipe is apparently an healthier option then the normal stuffed pepper as bulgur (bulgar wheat) is used to fill it. Without getting frantic about whether healthy it is or not, I tend to use bulgar in a lot of dish anyway, I find it very tasty.Once you get used to doing it, you can try using the same stuffing for different vegetables like this one stuffed aubergine.aubergine

Here we go:

4 – 5 spoonful of olive oil
5 – 6 preferably small or medium size redpeppers (you can use pointed redpeppers as well, they look quite sweet on the plate)
1 water glass of bulgar wheat
2 tomatoes (or equivalent of canned and chopped tomatoes)
2 onions
2 – 3 spring onions
a bit of salt, blackpepper, mint and allspice
2 spoonful of currant and pinenuts

1. Wash the peppers, cut the heads (do not throw them away you will use them!) and clean the seeds.
2. Heat some water, pour a bit over the bulgar to soak.
3. Chop the onions and spring onions then stir and fry them in a little bit of water. (I try not to fry olive oil as it gets very unhealthy when it is burnt)
4. Then add the bulgar wheat into the pan, stir well, then add the chopped tomatoes, currants and pinenuts. (some people like to fry the pinenuts slightly in another pan, tastes nice)
5. Season well with allspice, mint, blackpepper and a little bit of salt (I sometimes don`t use and actually try to compensate it with spices usually in many recipes), fry a bit more , then leave it cool down.
6. Once it is a bit cool, stuff your peppers with this mixture, put their heads on, and place in a deep or wide pan.
7. Pour some boiled water over them, close the lid and cook for 20 minutes, then check occasionally until the peppers get soft.
Serve warm or cold. and with yoghurt!


Time to prepare: 15 – 20 mins
Time to cook     : 20 – 30 mins (depends on how hard the redppers are)

Swiss chard, puy lentils, tomato gratin

This is one of the best recipes I tried without knowing how swiss chard tastes which I found in my local farmers market and since then it is one of the main characters in my kitchen as the season allows.

If you would like to read more about farmers market and local eating have a look at this website and watch the video if you can.

And more links, the recipe is by famous Irish chef Dennis Cotter who has a special place in my heart:

Wild Garlic, gooseberries and me… Even the name of the book makes my mouth water : )

olive oil
black pepper and salt to season
250 – 300 gr of medium tomatoes – real recipe is with plum tomatoes but these are ok for me
100 – 150 gr of puy lentils – again I did it once with green lentils which were soaked one night, not as tasty as puy lentils but good
1 kg of swiss chard, with stalks
3 – 4 garlic cloves (real recipe says 2 but I am a garlic lover do not go out after dinner then!)
fresh thyme
100 ml white wine
50 gr parmesan or any other hard cheese – I used feta cheese once it was very delicious!

Here we go:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C, slice the tomatoes and place them in a single layer on a tray, season with black pepper and olive oil roast for 15 – 20 minutes.
2. Boil the puy lentils for about 20 minutes, they should be tender, cool them under cold water.
3. Separate the chalks and the leaves, cook the leaves in boiling water for 5 minutes then chop them and mix with lentils in a bowl, add black pepper and salt.
4. Chop the garlic and stalks (not more than 2 cms thick) and fresh thyme and cook them with olive oil for 5 minutes. Then, add the white wine and cover them with a piece if baking parchment and lower the hob and leave like that for 20 minutes, they will get soft. Do not let them dry.

5. (Dennis Cotter uses an oven dish about 24 x20 cm but I am happy with mine) Pour the lentil and leaf mixture over tomatoes then add the stalks with its juice and finally top up with breadcrumbs and cheese. Grill for 5 – 10 minutes. I let the cheese turn brown then serve it with wild rice or bulgur pilau.
6. Oh! I add some lemon juice over the leaves before I serve and I like it very much!

Believe me this dish is an art! Enjoy and let me know how you find it!

Lentil Kofte


Well, I cooked these lovely lentil koftes for the Greek Easter weekend we had with friends, mostly drinking and eating lovely food.

It is very easy and a good mezze to have next to meaty stuff as well as by itself. Me? I can eat it even first thing in the morning : )

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 glass of red lentils
  • 1 glass of  bulgar wheat (fine bulgar – which you can find in  Turkish, Middle Eastern or even sometimes Polish shops)
  • 5-6 spring onions
  • 2 medium onions or 1 big one
  • Spicy tomato paste (or preferably hot pepper paste, but it is hard to find)
  • Hot pepper sauce, called Harissa, or just a red pepper
  • Lettuce (little gem is preferable)
  • A small bunch of parsley
  • Mint (or fresh dill is also nice)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Water – 3 or 4 glasses

1. Boil the red lentils with 3 or 4 glasses of water until they get very soft – almost melting.
2. Add a glass of fine bulgur wheat to the lentil mixture. This will make the mixture dry out a bit, so that it is firm but not sticky. Let it cool down until you can hold it in your hands. Taste it – if the bulgur wheat inside the mixture is not soft enough, add half or a glass of hot water to soak it up.
3. Chop the onions finely and cook them in olive oil then add the pepper paste and harissa or red pepper, mix it well.
4. Add the onion and pepper mixture over your already cooled down lentil & bulgur wheat and mix them well.
5. Add some salt, black pepper and mint.
6. Chop the spring onions and parsley and add them to this mixture, stir well. It should not be too dry not too wet, make some balls with it and put them over little gem lettuce on a plate.  Squeeze lemon on top.
7. Cool it down for an hour or so before you eat it!