Eggplants with miso

Eggplants with miso is a Japanese delight that can be included in a sushi party in order to treat your vegan and non vegan friends. This recipe is by no means traditional. It is a slight adaptation for all of you that wish to try a Japanese inspired dish without having to buy 3-4 bottles of condiments that you will rarely ever use again.

If you wish to prepare this dish you can find the list if ingredients here below.

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 4 small long eggplants or one big dark purple one
  • 2 tbs of shiro miso (it is the white miso, the one that is the most common to find in supermarkets out of Japan)
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp of water
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of honey
  • some chives

Instructions:

  • Cut the aubergines lengthwise. Put some sea salt on them and let them drain for an hour or even two. That helps to remove any unwanted bitter taste.

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  • Once the aubergines drained cut them in a diamond pattern as in the picture shown here below. Make sure that the cuts are deep enough as well as the skin remains intact.

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  • Put a tbs of cooking oil in a non stick pan and place the aubergines skin side up in the pan. Let them roast in medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Make sure they do not burn.
  • Then flip them  and cook 1-2 minutes on the skin side.

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  • In a small bowl mix the miso, apple cider vinegar, honey, sesame seeds and water.
  • Apply this thick paste on the aubergines.
  • Place the aubergines in a cooking plate in the oven in 180 C.
  • Cook them 10-20 minutes according to their size, the smaller the less time they will need.

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  • Take the aubergines out of the over and served them with steamed rice and thinly sliced chives.

Enjoy 🙂

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Express pickles

This is a super fast way to prepare pickles. So if you wish to eat a healthy crunchy snack in front of your favourite series this is for you.

Ingredients for a small vase of pickles:

  • 2 medium carrots
  • a small daikon
  • a small red onion
  • 4 tbs of apple cider vinegar
  • a tbs of honey

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Instructions:

  • Cut all vegetables in 2mm stripes.
  • Mix the vinegar and honey.
  • Put the vegetables in a bowl and cover with the vinegar mixture. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes

Your pickles are ready, enjoy 🙂

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Hazelnut chocolate spread-sugar free

This recipe is inspired by one of my favourite youtubers “Pick up limes”. It is a healthy substitute for chocolate hazelnut spreads in order to avoid over consumption of palm oil and sugar. The cocoa in the recipe is optional, you can leave it out. In this case you will have a nutty spread with cinnamon notes.

If you wish to try this recipe you can find the list of ingredients here below.

Ingredients for a small jar:

  • 200 gr of raw hazelnuts
  • 70 ml of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs almond oil
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 6 soft dates or plums pitted
  • 35 gr cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Boil the hazelnuts for 10-15 minutes and let them cool. Then peel off their skins. You can also roast the hazelnuts and proceed with the peeling. I personally dislike the roasted nut flavour, but in the end all is a question of taste.
  • In a food processor add the hazelnuts and grind until a smooth powder forms.
  • Add the almond milk, honey,  vanilla extract, the almond oil and the cinnamon and continue grinding until a smooth paste appears. If you do not like cocoa your spread is ready.
  • If you like cocoa add this last ingredient and grind for a few more seconds until the spread is well blended.

Your sugar free hazelnut paste is ready, enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Lentils

Lentils are my sister’s favourite dish. When we were little she was always super happy when we had lentils for lunch. And my sister is a super fit person, without working out. She naturally loves eating lots of healthy protein. During winter we had lentils once per week because it is an easy and super fast dish to prepare.

You can find the ingredients in the list below:

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Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 250 gr of lentils
  • a big red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 2 bayleaves
  • a large carrot
  • extra virgin cold pressed by mechanical means Greek olive oil
  • origano
  • rosemary (optional)
  • thyme (optional)

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Instructions:

  • Soak the lentils over night. That helps them to cook evenly the day after without dissolving in the hot water.
  • Add 700 ml of water
  • Add all the ingredients except from the oregano and the salt.
  • Boil for 30 minutes or more if needed in low heat.
  • Add the oregano and the salt and cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Turn off the stove and add some extra virgin olive oil

Enjoy 🙂

You can serve this dish with pickles and boiled beetroots.

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Stir-fried rice with mushrooms

Rice and mushrooms is an autumn combination made in heaven. Since my first cooking attempts I have cooked many variations of this dish. In the beginning I was not quite sure about the success of the dish so I was cooking only one portion. Most of the times it was not edible. I remember a super salty version of this dish that a good friend of mine has eaten without complaining. I am always grateful for this silent gesture of love.

I only understood that the dish was actually good when my brother, who was a toddler at that time, started crying because he wanted to taste the dish. Feelings of embarassement  (because I have eaten the whole dish by the time he requested for some) and happiness (because a small child supposedly picky was requesting a dish made by my limited cooking skills) were mixed up at that moment.

So here I share with you the outcome of many attempts. If you wish to try this recipe, you can find the list of ingredients here below.

Ingredients for 2 portions:

  • 200 gr of brown mushrooms, or any other mushrooms of your liking
  • 300 gr of cooked brown rice (left over rice is better, if you cook the rice the same day please add a little less water than usual)
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 2 thinly chopped cloves of garlic
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 red chilli pepper finally chopped (optional)
  • 4 tbs extra virgin cold pressed by mechanical means Greek olive oil
  • oregano, thyme, rosemary (optional)

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Instructions:

  • Put the olive oil in a non stick pan and saute in medium heat the red onion until it becomes translucent.
  • Add the crushed garlic cloves and the chilli (optional).
  • After 30 seconds add the mushrooms.
  • When the mushrooms are cooked through add the rice and rise the heat.
  • Saute all ingredients for 1-2 minutes.

Serve with herbs. This dish can be enjoyed as such or with a small omelette or with some grated cheese.

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Vegan cabbage rolls

This is a vegan version of a dish I love so much. I hope that my vegan friends will discover it. It is essential to use extra sweet cherry tomatoes for preparing the sauce. Their taste is going to replace the taste of the meat and bring balance in the dish. A sort of umami 🙂

Ingredients for 4 portions

  • 1 small cabbage
  • 200 gr cooked brown short grain rice (brown sushi rice is suitable)
  • 200 gr sweet cherry tomatoes cooked and reduced in confit sauce
  • 1 large sauteed onion
  • 300 ml water
  • 70-100 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 3 tbs fresh thinly chopped dill
  • 3 tbs fresh thinly chopped parsley
  • a grated green apple
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • sweet paprika for serving
  • greek yogurt for serving

 

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Instructions:

The day before, prepare the rice following the instructions below:

  • Wash the rice thoroughly and gently until the water comes out transparent
  • Strain the rice for an hour or more until it is almost dry
  • Cover the rice in a pocket of paper and let it rest for a whole night in the fridge

The day of cooking :

  • Put the cabbage in a steamer and steam it for around 20 minutes, depending on its size
  • Once the cabbage is ready let it cool down ( you can prepare the cabbage the day before)
  • Cut the central surface of the nerve of the cabbage leaves without cutting the cabbage leaves
  • In a large bowl mix the drained rice, the tomato sauce, the  green apple, the sautéed onion the dill and add salt and pepper to your liking
  • Add 3-4 tbs of extra virgin Greek olive oil and mix well
  • Add a layer of cabbage leaves in a heavy bottom pan in order to prevent your rolls form burning
  • Stuff the cabbage leaves one by one with the rice mixture and place them in the pan in a circular pattern
  • Place a dish on the top of your pan, it will maintain the shape of your rolls
  • Add  water, extra virgin olive oil and the bouillon
  • Cover and cook in low heat for 1h to 1h30 hours depending on the variety of rice and cabbage you have used

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Your dish in ready. Enjoy 🙂

Aubergine, yellow cherry tomato and onion comfit sauce

This is one of my signature recipes. Orestis, my brother keeps on saying that I am the only person he knows serving pasta with this sauce. In Greece aubergines are enjoyed as a main dish, they are not considered as an accompaniment for other dishes.

But I do like aubergine as sauce for pasta or pizza. This sauce is inspired from an aubergine dish called “Imam Bayildi” which means the imam fainted. It was originated in the Ottoman cuisine and the stories behind it are quite humorous.

The name supposedly derives from a tale of a Turkish imam, who was overwhelm  with pleasure at the flavor when presented with this dish by his wife, although other more humorous accounts suggest that he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish.

Another folktale relates that an imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant. Her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted.

So it is clear by the tales presented here above that the original dish contains lots of olive oil. Through the years I have developed the recipe and replaced the great amount of olive oil by slow cooking the vegetables in an open pan in very low heat for an hour – or more if needed – until they become caramelized. The result is a quite solid paste with chunks of aubergine, tomato and onions that is very sweet without adding any sweetening agents.

It is of great importance to use exceptionally fresh and high quality ingredients in this recipe. The cherry tomatoes should be extra sweet, otherwise they will dissolve the sweet flavour. Large tomatoes are not appropriate for this dish. If you cannot find extra sweet tomatoes then do not use tomatoes at all. As for the onions the Roscoff variety is very good for this recipe as any other red sweet onion variety.

If you wish to try this dish follow the instructions here below.

Ingredients:

  • 400 gr aubergines
  • 200 gr extra sweet yellow cherry tomatoes (if you cannot find extra sweet tomatoes do not add any tomatoes at all)
  • 2-4 large red sweet onions
  • fresh oregano
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 4  cloves of crushed garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • sunflower oil

Instructions:

  • Cut the aubergines in cubes of 2-3 cm and place them in a strainer with some salt. Let them release the excess water for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Cut the onions in slices of 2-3 mm
  • Add a small amount of sunflower oil in three different pans.
  • Add in a pan the aubergine cubes, in another the tomatoes and in a third the onions.
  • Start in medium heat until the vegetables obtain a slightly golden crust.
  • Then turn the heat to low and let the vegetables caramelize slowly. The tomatoes and onions will be ready within 10-15 minutes, the aubergines will take 45 minutes to an hour.
  • When the aubergines are soft with a nice crust and are super sweet add in the pan the tomatoes and onions.
  • Add the crushed garlic without cooking it (you may skip this ingredient if you do not like the after taste and smell of garlic).
  • Turn of the heat.
  • Chop the fresh oregano and basil leaves and add them in the mixture.

Your sauce is ready, enjoy 🙂

The secret of the Cretan diet or what does not kill you makes you stronger

The people of the legendary island of Crete live  a lot, it is a fact. There are many reasons that contribute to this longevity, eating habits are one of them.

The Cretan diet is rich in olive oil. But Cretans are not the only people eating a lot of olive oil. So what is their secret? Well the secret is found in what Cretans eat the olive oil with and the answer is “whatever is green”.

During the years of the Ottoman occupation, the Turcs have treated the inhabitants of the island quite roughly. They forced them to starvation because they confiscated all of the available grain of the island. Like in many other parts of the world, the amazing descendants of Zeus (the God of Gods was raised on the beautiful island where the European civilisation was founded) the Cretans, decided to face the challenge and  started eating whatever grew on the island.

The island of Crete is rich in wild herbs. The Ottoman greediness was the reason of the invention of an extremely nourishing diet and the origin of the Cretan longevity. So this historical event is the literal representation of “what does not kill you makes you stronger”.

Cretans eat plenty of leafy greens. I have been living all around the globe, from Vietnam to USA and I have always bought and boiled whatever green I found in local markets. In green I trust.

At this time of my life I am in Bangkok, here I can find a variety of local greens. One that I favour a lot is the Chinese spinach. It is very close to the taste of a summer green vegetable that is called “vlita” in Greek.

My father’s mother, unlike other housewives, used to boil her greens with tomatoes. The tomatoes give a sweet flavour to the otherwise bitter greens and bring balance to the dish.

We eat this dish for lunch or dinner as a salad. It is super easy to prepare and you will do your body a favour to try it.

If you wish to enjoy this dish follow the instructions below.

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Ingredients:

  • 500 gr of cleaned Chinese spinach
  • 200 gr tomatoes
  • salt
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil from Crete

Instructions:

  • clean the Chinese spinach and cut off the rough edges, if any
  • Put the Chinese spinach and the tomatoes in a large pan and boil in medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
  • Your dish is ready. Serve with lots of extra virgin Greek olive oil from Crete, salt and lemon juice.

Enjoy 🙂

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An olive oil that compliments the taste of the green leaves without masking their taste is GAEA from Sitia. If not available where you live, any Greek extra virgin olive oil with acidity of less than 0.08% will be appropriate.

Oven roasted broad beans falafel

When we think of falafel we instantly think of chick peas. Did you know that you can make falafel with broad beans also? It is a delicious alternative.

The falafel in this recipe are oven roasted, the mixture is not appropriate for deep frying, the falafel are going to dissolve into the pan.

This dish is a great source of protein and is full of herbs. The taste is truly amazing, it is as fulfilling as a meat dish.

The final result will be very crunchy and a bit dry. It is very important to serve them with sauces. Any sauce will do, here they are presented with a yogurt sauce and a tomato sauce.

Rosé wines are an excellent match for falafel. Any rosé will be fine, this weekend I had enjoyed them with a Malbec rosé.

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If you wish to taste this super healthy and super nutritious dish follow the instructions below.

Ingredients for 4 people (or 2 very hungry people) :

  • 350 gr broad beans soaked in mineral water for 48 hours, skins removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 medium red onion roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds roasted and crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds roasted and crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • a pinch of paprika
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • salt
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs all purspose flour
  • sunflower

Instructions:

  • Place the beans, onions, garlic, and herbs in a food processor and mix them until the beans are chopped into small pieces. Do not over-mix, no need to create a paste. If your food processor is small, place the ingredients in small bunches.
  • Put the mixture in a big bowl. Add the spices, baking soda, lemon juice,  flour and  salt.
  • Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Put a bit of sunflower in a pan.
  • Create little patties with your dough and flatten them a bit, it will be easier to cook them in the oven this way.
  • Place the pan in a preheated oven in 200 C. Cook for 15 minutes on one side. Then flip the patties over and cook 15 more minutes on the other side or until golden brown. Do not over cook, they will become very dry.

Your falafel are ready, enjoy 🙂

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Mint and couscous salad

This is a simple salad that can be prepared quickly. It is excellent as an accompaniment of a Sunday lunch, or on its own. You can use the left overs for lunch boxes. It can be kept in the fridge for one day.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 250 gr of couscous prepared according to the instructions of the producer
  • 200 gr sweet cherry tomatoes chopped in half
  • half a cucumber chopped in small cubes ( seeds removed)
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves
  • half a red onion chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small carrot chopped in small cubes
  • 2 green onions
  • origano
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt
  • a rich of cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Prepare your couscous according to the producer’s instructions or if you are lucky enough to have access to homemade couscous just prepare it as you regularly do.
  • Add a bit of olive oil to your couscous.
  • In a large bowl place all the vegetables and herbs and mix gently.
  • Add a bit of salt to the mixture.
  • Place the couscous in this mixture once it is cold with a pinch of cinnamon.
  •  Your salad is ready.

This salad is great when served with falafel, yogurt and tomato sauce and cabbage salad.

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Prosecco wine goes very well with this dish.

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Happy vegetarian Easter

Easter is my favourite holiday of the year. It reminds me of the happiest moments of my childhood. From the age of 9 to the age of 12 my family spent Easter on a lost beach in the Euboea island in Greece. There was nothing near by, no villages, no towns no mini markets there was just sea and sand and a tiny little river around which trees grew sleepily.

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It was the only moment of the year that we were free. Our parents just forgot about us, they let us play on the beach for hours and hours, remembering to call us back for the occasional extra layer of sunscreen. The sea was still cold so if we would swim we would become blueish. I remember going to explore the little river, always falling inside it and my mother being mad at me because she had never packed enough shoes and clothes in case we got wet.

I also remember Saturday nights for the Easter Liturgy. There was a little white church on the top of a hill. No priest would come in such a remote area so we would create our own Easter ceremony. The grown ups would turn on a radio with the Liturgy from the Metropolis of Athens and we would sing along. My father has a beautiful voice, not too low not too high just the perfect frequency. Many Cretans like my father have this trembling vibration in their voices. I have always found it soothing, it makes the tympanic membrane vibrate in the frequency of love.

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Christos Anesti is a psalm that I listen and sing every year wherever I am in the world. It is a reminder that life has won over death and that love can and will win over fear.

There are numerous exquisite recipes from all over the world celebrating the festivities of Easter. Here I am sharing a simple pasta recipe that would be suitable for vegetarians. You may celebrate this holiday with friends from other religions, cultures and origins. I hope this dish will help you make them feel included in the festivities and the universal message of Easter.

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 500 gr of handmade tagliatelle (they should have a rough surface, that would facilitate the absorption of the sauce)
  • 400 gr brown button mushrooms chopped in slices
  • spring onions finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • rosemary finely chopped
  • fresh oregano finely chopped
  • 2 chillies finely chopped
  • freshly grated black pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan/pecorino/kefalotiri cheese/ Gruyere cheese/kasseri Xanthis/Gryuere from Chania or Tripoli or any yellow salty pressed cheese you wish
  • salt
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • sweet paprika

Instructions:

  • Turn on the heat to high. When the pan is hot add the olive oil and stir the mushrooms. Add the chopped garlic cloves
  • Turn the heat to medium and let the mushrooms give their juice. That would take 2-3 minutes.
  • Take the mushrooms out of the fire.
  • In a large pot boil water with a bit of added salt. Add the tagliatelle when the water is boiling.
  • Cook the tagliatelle 2 minutes less than indicated at the package instructions. Keep them on the side with a few tablespoons of the cooking water
  • Turn of the heat to medium and place a large pan on the stove. Add some olive oil.
  • Place the rosemary, chilli, oregano, chives, paprika and pepper in the warm olive oil   for a few seconds in order to transfer their aroma.
  • Add the cooked mushrooms.
  • Add the cooked tagliatelle and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese. It is ready to serve. Enjoy 🙂

Alkaline brunch

Rice is quite popular for breakfast all over South East Asia. I admit that I enjoy it thoroughly. I have always been the kind of person that eats a lot for breakfast. A typical breakfast in my world includes a savoury dish, some kind of sweet snack and tea.

A few years ago my sister has talked to me about the benefits of alkaline nutriments. Red cabbage, carrots, broccoli, garlic, almonds, green tea and bananas are great sources of alkaline elements. This brunch includes all of them.

If you wish to start your day with this alkaline brunch composed by vegan brown rice with alkaline toppings, green tea and frozen banana smoothie follow the instructions bellow.

Ingredients for the brown rice for 1 person:

  • 100 gr cooked brown rice (leftover rice is the most appropriate for this recipe)
  • 1/2 diced carrot
  • 2-3 red cabbage leaves chopped in large pieces
  • a few baby broccoli stems chopped in large pieces
  • a clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a small onion chopped in medium slices
  • a chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • cooking oil

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl place the cabbage leaves and the broccoli stems. Add a bit of cooking oil and salt and mix well.
  • Turn on the stove on maximum and place a large empty pan, preferably a wok on it. When the wok is very hot, place the vegetables and mix them for 1-2 minutes, until they are stir fried and glossy. Take the vegetables out of the fire. Continue the same process with the diced carrot and take it out of the fire too.
  • Turn the heat to medium and add a tbs on cooking oil in the pan. Add the onion. When the onion is almost caramelised add the garlic and the chilli.
  • Once the garlic and the chilli are tossed add the rice and the soy sauce. Add the stir fried vegetables and mix well.

Instructions for the frozen banana smoothie:

  • mix a frozen banana with a bit of almond milk.

Your brunch is ready, enjoy 🙂

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Aubergine salad with peanut butter

“Πενία τέχνας κατεργάζεται” is a very old Greek saying, meaning that poverty develops and contributes to the research of the arts.

It is not poverty, as lack of monetary means, that contributed to the creation of this recipe. It is poverty as lack of specific ingredients in the city that I live, more specifically the lack of tahini. Tahini is a sesame based paste, that is commonly used in aubergine salad. It is  quite complicated to find Tahini in Bangkok.  So I have decided to replace it with peanut butter. The result is very tasty. If you wish to try this dish please follow the instructions below.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 medium aubergines
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 small red onion
  • parsley
  • 1 tbsp of white sesame seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • sweet paprika

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Instructions:

  • Cut the aubergines in big pieces.
  • Roast the aubergines in the oven covered under an aluminium foil for one hour
  • Once the aubergines are cooked put them in a food processor and mix with the onion, garlic, peanut butter, olive oil and salt. Serve with chopped  parsley and paprika.

Enjoy 🙂

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Christmas healthy chocolates

A great snack for Christmas, that is actually healthy, are prune chocolate bites. It is one of my favourite snacks because it is low in sugar, there is no fat and is instantly satisfying. It is also very easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 100 gr couverture chocolate 50% cocoa
  • 100 gr couverture chocolate 70% cocoa
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 250 gr dried prunes

Instructions:

  • Break the chocolate in small pieces.
  • Put the pieces into a large heat proof glass bowl.
  • Put some water into a small pan and turn on the heat.
  • Make sure that the water stays warm but does not boil.The water temperature should be around 80 C.
  • It is important that no steam escapes from the pan, it will destroy the consistency of the chocolate.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, start dropping the prunes one by one in the chocolate mixture and then place them on kitchen paper.
  • Let the chocolates get cold.
  • They are ready. You can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take them out of the fridge 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy 🙂

Vegan Christmas, vegetarian Berber couscous

dsc_8403Many traditional Christmas dishes are composed around meat. It is useful to remember that our ancestors did not have the luxury of meat in everyday life. So they compensated by creating exceptional carnivore dishes.

Having said this, vegetarian and vegan dishes become more and more popular. I wish to share this traditional Berber couscous from Algeria adapted to the sauce of the modern world. It is a light, healthy and colourful dish that will satisfy all tastes.The combination of spices with the chickpeas is so tasty that meat becomes unnecessary.

It is a nice idea to prepare this couscous also in case you have guests with different nutritional regimes. A slow roasted lamb shoulder in the oven can be presented as a side dish for whomever appreciates this without compromising the taste of  your vegan/vegetarian guests.

The greatness of this dish is the amazing aroma of the spices. Your kitchen will be enchanted by a beautiful Christmas scent.

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Ingredients for four portions:

  • 400 gr instant couscous (optional, if you know how to separate the grains by hand and you live in a country where you can find real couscous, take the time to prepare it properly)
  • 200 gr chickpeas
  • 3-4 medium carrots chopped in large chunks
  • 250 gr turnips chopped in large chunks
  • 2-3 medium zucchinis in large chunks
  • 4 tomatoes mixed in a food processor
  • a roasted eggplant
  • a sliced onion
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 2 tsp raz el hanout
  • salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 tbsp of butter (optional, can be replaced by olive oil)
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 l of water
  • some herbs for the presentation (parsley, mint, coriander according to your preferences)

Instructions:

24 hours before:

  • Put the chickpeas into a bowl of water with the baking soda and let them rest in the fridge for a whole day.

On the day of the preparation:

  • Put the chickpeas into a pan and boil them for 1 hour or until they become soft.
  • Drain the chickpeas.
  • Put some olive oil into a pan, turn the heat on low and add the onion and the spices.
  • Add the garlic cloves.
  • Roast for 3-4 minutes, just enough time for the spices to develop their aroma.
  • Add the chickpeas and keep on stirring in low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrots and the turnips
  • Add the water.
  • Add the tomato sauce
  • Let this soup simmer for 1 hour
  • Carefully add the zucchini.
  • Let simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Prepare the couscous according to the instructions of the packaging.

It is ready. For the presentation separate the vegetable from the chickpeas and the sauce. Present the grains of couscous in a separate large and deep plate, the sauce in a bowl and the vegetable on a plate. In this way your guests will choose whatever they wish according to their taste.

Enjoy 🙂

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Green beans

I love the taste of green beans. I always did, even when I was a child. In Greece green beans are enjoyed slow cooked because they release a sweet nutty taste when they are cooked in low heat for 40-45 minutes.

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Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 400 gr green beans
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • a large onion chopped in slices
  • salt
  • sesame seeds
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil

Instructions:

  • Clean and wash your beans
  • Put a heavy bottom large pan on high heat and let it burn. Do not add any oil.
  • In a large bowl mix the beans with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, the chopped onion and the whole cloves of garlic.
  • When your pan is very hot add the mixture and saute until the beans change colour.
  • Turn the fire to low. Add half a cup of water.
  • Let your beans simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  • When cooked thoroughly turn the fire off and add the sesame seeds and the extra virgin Greek olive oil.

This dish can be enjoyed on its own

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It can also be enjoyed as a side dish or a salad.

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Berber roasted pepper sauce

There is a sweet and bitter roasted pepper sauce that is quite popular in Algeria. I make it every Sunday and I eat a bit of eat everyday during the week.

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I got this recipe long time ago from a dear friend that is dear  no more. The recipe though stays with me and it is a great accompaniment for variable dishes. It is best enjoyed with bread.

Ingredients :

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  • 500 gr of bell peppers, or corn shaped peppers  of all colours, preferably not very fleshy
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt
  • a small chilli chopped thinly (optional)

Instructions:

  • Wash and dry the peppers.
  • Insert your finger to each pepper in order to create a whole. Put some salt in it.
  • Roast the peppers for 40-50 minutes to 190 C. It is important to slow roast the peppers in order to release their sweet flavour.
  • Put the peppers in a plastic bag and let them rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Peel the peppers and try to discard as many seeds as possible.
  • Crash the peppers with a fork.
  • Add the chilli if you enjoy spicy food.
  • Serve with a generous amount of olive oil.

The sauce can be enjoyed on its own with some bread.

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It is also great as accompaniment.

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Enjoy 🙂

Quinoa tabouleh

This is a quinoa salad inspired by tabouleh. It can be enjoyed as a side dish as well as on its own.

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 200 gr quinoa
  • 150 gr of boiled chickpeas
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 large bunch of mint
  • 1 large bunch of parsley
  • a carrot
  • sesame seeds
  • sia seeds
  • salt, paprika
  • a small red onion
  • juice of a lemon
  • a small green chilli (optional)
  • a crushed clove of garlic (optional)
  • 50 gr of raisins (optional)
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil

Instructions:

2 hours before preparing the salad:

  • Wash the quinoa in order to get rid of any bitter taste.
  • Put the quinoa in a pan  cover it with water and add some salt
  • Cover the pan and boil for 14 minutes in low heat or until the inner sprout comes out of the grain- do not over boil, the texture will be damaged
  • Add some olive oil and let the quinoa cool down
  • Cut all the vegetables in slices or cubes
  • Chop the herbs thinly
  • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Your salad is ready to taste. Enjoy 🙂DSC_7826.jpg

 

 

Vegan day: Chickpeas soup

This soup contains a large quantity of Greek extra virgin olive oil. It is an essential ingredient, that gives to this dish its distinctive taste.

If you also enjoy olive oil try this soup 🙂

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Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 25o gr  dried chickpeas
  • 2 l water
  • 2 laurier leaves
  • 2 small onions thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot chopped in stripes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 150 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 ts baking soda
  • wedges of lemon for tasting (optional)
  • chili for tasting (optional)

Instructions:

  • Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight with 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • The following day drain the chickpeas, put them in a pan, cover with water and boil for 30-40 minutes.
  • Drain the chickpeas and discard the boiling water.
  • Put the chickpeas in a clean pan with 2 litres of water and add the laurier leaves, the small onions, the carrot in stripes and the cloves of garlic.
  • Boil in low fire of 1 hour and a half. Add the olive oil and continue boiling for 30 extra minutes.

It is ready. In Greece this dish is often enjoyed with accompaniments such as pickled fish olive oils and feta cheese.

Since I live in the tropics I may choose more exotic side dishes such as durian.

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Enjoy 🙂

Detox day

Once in a while during a calm weekend I enjoy having a detox day. During that day I only consume fruit and vegetable and light vegetable soups.

One of the meals I eat during detox days is cabbage and carrot soup. It does not have much of a taste but it is quite effective in cleansing the respiratory system.

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Mangosteen is a delightful tropical fruit known for its antioxidant vertus. It can be part of a light tasty snack of tropical fruit accompanied by ginger tea.

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Other snacks that I enjoy during detox days are sugar apples, raisin, durian and pineapple smoothies.

I also try to drink infused herbs and spices like kaffir leaves, citronella, lemon and ginger tea.

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Enjoy 🙂

Greek halva and tea

Halva is one of my favorite desserts. As a kid I liked it so much so that I have accommodated the dosage in a tiny portion in order to prepare an instant portion halva in a briki (a small coffee pot used in Greece).

A few weeks ago I have tested the exceptional recipe of the amazing chef Akis Petretzikis. The result is WoW, the best halva ever!!

In my cooking there are influences of many cuisines that I love. So in this recipe the dosage of the traditional Greek recipe is respected, but the spices are according to my personal taste.

If you wish to try this recipe you can find the list of ingredients here below.

Ingredients :

  • 2/3 of a cup of sunflower oil
  • a cup of super fine semolina
  • a cup of couscous size semolina
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • the zest of one orange
  • 2-3 tbs of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • 1 crushed cardamon seed
  • 100 gr of chopped raw almonds
  • 100 gr of chopped raw pistachios

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Instructions:

  • Boil the water and set it aside.
  • In a non stick pan add the oil and the two types of semolina and start roasting in very low heat. Mix slowly. After 7-10 minutes your semolina should be toasted but not burned. Be patient in this stage, consider this part as your meditation moment of the day.
  • Once the semolina toasted add the sugar and mix thoroughly. The sugar will melt instantly and liquify your mixture.
  • Take the pan off the stove. Place it on a steady surface such as a table.
  • Add slowly and with great precaution the water. Pay great attention because the water has the tendency to splash and you do not want to burn yourself.
  • Add the spices, orange zest and chopped nuts in the mixture.
  • Once the water added place your mixture on the stove again at very low heat and mix energetically.
  • Your halva is ready when the mixture does not stick on the pan any more.
  • You can place your halva in a cake mold in order to give it a specific shape and let it cool down. I personally prefer to place my halva in a large plastic container and scoop it with a spoon in a bowl.
  • Before serving you can sprinkle some extra cinnamon and some chopped pistachios.

Your halva is ready, enjoy 🙂

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Enjoy 🙂

Indian breakfast

India is a country in which I have found the best, the worst and everything in between. And it is a country that I love for many reasons, food being only one of them.

India is the only country I have visited that the beauty of the gardeners rivals the beauty of the gardens.

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In India they are so many ways to communicate with divinities that every drop of water, every piece of land is somehow “holy”.

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It is the land of majestic tigers.

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Whenever I miss India I prepare a dish that brings me happiness because I have linked it to my dear friend Ashu, aloo paratha. Delightful wheat pancakes filled with crushed potatoes and spices.

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In India they are served with pickles, my favourite are from Fabindia and often enjoyed with tea. Here aloo paratha are presented with black eyed beans salad, feta cheese and a generous amount of extra virgin Greek olive oil (I am addicted to Greek olive olive, no one is perfect)

You can find a beautiful recipe in order to prepare aloo paratha at the following  link

Enjoy 🙂

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Breakfast in a mug

If you also are super busy in the morning, breakfast in a mug is for you. Here is a smoothie with sour passion fruit, pineapple, cucumber, super hot chili, yogurt, chia seeds, flax seeds and honey. Choose your local fruit and vegetable and enjoy 😉