Food for thought

in Food for thought, Inspiration -

Today’s food for thought is very season appropriate: strawberry love, the future of food keeping cool in tiny house and ice cream macarons!

Since the beginning of the week, the overwhelmingly beautiful weather has all of London flooding the streets, all smiles, few clothes and refreshing drinks and nibbles on hand. I’m following along, barely able to stay indoors to do some work (which I should be doing), instead lunching al fresco in parks, drinking outside till it gets dark and going to bed happy to dream of strawberry and ice cream recipes.

Hope y’all have great plans for the weekend- ours will be a mixture of outdoors shenanigans and lots of work- tomorrow  we’ll go here and on Sunday I’ll be at home cooking and snapping away from early morning, to catch all the beautiful light.

100 ways with eggs. Yes!

Very much into infusing honey and olive oil lately.

The future of food– so funny (and a little scary too)!

This London macaron ice cream shop is all sorts of perfect for these days!

Tiny spaces, huge charm!

Finally, speaking of strawberry love, here are three great ways to get into it:

For breakfast, in this white chocolate Dutch baby.

In sweet & sour bruschettas alongside juicy tomatoes.

With shortbreads and mascarpone cream with fresh thyme and maple.

* Beautiful strawberries/ beautiful light. 

 

Quinoa, red bean & mushroom veggie burger

in Savoury, Taste -

Generously flavoured with chipotle honey and herbs, these quinoa, red bean & mushroom veggie burger is delicious and a damn looker too!

Quinoa, red bean & mushroom veggie burger

Inspired by the promises of delightfully warm, hot even, weather and bright sun at last, I’m sharing my favourite veggie budget recipe yet; as much as I love beef burgers, I so much prefer a veggie version: I find that there’s infinite possibilities for improvising, adding a variety of ingredients, spices and herbs, depending on what I have at hand, cravings and flavour profile I’m after.

This time, the starting point was a deliciously fiery chipotle honey I have fallen hard for: more spicy than sweet, it pairs beautifully with red meat and works wonders in a chicken marinate too. It’s also the perfect addition here, alongside quinoa and kale (which I’ve used in veggie burgers before), sautéed chestnut mushrooms, fresh parsley and chives and paprika.

The mixture comes together in a food processor in no time (though you can certainly also do it by hand) and once your shape it into patties, you can keep in the fridge for a couple days, but also freeze for up to two weeks.

Serve tucked in ciabatta rolls, with avocado mushed with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, pickled onions and fresh rocket and you’ve got yourselves a party worthy of this weather and all the goodness in this veggie beaut.

Quinoa, red bean & mushroom veggie burger

Quinoa, red bean & mushroom veggie burger

WHAT (makes 8 medium patties)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

2 medium red onions, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 can red beans, rinsed and drained

250gr cooked quinoa

about 60g kale, hard stems removed, washed and patted dry

2 tablespoons chipotle honey

1 teaspoon paprika

1 heaping tablespoon fresh parsley

1 heaping tablespoon fresh chives

2 medium eggs

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

for the avocado:

1 1/2 large ripe avocados

1 tablespoon reduced fat Greek yogurt

juice and zest from 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh coriander, roughly chopped 

a squeeze of runny honey

a good pinch of salt

HOW

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the mushrooms until soft, about 5′. Add the onions and garlic and cook for another 5′ or so. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a couple minutes.
  2. Place in a food processor, along with the beans, quinoa, kale, chipotle honey, paprika and herbs and pulse to combine. Add the eggs and pulse again. Lastly add the breadcrumbs (you may need a little less or more, depending on the consistency of your mixture) and season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Shape into patties, place on a tray lined with parchment paper and put in the fridge for about 20′.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the avocado, by combining all the ingredients and mashing with a fork.
  5. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (170ºC FAN) and bake the patties for 20′, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a couple minutes and serve in ciabatta rolls, with fresh rocket, mashed avocado and pickled onions.

Feta, spring onion & dill pie (tyropita)

in Savoury, Taste -

This feta, spring onion & dill pie (tyropita) is always one of my favourite things to make from scratch. Bear with me, it’s so worth it!

Feta, spring onion & dill pie (tyropita)

As I’ve mentioned here, making Greek pies from scratch is my favourite thing and the one ambition I’ve had since I clumsily, impatiently started cooking. For some it’s a soufflé, the perfect omelette or an elaborate cake with many layers and fluffy, smooth frosting. I certainly wouldn’t mind perfecting all of the above, especially a cake (my impatience usually gets the better of me and I somehow end up slathering the frosting on and hope for the best). [READ MORE]

Food for thought

in Food for thought -

Spring is finally here! So this food for thought is filled with colour, DIY and culinary inspiration- and a great read suggestion too!

Because of sun’s triumphant return, I’m left feeling more optimistic about the coming of spring and the promise of good weather (finally!). The days are filled with lots of work, but also baking and making things I’ve been wanting for some time now. Not surprisingly, a lot of them involve new plants and flowers and cheese (like this pie and a delicious labneh I’ve made for a collaboration that’s coming up, both of which I’ll be able to enjoy in just two days). Greek Easter is almost here and we’ll be celebrating this Sunday with friends- and while we do, I’ll be filled with bittersweet nostalgia over Easters spent back home with family and friends, in gorgeous warm weather, celebrating traditions in our own way. Have a great weekend y’all, hope it’s a great one whatever you do. [READ MORE]

Mushroom & prawn tacos with spicy pineapple & lime salsa

in All recipes, Savoury, Taste -

My latest food crush is these mushroom & prawn tacos with spicy pineapple & lime salsa. So much flavour, so many colours, never enough tacos!

Mushroom & prawn tacos with spicy pineapple & lime salsa

My Easter Lent adventure is coming to an end this Sunday; it’s been both hard and not a big deal and I’ve been kind of a good sport about my (almost) vegan diet in the last 50 days or so. There has been moaning, even despair at times (I have a flair for the dramatic more than I care to admit). Mostly there’s been a lot of delicious favourites and experimentation too featuring the following: pulses, tahini, fresh and cooked veggies, nuts and a fair amount of prawns. While I normally eat lots of fish, in the absence of it, I rediscovered how much I love seafood: I devoured this pasta a couple times and made delicious steamed mussels with lots of garlic and a hearty side of toasted bread; yet, the dish I enjoyed the most during this period are these tacos. [READ MORE]

Food for thought

in Food for thought, Inspiration -

Ignoring the very non-spring weather with some food for thought filled with brightness, goodness and a few inspiring gorgeous looking dishes. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to this long weekend! March has been unexpectedly, pleasantly and exhaustingly full – so a few days with very loose plans and lots of cooking seem like heaven to me. I’ve made a first batch of Greek Easter cookies and they are already gone; next on the list is a couple chubby tsourekia, a big bowl of tzatziki and possibly a full on chocolate cake too. I literally can’t wait to spend hours and hours in the kitchen, dyeing eggs, playing with all sorts of lovely ingredients, tasting and testing. I’ll maybe also be making another pie– this time with lots and lots of cheese, in anticipation of Greek Easter, when Lent comes to an end and I’ll be able to eat my weight in all things dairy. Until then, sending y’all lots of wishes for a relaxing long weekend, filled with  loved ones, delicious food and all sorts of mischief. [READ MORE]

Hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies

in Desserts, Taste -

These hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies are sweetened by petimezi (grape molasses) and baked until soft and a little crunchy around the edges. 

Hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies

Last Saturday, I had the great joy to once again take photos at Oliveology’s cooking workshop. It’s no secret I have a huge soft spot for Marianna’s shop; everything is so carefully selected and brought over to London after much thought, consideration and testing, always in pursuit of best quality products*. The workshops follow the same philosophy: they are relaxed yet informative, introducing Greek cuisine and tradition through tasting and hands on preparation. The recipes are created by Despina Siahuli (another big soft spot right there) and every dish I’ve tasted time and time again there is filled with the best ingredients, bursts of flavour, goodness and an ever so slight sense of nostalgia, with which I am only too familiar. On that day, the menu included some of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had- which also proved to be entirely fool proof and filled with all the good stuff.

Hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies

Made with no eggs, dairy or sugar, they highlighted some of Oliveology’s best ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, soft, wrinkly and sweet Corinth raisins, nuts (Despina’s original recipe calls for walnuts, but I can’t resist hazelnuts when baking, so I used those) and petimezi. I’ve used this sweet and aromatic grape molasses on a number of different dishes and I’m always impressed anew by the depth of flavour it adds; in here, it gives the cookies a delicious sweetness and their lovely tan colour.

You can flavour these with mastiha liquor like Despina suggests, but I didn’t have any at hand so I used brandy instead. It worked a treat and after 15′ out the oven came these little cuties. Very fragrant, soft and crunchy too, every bite bursting with just enough sweetness and so much flavour. They were gone on that same afternoon and made again the following day. Do give them a try- I have a feeling you’ll be making them many times over too.

Hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies

Hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies

Hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies

Hazelnut & raisin olive oil cookies

WHAT

80g petimezi (grape molasses) 

50g extra virgin olive oil

150g all purpose flour

10g mastiha liquor (or brandy)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 orange zest

15 pieces Corinth raisins (I used more)

5 pieces roughly chopped walnuts (I used hazelnuts and doubled the amount for extra crunchiness)

30g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

extra grap molasses and olive oil for brushing

cocoa powder for dusting (I omitted this)

HOW

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Dissolve the baking soda in the mastiha liquor (or brandy); combine the petimezi and extra virgin olive oil and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the liquor (with the added baking soda), orang zest, ground cinnamon, nuts and raisins.
  3. Slowly add the flour, mixing to crated a soft cookie dough (if it feels dry, you can add a few drops of olive oil); lastly, add the chocolate and fold again.
  4. Shape the dough into round or oval cookies (about 35g each) and place on the baking sheet, leaving some space between. Brush with the petimezi and olive oil combined and bake in the preheated oven for about 15′ or until lightly coloured.
  5. Remove from the oven, and after 5′, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

* Just to clarify: this is not a sponsored post. I do work with Oliveology and (as with all brands I collaborate with) I love their products. As I use them very frequently, I would wholeheartedly also recommend them. 

 

 

 

Food for thought

in Food for thought, Inspiration -

Balancing between winter and spring, this Food for thought has a spinach pie to die for, great books, great words and penguins too!

Food for thought- spinach pie

Spring has made a timid yet quite powerful appearance in London in the last few days. The days are bright & the nights pleasantly crisp and in the afternoon the light lingers on a little longer. It’s such a welcome change after the unexpected snow and wind from a couple weeks back, yet the forecast for tomorrow is snow again!  I find quite hard to believe, as the living room is currently filled with blinding light and two of the windows are ajar. That’s the nature of spring, I guess; it exists somewhere between winter’s cold and gloominess and summer’s bright hotness. And the meals to be had also seem to be a back and forth between warming, filling soups and light plates made of few delicious ingredients. My sister is in town and we just made a delicious spinach pie (without feta, but still overloaded with seasonal greens), which seems like the perfect balancing act between today’s brightness and the expected cold.

Here’s a few things I’ve been looking at this week:

Wise & beautiful words from 21 inspiring ladies.

New books worth checking out- and this one too.

Writing music for a true crime podcast.

Teenage girls on social media.

The best scones in England! I think a trip to Cornwall is in order…

1.5 million penguins have just been found and it’s the best!

House plants for your kitchen (that first photo!).

Eating this on repeat- it’s heavenly!

* Lots of fresh greens, dill, nutmeg, salt and pepper- all wrapped in layers of think filo pastry. It is as good as it sounds. 

Yellow split pea dip (fava)

in Small bites, Taste -

This delicious, velvety smooth yellow split pea dip (fava) is one of the best Greek dishes; give it a try, it will surely become a favourite!

Yellow split pea dip (fava)

I am a sucker for the seemingly simplest dishes; the ones that require only a handful of ingredients, no complex techniques, no gimmicks, no fuss whatsoever. I gravitate towards simple food when in need of lots of flavour and, more often than not, when comfort food is required. Many such dishes are staples of Greek cooking (a cuisine deceptively plain, filled with humble ingredients); It’s these I long for when I last expect it, when I’ve almost forgotten about them. Like fava,  a dish my mother cooks almost weekly, by heart, barely measuring ingredients, merely repeating what she’s done time and time again. Resembling hummus in looks and texture, yet quite different in ingredients and preparation.

Yellow split pea dip (fava)

Yellow split pea dip (fava)

Confusingly, it’s not made of fava beans (kouki in Greek), but yellow split peas (lathouri in Greek); the most delicious varieties come from Santorini, and it’s those my mom always uses. A few days ago, and while I was complaining to no end about my new diet and missing cheese, she suggested I made fava and gave me directions over the phone, while I was making it; as you’ll see below, it’s the simplest of dishes to make, still my mom’s recipes are always impressively vague, yet always work. I followed along and a little while longer, I was transported back to our family table, dunking big chunks of sourdough in a shallow bowl filled to the brim with still hot fava, topped with raw onion slices and lemon juice.

It was all gone that same evening and a couple days later, I went to Oliveology in Borough Market to get more. This time, I followed Despina’s recipe, which I’ve taste time and time again in her cooking workshops and is always just perfect. Do give it a try; it’s simple and humble and as such one of the most delicious dishes you’ll ever taste. Top with capers like I did, or raw onions (which are always a little too much for my taste, but still a very common topping), or even sardines or grilled octopus, great pairings both for texture and flavour.

Yellow split pea dip (fava)

Yellow split pea dip (fava)

Yellow split pea dip (fava)

WHAT

400g fava (yellow split peas)

700ml water 

3 medium onions, peeled & roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled & roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped

3 bay leaves

180ml extra virgin olive oil

juice from 1 lemon

sea salt to taste

HOW

  1. In a large sauce pan, add some olive oil and cook the onions and garlic until soft; add the carrots and bay leaves and cook for 5′ over medium heat.
  2. Don’t rinse the fava! Just add to the pan, along with the water, which should cover it completely (you may need a little extra). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Cook for about 40′-50′, or until the peas are very soft, skimming off any scum as necessary.
  4. When the fava is cooked, remove the bay leaves and pour into a blender, adding the olive oil and lemon juice gradually for a velvety smooth texture. Season with sea salt to taste.
  5. Serve a little warm or at room temperature with capers and a little extra olive oil and lemon juice.

Food for thought

in Food for thought, Inspiration -

Food for thought filled with lots of love for all women, moms and mother figures out there, delicious vegetarian recipes and words of wisdom. 

Food for though- coconut croissant

Happy Friday everyone! Yesterday was International Women’s Day, which prompted a lot of thinking, debating with friends and reading. Most of all, it gave me  the opportunity to really think about all the amazing women I’ve been inspired by and looked up to. Some of them are part of my life (my sister, my family of friends, my university professors, ladies I collaborate with) and others part of me forever (my mother and grandmother); and then there are also those who I have never actually met, but make an impact all the same: inspiring food bloggers and photographers whose work and kindness I admire and aspire to, poets and activists, comedians and writers who make me feel so damn proud to be a woman. Here’s to loving each other (especially when the going gets tough, even when we sometimes don’t like each other), being vulnerable and tough, supporting and ambitious, generous and creative. [READ MORE]