Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

in Savoury, Taste -

This cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta was my favourite all summer long and I’ll be making it on repeat while tomatoes last. It’s so so good!

Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

It’s no secret tomatoes are summer’s highlight for me; come late May, we renew our love affair, which lasts until the last days of autumn, until there’s no more tomatoes to love. It can be a chunky salad or a simple bruschetta with pretty much only the juiciest, loveliest of them all, as soon as they appear, tomatoes have my heart. And of course they are the perfect partner to pasta.

This one in particular pairs tomatoes with some of my favourite ingredients cooked in a single pan: chubby sardines in olive oil, broken in big chunks; delicious, soft black olives bursting with flavour; salty cappers, lemon zest and lots of fresh basil. We chop and we toss, we taste and adjust and then mix with al dente pasta and generously divide into plates. Although I am almost certain that if we hungrily grab forks and eat straight from the pan, it will all taste even better.

Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

Cherry tomato, sardine & olive pasta

WHAT

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

20 cherry tomatoes, washed and halved or quartered depending on size

100 gr sardines in olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons capers

about 12 black olives

zest from one lemon

200 gr spaghetti

to serve: fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

HOW

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat; add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 5′. Add the sardines, break them in chunks and then add the tomatoes. Cook for another 5′, or until the tomatoes are soft.
  2. Add the capers and chopped olives and toss well to combine. Lastly, add the lemon zest and add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until al dente, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  4. Drain the pasta, add to the pan and toss well to combine, adding some of the pasta water if necessary.
  5. Divide into plates and add the fresh basil and extra seasoning if desired.

Apricot & blueberry pie

in Desserts, Taste -

Buttery, crumbly, sweet and juicy, this apricot & blueberry pie is delicious on its own and even better with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

During colder months, apples and pears are my go to, both for a quick snack and for a pie. In the summer, I very happily switch to nectarines, peaches and mostly apricots. They may look less impressive than the two former, but I so love their soft flesh, sweet & slightly sour flavour! Plus they are just perfect for baking: tossed with some sugar and a little spice, when cooked they turn so sweet and sticky, they are just impossible to resist.

This pie was made at my sister’s house, on an unbearably hot summer afternoon. Alkyoni loves desserts but rarely bakes- instead, she always welcomes me with a long list of things she’d like me to make for her. This summer, it was peanut butter brownies, a cheesecake, breakfast bars and a damn fine cherry pie. She announced her request as soon as I arrived and then started the negotiations: the brownies would be too much for the heat, the cheesecake is both our kryptonite so we would better stay away and breakfast bars are out the window for me when I go back home (instead, my breakfast usually consist of a variation of goods from bakeries). So it all came down to a pie. And since we are both always inclined to use what’s already on hand, we found our filling in the fridge: soft apricots and a big handful of sweet blueberries.

So on that unbearably hot summer afternoon, I set to make an apricot & blueberry pie, with lots of cinnamon and lemon zest; I decided to take photos too, as I love the marble tops in her kitchen and I’m forever a slave to Athenian light. I was drenched in sweat, the dough almost melting in my hands, the fruit softening fast- all to make one of the best pies I’ve ever made, one of the best damn pies I’ve ever had.

Apricot & blueberry pie

Apricot & blueberry pie

Apricot & blueberry pie

Apricot & blueberry pie

WHAT

for the dough (basically a variation of this recipe)

250 gr all purpose flour

50 gr ground nuts (I used almonds and hazelnuts)

75 gr caster sugar

180 gr unsalted butter, cold

zest from one medium lemon

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the filling:

20 small apricots, washed, stoned and quartered (800 gr, without the stones)

100 gr blueberries, washed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

juice from 1/2 lemon

40 gr cornstarch

150 gr soft brown sugar

for the glaze: 1/2 egg & 1 tablespoon water, beaten together, caster sugar

HOW

  1. In a food processor or mixer, pulse the butter and sugar until combined.
  2. Add the lemon zest, egg and vanilla extract, pulse a couple more times and then add the flour and ground nuts.
  3. Fold together with a spatula until smooth; shape into a ball, core with cling film, flatten and place in the fridge for about half an hour.
  4. While the dough is the fridge toss together the fruit with the cinnamon, lemon juice, cornstarch and sugar.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC FAN). Half the dough and roll out to a 3mm thick.
  6. Lay on the baking dish, covering the sides too; spoon in the filling (leaving most of the liquids out) and cover with the second piece of dough, similarly rolled out.
  7. Score 4 slits in the middle of the pie, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 45′, or until golden brown.
  9. Let it cool for at least an hour before serving (preferably with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream).

Courgette flower & pine nut omelette

in Savoury, Taste -

This fluffy courgette flower & pine nut omelette showcases these beautiful blossoms in the best way; and it’s even better served with a crisp white wine.

One of the things I most look forward to when I go home, is the weekly shop at the farmers market; in Greece, each neighbourhood has its own market, on a specific day each week, withe the same producers, stalls lined up in the same way every time. It’s perfect: much like a slightly chaotic stage, everyone has their part and everyone is vital: the farmers are loudly trying to lure clients, teasingly insulting their competitors and flirting with ladies of all ages. There is testing and haggling, small talk and gossip, there’s colours and sounds everywhere. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid and I still do. [READ MORE]

Smoked trout & potato hash

in Savoury, Taste -

This smoked trout and potato hash with lots of fresh herbs and a lemony horseradish cream has become a favourite for a lazy Sunday brunch- so so good!

Smoked trout & potato hash

I first made this a while back, when I was full into my love affair with Blas Y Tir’s small, chubby & delicious potatoes. And while I’m not quite sure how the dish came to mind, I know we’ve enjoyed it time and again in the last few weeks. It is so very simple to put together and yet so flavourful and satisfying as the perfect hearty breakfast or leisurely lunch. [READ MORE]

Almond & white chocolate salami

in Desserts, Taste -

This almond & white chocolate salami is one of the easiest and quickest desserts you’ll ever make- and it is just ideal for summer snacking.

Almond & white chocolate salami

I am not exactly sure how this salami got stuck in my head; chocolate is, surprisingly, not something I really crave during the summer months. I long for simple pies and delicious ice creams, refreshing popsicles and fragrant sorbets. Yet here I was the other day, mixing melted butter with cocoa, chopping white chocolate, fragrant almond cookies and shaping it all into delicious thin logs. [READ MORE]

Spicy bread & tomato salad (panzanella)

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Crusty sourdough, fresh juicy tomatoes and harissa turn this hearty and spicy panzanella into the perfect quick summer dish. 

Spicy bread & tomato salad (panzanella)

Just have a quick look at my Instagram these days- it’s a tomato extravaganza, my own summery inspiration wall, a love letter to the season’s true queen. All hail the tomato and its beauty! I am not a purist when it comes to almost anything, but I do discriminate between tomatoes from back home and those from anywhere else. And when I say home, I mean it literally, my family’s country house, where we grow everything that summer is made of: the juiciest tomatoes in all sizes, crusty cucumbers, small green peppers, some spicy, some not, white, chubby aubergines, the most fragrant herbs and sweet/ tart plums in the most gorgeous purple. It’s all there and my summers are made of them on repeat. [READ MORE]

Beer, bacon & fennel seed bread

in Savoury, Taste -

In celebration of baking, picnics and all things summer, a beer, bacon & fennel seed bread I’ve been in love with for quite some time now.

beer-bacon-fennel-seed-bread

In my mind, I love baking; going through my fridge and cupboards, flipping through recipes or eyeing fresh produce of the season. Then slowly, sometimes reluctantly, others barely containing my self, forming a plan; it is often in the form of a challenge, but mostly I’m a slave to my own appetites and even more so to the people I have in mind when baking. I made these cookies for a friend leaving London for Portugal via Berlin and five different cakes for another friend’s birthday. There needs to be a reason, even if it’s just an overwhelming desire for pie or the juiciest tomatoes I could get my hands on. [READ MORE]

Summer potato salad with bresaola, tomatoes, radishes & avocado

in Savoury, Taste -

A summer potato salad with bresaola, tomatoes, radishes & avocado, which is as beautiful, simple, refreshing and filling as it gets. 

Summer potato salad with bresaola, tomatoes, radishes & avocado

When we were wee bit babies, our mom had an array of nicknames for us; amongst my favourites were ‘little potato chip’, for me, and ‘little shrimp’ for my sister. We were quite similar for sure, as identical twins can be, yet also quite different, as much as siblings usually are. I was the rounder one- hence the little potato monicker, which I always loved- even when I didn’t like my chubbiness, even when I decided I didn’t care much for potatoes. [READ MORE]

Damn fine cherry pie

in Desserts, Taste -

Buttery and crumbly on the outside, juicy, red and perfectly sweet on the inside- a damn summery, damn fine cherry pie indeed!  Damn fine cherry pie Pies with buttery, sugary crusts bursting with fruity, juicy fillings are amongst the things I most love to make; there is a bit of challenge to them, which is always a good thing, while also welcoming experimentation with so many different ingredients and flavours. Apples and pears are impossible to resist in gloomy, rainy, autumn days and cherries are a gift that keeps on giving in the summer. For this damn fine cherry pie, I have worked with Madame Gâteaux– she is not only amongst the people I most love to be with, she’s also my baking fairy godmother. She’s taught me every decent thing I know about baking- and without cringing even once at my questions, comments and suggestions. Without further ado, here’s her tips and secrets for the best damn fine cherry pie you’ve ever had in your life!

* find the original recipe, inspired by the insanely cool Twin Peaks, here. [READ MORE]

Fresh pea, watercress & egg tart

in Savoury, Taste -

Celebrating Father’s Day with a very crunchy and very green fresh pea, watercress & egg tart. Easy, quick, pretty and perfect for all handsome men out there. 

Fresh pea, watercress & egg tart

Father’s Day always comes at one of my favourite times of the year: it’s early summer, the weather is usually, hopefully, enticingly warm in the mornings and perfectly cool at night; work is slowly winding down and summer plans are slowly, or frantically, unfolding. And amongst all that, there’s this day and the additional charm it brings with it to celebrate. [READ MORE]