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. [READ MORE]

Winter cheese & fruit board

in Small bites, Taste -

A very festive and colourful winter cheese & fruit board, easy to put together and perfect to get the festivities for New Year’s Eve rolling.

Winter cheese & fruit board

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner and Christmas celebrations right behind us, I often find entertaining and cooking a little tricky: after all the dinners, outings, crispy potatoes, mince pies, chocolate, roasts, croissants, melomakarona and kourampiedes consumed (not to mention copious amounts of wine), I catch myself craving fresh fruit and simple soups more than anything. Yet, I can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year than with a beautifully laid table, filled with colourful, seasonal produce shared with close family and friends. [READ MORE]

Cauliflower, spinach & hazelnut salad with peanut butter dressing

in Savoury, Small bites, Taste -

Filled with so many colours and textures, this cauliflower, spinach & hazelnut salad with peanut butter dressing is perfect for the holiday season. 

Cauliflower, spinach & hazelnut salad with peanut butter dressing

I’ve been thinking about holiday meals a lot these past couple of weeks; ’tis the season I suppose, for gatherings, big or small, and tables filled with dishes reflecting seasonal colours, a celebratory mood and family or other traditions. There’s so much to enjoy during the colder months, so many beautiful ingredients, some discrete yet always reliable and others filled with wild colour and irresistible flavours. Cauliflower I feel is often left in the shadows, what with its pale skin and less than desirable cooking aromas; somehow though, it’s always been dear to my heart, much like a beautiful blank canvas, inviting and welcoming all at once. So when Blas Y Tir sent beautiful bundles of it, I could not wait to play around with the crunchy, snow white beauty. I’d already had very fond memories from working with their chubby, delicious spring potatoes and mixing them with fresh greens and smoked salmon, I was sure their winter produce would be qually satisfying, both to work with and to savour. [READ MORE]

Very addictive homemade chilli oil

in Small bites, Taste -

This very addictive homemade chilli oil is my favourite recipe from Jeremy Pang’s Hong Kong Diner. I LOVE IT with eggs & avocado!

Very addictive homemade chilli oil

I’ve had a soft spot for this book even before it came out- see, the contributing author is Adrienne Katz Kennedy, one of my favourite ladies, mama & cook extraordinaire and vital part of School of Wok for some time now. And of course, I had also experienced first hand the cooking of super chef Jeremy Pang, as all as his generous involvement in the community – so it was a no brainer really. Still, when I got the book, it really blew me away: flicking through the pages, Hong Kong and its vibrant, multicoloured, intense food scene comes to life: there’s street snacks you want to have a passionate love affair with (I tried the pork chop crusty rolls at the book’s launch and I was instantly hooked), dumpling and baos galore (all beautifully photographed by Kris Kirkham), noodle & rice pots you’ll want to burry your head in (I can’t wait to try the steamed rice one with Chinese sausage & salted egg) and lots of sides and extras. [READ MORE]

Ginger, lime & toasted nut quinoa

in Savoury, Small bites, Taste -

Of all the speedy dishes my sister’s whipped together, this ginger, lime & toasted nut quinoa is packed with flavour and probably my favourite. Ever. 

Ginger, lime & toasted nut quinoa  

After having lived in different countries for almost seven years, I’ve found myself reconnected with my literal other half again. Alkyoni is back in the UK and her coming here has brought with it all the joy, frustration and memories that I’m sure close siblings share everywhere, always. It’s been a very long time since we’ve lived together, yet being in the same house for about two weeks felt like not even a day had passed; and it also felt like a lot of timed had passed, like we were both the same yet also very different.  I’ve always loved being on my own, despite being very very fortunate with my partners and friends. But I’ve realised a while back that this is probably because I have never been on my own, not really. I’m never alone, as long as she’s around. And she’s always been around, even if we’re countries, or continents away. [READ MORE]

Fig, goat cheese & serrano ham salad

in Small bites, Taste -

I’ve been making this fig, goat cheese & serrano ham salad on repeat ever since coming back from the holidays and I think you should too!

Fig, goat cheese & serrano ham salad

When I think of figs, I immediately picture my father; every time, without a doubt, it’s always him. Even though almost indifferent to food and happy as long as there’s eggs, olives and a slice of bread on the table, my dad has always been enamoured with figs. Most probably, it is because of our fig tree in Pilio: plainly beautiful, with branches lightly green and sticky, it has gifted us with fruit for almost as long as I can remember. Not a lot of them- every year, there’s just enough to allow for a lot of snacking, a couple jars of jam and a handful to take back to Athens, just enough to make us fall in love all over again and anticipate the next summer.

That love took a while to grow; as a kid, I had little interest in figs. Part of it was, I’m sure, because of my father’s consistent efforts to wake us up at the butt crack of dawn to see the sun rise and go fig picking. When I was little, I wanted to sleep and as a teenager, I wanted anything but spend time with my parents. So figs were ignored and overseen and considered much too sticky. I’m not sure when exactly I got my first crush on them; it hit me hard non the less and it’s continued like so ever since.

So every summer and early autumn, it’s all about figs: picking and eating and incorporating them into quick bites and salads, almost always alongside cheese. [READ MORE]

Roasted aubergine & smoked mackerel crostini

in Small bites, Taste -

It may be September (already!), but there’s still time to give these delicious roasted aubergine & smoked mackerel crostini a try.

Roasted aubergine & smoked mackerel crostini

These past few days I constantly find myself in an in-between seasons frame of mind- does this ever happen to you? The gloominess of my beloved London has made me half-heartedly embrace autumn, and I am almost delighted to look for apples again and reach for heavier jackets. At the same time… I miss my slight tan, lightly breezy nights, our garden and its abundance of gifts– most of all, I miss my loud family and our summer dishes . When I was packing my bags back home, my mom managed to sneak in 7 long and chunky aubergines from our garden. Honestly, I couldn’t hope for a better treat: aubergines are my favourite summer vegetable, second only to tomatoes; and I am convinced that the ones we grow are the most delicious of them all. Pickled they make one of the best appetisers; cooked in a thick tomato sauce along with spicy sausage for one of my favourite rustic Greek dishes, spetzofai; tucked inside a whole loaf of bread with lots of cheese they are indulgent and special; and of course they are perfect for a quick summer pasta. Whichever way, aubergines are truly, definitely, always hard to resist. [READ MORE]

Greek mezze platter

in Inspiration, Small bites, Taste -

This Greek mezze platter features some of my favourites from Oliveology: extra virgin olive oil, delicious cheeses, crunchy olives & thick grape molasses. 

Greek mezze platter

I discovered Oliveology a little over a year ago- yet I knew of it. I’d heard stories from friends, Greek and foreigners alike- delicious stories about superb products, which increased homesickness for the former and filled the latter with a sudden urge to visit Greece. I met Marianna, the sweet and mighty owner and creative force behind the brand, randomly at a food event and subsequently discovered what all the fuss was about. Everything I’ve tried from Oliveology is simply very very good. [READ MORE]

Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

in Savoury, Small bites, Taste -

Made with some of my favourite ingredients, this halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich is fresh, delicious and filled with colours and textures!

Halloumi, avocado & red pepper sandwich

Just the promise of sunshine and warm weather suffices; it fills me with a child-like anticipation and a strange kind of energy, waking up at the crack of dawn, impatient for the glorious days ahead. And now that it’s here- sunshine, and summer weather- I can’t contain myself. The house is too small and the floor is too sturdy for my dancing feet. There’s far too many things to celebrate. [READ MORE]

Vegetable platter

in Small bites, Taste -

My favourite vegetable platter features lots of crunchy veggies, toasted sourdough, mozzarella balls & my favourite, smooth, green, sour & sweet dip. 

Vegetable platter

One of the things that makes me happiest is having friends over and feeding them. I always prefer preparing the food myself (be it small bites or an actual meal) and not relying on store-bought options- so when guests do arrive, I’ve been through a bizarre state of mild stress and almost absolute bliss. And they can both be attributed to cooking, which stresses and relaxes me in almost equal measures. My biggest joy is to prepare a platter, abundant in some of my favourite things. These most often belong in the dairy family (there’s few things I love more than a good cheese platter), but as of late, I have been experimenting with including more freshness, crunchiness and colours. [READ MORE]