tagged ‘spinach’

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons

in Savoury, Taste -

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons- aka my new favourite way to pack tons of vegetables and colours onto one dish.

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it’s filled with everything y’all wish for. I wish for health, laughter and delicious meals shared with loved ones- as cheesy as that may sound (oh! And cheese! I wish for lots and lots of cheese!). These past few weeks have been very intense, emotional and quite frankly very difficult for me for a number of reasons. So along with the above, even though I don’t do new year’s resolutions as they don’t make much sense to me, I really hope I slowly learn to be calmer, more accepting of how things evolve, but also more assertive and active.

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons

As it always happened, when there’s emotional and mental turbulence around here, I turn to cooking, even more than usual. Unlike other times though, there has not been much baking involved. That partly has to do with the fact that my sweet tooth has been dormant for quite a while now. It’s also because I’ve been more than ever drawn to dishes which are utterly simple, rustic and largely based on their ingredients rather than a specific recipe or cooking method. And this salad is a pretty good example.

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons

It started with Brussels sprouts (which I love, though I haven’t shared them here much) and kinda took a path of its own, taking along with it bits and bobs I already had in hand: fresh spinach, a red onion, pumpkin seeds, a couple juicy pears and feta crumbles for balance. I tossed with some extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of sweet balsamic, threw in some barley rusks for crunchiness and had this for both lunch and dinner. It was delicious- even more so, because it was so simple and came together like a little dance you’d do with when your favourite song comes up on the radio.

May our entire year be like so xx

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons

Brussels sprouts, pear & spinach salad with feta & croutons

WHAT

300g Brussels sprouts, washed and halved 

1 large red onions, cut into wedges

4 small garlic cloves

2-3 sage sprigs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sa salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

100g baby spinach leaves, washed

80g feta, crumbled

6 barley rusks, broken into smaller pieces (you can find them here) (or about a cup large croutons)

dressing:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic

a good pinch of sea salt flakes

to serve:

2 blush pears, washed and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

HOW

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (170ºC FAN); place the Brussels sprouts, onion, garlic cloves and sage on a baking pan.
  2. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and black pepper and bake for about 20′, until softened and lightly charred.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Add the spinach, feta, barley pieces and dressing and toss lightly.
  5. Divide into plates and serve each with a few pear slices and pumpkin seeds.

 

Mandarine, beet & pistachio barley salad

in Savoury, Taste -

Colourful and filled with flavour and textures, this mandarine, beet & pistachio barley salad is a super star all around. 

Mandarine, beet & pistachio barley salad

It’s not always clear to me how a recipe comes to happen; often it’s something I crave or miss- usually my mom’s food or a dish I’ve tried in a restaurant and left a lingering taste in my mouth. Other times inspiration stems from recipes seen in cookbooks or online. More often than not though, everything starts with ingredients: it can be something not very exciting I have in the fridge or cupboard, or fresh seasonal produce first making a timid appearance in market stalls. These are my favourite ones: I feel almost haunted by colours and shapes, I touch and smell and a dish, or a faint outline, more like a desire, starts coming together. For this salad, it all started with mandarines- of which I used to not think much  for quite a long time. Then suddenly, a while ago, I started finding them utterly irresistible. I love when that happens- it’s like having a new friend and start making all sorts of exciting plans for adventures to share together. [READ MORE]

Smooth pea & spinach soup with lemongrass, ginger & fresh herbs (and a giveaway!)

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This delicious and filling smooth pea & spinach soup with lemongrass, ginger & fresh herbs lives almost exactly between winter and spring.

Smooth pea & spinach soup with lemongrass, ginger & fresh herbs

Winter had made an unexpected and very prominent come back to London this week. The days are very cold, deceivingly sunny and filled with beautiful snow. It seems like the seasons are at odds with each other: spring is attempting an early take over, gifting us with persistent brightness, while winter is firmly standing its ground with temperatures below zero and bitter gusts of wind. I love it all the same. The days are longer already, the snow is as always a sight for sore eyes and the cold nights beg for warmth and comfort. These may come in different forms (I love a fragrant hot toddy, a warm bowl of morning goodness and of course a slice of seasonal delight) but soups are almost always my go to. [READ MORE]

Barley salad with orange, fennel & black olives

in Savoury, Taste -

This barley salad with orange, fennel & black olives is great both as a refreshing side dish or a light main for those hectic pre-holiday days. 

Barley salad with orange, fennel & black olives

It happens almost every year, around the same time: before the holidays, just when the weather starts getting wintery and the lists of things to do a little longer, as the light each day fades a little earlier. It happens and I am now almost at peace with the almost bizarre combination of feeling at once exhausted and filled with energy. I find myself under the covers often before 11pm, barely able to read more than a page (even though I have this in hand and it is pure pleasure), yet most mornings I get up excitedly, well rested and impatient. There’s meals to plan and gifts to be considered (thought I wait till the 1st of December to do any holiday shopping), cards to be made and outfits to be put together for upcoming festivities. I love all of the above and that too, that weird and exhausting and exhilarating amalgam of  energy and slumber. [READ MORE]

Spinach, dill & lemon basmati rice (spanakorizo)

in Savoury, Taste -

Spinach, dill & lemon basmati rice (spanakorizo)

This spinach, dill & lemon basmati rice is my friend Zoe’s version of spanakorizo (spinach rice) a Greek dish which is both widely loved and loathed. I used to belong to the latter category; I passionately despised spanakorizo, even when it was prepared by my mom, a truly exceptional cook. I expressed and emphasized my dislike at any given opportunity, but that never phased her (she’s had years of intense practice not paying much attention to most dramatic declarations occuring at home): instead, it was the dish she’d prepare for my sister and me every time we’d return home from London. I mean, every.damn.time. And every damn time, I’d give it a try and every damn time, I’d dislike it even more. [READ MORE]

Spinach, swiss chard & feta pie (spanakopita)

in Savoury, Taste -

SpinachPie-620-4

I left home when I was 18; I’ve been gone many years and food, as much as it is important to me, is not at the top of the list of things I miss. I miss my sister most of all and my parents too; I miss the frequent arguments we used to have and the almost instant truces that followed -although, in keeping with the family tradition, we still have plenty of those every time I go back. I miss the gorgeous house I grew up in and its beautiful balconies, filled with flowers, herbs and small trees and the views to the Acropolis and Lycabettus hill. [READ MORE]