Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Blog comeback with homemade burgers

Well, it's been more than 2 months since the last post but there are a couple of relatively good excuses for this gap including moving house, relocating back in Cyprus and mainly... the lack of a actual kitchen.

I do have plenty of recipes lying in my e-recipe book so I thought I'd start working on that backlog until I can start playing with the new kitchen (when it finally arrives). This burger recipe is pretty ordinary but a couple of key ingredients which make it rather special: the tomato pasatta for the moistness and the sumac (wonderful middle-eastern spice which is perfect with meat) in combination with the oregano for the flavourness.


500 g lean pork (minced)
1 large garlic clove (minced)
1 medium white onion (chopped)
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp tomato pasatta
1 large egg
4-5 tbsp bread crumbs
handful of fresh parsley (chopped)


It can't get simpler than this really. First preheat the oven grill. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (preferably by hand) until well blended. Form into about 8 burgers and place under the preheated grill for about 10-15', turning them a couple of times. Before serving sprinkle with some more oregano.

Servers 3-4.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Triple Hazelnut Pudding

I've been experimenting with milk alternatives recently and my top two favourites are by far the hazelnut and almond versions. The recipe below can also be done with milk or other milk alternatives, but with the hazelnut chocolate combination which brings back nutella sweet memories (a coincidence that it's served in emptied-nutella glasses?!) and the non dairy lightness similar to mouse consistency, I strongly recommend this version.


1 litre organic hazelnut milk
125 g 85% organic dark chocolate
4 tbsp corn flour (aka cornstarch)
4 tbsp organic agave syrup
chopped roasted hazelnuts (couple of handfuls)

Step 1: Start with the 2 cups of hazelnut milk, the chocolate and two tbsp of agave syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and whisking occasionally until the chocolate melts. Meanwhile stir 4 tbsp of corn flour with 1 cup of hazelnut milk in a bowl until the corn flour dissolves completely. When the chocolate-hazelnut milk is almost boiling add half of the diluted corn flour into saucepan slowly and constantly whisking. Bring the pudding to a simmer, constantly whisking until it thickens (should take a 3-5 minutes). Pour pudding into 6 small glasses.

Step 2: Repeat the above with the remaining cup of hazelnut milk, the other 2 tbsp of agave and the rest of the dissolved cornflour mixture. Pour carefully in the 6 glasses (on top of the already relatively cooler chocolate version) and let it cool.

Step 3: Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Sprinkle roasted chopped hazelnuts on top just before serving.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Rainbow Sweetcorn Salad

The previous weekend we decided a BBQ was in order come rain or come shine. Luckily for the 4 hour slot we spend outside we had one of the 2 sunny intervals predicted for the day! To accompany the tons of meat I tossed a corn simple sweetcorn salad together with as many colourful things I could find in the fridge/cupboard.

Make sure you drain the sweetcorn well before tossing everything together. This was enough -as a side- for a dozen guests.

700-900 grams sweetcorn kernels (2 large cans)
250 grams pomodorino tomatoes
1 green pepper
200 grams slices black olives (tinned)
olive oil
lemon juice
dried parsley

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Grilled Chicken with Vegetable Kebabs

This weekend was not what you would call a "BBQ" weekend on our corner of the UK (a couple of sunny intervals but no proper sunshine). So we ended up grilling everything in the oven to elude ourselves that we are back in the hot hot Cyprus. The marinated chicken was super succulent and the vegetable kebabs crispy and juicy. Add a glass (or 2) of wine and life is beautiful!


(for marinated chicken)
3 chicken fillets
4 tbsp plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
crushed pepper
dried oregano

(for vegetable kebabs)
large green pepper
button mushrooms

(for ladolemono dressing)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
crushed pepper
dried oregano


Prepare the marinade by mixing together the yogurt, paprika,olive oil, garlic, pepper, salt, mustard and honey. Cover the chicken fillets and leave in the fridge (for 2-4 hours). Grill for 15-20', sprinkling oregano in the last 1-2 minutes on grilling on both sides.

For the vegetable kebabs chop any vegetables in hand (not to small or they'll fall of the skewers) and put them alternating on the wooden stick skewers. Grill for 10-15' and then just before serving dress with the ladolemono sauce (which is made by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice and oregano together in a bowl and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste).

Serves 2.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Jostaberry (vegan) Surprise!

Ever heard of these before? Jostaberries? Apparently they are a cross between gooseberries and blackcurrants and have a slightly sweet taste with a tangy tartness. So what does one do when these pop in the veg box? Well, why not combine them with an another "never-used -before" ingredient and hope for the best? I've been meaning to try the Oatly Cuisine Cream for a while now and luckily this combination turned out to be exactly what I was craving for, a creamy, light, sweet and sour, fruity summer delight. The blanched almonds are not just for the decoration, their taste fits very well with the rest of the ensemble.

To make this, first cut off the stems of the jostaberries and wash thoroughly. Simmer in a pan with the muscovado sugar for about 10 minutes or till it gets to that "jam like" consistency. Then add the agave suryp and 200 ml of the oatly cream. Mix the other 50ml of the cream with the cornflour in a cup and stir well until it completely dissolves. Then add the diluted cornflour into the pan and stir well for a couple more minutes till the pudding thickness. Let it cool for a couple more minutes and then pour in the serving glasses. Decorate with halved blanched almonds (dead easy to make, have a look here for a quick and clearly explained method). When it reaches room temperature pop into the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Serves 2.


200-250 g organic Jostaberries (stems removed)
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp organic agave syrup
1 tbsp cornflour
1 carton (250 ml) Oatly Cuisine organic cream
5-6 blanched almonds (halved)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Scrambled eggs with a cypriot touch

Scrambled eggs are just perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. Since we had this for brunch I needed to make it a bit more filling and with a couple of Cypriot delicacies in hand it turned out to be just that. One of the key Cypriot ingredients is halloumi, a soft cheese traditionally made with a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk (although sometime it also contains cow's milk) salt and mint. The second Cypriot delicacy is a smoked meat known as chiromeri (usually served as a cold meat meze) made of pork leg meat, wine and salt and is similar to any smoked, air-dried ham from Southern Europe. The characteristic of the Cypriot version is the strong wine flavour.

For the execution first sweat the spring onions with a bit of olive oil and then add the chopped halloumi and chiromeri. Season with the crushed pepper (but not with salt as both the halloumi and chiromeri are pretty salty). Then beat the eggs with the milk and add in the pan. Stir for 1-2 minutes and finally add the chopped tomatoes (in the last minute of cooking). The tomato is pretty essential here to counteract the saltiness of the meat and the cheese.

Enough for 2 (accompanied with a large slice of rustic bread).

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 5-6 spring onions
  • 50 g chiromeri
  • 100 g halloumi
  • olive oil
  • crushed pepper

Friday, 9 July 2010

Prawn salad with mustard-yogurt dip

Another super simple salad for the hot summer days. I like to dip the prawns in the yogurt-mustard mixture (instead of using it as a salad dressing) for the extra cooling effect with a kick.

For the salad toss the chopped tomato, lettuce, pepper and ready-to-eat prawns with some olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle some dried dill, and stir everything together.

To make the mustard-yogurt dip mix the plain yogurt with the mustard and dill. Either honey or agave syrup can be added for a bit of sweetness (I find the agave to be a better fit as it's a more neutral sweetener).

Serves 2.


Prawn Salad
● 1 packet large king prawns (about 240 grams)
● 1 yellow pepper
● 1/2 lettuce head
● 1 medium tomato
● lemon
● olive oil
● dried dill

Mustard Yogurt Dip
● 1 tsp mustard
● 4 tbsp plain yogurt
● 2 tsp honey or agave syrup
● dried dill

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Tomato-Courgette Galette

I've been following Deb Perelman's wonderful recipes for a while now and I love the idea of a savoury galette (she has many intriguing variations on her smitten kitchen site). With the abundance of courgettes in the veg-box and a recent smitten kitchen posted recipe (zucchini and ricotta galette), the following adaptation sprout out.

For the dough I used a standard pizza dough and had a helping hand from the breadmaker for the knitting process.

Roll out the dough in a circular shape add a couple of tablespoons of tomato pasatta, season and top with a handful of spring onions. Then add a round of courgettes slices, season and top with a second round of alternating tomato and and courgette slices. Top that with another handful of spring onions Finally sprinkle some hard cheese, drizzle a bit of olive oil, season with crushed pepper and fold the edges of the dough. Brush the dough with some olive oil and bake in a non-stick baking tray in 170° C for about 45'.

Serves 2-3.


● 300 g strong white flour
● 1/2 tsp yeast
● 1/2 tsp salt
● 1 tsp sugar
● 170 ml water

● 1 large courgette
● 2 medium tomatoes
● 3-4 tbsp tomato passata
● 4 spring onion
● hard cheese
● salt and pepper

Monday, 28 June 2010

Pork medallions with Commandaria

Meat and red wine usually have a happy marriage in a pan, especially when the red wine is commandaria, a wonderfully sweet dessert wine made in the Commandaria region of Cyprus. Commandaria can be substituted with port or red wine in this recipe but if you can get your hands on a bottle of this gem and bare to "waste" it in cooking, then I strongly recommend this combination (the fact that I'm a Cypriot adds no bias whatsoever to this suggestion).

Heat up some olive oil in the pressure cooker and cook the pork medallions over a high heat for 5' minutes on each side or until browned and tender. It's best to turn the medallions only once (if possible) to ensure maximum flavor. Place one bay leave on top of each medallion, top with the chopped carrots and mushrooms and and poor over the commandaria. Finally season with the spices and add enough water to just cover the meat. Cook on high heat for 5' and medium on 5'.

Serves 2 hungry people.


● 4 pork medallions
● 5-6 medium brown mushrooms
● 5 medium carrots
● 4-5 tbsp Commandaria
● 4 bay leaves
● salt, pepper, cinnamon
● olive oil

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tuna Salad with Tahini Dressing

A quick and very filling salad which has been a popular stable in the household for a while now. Tahini (which is basically sesame paste) is a healthy and nutritionally packed substitute for the standard mayonnaise in tuna salads.

To make the tahini dressing, first put the tahini paste in a big bowl and add some hot water (2-3 tbsp) to loosen it. The consistency should be similar to that of a nut butter (like peanut butter for example) so keep adding water to loosen it if necessary. Then add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin.

In a ban boil the beans (the once I used where from a can and needed only 5') and in the last two minutes of boiling add the chopped broccoli. When ready, add to the dressing bowl and top with the tuna flakes and the rest of the chopped ingredients (lettuce, pepper and tomatoes) Drizzle with some olive oil (not too much as the tahini is pretty oily already), sprinkle some dried dill, and stir everything together.

Serves 2-3.


● 1 large romaine lettuce
● 1/2 yellow pepper
● 5-6 cherry tomatoes
● 1 tuna can (in brine)
● 4-5 tbsp tahini paste
● 1/2 broccoli head
● 1 cannelini beans can (in water)
● olive oil
● lemon juice
● salt
● pepper
● dried dill
● cumin

Friday, 18 June 2010

Millet with Chestnut Puree

This is a probably an unlikely combination but that's what happens when one mistakenly buys a can of puree chestnut instead of the identically packaged lentils. In any case the result was successfully tasty in all its nuttiness.

To start with the millet, heat up some olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the millet and dry roast the grains over medium-high heat (I prefer them very lightly roasted). Then very carefully add two parts boiling water and the vegetable stock cube. Continue adding water as necessary and let it simmer for about 20'.

In another larger pan heat up some olive oil and add the chopped leeks until they soften. Then add the chopped carrots and season with cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. When the millet is ready add the millet in the pan with the veggies. Finally add the chestnut puree with a bit of warm water and stir everything well.

Serves 2.

● 1 can unsweetened chestnut puree
● 1 cup unroasted millet
● 2 small leeks
● 2 carrots
● 1 vegetable stock cube (gluten & dairy free)
● cinnamon
● nutmeg
● pepper

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Eel with bean salad

Eel, with it's long snake-like body and sliminess was not top of my list to try. It did seem the most interesting the fishmonger had to offer though and I'm glad curiosity won cause the taste was superb.

First remove the skin of the eel (to get rid most of that sliminess), wash thoroughly and then pat dry. Cover with a mixture of flour, salt and pepper and through in a pan with heated olive oil. Pan fry on each side until brown. In another pan lightly cook garlic with olive oil and some dried parsley. As soon as the eel is ready to go on the plate poor the garlic sauce on the fillets and top with some lemon juice. For the bean salad just mix all together (I used a can of beans in water which take only 5 minutes to cook) and dress with lemon and olive oil.

Serve with bean salad and decorate with ready-to-eat lobster meat and olives wrapped in sardines (or whatever the fishmonger has to offer that day).

Serves 2.


● 2 eel fillets
● 2 garlic cloves
● parsley (dried)
● lemon juice
● flour
● salt
● pepper

Bean salad
● 250 grams beans (can)
● lettuce
● cherry tomatoes
● cucumber
● olive oil
● lemon juice

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Millet Prawn Pillaf

A quick meal to whip up after work. To start with the millet, heat up some olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the millet and dry roast the grains over medium-high heat (I prefer them very lightly roasted). Then very carefully add two parts boiling water and the vegetable stock cube. Continue adding water as necessary and let it simmer for about 20'.

In another larger pan heat up some olive oil and add the minced garlic and chopped onions. Season with ginger, turmeric, pepper and salt and add the chopped courgettes, stirring occasionally, until the courgettes soften. Then add the prawns and chopped broccoli. Poor evenly 1-2 tablespoons of cider vinegar for an extra kick. Finally, when the millet is ready (optimum fluffiness) add the millet in the pan with everything else with a bit of warm water and stir well.

Sprinkle with dried dill and enjoy!

Serves 4.


● 200 grams unroasted millet
● 1 courgette
● 1 medium broccoli head
● 1 large onion
● 1 garlic clove
● 1 packet large king prawns (about 240 grams)
● 1 vegetable stock (gluten & dairy free)
● 1-2 tbsp cider vinegar
● ginger, turmeric, pepper, salt
● dried dill
● olive oil

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Haddock Fillet with Greek Salad

This is a super quick and simple fish recipe. To prepare the haddock rinse the (preferably fresh) fillets and pat them dry. In a plate mix a bit of flour, polenta, salt and pepper. Press the fillets into the flour mix, ensuring a good coating. In a non-stick pan heat some olive oil and add the fillets, gently turning them 2-3 times until they become golden brown. For the fish sauce combine equal amounts of olive oil and lemon juice with some dried herbs (such as oregano and parsley).

When the fillets are ready, cover generously with the lemon sauce and serve with the Greek salad (with a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette).

Serves 2.


● 2 haddock fillets (about 100 grams each)
● white flour
● polenta
● salt
● pepper
● oregano
● parsley
● lemon juice
● olive oil

Greek Salad
● cucumber
● cherry tomatoes
● gem lettuce
● lemon juice
● olive oil

Friday, 11 June 2010

Fresh Whole Squid (Calamari) with Millet

This recipe requires a visit to the local fishmonger, the fresher the squid (also known as calamari) the better. Make sure you also ask them to clean it for you (get all that ink out).

To prepare the squid, first heat up a bit of olive oil and add the chopped onions. When the onions have a soft texture, add the mushrooms, tomato passata, wine and spices and stir well. Add the squid at the end. If using a pressure cooker (like I did) top with about a cup of warm water and let it cook on full heat for 10-12 minutes. If you choose to use a standard pot then top up with another cup of water and let it braise slowly for at least 1 hour over low heat.

For the millet, heat up some olive oil in a non-stick pan, add the millet and dry roast the grains over medium-high heat (I prefer them very lightly roasted). Then very carefully add two parts boiling water and the vegetable stock cube. Continue adding water as necessary and let it simmer for about 20'.

Place the squid with all the wonderful juices on top of the millet and enjoy!

Serves 2.


● 1 fresh whole squid (large)
● 2 medium onions
● 4 medium mushrooms
● 100 ml. tomato passata
● 1 glass red wine
● pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg

● 1 cup unroasted millet
● 1 vegetable stock cube (gluten & dairy free)