Showing posts with label Greek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greek. Show all posts

Greek Mezé and Entertaining Made Easy with Gaea

 Beautiful Greek products from Gaea make it easy to create lovely Greek mezé - we're talking effortless entertaining and perfect summer eating.  We love this kind of food, you can take your time eating, drinking and talking about your day together or of course with friends and family.


Having received some goodies from Gaea; Greek Olive Oil, Garlic Stuffed Olives, Flame Roasted Red Peppers, Sweet Pepper and Goats Cheese Tapenade and Green Olive Tapenade. I was instantly transported to Greece - Oh we love that place, but sadly we haven't been there for a few years now the last time we went it was to the Greek island of Thassos. 

Anyway, it was off to the kitchen to make some Chicken Skewers which were nothing fancy - peppers, onions and chicken which had marinated in the Greek Olive Oil with a good pinch of dried Oregano and just before cooking I added sea salt and lemon.  
I also pan-fried some leftover cooked potatoes in a mixture of lemon and oregano too.

 Lovely fat olives stuffed with garlic along with some cubed feta.  The Gaea flame roasted peppers are another easy one as you just use straight from the jar.  We loved the sweet pepper and goats cheese tapenade which was delicious spread onto some Mediterranean bread.  
Top left of the picture you can see the popular Greek dip Htipiti which is so, so good, you can find out how to make it in a previous post of mine here.

Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Gaea for the lovely products.  I wasn't required to write a post but chose to do so since I really like these products. 

Mediterranean Vegetable Moussaka - National Vegetarian Week

As we all know the popular Greek dish moussaka traditionally uses lamb, but as it's the start of National Vegetarian week (19th May to 25th) I thought I'd give moussaka a go using just vegetables.  Let me tell you it was truly delicious and every bit as tasty.
To make slicing, peeling, chopping and measuring easier OXO Good Grips kindly sent me a lovely range of tools for the job.

  
First up this rather useful hand-held mandolin slicer enabled slicing potatoes into even slices a doddle. 


An aubergine was sliced and ready to cook in next to no time:


 The hand-head mandolin is easily adjusted by a simple slider on the side so you have a choice of three different thicknesses from approx 1mm to 5mm.  One thing I will say is personally I would have liked the slicer to have one more thicker setting than the max it has of about 5mm.  After use the blade is set to the lock position making it safe to store with the guard in place.

Next up, the Herb Mincer - a fantastic little gadget.  The top opens up to allow easy cleaning and it can go into the dishwasher if you wish.  Safe to use since your fingers aren't near the blade when using.  It chops herbs in seconds just by rolling back and forth and comes with a blade guard for safety when storing. 


 Scrubbing vegetables is once again made easy with this comfortable to hold Vegetable Brush - I didn't need to scrub my potatoes as I was about to peel them for this recipe.


 The OXO Good Grips Y-Peeler is the very fellow for this - nice thin slices means there's no wasted veg:


  How many times have you gone to measure out a teaspoons of spice from a jar to find your measuring spoon will not fit the jar?   These slim measuring spoons are brilliant and the teaspoon easily fits into these slim spice jars that many of us I'm sure have in our cupboards.


All in all each of these products are of good quality as always from OXO Good Grips and you can find out more over at the OXO Good Grips website.  All products shown above are dishwasher safe.

  Now with my recipe!

Low Fat - Greek-style Baked Yogurt Tomatoes Peppers Onions and Chilli

 National Yogurt Week runs from 19th to the 25th May and is a celebration of all things yogurt!  
Yogurt is a fantastic versatile, convenient and great food staple suitable for the whole family.  Containing a range of nutrients important in a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle yogurt is an amazing food product.

  Having been asked to come up with a recipe that uses yogurt for National Yogurt Week, the first thought that came to mind was the much loved Greek dish 'Bouyiourdi' which is in my opinion is totally addictive.  Usual ingredients are Feta, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions and Chilli sprinkled with Oregano. 
But - no feta cheese is used here, my version is far Lower in Calories and Fat - yogurt replaces the feta.
   Yes you can bake Greek yogurt! 

 
  Of course, traditionally this dish uses Feta but my version is not only lower in fat and calories but more to the point, it tastes pretty good too.
          For further information on all things yogurt please visit Love Yogurt.org.
  You can follow LoveYogurt UK on Facebook and Twitter too @LoveYogurtUK

Print Recipe

https://sites.google.com/a/aglugofoil.com/a-glug-of-oil/low-fat---greek-style-baked-peppers-and-onions

 On with my recipe - to serve 4 you will need:
4 shallow dishes - I used tapas dishes
1 x 500g tub of Greek yogurt
 olive oil
sea salt
Dried Chilli flakes
Dried Oregano
2 ripe tomatoes - thinly sliced
2 medium sized red onions - thinly sliced 
3 fat cloves of garlic - peeled and very finely chopped
1 x jar of roasted peppers in oil - drained
1 long green chilli pepper - medium heat, deseeded and thinly sliced

 
   How to do it:
Preheat your oven to 200C/400F or Gas 6
Spoon a dollop of Greek yogurt into the bottom of each dish.  Top with a layer of onion, tomato, roasted peppers, garlic and chilli flakes.  Sprinkle with a little salt and a few more chilli flakes along with a little oregano.  Repeat this then drizzle with a little oil.
Pop the dishes into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes - by this time the yogurt should have taken on a firm but springy texture and look quite like feta.
Once cooked, serve immediately with slices of crusty bread for dipping.


 Other Yummy Yogurt Recipes by Food Bloggers for National Yogurt Week can be found here:
Rich Chocolate Cake by Michelle
       
Disclosure:  I was compensated for my time creating this recipe for National Yogurt Week 
   

Greek-Inspired Chicken with Peppers and Feta

Greek food in my opinion is just so, so good.  I could quite easily eat a pile of Feta cheese to myself.  This is a simple dish of chicken cooked in a rich and slightly spicy tomato sauce with onions, peppers and tomatoes, finished off with olives and Feta cheese.  Kalamata olives would be fantastic but I didn't have any.


Even if I do say so myself (and considering this was one of my make it up as I go along dishes) it turned out to be something quite delicious.
Serve with hunks of nice fresh bread and a Greek salad and you have a perfect meal.

Htipiti - Greek Feta Cheese and Pepper Spread Recipe

So, you've just got back from a lovely holiday in Greece and now feel the need to make that truly delicious (and very moreish) Feta cheese dip you had there?


Well it's seriously easy to make and there's nothing fancy involved.
A good few years ago I wanted to know how to make it and of course I found Peter's recipe over at Kalofagas and I've made it regularly ever since - but a word of warning, it is addictive!

So all you need to do is put equal amounts of proper Greek Feta cheese and Ricotta into a bowl and mash along with a little olive oil with a fork till smooth.  100g of each make a reasonable amount of dip for 2 to 4 people.
Pierce a banana pepper or chilli pepper (so it doesn't explode) and then roast the pepper or peppers depending on how much dip you want to make, over a flame until they are charred.  Pop them into a plastic bag to cool.  The skins can then be removed easily along with the seeds.  Add the chopped pepper to the cheese mixture until you have the heat required - you can make it as hot as you like or not, it's up to you.
 Finally drizzle with olive oil and serve.
  

Sunvil Supper Club - Fish Stew from Paxos

I love visiting Greece and its islands although I've only visited an handful but someday I'd love to visit Paxos.  The smallest of the Ionian islands, Paxos lies just south of Corfu and is only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide.  Although Paxos is literally covered with olive trees, it also has many wooded areas that are ideal for walking, and yet Paxos has over 30 beautiful beaches to choose from too.
 Fish stew from Paxos is this months recipe from the Sunvil Supper Club which they started a little while ago, designed to give you a taste of different country's cuisines.  You can download this and other recipes, so have a look and cook yourself into the holiday mood.  I think you'll agree, Paxos certainly looks beautiful.
The fish stew with sea bream, prawns, tomatoes, celery and potatoes was delicious.  Easy to make and perfect served with some nice crusty bread.

Simple Stuffed Veg - from Jamie Does by Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver's latest book 'Jamie Does' goes on sale this Thursday 15th April.
You can order is here if you are in the UK or here if you're not!
As I said in the post before, it is a fantastic book.
I made one of his Greek dishes 'Simple Stuffed Veg' and I must say, it was total yum!  We loved the chilli Jamie added to this dish, along with the pistachios and feta.

Moussaka

Moussaka has to be my number one favourite thing to eat!
I know I've blogged about it a few times before but it's never had a proper post all of it's own which I think it
deserves!



I would like to someday use Kefalotiri cheese, but haven't been able to get it - not even in Waitrose! I have no idea what the difference would be though, if any.

Print this Recipe


To serve 4 people you will need:
2 tablespoons of olive oil

12 Kalamata olives, finely chopped

500g minced lamb - get the best you can with a low fat content

1x400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

100ml of red wine

2 large onions - chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 aubergine, sliced into thin rounds

3 teaspoons dried oregano

1 large handful of Romano or Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 a teaspoon of dried mint

2 teaspoons of gro
und cinnamon
3 tablespoons of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds


For the Béchamel Sauce:
50g butter - melted

500ml of hot milk

4 tablespoons plain flour
2 eggs - lightly beaten

a good handfull grated Romano Cheese or Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)


How to do it:

Brush the aubergine slices with a little olive oil. Now fry the slices in a large pan a few at a time until they are nicely cooked and beginning to turn slightly golden. Remove and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not coloured. Now add the lamb and cook until it is lightly browned. Stir in the tomato puree and cook it for a minute or so.
Now add the oregano, basil, mint and cinnamon, olives cook for just one minute and then add the wine.
Let the mixture cook for a little while until the wine has reduced slightly.
Pour in the can of tomatoes including the juice.
Season, with salt and pepper.

Cook on a low heat for about an hour, until the mixture becomes nice and thick.

Now put the sliced potatoes into boiling water and simmer for about 5 or 6 minutes (or when you can easily insert a knife) they are ready. Be careful not to over cook and become mushy.
Run them under cold water, drain and pat dry with kitchen pa
per and set aside.

Lightly oil a largish baking dish, mine is probably about 9 x 9 inches and about 2.5 inches deep. Arrange a layer of potatoes over the bottom.
Now put a layer of meat sauce and a layer of aubergine, sprinkle with some cheese and then do another layer of meat sauce followed by a layer of aubergine. You need to end up with aubergine as the top layer.

To make the Bechamel Sauce:
In saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook the mixture for a couple of minutes and add the salt.
Now at this point, take it off the heat and add the hot milk whilst using a balloon whisk to mix it but you need to keep that whisk going!
Now let it cool a bit and then, add the eggs and grated cheese and keep whisking until it turns into this lovely smooth sauce.
Mix in the ground nutmeg.

Taste a smidgen of it if you dare (remembering there are raw eggs in it) just to see if it needs any more salt.

Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little more cheese.
Top with a little sprinkling of nutmeg.


Bake in a Pre-heated oven at 175C/350F Gas4
for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and it is hot pipin
g hot in the middle. Let it stand for a few minutes before cutting into slices to serve.


Serve with a nice Greek salad.

Peppers and Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

In my fridge I had 12 bell peppers - they were a bargain!
So, on seeing this recipe in a book called Greek Cooking. I felt the need to make it. I have altered the original recipe quite a bit though.
So here is my version.



Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

You will need:

4 bell peppers plus another half of one
2 beef tomatoes (I only used one as Mr Bennett doesn't like them - more for me ha ha)
plus 2 ordinary tomatoes
1 large onion - chopped finely
2 medium potatoes - sliced into 1/4 slices
300ml hot chicken stock made from 1 Knorr stock cube
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
pinch of dried mint
pinch of oregano
a pinch or two of sugar
1 and a half cups of rice
4 plus 1 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
salt and pepper

How to do it:

Slice the bottom of the tomatoes to create a lid and put the lids to one side. Now scoop out the pulp and reserve.

Cut the tops off the tops of the peppers, put the lids to one side. Remove the seeds and discard them.

In a frying pan heat a tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onions and sliced potatoes. Cook until the onions are tender. The potatoes wont be cooked at this point - but don't worry. Remove the potatoes and put to one side.

Now stir in the rice and cook for a minute and the reserved tomato pulp from the beef tomato.
Stir in a little of the hot chicken stock. Keep stirring and adding more stock a little at a time until the rice is almost cooked. You may not need all of the stock - if you need more then it should only be a small amount so you can just add a little water. The Knorr stock cube is meant to be dissolved in 440ml of water so the taste will still be fine.

When the rice is almost cooked.
Now stir in the parsley, oregano and mint.
Put the peppers and the tomatoes into an oven proof dish - choose one so they sit nice and snug and hold each other up. Put the slices of potato around the edge.
Sprinkle a little sugar in the bottom of each tomato and a little salt and pepper in each pepper. Now fill each of them with the rice mixture.
Put the lids back on. Sprinkle the potatoes with a little salt.

Chop the half a bell pepper and the two other tomatoes into small dice. In a small bowl mix these together with the rest of the olive oil.

Drizzle the peppers and tomatoes with the olive oil and tomato and pepper mixture. Put into your preheated oven and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes.



Serve with nice crusty bread.

Feta, Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes and Onions Baked in Foil

Greek Feta, roasted sweet peppers, onions, garlic and cherry tomatoes with roasted chilli pepper to add a little heat.
I've made something similar before see here but I like this more as I like both the heat the chilli gives and the roasted pepper.
All baked together in foil parcels. Such a lovely and easy dish to make. It can also prepared ahead of time and baked in the foil when you're ready.

Serve in the foil parcels - the smell is amazing and it's a doddle to make too!
Nothing more is needed than a chunk of crusty bread to mop up the juices.


You will need to serve 2:
2 sweet pointed peppers and 1 green chilli pepper of medium heat (both of which need to be roasted, skin removed and deseeded) more on than in a bit.

2 large sheets of kitchen foil
Good Greek Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 block of Greek feta cheese - cut in half and each half into 3 pieces
1 medium red onion - sliced really thinly so it gets cooked
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
a handful of cherry tomatoes - halved
salt and black pepper to season
A nice glass of red wine to be drunk whilst preparing, and another for when you're eating of course.A chunk of fresh crusty bread for mopping.
Preheat your oven to about 200C/400F/Gas 6

Sip the wine - then rub the sweet peppers and the chilli all over with a little olive oil. **Be sure to prick them a few times with a sharp knife - or they will explode in the oven and you'll end up cleaning all day.
The idea is to roast them until they start to blacken which gives them a lovely flavour and makes removing their skins really easy.

Now put them on a baking sheet and roast for about - I don't know say 15 to 20 minutes tuning half way through. You'll find the chilli pepper is done first so you will have to remove it from the oven.
I find they don't blacken all over as much as I'd like so I take to using my cooks blowtorch to them which does the trick. Now place them into a plastic bag and leave to sweat for a few minutes.


You will find once removed from the plastic bag that the skin peels off really easily. Don't fuss if there are little bits of blackened skin remaining - they all add to the taste - seriously.
Remove the skins and the seeds from both the sweet peppers and the chilli pepper.

Cut the sweet pepper into strips and chop the chilli pepper as small as you can - just so that someone doesn't get a huge lump of chilli pepper that's all.
Below - ready for the oven.

Have another sip of wine and get yourself two large sheets of kitchen foil and bring the sides up a little. Drizzle a little olive oil and start to layer the ingredients.
You can start with onion, then a slab of feta and garlic - add a strip of sweet pepper and a little chilli pepper.
Add a couple of the tomato halves and season with a little black pepper. You really don't want much salt so save the salt till the end.

Drizzle again with a teeny bit more olive oil and repeat until you've used everything up. Now you can season with a little salt and more black pepper.

Pull the foil up round in each four corners to form a loose parcel. Place each parcel on a baking sheet and put in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Put each foil parcel on it's own plate and serve immediately with nice crusty bread and the wine.

Peter's Sofrito and Marc's Spicy Yakisoba - Two Great Recipes!

Today, I thought I'd share with you two recipes I made recently from two fantastic blogs. The first being Peter's recipe for Sofrito over at Kalofagas.
As soon as I spied it with my little eye, I had to make it.

Peter's Sofrito
I followed his recipe exactly, apart from using pork escalopes as I had some in my fridge.

I also served mine with Greek roast potatoes and I have to say this recipe was so lovely. I cooked mine in my tagine, any excuse to use it!
The pork was really lovely and tender and the sauce was dee-lish.

For the potatoes, I par boiled them in lightly salted water for a few minutes.
Drained the water from them using the lid of the saucepan, gave them a shake to fluff up the edges. Drizzled them in a good amount of olive oil and squeezed with lemon juice. I put some lemon wedges in with them and seasoned with a little more salt and pepper and dried Greek oregano. Popped them into a pre heated oven - 200C/400F/Gas6 for about 45 minutes, turning them and basting with the oil half was through.

Marc's Spicy Yakisoba
The second recipe I had a go at was Marc's Spicy Yakisoba over at No Recipes.
I know I mentioned making this in my last post and so I've already said how yummy it was. Such a lovely and easy stir fry that as soon as I saw Marc's post I knew I'd be making it.
Again, I followed Marc's recipe exactly and I used chicken. It was amazing with a nice tingly spice to it and the crunchy vegetables, it was just totally yummy.
My photo is not making this dish look as nice as it really is so pop over to Marc's to see how it ought to look!

So, thanks you two for these great recipes, both of which I will make again and I really enjoy reading both blogs!

Bouyiourdi - Baked Feta, Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes

If you've never been to Greece you have to try to go one day, although I do realise it is too far away for some people to travel. We are lucky here in the UK that Greece is only between 3 and a half and a 4 hour plane journey away.
I love the place, especially the Greek islands. The food is just so good too. Whenever I've been I've always love meze - lots of small dishes of pure yumminess!
Below is Aliki beach on the island of Thassos.
When I come home I'm always on a mission to 'try' to copy the food we've had! Sometimes I'm useless at it - remember last year my failed attempt at cheese saganaki - but hey ho I got it right in the end! Other times I've amazingly got it right first time.
I had no recipe for this but it tastes the same as I remember so that's something!
Now, unfortunately my only clay dishes are red - and as this dish contains red peppers and tomatoes - it's a bit of a problem to photograph it so you can see it properly.
*Note to self - Janice buy some different coloured clay dishes!

If you don't have clay dishes you can make a parcel out of kitchen foil.

Preheat your oven to 180C /350F/Gas4

You will need to make 2 dishes:

olive oil
2 sweet pointed peppers
1 red onion - sliced very thinly
2 tomatoes, skin removed and sliced thinly (score them then soak in boiling water and the skin is easy to peel)
1 block of feta cheese 350g - sliced in half through the middle and then cut in half
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
dried Greek oregano and salt and pepper to season
How to do it:
Cut two sweet pointed peppers in half length ways and remove the seeds. Rub the halves then with a little olive oil and put them on a roasting tray.
Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until they start to blacken nicely.
You can remove the peppers and finish them off with a cooks blowtorch to get them really nice and black like I did.


Remove the skin from the peppers and discard. Don't fuss if there are a few black bits left on, they taste good but you don't want to leave too much on. Cut each pepper half in half so you now have 8 bits.
I made two small dishes but if you only want one bigger dish just put the whole lot in one dish instead of dividing it.
Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of each dish and wipe round with kitchen paper.

Place half the sliced tomato on the bottom and season with a teeny bit of salt and some pepper. Add some onion and garlic.

Now add two slices of roasted pepper and sprinkle with a teeny bit of oregano, Keep going in layers, adding some of the feta then more tomato and garlic oregano and peppers.
Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.
If you like cheese you are going to love this - just dip bread into and enjoy.
Oh and don't forget the glass of red wine!

Greek Lamb with Fennel and Other Good Things

I watched 'Food Safari' on TV last week - I love that programme!

They show recipes from different places in the world, India, China etc but last week it was Greek food - Jan sits up in the chair pen and paper at the ready!

They made a Greek lamb dish that looked so yummy I had to make it.
My pictures do not do it justice though - I still have cream plates in my pictures where they are in fact white but hey ho, you get the gist!

The smell coming from the oven whilst it was cooking was amazing.
Imagine the lamb mixed with oregano, lemon, onions and wine.
When it was cooked the lamb was just so tender and delicious.

First of all I prepped all the ingredients.


You will need:
  • 500g lamb shoulder - boneless
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion - chopped into large chunks
  • 6 shallots - chopped into halves
  • 3 cloves garlic - sliced
  • Zest of 1 lemon - peel with a vegetable peeler as you want strips of peel
  • 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 300g Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of runny honey
  • 1 fennel bulb - finely sliced
  • 3 sprigs flat leaf parsley - leaves only

How to do it:
Preheat oven to 170C /325F or Gas 3

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Put the olive oil in a cooking pot (one that can go into the oven and has a lid) and heat it up. I used my Tagine as it is so amazing, it can go on the oven top and in the oven too!

Put the lamb in and seal the meat until it is golden brown on all sides.

Add the onion and the shallots to pot with the garlic, lemon zest, oregano and the white wine.

Remove from the heat and cover the lamb with the yogurt and drizzle with honey. Put the lid on and cook in oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven the yogurt has turned to cheese and is used in the dressing for the fennel.

Once it's cooked, remove the lamb from the pot and allow to cool a little. Slice into thick-ish strips.

Place the strips of lamb on a BBQ, or grill and grill on both sides - they wont take very long at all as they are already cooked.

To Serve:

Make a dressing by straining the juices from the remaining onions in the pot and place the onions into a bowl. Add finely sliced fennel and picked parsley leaves.

Season to taste and drizzle with a little olive oil and serve with lamb and the sliced fennel.


Stuffed Peppers - Piperies Gemistes

I think I will have to change the name of my blog to something like - 'Jan wants to Eat and Cook All of Peter's Recipes.com'
Yes I HAD to make these stuffed peppers that Peter over at Kalofagas had made a while back.

Now, this time he'll be pleased to hear I did not alter one thing from his recipe apart from the quantities.
However, due to the shops around here once again, not having anything exciting in them, I had to use dried dill and dried mint.
The only so called 'fresh' mint they had was almost, very nearly dead and as for fresh dill, they had none. So, not wanting to be traveling here there and everywhere I used dried herbs apart from the parsley.
The result was really yummy sweet peppers that I could eat all day.

I served them with a big bowl of Greek salad and some nice freshly baked bread......Deee-lish!

Preheat your oven to 190C/375F Gas 5

To serve 2 you will need:
350g ground beef
4 red pointed peppers - washed, tops cut and inside cored
1 medium onion - diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
a small handful of fresh parsley - finely chopped
1 tbsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried mint
100ml of good tomato sauce (Pomodoro)
40g Arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste

How to do it:
Wash then cut the tops off your peppers. Hollow out the peppers to rid them of any ribs or seeds.

You will need a large skillet for this, heat under medium high heat.
Pour in the olive oil then add the onions and garlic and lower to medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the onions.

Add the parsley, dill, mint and and tomato sauce and simmer until most of the liquid is gone and you have a thick mixture. Now take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the rice and beef to the onion and herb mixture. Mix all the ingredients well using a wooden spoon.

Add about 1/2 a tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper and give it a good mix.
**To taste for seasoning, take a spoonful of the mixture and fry it. Adjust the seasoning in the mixture to your liking.

Using a spoon, stuff your peppers and place in line the bottom of an oven proof roasting dish. Pour 1/2 a cup of water over the peppers and place them in a preheated 375F oven for 1 to 1.5 hours.
**After one hour my rice wasn't quite cooked, so in the end mine took 1 hour and 20 minutes precisely, until perfection was reached!

Chicken Giouvetsi

After seeing this recipe a while ago, by Peter over at Kalofagas I wanted to make it. The trouble is he makes too many yummy dishes for me to keep up with.
My list of 'must makes' is humongous!



I did dabble with Peter's recipe (I'm not sure he will approve - bet he says I've used too many ingredients)!
I knew I wouldn't be able to get Kefalotryi cheese. Romano should be easily available, but Sainsbury's failed me as they'd sold out!
I was not going to be put off from making this. Once I get a thing in my head to cook, it has to happen that day! So I just crumbled feta over the top instead.
I used a sweet pointed pepper as they have more flavour than bell peppers and I wasn't sure if a Cubanelle pepper is the same or not.
What are shops doing these days? Unless you live in London or somewhere major, there's just nothing fancy in the shops here!
I looked on the net for other versions of this recipe and found one here which used cumin, garlic and Brandy. So mine ended up being a mixture of the two recipes.
The result was absolutely delicious, thank you Peter for such a great recipe. My pictures do not do this dish justice. I still say it's my camera's fault and that's why my plates look green instead of white!
To serve 4 you might want to use a whole chicken - jointed. Or add more chicken pieces.
What you need:
1 tsbp oil
7 boneless chicken thighs - skin on
1 large onion - diced
3 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
1tsp cumin
1 tbsp of Brandy
1 1/2 cups of Kritharaki (orzo)
1 x 400ml can of good quality plumb tomatoes
a good squeeze of tomato puree - about 1 tbsp
800ml of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled feta

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F Gas6
Get yourself a nice big skillet and heat the oil over medium heat.
Fry your chicken skin side down for about 10 minutes until nicely golden in colour. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Now add the onions and peppers to the same pan and saute for about 5 minutes. Now add the garlic and cumin and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until everything has softened nicely and it all smells delicious.
Stir in the Brandy and add the Kritharaki and stir for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes.
Now add only about 600ml of the hot stock and tomato puree. Bring to a boil whilst stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
**The rest of the stock can be added during cooking if needed. I must have used 700ml by the end of cooking.
I did it like this as having never made this dish before, and as I used a tin of plumb tomatoes I wasn't sure if I was going to end up putting in too much stock and it turning out too runny.
Transfer to a large oven-proof dish. Place the pieces of chicken on top and bake uncovered for about 1 hour or until most of the juices have been absorbed and the top has nicely browned. You will need to check during cooking that it isn't getting too dry - if it is then add a little more of the reserved stock.
Serve hot with some fresh ground pepper and crumbled feta.

My Need To Eat Greek Food

I just love Greek food! I had a fit in my head yesterday and I 'needed' to make Greek foodie things.
I think you might have noticed by now that Moussaka is one of my favourites, which I do believe, I have now perfected!

Remember my first attempt to make cheese saganaki a while back? Well, I tried and failed - for some reason I decided that it must be deep fried (wrong)! All the batter went to the top of the fryer and the cheese, well most of it sank to the bottom and the result was a huge mess.

Anyway, you live and learn! This second attempt of mine was much better.
I just dipped the feta into egg, then into seasoned flour, then egg and flour again and shallow fried it........Success!


Ever since I had the Greek dip Htipiti I loved it! I found the recipe from Peter over at 'Kalofagas' so I thank Peter for that. His recipe can be found here.

It involves char grilling one or more chili peppers - depending on how much dip you are making. I think mine were more than charred!


The result is one yummy dip.

Then onto my perfected Moussaka!
I would like to someday use Kefalotiri cheese, but haven't been able to get it - not even in Waitrose! I have no idea what the difference would be though, if any.

What you need:

2 tablespoons of olive oil
About 12 Kalamata olives, chopped
500g minced lamb - get the best you can with a low fat content
1 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes
1/2 a glass of red wine

2 large onions - chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 aubergine, sliced into thin rounds
3 teaspoons dried oregano
1 large handful of Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 a teaspoon of dried mint

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons of tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste

2 to 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds

For the Béchamel Sauce:

50g butter - melted
500ml of hot milk
4 tablespoons plain flour

2 eggs - lightly beaten
a good handfull grated Romano Cheese (about 3/4 cup) or Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)

How to do it:
Brush the aubergine with a little olive oil. Now fry them in a large pan a few at a timeuntil they are cooked. Remove and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not coloured. Now add the lamb and cook until it is lightly browned.
Stir in the tomato puree and cook it for about a minute.

Add the wine and cook until it has reduced slightly.
Now add the oregano, basil, mint and cinnamon, olives and the can of tomatoes including the juice. Season, with salt and pepper.
Cook on a low heat for about an hour, until the mixture becomes thick.


Now put the sliced potatoes into boiling water and simmer partly covered for about 6 minutes (or when you can easily insert a knife) they are ready.
Run them under cold water, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside.
Lightly oil a largish baking dish, mine is probably about 9 x 9 inches and about 2.5 inches deep.

Arrange a layer of potatoes over the bottom. Now put a layer of meat sauce and a layer of aubergine, sprinkle with some cheese and then do another layer of meat sauce followed by a layer of aubergine.




The Bechamel Sauce:
In saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook the mixture for a couple of minutes and add the salt.
Now at this point, take it off the heat and add the hot milk whilst using a balloon whisk to mix it but you need to keep that whisk going!
Now let it cool a bit and then, add the eggs and grated cheese and keep whisking until it turns into this lovely smooth sauce.
Mix in the ground nutmeg.
Taste a smidgen of it if you dare (remembering there are raw eggs in it) just to see if it needs any more salt.

Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Top with a little sprinkling of nutmeg.



Bake in a Pre-heated oven at 175C/350F Gas4 for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and it is hot piping hot in the middle.


Meanwhile I made a salad.



My finished Moussaka!

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