Looking through my pictures & recipes (in the hope of getting semi organised with my long neglected blog!!), I found a few that are totally ready but hadn’t been posted yet! So, apologies if you get an avalanche of recipes all of a sudden. I promise I’ll try to do no more than two postings a day until I catch up with myself.
This dish is an absolute winner! It is healthy, it is easy, it is quick, and it is a life saver in large gatherings. Any vegetable you can think of qualifies, the rule is: if you fancy it, then it definitely goes.
Have fun with it and experiment, you can not go wrong believe me!
Below is the variety I used, it changes often depending on what’s available in the market, and to some degree also on what’s available in my fridge & freezer at the time.
300 grs frozen flat green beans
300 grs frozen peas
2 small red peppers halved then quartered then sliced about ½ cm thick (if you want you can use 1 red and 1 yellow, it adds to the colour)
2 medium onions halved then quartered then sliced medium thin
2 aubergines halved then quartered then sliced about ¾ cm thick
4 medium-large zucchinis halved then sliced ½ cm thick at an angle
1 extra large tomato halved and sliced (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)
1 large tbsp tomato paste
2 soup cubes
2 cups hot water
place all vegetables in a large oven tray and mix roughly with your hands
add some olive oil
combine the soup cubes, the hot water and the tomato paste
add to the liquid some olive oil
pour on the vegetables
place in pre-heated 200 centigrade oven on 3rd shelf from the bottom until golden brown and cooked to your liking
P.S. after 20mns get the tray out and mix the vegetables carefully to make sure that all the vegetables get their fair exposure to the heat. If you don’t, the top layer will “bake” nicely and the bottom one will be “steamed”.
Repeat again after 20 more mns
Overall timing in the oven should be around 1 hour in total. If
you like your vegetables on the crispy side, you may have to
reduce the cooking time. Just taste as you go along.
Today’s post is for my sister-in-law Jiji, who graciously traveled thousands of miles this past summer in order to help heal my broken bones (and my broken spirit!). Thanks “Sis”, you were here when you were most needed; we could not have managed without you!
Jiji asked me for this recipe a few days back, so here it is my dear, your mom’s Cream of Tomato Soup….
This delicious creamy soup is a favourite of my husband’s as well. One of their mom’s many specialties, and a regular must on her table in the cold winter months during their growing up years. It has of course become a regular must on our table as well, and an all-time favourite of Maggie & Mona. A gentle warm reminder of their loving Nana.
8 medium size tomatoes
2 small potatoes
2 cups milk
cream to dribble on top before serving
place the tomatoes in a pan
boil some water in a kettle
pour over the tomatoes to cover
let stand one minute then core the tomatoes and remove their skin
chop them roughly & set aside
chop the onion, carrots, and potatoes and place in a pan
add a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and sautee for a minute or two
add the tomatoes to the same pan, salt, cover and simmer
do not add any liquid at this point, the tomatoes will bring their own liquid
simmer for about an hour or until the potatoes and carrots are soft when tested
blend with a hand held mixer, the mixture will have a thick-ish puree consistency
add the 2 cups of milk and return to the stove on medium heat
adjust salt if needed
simmer for a couple of minutes
if it is too thick, you may need to add a bit of water, it all depends on how juicy the tomatoes were. I added about a ½ cup of water to mine, just use your own judgement
dribble a bit of cream in each dish before serving
WOW, its been an eternity it seems! I knew that I haven’t been posting for quite a while, but I never realised just how long that “while” was. My last post dates from the 14th of May!!!
Its not that we’ve been food-less since, its more like its been an unusually tough few months. What a year 2016 turned out to be: a bad fall, broken bones, surgery, and a long, very long, recovery….. And today? thankfully the last of it. The 31st of December, and not a moment too soon!
I am thankful, and grateful, for the lessons that this year has brought, but happy and relieved to say goodbye all the same. Thanks but no thanks, it is quite enough! I welcome 2017 with arms wide open and look forward to cheer and joy, to friends and fun, laughter, drinks of course, and tons of good food.
Today, to celebrate, I decided to make Sol’s shrimps.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve made this dish, so it may not turn out “exact”, but its the right day for it. Having Sol in the kitchen with me today is just what I need, and OMG this dish smacks of my big brother so much, that every time I make it, I could swear that he is right here with me, sipping at his scotch and watching me with an amused look on his face!
Sol was 8 years my senior and has been a loving constant in my life ever since I can remember! up until he decided to up and go that is, coming up to nearly six years now.
Sol was my protector, my mentor, my friend, and my biggest fan club. We have always been close, and have managed to remain in close contact throughout the many countries that we each lived in. Never the same one, except for our growing up years!
Our favourite place to hang-out was often in the kitchen, with a drink, concocting a dish of some kind, and always thinking up ways to improve on its prior version.
I miss him terribly… I suspect that I always will…
Sol’s big passion was seafood of any kind! Fish, shell fish, cooked, or raw… anything from the sea had a special place in his heart.
This prawn recipe was one of his favourites…
Cleaning the shrimps:
Frozen shrimps are fine since they’re always readily available, but I will have to ask that you get shrimps with their heads on! A lot of the flavour is in the head, and even if you end up not eating it, it definitely imparts extra flavour to the sauce. It also helps preserve the shrimps in a fairly decent shape, by preventing them from shrinking too much.
8 jumbo shrimps
a 2cms piece of fresh ginger
a knob of butter
a bit of olive oil
cognac (?? I just do it by eye!)
1/3 cup light cream
You can not prepare this dish ahead of time, it has to be a last minute affair. It is super quick so never really a problem. The only time consuming part is cleaning the shrimps. Sol was the one to teach me how to clean them with scissors. It is quick and easy, just follow the pictures. You can do the cleaning ahead of time, and store the shrimps in the fridge ready to use. No more than a few hours ahead of time.
So, lets start …
grate the ginger and the garlic
melt the butter
mix ginger, garlic, and paprika in it
use half the butter mixture and cook shrimps on medium high heat
turn them over and add the other half of the butter mixture
keep cooking on medium high heat while making sure to shake the pan to cook evenly
add enough cognac to deglaze the pan and get all the nice bits
keep shaking the pan
you may need to add some more cognac if you think the shrimps need a bit more cooking (just use your own judgement!)
add the cream and adjust salt to taste
that’s it, remove from heat!
arrange the shrimps in your serving dish, pour the sauce around, cut some nice fresh crisp bread for moping up the sauce, and place around the dish
P.S. You can also serve this as a main dish if you wish. It goes beautifully with Basmati rice to soak up the sauce, and sauteed spinach on the side. Personally I tend to lean towards the appetizer form of whatever can be turned into appetizers! I just love the one central dish, many forks, many friends, and many drinks!
“Sayaddeyya” is Arabic for fishermen, so … Fishermen’s rice. Traditionally served with guess what? fish ofcourse.
Until today, that’s what fishermen prepare on their boat, to eat alongside their catch of fish while they’re out at sea.
It got fancy over the years, and now you can add all sorts of spices to the dish, even pine nuts if you wish. But at its very base its mainly 2 major ingredients: lots of onions and cumin.
You can have it plain, or have bits and pieces of “fishy” stuff added to it while cooking.
For this recipe I used shrimps.
2 cups rice (rinsed well)
500 grs frozen shrimps (ofcourse you can use fresh, but the weight here refers to the frozen weight. So probably around 400 grs after defrosting)
2 large onions grated (in the picture you see 3, since they were small-ish)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsps cumin powder
water as per cooking instructions of your rice + 1 extra cup to allow for the cooking of the shrimps
1 soup cube
Place a little olive oil in the pot, add the grated onions, and fry while stirring frequently, until the onion is very dark, looking as if almost burned. (Don’t put your attention elsewhere while this is happening, you need to stay on top of it and keep stirring, or else the onion will burn and acquire a bitter taste.)
add the spices
add the tomato paste
add the water
add the soup cube
add the rice
cover and simmer until you can still see “some” water
add the shrimps
cover again and keep simmering until the rice is done.
I love this recipe! It is delicious, easy, and quick. The only trouble is that you can not do the stir frying until you’re ready to eat, i.e. its got to be done while your guests are already there!
It doesn’t present a problem for me, as I have an open kitchen, and I can work while still chatting with my guests. Asking for the occasional help from your guests won’t hurt either, just keep the wine flowing and the conversation going, and you’ll be done before you know it!
I usually serve this dish with Sayaddeya Rice w/shrimps. You will find the recipe in the Rice section.
1 kg fish fillet (I find Perch fillets readily available in the frozen section of our supermatket, and I like the fact that Perch doesn’t smell very “fishy”. But you can use any of your favourite kinds as long as its meaty, firm, and doesn’t tend to fall apart easily).
a small piece of ginger grated
grated rind from 1 lemon
pepper flakes (I didn’t measure, I just sprinkled! Same for the paprika and the salt.)
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsps fish sauce
1 medium onion cut in wedges
1 red pepper cut in medium size pieces
Cut the fish in fairly decent size cubes
sprinkle all the spices including the lemon juice & the fish sauce
add some olive oil
mix well with your hands and everything is nicely combined
add the cut onions & peppers
mix, cover, and place in the refrigerator
(You can do all this ahead of time, as the fish tastes better when its been left to marinate for a few hours. You will need to get it out of the fridge about an hour or so before you anticipate using it).
when ready, heat your frying pan, add a tiny bit of olive oil, and place the fish kebabs & vegetables in smallish batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. Shake to stir as its cooking, try not to use the spatula too much so as not to brake the fish
when you’re satisfied with the colour, add a tiny bit of white wine in the corner of the pan (not directly on the fish), and “shake” the pan to de-glaze and coat the fish
remove to your serving dish, and continue with your batches until all the fish is done
For all the rice dishes in this category I will use Basmati rice. If you can get your hands on Egyptian rice, then by all means do, you will absolutely love the difference! Unfortunately I can not find it where I live, so I use my next favourite which is Basmati.
I also always rinse my rice well before using, it helps get rid of some of the starch.
2 cups rice (rinsed)
2 vermicelli balls (crushed, as in picture)
¼ cup pine nuts
3 small grains mastic (it adds a lovely aroma)
water as per cooking instructions of your rice
1 soup cube
Brown the pine nuts in a tiny bit of olive oil, keep your eye on it as it tends to burn very fast.
Place on kitchen paper to drain off excess oil and set aside, you won’t need it until the very end
put the crushed vermicelli in a frying pan, add some olive oil, and toast till dark golden. Make sure you keep stirring to colour evenly
in the pot where you’re going to cook the rice, add a bit of olive oil, add the 3 grains of mastike, and heat till you see the mastike melting
add the water, the soup cube
add the rice
add the vermicelli
some crushed pepper corn
adjust salt if needed
cover & simmer till cooked
transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the pine nuts on top.
Actually rice is pretty much a given on a daily basis, for the majority -if not all- Egyptian families. The Egyptian rice is highly aromatic and has got a distinctive flavour not to be found in any other rice of any kind. As an Egyptian, very much “into” the foods & aromas of my childhood, I can assure you that I know my rice.
Unfortunately I can not get a hold of Egyptian rice where we live, so I use Basmati instead, and prepare it the Egyptian way.
Because of it being a daily staple, rice dishes present themselves in a variety of ways in the Egyptian cuisine. All depending of course on the dish that it is showing up to compliment.
For Dada’s Zucchini, I will use the rice w/vermicelli & pine nuts. No other reason than “just because” that’s how she served it!
You will find the recipe for the rice listed under what else?! “rice” of course. Anticipating that I shall be posting a variety of rice dishes as we proceed, I decided to give it a category of its own!
Now lets get on with Dada’s Zucchini dish.
A favourite way of cooking vegetables in Egypt is in tomato sauce. Sometimes meat is added in it to give extra flavour, but often without.
4 large zucchinis (or 6 medium ones) sliced. If too big, cut zucchini in half then slice.
1 onion chopped
1 garlic chopped
140 grs tomato paste (or 4 large tbsps)
2 cups cooked chick peas
2 cups water
1 soup cube
saute onions in a bit of olive oil
add tomato paste
add chick peas
add soup cube
bring to a boil
adjust salt if needed
add sliced zucchini
simmer on medium heat until zucchini is done to your liking.
(you may need to add more water as its cooking, to ensure there is enough sauce in the end.)
Serve in a separate bowl, alongside the vermicelli rice.
Absolutely delicious, great for parties, and extremely easy. You can even cook the chicken the night before to save on time. Cover it really well to keep it moist, refrigerate, and just reheat when you’re ready.
Because of the super yummy sauce this rich marinade creates, I like to serve this chicken over rice. I often add a cup of frozen green peas to the rice before cooking it, the bit of green adds a nice colour to the dish. Just make sure you add an extra ½ cup liquid to the rice’s cooking water or broth to account for the peas.
500grs chicken breasts fillets
2 tbsps oil
2 tbsps honey
3 tbsps soya sauce
3 tbsps vinegar
2 tbsps grated ginger
2 tbsps chopped parsley
1 garlic minced
cut chicken in small-ish cubes
mix all in ingredients of the marinade and pour over chicken
mix really well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight
when ready, pour the entire mixture including the marinade in a baking tray large enough that the chicken cubes sit in it in one layer
bake on 4th shelf from bottom in a 200centigrade preheated oven for 30-40mns or until nicely coloured. Make sure you take the tray out two or three times and give it a couple of stirs so that the chicken cooks well on all sides
when you’re ready to serve, put the rice first in the serving dish, spoon your chicken on to cover the surface, then pour your sauce over that.
There are certain vegetables that are always available in the market regardless of the time of year. They somehow manage to always look their best; bright, fresh, and inviting.
Good old dependable Eggplant is one of those.
Almost all cultures have numerous dishes centered around eggplant, and Greece is ofcourse no exception. This versatile vegetable shows up in dips, in appetizers, in main dishes, as well as in many new creative combinations that are popping up to surprise us all the time.
This delicious appetizer is fairly easy to prepare, providing you oven-grill instead of frying, and combined with a few black olives and some crisp fresh village bread, it is an ideal companion to a few glasses of ouzo and a nice conversation with friends.
2 large eggplants
olive oil to brush
2 green onions
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 green onion chopped
1/3 cup chopped parsley
a large slice of feta
slice the eggplant into 3/4cm thick slices lengthwise
brush with olive oil
sprinkle with sea salt
place on oven tray lined with parchment paper & grill in a preheated oven till golden
turn the slices over and repeat (oil/salt/grill)
make sure you don’t grill more than 5mns per side, depending on your oven maybe even less, as it may surprise you & burn really fast!
while the eggplant is grilling, prepare your sauce:
slice green onions and saute in a bit of olive oil
add the tomatoes paste, some water, salt, and simmer to make a light tomato sauce
set aside to cool
mix your ingredients for the filling
lay the cooled eggplant slices on a flat surface, place some of the filling (as in picture), roll up, and arrange in a baking dish
spoon some sauce over each and bake in a preheated 200centigarde oven for 20mns
Personally I prefer it as an appetizer as mentioned above, but you can also serve it as a starter if you wish.
This has been one of my staple, fall-back-on dishes, to cook for parties, whether at our home or to take along to one, for many many years now! It absolutely never fails, it is delicious, and besides being easy to prepare, it is also different, and miles more impressive then the traditional party-salads that we are all used to seeing on a buffet!
500 grs chicken livers
1 onion grated
1 large clove garlic chopped
1 ½ cups basmati
1 can corn drained (reserve liquid for rice)
1 soup cube
2 tbsp wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
1tsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
clean chicken livers & cut into small pieces
add salt & pepper
saute in olive oil in large enough pan (make sure to not over crowd)
remove & set aside
in the same pan, saute onion
half way through add the garlic
add rice, stir
add the reserved corn liquid + enough water to cook the rice
add soup cube
add drained corn
when rice water starts to boil add the chicken liver