Sunday, 30 August 2009

Chips glorious chips!

Easy to make, far far better than what you get at the chip shop. I come from the potato-producing part of Cyprus, so eating potatoes in all shapes, sizes and ways is almost in my blood. What on earth did we do before they came from America?

Potatoes, cut in...well, chips
Fresh oregano or marjoram (I used the latter as I have loads in the garden-dried will also do)
Sunflower oil

Wash, peel and cut the potatoes. Mix them with your finely chopped herb. Heat your oil on a medium fire until it looks like it's bubbling. When you drop a chip in it should start cooking fast. If not, the oil is not hot enough. Put all your chips in, give them a quick stir with a straining spoon (ladle with holes?) and allow to cook for about 15 minutes. Check if the bottom side is crispy and golden, then carefully turn them. Cook for another 5-10 minutes-until you're happy with them. Take them out on a dish with kitchen roll at the bottom so you get rid of the excess oil. Don't forget to turn the oil off :-).

Add salt as you please and enjoy!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Fish Chowder

This my take on what is a lovely, wholesome dish. I tried a lovely version in Saratoga Springs in 2007, but wanted to make a version without the bacon rind. I hate mixing seafood and meat.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the stock
Heads of 4 sea bass
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
(if you have more fish off-cuts and heads, use them)

For the soup
400gr of white fish, I used coley, cut in large chunks
1 onion, cut in strips
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
parsley, chopped (separate the harder stalks from the leaves)
some sweetcorn
prawns (shelled)
mushrooms (quartered if small)
[shelled mussells if you have them-I didn't]
3-4 medium-sized potatoes, cut in cubes

In a saucepan, boil the ingredients for the stock for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat some olive oil and butter in a different saucepan, shallow fry the garlic and onions for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and parsley stalks and stir for a few more minutes.

Remove the fish heads from the stock and pure it in with the potatoes, adding hot water if necessary. Add salt and pepper. Boil for about 15 minutes or so. When the potatoes are cooked, take some out, mash them and leave them aside. Add the mushrooms, prawns and sweet corn and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the chunks of coley and simmer very gently for about 10 minutes (or until you're happy with it). Return the mashed potato in the mix, stir gently, turn off and allow to stand for about 10 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of the fresh parsley and crusty bread.

(note: I chose not to use milk or cream as I find it culturally challenging to mix dairy and fish. Soups don't always have to be cloudy.)

Friday, 21 August 2009

Stuffed Marrows

I found these lovely's the outcome:

Ingredients (serves 4)
1/2 kg of minced meat (beef or lamb)
1 large marrow
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
lots of mint
Olive oil
Tomato aste
Salt & pepper
Ground cinnamon
Ground nutmeg

Shallow-fry the onion and garlic in a pan. Add the minced meat and the mint and cook slowly. Add some tomato paste, cinnamon and nutmeg. Salt and pepper. In the meantime, cut the marrow in pieces roughly 4-5 cm thick (see pic). Hollow the pieces out by removing the seeds with a spoon. For the tips it's OK if there's no hole, make them like cups.

When the meat is ready, put the pieces of marrow flat in a pan and fill them with the minced meat. Fill them as much as possible. Add hot water in the pan, carefully and from the side so as not to make a mess with the filling. Add enough water to roughly half cover the marrow pieces. Allow to boil lightly, with the lid closed, for about 30 minutes. Check if the marrows cooked with a fork-if they're soft, they're ready. Serve them by carefully picking them up with a spatula underneath so the filling doesn't fall out.

Serve with cous cous or salad (or even both).

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Lentils with aubergines

I pretty much made this up as I had some aubergines I had to use.

Ingredients (serves 4-5)
Lentils (I always measure by soup bowl, in this case 1)
2 aubergines cut in chunks (see pics)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 onion, cut in strips
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4-5 bay leaves
2 cans of chopped tomato, or a kilo of very ripe tomatoes, chopped (keep the juices)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

In a large saucepan, boil the lentils for about 30-40 minutes, until you're happy with them. In the meantime, shallow fry the garlic, onions and bay leaves, add the aubergines and celery and stir so they're nicely coated with oil. Keep cooking like that for about 10 minutes. Add the tomato plus some water, salt & pepper and let it simmer gently for 30 minutes or so.

When the lentils are cooked, drain them and throw them in with the aubergines (if the aubergines are ready). Turn off and allow to rest for a while (the longer the better), so that the lentils can absorb the juices of the aubergines... I didn't have fresh parsley but if you do add some nicely fresh, chopped parsley just before serving.

Serve with a generous portion of set yoghurt, yummy!

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