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myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - eating on the wild side

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

The nutritional losses did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, Jo Robinson has learned, but thousands of years earlier when we first abandoned our native diet of wild plants and game and began to domesticate animals and grow food in the first primitive gardens. Unwittingly, the choices we made about how to feed our livestock and what to plant in our gardens reduced the amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants in the human diet, which compromised our ability to fight disease and enjoy optimum health.

Jo Robinson is a bestselling, investigative journalist who has spent the past 15 years scouring research journals for information on how we can restore vital nutrients to our fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Robinson is a nationally recognized expert in how to recapture those lost nutrients. Her insights into the benefits of raising animals on pasture have been featured in scores of magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, including Sunset Magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, NPR’s All Things Considered, and Mother Earth News.

Official website: http://www.eatwild.com/jo.html

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - fat fiction documentary

Fat Fiction

What if everything we’ve been told about saturated fat is fiction? And what if the “Low-Fat, heart-healthy” diet is one of the worst health recommendations in history?

FAT FICTION (formerly known as BIG FAT LIE) is a film that questions decades of diet advice insisting that saturated fats are bad for us. Along the way, we’ll reveal the lies we’ve been told about fats, learn what fats are good, what fats are bad, and what we can do to reclaim our health.

Narrated by Dr. Mark Hyman
Directed by Jennifer Isenhart

Official website: https://fatfiction.movie/

Fat Fiction Extras – A Filmmaker’s Journey
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - fantastic fungi

Fantastic Fungi

When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world.

Fantastic Fungi, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.

Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.

Official Website: https://fantasticfungi.com

Karei (Curry) Udon Noodles

Cuisine: Japanese
Region: Common

A classic, hearty, every-day Curry Udon meal from Japan. Easy to make, it can be as spicy as you want it to be – no hard rules here. Enjoy!

Serves : 4
Cooking time: approx. 30 minutes
You will need: two pots, a colander and a frying pan

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp oil,
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp of flour,
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp curry powder,
  • 5 cups hot vegetable stock, or Shiitake mushroom stock,
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce,
  • 4 bundles Udon noodles,
  • 3 to 4 scallions, chopped.

Instructions

  1. Dice the scallions.
  2. First, heat up the vegetable stock. You want it hot but you don’t want it boiling or scalding hot.
  3. Put the pan on the stove, add the oil and turn the fire on to medium-high heat.
  4. After the oil is heated turn the fire down to low-heat.
  5. Add the curry powder and stir for a minute or two.
  6. Add the flour and stir for another minute or two. Make sure you that curry and flour are mixed well in the pan.
  7. Now it’s time for the hot vegetable stock: pour it into the frying pan all at once and stir well. The mixture will become thick in no time.
  8. Add the soy sauce and stir.
  9. Simmer until the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.
  10. While the sauce is simmering, start cooking the Udon noodles: boil water in a pot, add the Udon and cook them to al dente.
  11. Drain the boiling water, and rinse the Udon with cold(ish) water.

Serving

Distribute the Udon noodles in 4 bowls, ladle curry sauce into each bowl and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately.

Notes on Karei (Curry) Udon Noodles

  • When it comes to cooking oil, rapeseed oil is one of the cooking oils traditionally used in Japanese Cuisine. Olive oil will also do.
  • You can substitute wheat flour with rice flour, too.
  • Do adjust the Curry powder quantity depending on the type and heat of your Curry.
  • You could use mushroom stock instead of vegetable stock. See below.
  • If your vegetable stock is not hot, instead of pouring it in all at once pour it in little by little while whisking the mixture – otherwise the sauce will turn out lumpy. (Don’t want that.)
  • If you don’t already have a vegetable stock here’s a generic recipe on How to Make Vegetable Stock and/or Shiitake Mushroom Stock.
  • Enjoy!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - after truth documentary

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News (2020) examines “fake news,” its victims, its perpetrators, and its consequences. It investigates the ongoing threat caused by the phenomenon of “fake news” in the U.S., focusing on the real-life consequences that disinformation, conspiracy theories and false news stories have on the average citizen, both in an election cycle and for years to come.

Directed by Andrew Rossi (“Page One: Inside the New York Times,” HBO’s “Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven”) and executive produced by CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Official website: https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/after-truth-disinformation-and-the-cost-of-fake-news

Shiitake Mushroom Stock

Shiitake no Dashi

Cuisine: Japanese
Region: Common

The Shiitake Mushroom Stock is used as a vegetable stock in other Japanese recipes. Unlike other vegetable stocks, this one requires neither simmering, nor boiling (Yes, it is possible.) Enjoy!

Yield: 4 cups
Cooking time: +3 hrs
You need: a bowl

Ingredients

  • 15 to 20 dried shiitake mushrooms,
  • 4 cups of water.

Instructions

  1. Take a bowl and add 4 cups of cold water.
  2. Add the shiitake mushrooms into the bowl and leave them soaking for at least 3 hrs.
  3. The water in the bowl will become brown – from light brown to dark brown. This is the stock. 🙂

Notes on Shiitake Mushroom Stock

  • If you don’t intend to use the stock in the same day, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge. It will last for approx. 2 weeks.
  • When you take it out of the fridge either allow the stock to gradually adjust to room temperature before heating it up for further use.
  • Enjoy!
myfoodistry - Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms

Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms

Internal documents describe how to profit from farmer losses and desire to oppose some independent testing

Excerpt from: The Guardian
Written by Carey Gillam
Last modified on Mon 30 Mar 2020 19.00 BST

myfoodistry - Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms
Photo by Vijendra Singh

The US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show.

Risks were downplayed even while they planned how to profit off farmers who would buy Monsanto’s new seeds just to avoid damage, according to documents unearthed during a recent successful $265m lawsuit brought against both firms by a Missouri farmer.

The documents, some of which date back more than a decade, also reveal how Monsanto opposed some third-party product testing in order to curtail the generation of data that might have worried regulators.

And in some of the internal BASF emails, employees appear to joke about sharing “voodoo science” and hoping to stay “out of jail”.

The new crop system developed by Monsanto and BASF was designed to address the fact that millions of acres of US farmland have become overrun with weeds resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkillers, best known as Roundup. The collaboration between the two companies was built around a different herbicide called dicamba.

Importantly, under the system designed by Monsanto and BASF, only farmers buying Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean seeds would be protected from dicamba drift damage. Other cotton and soybean farmers and farmers growing everything from wheat to watermelons would be at risk from the drifting dicamba…

Read more at The Guardian

Eggplant Parmigiana

Parmigiana Di Melanzane

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Sicily

Eggplant Parmigiana or Parmigiana Di Melanzane is a traditional 3-ingredient recipe from Sicily, Italy. Contrary to what we would all think, “Parmigiana” does not mean “with Parmesan cheese”. Parmigiana comes from the Sicilian word parmiciana which means “latticed”, describing the way the eggplant slices are arranged in the baking pan or casserole prior to baking. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 60 min
You need: a bowl, a tray, a skillet, a frying pan and an oven-proof casserole or pan

Ingredients

  • 4 medium eggplants (aubergines),
  • 2 cans of tomatoes,
  • 2, or more, garlic cloves,
  • 250g to 300g (0.5 to 0.8 Lbs) of grated Pecorino cheese,
  • 1 onion – preferably red,
  • 1 cup of of basil leaves,
  • A bit of olive oil,
  • A bit of flour.

Instructions

First, make the tomato sauce

  1. Peel and cut the onion in half.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and smash them flat with the broad side of a knife.
  3. Take a skillet or broad fraying pan, add a bit of olive oil and then add the tomatoes.
  4. Add the onion and the garlic cloves.
  5. Add the basil leaves.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon and turn the fire on to high.
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately lower the fire to medium.
  9. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the tomato sauce is simmering… prepare the eggplants

  1. Add some flour in a bowl.
  2. Wash the eggplants, dry them with a towel, chop off the narrow ends and then cut them into slices of approx. 1 cm ( 1/2 inch) thick.
  3. Add a bit of olive oil in the frying pan and turn the fire on to medium-high.
  4. Pass the eggplant slices lightly through the flour. Shake off any excess flour and fry them in the pan in batches, like 4 or 5 slices at one go, until they are tender. (Remember, they are going to be baked into the oven a little later, so, don’t overcook them.)
  5. Remove the eggplants from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and put them on a tray. Then pat them dry with a kitchen paper.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of salt over each fried eggplant batch as you go.

Combine and bake

  1. By now, the tomato sauce must be ready.
  2. Turn on the oven to 200C or 392F and let it preheat.
  3. Take your oven proof casserole or baking pan and spread some of the tomato sauce on the bottom. This is your first layer.
  4. On top of the tomato sauce layer arrange a layer of eggplant slices in a lattice pattern. (“Parmigiana”, remember? :))
  5. Sprinkle some of your grated Pecorino cheese on top of the eggplant layer and repeat the exercise until you have used up all the ingredients.
  6. Be careful so that the top layer is made of tomato sauce and grated Pecorino cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for approx. 30 minutes and then under the grill for another 5 minutes (to make the top crispier).

Notes on Eggplant Parmigiana

  • Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
  • Most North American gas stoves come with a grill under the oven compartment. If your stove is different you may want to place the casserole or pan in the upper half of your oven, which is generally hotter than the bottom half.
  • This recipe can be as simple or complicated as one may wish to make it. E.g. there are Eggplant Parmigiana recipes out there calling for a combination of cheeses, even for… mozzarella. Try the (this) simple version first, see how it goes and then feel free to experiment next time.
  • Pecorino cheese is made of sheep-milk, which is a lot more digestible than cheese made from cow’s milk. Pecorino is also a bit rough and tangy, combining very well with the slightly bitter taste of the eggplant and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. If you have to use a different kind of cheese then try to select one that tastes closer to Pecorino than away from it.

Enjoy!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

Modified

“Beautiful beyond words”

Joan Baxter, Medium

The award-winning film Modified follows a personal and poignant mother-daughter investigative journey into the world of genetically modified foods (GMOs). Filmed over 10 years and anchored in the filmmaker’s relationship to her mother (a gardener and food activist who battled cancer during the film’s production), the film asks why GMOs are not labelled on foods in the United States and Canada, despite being labelled in 64 countries around the world.

Filmmaker Aube Giroux says, “While making Modified, I tried to access basic information from Health Canada about how GMOs are regulated in Canada but I came across many barriers, including the fact that Health Canada does not track which GMOs are being grown in Canada and in which food products they are being sold. Health Canada also refused to be interviewed and answer questions in my documentary, which speaks volumes about the lack of transparency within our food system. I was grateful to be able to access the information I was looking for from CBAN. As a filmmaker and researcher, I found CBAN to be an invaluable source of meticulously researched data about GMOs in Canada. We are lucky to have an organization such as CBAN, which makes available the information that our government should be providing, but isn’t.”

An official selection at 70 international film festivals. Recipient of 15 awards including the 2019 James Beard Award for Best Documentary. For more information, visit us at modifiedthefilm.com

The award-winning documentary film “Modified” is now available online! You can watch it  online for $5 – or order it for a community screening.

Stream in English: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/modified
Stream in French: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/modifie
Order DVDs: https://www.modifiedthefilm.com/dvd
Order for a public screening: https://www.modifiedthefilm.com/host-a-screening

Irish Potato and Leek Soup

Cuisine: Irish
Region: Common

When we think of “Ireland” and “food” we often think of “potatoes” (and beer; and cheese and pubs :). Well, this is a nice, easy, tasty and hearty Irish recipe using potatoes and leeks as a base and a whole host of other goodies to give it taste and texture. Enjoy!

Serves: 8-10
Cooking time: approx. 30min
You need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 4 Tsp olive oil.
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 8 cups vegetable stock or warm water.
  • 3 cups of light cream.
  • 4 Tsp dill, chopped.
  • 4 Tsp parsley, chopped.
  • 4 Tsp tarragon, chopped.
  • 1 Tsp dried thyme.
  • 4 cups leeks, chopped. That generally translates to 3-4 leeks.
  • 2 small onions, chopped.
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped.
  • 2 Tsp salt.
  • 1 Tsp pepper.

Instructions

  1. Wash your vegetables well – particularly the leeks.
  2. Take a pot, put it on the stove and add the olive oil.
  3. Turn on the fire to medium heat.
  4. Add the leeks, celery, onion and garlic and saute until they soften up.
  5. Add the vegetable stock or water, thyme, potatoes, salt and pepper.
  6. Wait until it begins to boil and then lower the fire.
  7. Keep simmering until the potatoes are soft and tender.
  8. Time for the cream and the herbs: stir them all in and keep stirring from time to time.
  9. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  10. Turn off the fire.
  11. Take the pot off the stove and set aside for 10 minutes or so to cool off a bit, allowing the juices to combine.

Notes on the Irish Potato and Leek Soup

  • Serve with warm bread.
  • Feel free to scale the recipe down – can’t harm it.
  • If your ingredient ratios turn out to be a little less of one and a bit more of the other – don’t worry. You can’t go wrong. 🙂
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

More Than Honey

MORE THAN HONEY is the provocative yet touching tale of what may happen to mankind if bees keep dying. It is a 2M Euro budget documentary directed by Oscar nominated director Markus Imhoof and by the creators of “LET´S MAKE MONEY”& “WE FEED THE WORLD”.

Albert Einstein once said: “If bees ever die out, mankind will have only four years left to live”. In the past years, billions of honeybees simply vanished for reasons still obscure. If the bees keep dying, it will have drastic effects for humans as well: more than one third of our food production depends on pollination by honeybees. Seeking answers, the film embarks on a world journey to discover bees and men.

Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. Depending on the world region, 50% to 90% of all local bees have disappeared, and this epidemic is still spreading from beehive to beehive – all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings, and no visible predators can be located.

In the US, the latest estimates suggest that a total of 1.5 million (out of 2.4 million total beehives) have disappeared across 27 states. In Germany, according to the national beekeepers association, one fourth of all colonies have been destroyed, with losses reaching up to 80% on some farms. The same phenomenon has been observed in Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Poland and England, where this syndrome has been nicknamed “the Mary Celeste Phenomenon”, after a ship whose crew vanished in 1872.

Scientists have found… read more at the official site.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspirations

The Irish Pub

THE IRISH PUB is a celebration of the greatest institution in Irish society, the pub or more specifically the traditional Irish publicans who run them. The characters in this exceptionally endearing film all run and own pubs that have been in their families for generations and it is through their warmth, wit and wisdom that we gain an insight into the heart and soul of THE IRISH PUB.

ATOM FILMS  in Association with BORD SCANNAN NA hÉIREANN/ THE IRISH FILM BOARD present THE IRISH PUB. Composer: DENIS CLOHESSY Clarinet: CONOR SHEIL Editor, Sound and Camera: ALEX FEGAN. Directed and Produced by ALEX FEGAN.
© 2014 Atom Films.

Official website: here.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

Strudel Sisters

Ilona and Erzsébet are sisters living in the small Hungarian town of Tura. They make “big strudels on small tables” in much the same way their beloved mother did when they were children during the communist era. What starts as an ode to a disappearing way of life quickly becomes a beautifully harmonic anthem to sisterhood, freedom, mothers and, of course, strudel.

Winner of the Devour Golden Tine Award for Best Short Documentary. Official Selection at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Sydney Film Festival and more.

Produced and Directed by Peter Hegedus and Jaina Kalifa
Camera: Peter Hegedus and Jaina Kalifa
Editor: Jaina Kalifa
Audio Post Production: Rafe Sholer

Korean Beef Short Rib Soup with Glass Noodles – Galbi-tang

Galbi-tang – 갈비탕, –湯

Cuisine: Korean
Region: Common

Galbi-tang is a hearty yet fragrant and often delicate clear beef short rib soup, traditionally offered at Korean wedding receptions. It is now one of Korea’s staple recipes and a regular entry in every Korean restaurant’s menu that’s worth its salt. (Pun intended. :)) Galbi-tang is not difficult to make; but, as all good soups and stews, it just takes some patience – that’s all. Time to cook, eh?

Serves 4 to 6
Cooking time: approx. 150 min (2.5 hrs)
You will need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Kg (3 Lbs) beef short ribs, roughly 6 cm or 1.5 inch thick.
  • 3/4 Kg (1.5 Lbs) Korean radish, moo or daikon.
  • 1 large garlic bulb.
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion.
  • 1 piece of ginger, at the size of a thumb.
  • 3 to 6 green onions, plus more green onions for garnishing.
  • 15 cups cold water
  • 140 g (5 oz) Dangmyeon (Korean glass noodles).
  • 1/2 Tsp soy sauce.
  • 1/2 Tsp fish sauce.
  • 1/2 to 1 Tbsp sea salt.
  • Extra salt and pepper for serving.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Take a large pot, fill it up with cold water, put it on the stove, turn the fire on high and bring it to a boil.
  2. While you wait for the water to boil, wash the vegetables.
  3. Peel the Korean radish and cut off the edges.
  4. Cut the garlic bulb in half.
  5. Cut the edges of the onion, without removing the skin.
  6. Slice the ginger in rounds.
  7. Chop the green onions in halves.
  8. When the water starts boiling, add the short ribs in the pot and blanch them for about 10 minutes.
  9. Then, empty the pot in a colander, rinse the meat under cold water and put it aside.

Cooking

  1. Wash the pot.
  2. Arrange the blanched meat and the vegetables in the pot and add 15 (fifteen) cups of cold water.
  3. Turn the fire on high and bring it to boil with the lid off.
  4. Skim the scum and fat as required.
  5. When the froth is clear of scum and fat, reduce the fire to medium, put the lid on and simmer for 2 hours.
  6. While the meat and vegetables are simmering it’s time to soak the Korean glass noodles: take a bowl, add warm (not hot) water and let the noodles soak while pot meat and vegetable pot is simmering.
  7. Two hours later: turn the fire off and remove all vegetables with a slotted spoon or sieve.
  8. Discard all vegetables except for the radish (you’re going to use that, later).
  9. Make sure the bottom of the pot is clean.
  10. Season the stew to taste with the prescribed condiments: soy sauce, fish sauce and sea salt.
  11. The soup is ready.

Combining / Serving

  1. Slice the cooked radish into bite-size pieces.
  2. Chop 1 to 2 green onions for garnish.
  3. If the Galbi-tang soup has cooled off by the time you serve, bring it back to boil.
  4. Arrange the glass noodles in each serving bowl and add the sliced radish.
  5. Pour your boiling hot ribs and soup into the serving bowl, so that the glass noodles are cooked through.
  6. Garnish each bowl with green onion and black pepper.

Sides

Warm rice is classic side dish to Galbi-tang. In general, accompanying the main course with a plethora of other nibblers (in this case: kimchi, sour plums, bean sprouts, etc., is often the norm.

Notes

It is popular in Asia to soak meat in cold water for 2 to 3 hours prior to cooking. They do that in order to remove any remaining blood, and this makes a clearer soup. If you decide to do that then do replace the soaking water every hour or so.

Enjoy!

Korean Potato Soup

Kamja Guk

Cuisine: Korean
Region: Common

An easy, uncomplicated and hearty recipe this Korean Potato Soup. One would think that it is ideal for lunch or dinner but in Korea they also serve it as breakfast. The recipe calls for broth or stock, so, depending on the stock you’re going to use the dish can be equally be vegetarian, vegan, lenten or none of the above. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: approx. 20 min.
You will need: a skillet.

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes.
  • 2 medium carrots.
  • 3 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable broth.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms, quartered.
  • 1 fresh (green) onion, chopped.
  • Salt and pepper.

Instructions

  1. Peel carrots and potatoes and cut them in bite-size pieces.
  2. Put them in a large skillet and add the broth.
  3. Put the skillet on the stove, turn the fire on to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Cook, uncovered, for about about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Turn the fire down to low, cover the skillet and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes – until the vegetables are very tender.
  6. Add the mushrooms.
  7. Add the green onion.
  8. Pepper to taste, stir well and cook for another couple of minutes.

Notes

Korean Potato Soup
Korean Potato Soup | myfoodistry

Cuisine: KoreanRegion: Common

Type: Main Course

Cuisine: Korean

Recipe Yield: 6

Cooking Time: 0H30M

Pasta with Butter and Cream – all’ Alfredo

Pasta all’ Alfredo

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Northern Italy

Yes, Pasta with Butter and Cream – a.k.a. Pasta all’ Alfredo – has very little to do with the all-millennial “tuna salad” lunch or dinner; yet, good food is good food and there’s no two ways about that. 🙂 This is an easy and fast pasta recipe to make – and you don’t need to eat a lot of it to feel satisfied. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: approx. 20 min.
You will need: a pot and a skillet.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 Lb) pasta of our choice – Fettuccine, Linguine, Spaghetti, Gnocchi or any type of pasta you like.
  • 1/4 cup of butter.
  • 1 cup whipping cream.
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + additional cheese for serving.
  • Salt and pepper.

Instructions

For the pasta

  1. Take a pot, fill it up with water up to two thirds, and add salt.
  2. Put the pot on the stove and turn the fire on to high heat, bringing the water to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta to the pot and cook, uncovered, according to instructions.
  4. Drain the pasta.

For the Alfredo sauce

  1. Take a skillet, add the butter, put it on the stove and turn on the fire to medium heat.
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. When the butter foams, add the cream.
  4. Simmer the mixture for about 2 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
  5. Season with salt and white pepper.

Combining

  1. Empty the pasta in the skillet with the butter and cream over medium fire.
  2. Add your 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  3. Toss the pasta and sauce in the skillet until the sauce coats the pasta. It should take about 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Serve immediately, while it’s hot.
  5. Sprinkle each serving plate with additional Parmesan cheese, to taste.

Notes

How to Peel Artichokes – and a few words about their health benefits

For most of us the very idea of an “artichoke” is intimidating – never mind peeling one! But, all is not lost and things aren’t as bad as they seem. Watch the video.

And here and here you will find a few words about the health benefits of artichokes (such as potential anticancer effects, improved heart health, regulated blood pressure etc).

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition

By Paul Pitchford

Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition | myfoodistry

There is a near-consensus among health authorities that whole, unrefined foods represent a fundamental truth in support of individual health and well-being. The whole foods movement is a common sense approach that is quietly extending through all economies and social classes to overcome the madness resulting from highly processed, refined, genetically modified, and synthetic (non-) foods that have turned modern societies into centers of degenerative disease. At the end of the day, wholesome foods are destined to be a biologic remedy that, in concert with organic farming and plant medicine, has the capacity to heal the Earth and her peoples.

The quality whole foods approach works at the foundations of healing, that is, it acts as a foundation for all healing systems. Newer developments in science are beginning to value foundational medicine as well; these approaches are sometimes referred to as “systems biology, integrative medicine, and functional medicine.” From the perspective of the Healing-with-Whole-Foods paradigm, it is not just food alone, but also other priorities that nurture us deeply and eternally. Awareness practices primarily represent this function. Meditation, prayer and other ways of quieting and focusing the mind and fortifying the spirit are in fact a priority in healing, providing clear guidance regarding which food and other lifestyle choices are most effective.

Read more about the book

Author’s interview

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

The Connection

The Connection is a film about how frontier research is proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health.

The film features scientists, researchers, writers and doctors, as well as remarkable true stories of people adding mind body medicine to their healing toolkit to recover from severe back pain, heart disease, infertility, cancer and multiple sclerosis. While the science is complex, the solutions for people suffering with illness are astonishingly simple. The film shows that we can counter the harmful affects of stress with an equally powerful relaxation response triggered through specific techniques such as meditation.

It shows that emotions can impact the course of an illness for better or for worse and could even be the difference between life and death. The film explains the mechanisms behind belief, which scientists now know contributes 30 to 50 percent of the effect of any known biological cure and explores how scientists at the cutting edge are now learning that the mind can even influence the expression of genes and the rate at which we age.

Official site, here.

Disclaimer: please do your own research before you make decisions that may or can affect your own self and others around you.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration - imagine - documentaries

The Junk Food Experiment

Dietary expert Dr Michael Mosley has promised that “things are going to get scary” during ITV’s latest programme, The Junk Food Experiment.

In this 90-minute programme, six famous faces (singer Peter AndreThe Chase mastermind and barrister Shaun Wallace, politician Nadine Dorries, actress Hayley Tamaddon, Olympian Tessa Sanderson and TV personality Hugo Taylor ) have agreed to put their bodies on the line and become guinea pigs in an extreme scientific experiment to find out what our junk food lifestyle is actually doing to us.

You can watch the entire documentary, here.

With Information from: inews.co.uk

Lamb or Goat with Artichokes in Egg and Lemon Sauce

Agginarato

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

A classic, traditional Spring dish from Crete, Greece that’s simple to make and easier to savour. The season for artichokes is between March and June. For the rest of the year you could use canned or frozen artichokes – but do avoid marinated artichokes – they are a totally different deal and will not go well with what we’re making here. Time now to start cooking, eh?

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time +60 min.
You will need: a bowl and a skillet or pot.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 Lbs) baby goat or lamb, chopped into portions. As it is often the case with stews, a shoulder cut is better than others.
  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) artichokes.
  • 1/2 bunch dill, diced.
  • 1/2 cup (or glass) olive oil.
  • 3 fresh onions.
  • 1 medium sized dry onion.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup of hot water. See notes.
  • Salt and pepper.

For the Egg and Lemon Sauce

  • 2 eggs.
  • Juice of 2 lemons.
  • 1/2 Tbsp flour.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Take a medium bowl and fill it up with water.
  2. Squeeze a lemon in the bowl and dilute the flour in it.
  3. Peel the artichokes one by one and discard the stems. (Peeling and cleaning artichokes may sound intimidating at first but it’s not that bad. Scroll down to watch the video.)
  4. Cut the artichokes into halves and put them in the bowl.
  5. Dice the dry onion.
  6. Chop the fresh onions into pieces of 1 cm or 1/2 inch.
  7. Dice the dill.
  8. Wash the meat in cold, running water.

Cooking

  1. Pour the olive oil in a skillet or broad pot.
  2. Put the skillet or pot on the stove and turn the fire on to medium-high.
  3. Add the diced dry onion into the skillet or pot and sautee until it’s translucent.
  4. Add the meat and give it a couple of stirs until it changes colour.
  5. Add pepper to taste.
  6. Add the diced fresh onions.
  7. Add the 1/2 cup of hot water.
  8. Lower the fire to medium / medium low (depending on your stove) and let the meat simmer, covered, for about 30-40 minutes. The point here is to retain the steam in the skillet/pot while the meat is cooking gently.
  9. 30 to 40 minutes later, test the meat with a fork. If it falls off the fork then it’s ready for the next stage. If not, add a little hot water as needed and keep simmering until ready.
  10. Add 1/3 cup of hot water.
  11. Add the artichokes into the mix.
  12. Add salt to taste.
  13. Wait for 2-3 minutes and add the dill.
  14. Let the mix simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the artichokes are cooked. (You don’t want the artichokes “crunchy”. You want them “cooked”.)
  15. At this stage you pour into the mixture the egg and lemon sauce.
  16. Shake well so that the egg and lemon sauce spreads evenly in the skillet or pot.

Egg and lemon sauce

  1. Crack the eggs in a small bowl.
  2. Add the juice of your 2 lemons and beat the mixture well.
  3. While you beat the eggs, little by little keep adding a little juice from the skillet or pot until the bowl is almost full with liquid.

Notes

  • Shaken, not stirred – as good old James Bond might have insisted: after you add the artichokes into the skillet or pot do avoid stirring with a ladle or spoon or you run into the risk of having the artichokes disintegrated. Shaking the skillet or pot will work just fine.
  • Keep adding hot water to the skillet/pot little by little as needed, if needed. The idea is that the mixture should not be cooking in sizzling olive oil – there should always be some hot water in that mix.
  • Goat meat, although very lean, is a bit tougher than lamb. If you’re cooking goat then add more hot water into the skillet/pot and simmer longer than you would have with lamb.
  • Add salt only towards the end, before you mix in the artichokes, otherwise the meat will dry out while cooking and will not be as soft.
  • Wash the meat thoroughly, until there’s no blood in it. A few words about how to prepare lamb or goat for cooking, here.

Health benefits of artichokes

A few words about the health benefits of artichokes (such as potential anticancer effects, improved heart health, regulated blood pressure etc) you will find here and here .

How to peel artichokes

Enjoy!

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

A Touch of Spice

“A Touch of Spice” is a story about a young Greek boy (Fanis) growing up in Istanbul, whose grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor,teaches him that both food and life require a little salt to give them flavor; they both require a touch of spice. Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and uses his cooking skills to spice up the lives of those around him. 35 years later he leaves Athens and travels back to his birthplace of Istanbul to reunite with his grandfather and his first love; he travels back only to realize that he forgot to put a little bit of spice in his own life.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

Apicius – Cookery and Dining In Imperial Rome

De Re Cocinaria
myfoodistry - traditional cooking and modern inspiration

The present first translation into English of the ancient cookery book dating back to Imperial Roman times known as the Apicius book is herewith presented to antiquarians, friends of the Antique as well as to gastronomers, friends of good cheer.

Three of the most ancient manuscript books that exist today bearing the name of Apicius date back to the eighth and ninth century. Ever since the invention of printing Apicius has been edited chiefly in the Latin language. Details of the manuscript books and printed editions will be found under the heading of Apiciana on the following pages.

The present version has been based chiefly upon three principal Latin editions, that of Albanus Torinus, 1541, who had for his authority a codex he found on the island of Megalona, on the editions of Martinus Lister, 1705-9, who based his work upon that of Humelbergius, 1542, and the Giarratano-Vollmer edition, 1922.

We have also scrutinized various other editions forming part of our collection of Apiciana, and as shown by our “family tree of Apicius” have drawn either directly or indirectly upon every known source for our information.

The reasons and raison d’être for this undertaking become sufficiently clear through Dr. Starr’s introduction and through the following critical review.

It has been often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; so here is hoping that we may find a better way of knowing old Rome and antique private life through the study of this cookery book—Europe’s oldest and Rome’s only one in existence today.

JOSEPH DOMMERS VEHLING
Chicago, in the Spring of 1926.

Download this book, here.

Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.

myfoodistry - traditional cooking and recipes from all over the World - featured posts - editorial

Twenty Years in Ubud

By Ibu Kat

When I moved to Ubud almost 20 years ago, I contacted the editor of the Bali Advertiser with the suggestion that I write a column. I didn’t know anyone here and it seemed like a good way to meet interesting people. Perhaps I’d been sitting up late with Jenny and a bottle of single malt, a combination that has hatched many bright ideas over three decades.

The editor agreed.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I’d been a writer for many years and I knew a deadline from a dartboard, but these deadlines were remorseless. Every second Wednesday I had to pony up with 1,000 words that were interesting, relevant and true whether I felt like it or not. Sometimes I did not feel like it. Very often I sat down under the ticking clock with no idea at all what I was going to write about.

And so began a journey and a journal. I became a window to Bali and my life here for myself and readers. It wasn’t supposed to be like this; Greenspeak was meant to be a column on the environment. But those endless deadlines soon pushed me out of that box, and I began to expand my mandate to include my immediate, personal environment – my garden, my dogs, my staff, my pond, my street. I found myself holding the space for many small encounters and experiences and distilling them into 1,000 words of prose every second Wednesday. My editor Chris, bless him, gave me a very long rope. The only time he censored anything I’ve written was to remove an impassioned and possibly actionable paragraph about a manufacturer of baby formula.

The column led me outside to meet people who are creating positive change on this island – farmers, priests, social activists, Βalians, weavers, environmentalists, scholars. It led me into my garden to observe the plants and creatures there. The column was an excuse for me to contact all kinds of fascinating folk and ask them impertinent questions. It led me inside myself, to examine how I was so touched by Bali’s profound and quirky magic.

And I’ve learned so much… about rice cultivation, poverty, natural textile dyes, sexually transmitted diseases, reptiles, black magic, orphanages, bamboo construction, herbal remedies, natural ventilation, dengue fever, spices, scorpions, so much more.

The more I learned the more curious I became. With a notebook under my arm and a pen behind my ear I visited subaks, rural health clinics, water projects, farms, schools, composting toilets, temples and birthing clinics. I learned how knives and kites are made, how witches are placated and the correct way to hold a python (don’t).

The trouble with writing for a paper is that people tend to believe what they read and be influenced by it. So I had to train myself to be a witness, not a judge. Even if a situation had me raging, I had to present it from a place of calm balance because you would read it. I had to walk the talk, because of you. You kept me honest. You stretched me in all directions.

People my age who settle in this part of Bali often come from an academic or business life. They’ve taken a great leap of faith, leaving a world of reliable medical care, live theatre and good wine to live in a rice field. It’s remarkable what happens to them, over time. The right side of the brain wakes up and starts to dance in Ubud, this little town that is such a crucible of creativity. Tax lawyers and computer wizards take up painting, educators start designing hats. In Singapore I used to write corporate brochures and advertising copy. Now my keyboard clicked to tales of spirits from the undercliff and dragons in the bath.

I’m always pleased and humbled when people tell me they enjoy the column. That never gets old. It’s an odd feeling, actually, to write a story and send it out to the world for strangers to read. Sometimes those strangers wrote to me, and some of them became friends. A couple of times an enraged reader fired off a rant – my writing was too positive, too happy. Was I blind? Didn’t I see the piles of garbage and the mangy dogs and the corruption? Well yes, I do. But long ago I learned that people are just about as happy as they decide to be, and I’ve decided to be happy.

myfoodistry - editorias - bali daze

Over a decade ago people started saying, “You should make a book of these stories.” I thought it over and took the concept to a Bali-based publisher who told me, “No one would be interested in a book like that.” So I took a deep breath and published it myself. Bali Daze (originally Dragons in the Bath) has now sold over 5,000 copies in hard copy and online. I think this indicates that people are indeed interested in the small stories of everyday life in Bali, cross cultural engagement and reptiles in the bathroom.

But Bali has changed a great deal in the past few years.   Outside my gate the town has become noisy and busy, and it’s quite a scene out there these days. Inside my gate Wayan Manis, my housekeeper all this time, remains a precious constant. Many dogs – Karma, Kipper, Kalypso, Casey, Chloe, Daisy, Hamish, Tika, Tilly and Bruno – have shared my home and garden. My life is small, now. I am content. I find I have less to say, so it seems like a good time to stop saying it.

So thank you, Bali Advertiser, for the discipline of two articles a month (later one) for so many years, giving me a platform for my occasional rants and material for two collections of stories. There’s no feeling quite like seeing someone smiling while reading a book I’ve written.

Thank you, Chris and Ratih, for your patience and understanding over cliff-hanger deadlines.

And thank you, dear readers, for all your feedback and support, for stopping me in the street to mention a recent article, for your emails and visits over the years. I’ll miss you, but I won’t miss those deadlines.

Bless you all. Over and out.

Ibu Kat

Bali Daze on Goodreads: here.
Bali Daze on Amazon.com: here.

Octopus with Pasta in the Pot

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Generic

A Greek lenten classic – guaranteed to keep your body going whatever you have to do. Octopus with Pasta in the Pot is going to take some time to cook – approx. 2 hours – but its level of difficulty is minimal: sautee, simmer, stir, do something else while food is cooking. (That difficult. 🙂 ) Enjoy!

Serves: 4 -6
Cooking time: approx. 120 min
You will need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 0.75 – 1 kg (approx. 2lbs) octopus
  • 500g (approx. 1 Lb) pasta, preferably Ditalli, Tubetti or whatever macaroni-like short and hollow pasta you can find.
  • 500g (1 Lb) diced tomatoes. Fresh or canned from a brand you trust.
  • 1 cup (glass) of olive oil.
  • 1/2 cup of white wine or a 1/4 cup vinegar. (Do prefer grape vinegar if that’s an option.)
  • 2-3 diced onions.
  • 3-4 diced garlic cloves.
  • 4 cups of hot water.
  • Salt & pepper.

Istructions

  1. Wash the octopus and cut it in small pieces.
  2. Dice the onions, the garlic and the tomatoes.
  3. Pour the olive oil in a pot, place the pot on the stove and turn on the fire to mid-high.
  4. Wait for a few minutes until the oil is hot and then add in the onions.
  5. Sautee the onions until translucent and add the garlic.
  6. Give it a stir or two and add the octopus.
  7. Sautee the mixture for about 5 minutes.
  8. Lower the fire to medium-low.
  9. Add the wine or vinegar.
  10. Give it a stir, wait for a beat or two, then add 1 glass of hot water.
  11. Add pepper to taste.
  12. Cover the pot.
  13. Let it simmer for about 90 minutes or until the octopus is tender. Give it a stir from time to time just to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  14. Ninety minutes later: add 3 glasses of hot water.
  15. Add salt to taste.
  16. Add the pasta – Ditalli, Tubetti or similar – to the pot.
  17. Raise the fire to mid-high.
  18. It will take 15-20 min before the pasta is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. So, at this stage stir very often because the pasta can and will stick to the bottom of the pot as it absorbs the liquid.
  19. Turn off the fire, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes and you’re ready to serve.

Notes on Pasta with Octopus in the Pot

  • If you see that the liquid is absorbed but the pasta is not yet cooked, add 1/2 glass of hot water or so and keep stirring. It will get there.
  • It tastes really good the next day (or the day after…. :))
  • If your palate is used to spices, you can freely add chili flakes, cayen pepper, Gochugaru (Korean spice) etc. It will definitely not harm the recipe.
  • If you’re going for spice, do prefer to add the spice while the octopus is simmering: you need the spice to infuse the liquid and the liquid to infuse the pasta.
  • Enjoy!

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Goat in Fruit Juice in the Oven

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

This one is very interesting. You marinate the goat meat in lemon and orange juice for 12hrs in the fridge. Then you cook it in the oven for approx. 60 minutes. It contains alcohol.

Serves 6
Cooking time: about 60 min
You need: a bowl and an oven pan
Notes: it requires marinading

Ingredients

  • 1+1/2 Kg (3 Lbs) goat meat cut in portions.
  • 1+1/2 glass (cup) lemon juice
  • 1+1/2 glass (cup) orange juice
  • 1/2 glass (cup) brandy wine or 1/4 glass (cup) red vinegar
  • 6 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 150g olive oil
  • 2-3 Tsp oregano
  • 1 glass (cup) of hot water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the meat into portions.
  2. Salt and pepper it.
  3. Put it in a pyrex bowl.
  4. Add to it the lemon juice, the orange juice, the brandy, the oregano and the garlic.
  5. Cover the bowl in leave it in the fridge for 12hrs.
  6. Then, empty the contents of the bowl into an oven pan.
  7. Add the olive oil and the hot water in the pan.
  8. Cook in medium oven (about 180C/350F) for about 60 min.
  9. Depending on your oven, if you see that the liquid evaporates too fast then add some hot water in the pan so that there’s always gravy.

Suggested side dishes

Pasta

  • 500gr of flat, square pasta. (See Notes, below.)
  • 200g grated of hard cheese for the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta in a separate pot and drizzle it with the cheese.

Boiled and Broiled Potatoes

  • Click here for the recipe.

Notes on Goat in Fruit Juice in the Oven

  • Goat meat is very lean and also sinewy (because it’s very lean). The purpose of marinading it for 12hrs in acid (i.e.brandy, lemon and orange juice) is to break down the fiber before you put it in the oven.
  • Preparing deep frozen goat meat (if that’s the case) has a few tricks. Click here for more.
  • You could potentially substitute brandy wine with red vinegar. If that’s the case then all you need is not more than a 1/4 of glass (cup) vinegar. If that’s your choice then bear in mind that vinegar is corrosive; it will stain the metal and it will leach the plastic. Do prefer a glass or pyrex bowl instead.
  • Regarding the appropriate kind of pasta for this recipe: the Greeks use a kind of pasta called CHYLOPITTES. It usually comes in square form and it contains eggs and milk. The closest Italian equivalent is QUADRATTI or QUADRETTINI and they contain neither eggs, nor milk. You could also use Orzo – there’s no hard rule.

Lamb with Pasta in the Oven

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

A simple, hearty, traditional (insanely) delicious recipe from Crete, Greece requiring no particular preparation and… very little cooking skills. Of course you can tweak the recipe with more/other spices, but if you’re cooking this recipe for the first time try to keep it simple.

Serves 6 – 8
Cooking time: 120 min

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 + 1/2 Kg (2 – 3 Lbs) of lamb. The cut should be a leg with bone.
  • 1 pack of pasta. You can use fettuccine, orzo, maccheroni, caciarecce or any kind of pasta you have in the pantry.
  • 4 fresh tomatoes.
  • 4 – 5 onions.
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic.
  • 2 glasses (cups) of hot water.
  • Oregano, salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Start the oven at 200C / 390F. While the oven is heating up:
  2. Wash the meat.
  3. Wash the tomatoes.
  4. Clean the garlic cloves. Do NOT dice.
  5. Cut the onions lengthwise, into ribbons. Do NOT dice.
  6. With a knife, make some incisions to the meat near the bone.
  7. Insert the garlic cloves in the slots.
  8. In a little bowl mix salt, pepper and oregano – to your taste. (You don’t need a lot of salt, because lamb is salty by nature.)
  9. Sprinkle the mix all around the meat.
  10. Take a pan. Then:
  11. Put the meat in the middle
  12. Arrange the onions around it.
  13. Add the pasta on top of the onion.
  14. Put the tomatoes in, two on one side of the meat, and two on the other side. (If the pan is round, arrange the tomatoes like a cross.)
  15. Pour two cups of hot water in the pan.
  16. Put the pan in the oven.
  17. Wait for about 90 to 120 minutes – depending on the amount of meat you used: the more the meat, the more the cooking time.
  18. The food is ready when the meat is cooked and the water has evaporated leaving only “juice” behind.

Notes on Lamb with Pasta in the Oven

On the cooking method
The way this recipe works has to do with “balance”: you need enough water to cook the meat and the pasta in the same time.

Now, if – for a number of reasons – the water:

  • is evaporating too fast, then you can add some hot water in the pan.
  • is not evaporating fast enough, then you can increase the cooking temperature.

Spices
You can try coriander, cardamom, or even chili flakes – and combinations thereof.

A Tip regarding how to treat deep frozen meat: here

Pissaladière – French Savoury Tart

Cuisine: French
Region: Provence, Côt D’ Azur

The Pissaladière is a savoury tart made with onions, olives, grated cheese and anchovy fillets. (It looks like… pizza, but French style.)

Serves 6-8
Cooking time: 20 min
You need: a tart baking pan and a frying pan

Ingredients

  • 250g (8 oz) shortcrust pastry (click here for the recipe)
  • 2 Tbsp olve oil
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 12 black olives
  • 60g anchovy fillets
  • 125g (4 oz) grated cheese (Cheddar or Gruyere)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 210C / 420F.
  2. Prepare the shortcrust pastry
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onions until they are soft and translucent.
  4. Roll out the pastry and arrange it on a @30cm / 12in shallow tart baking pan.
  5. Add the sauted onions and spread them around the pan.
  6. Place the olives and the anchovies on top of the onions.
  7. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top, evenly.
  8. Bake for @20 min, until the pastry is cooked and the tart looks golden.

Notes on the Pissaladière – French Savoury Tart

  • Serve hot.
  • Shortcrust recipe, here.

Shortcrust Pastry

Cuisine: French
Region: Common

Shortcrust pastry for the Pissaladière or anything else, really.

Makes @ 250g / 8 oz
Preparation time: 10 – 15 min
You need: a baking roller and a bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ( or glasses) of flower
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • @ 180g cold butter
  • A little cold milk

Instructions

  1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Crumble the butter between the tips of your fingers, so that the butter is broken in small crumbs.
  3. Add the milk.
  4. Blend quickly with your hand, turning the dough into a mass.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball. It should be pliable but neither sticky nor damp.
  6. Place the dough onto a pastry board (or any surface you’re using as a pastry board.Our mothers use… the kitchen table 🙂
  7. Knead it gently, to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed well.
  8. Turn it again into a ball, sprinkle some flour on it and wrap it in parchment, or any grease-proof paper.
  9. Put it in the fridge for just a little while – you want it chilled, not cold.
  10. Then, with your baking roller, roll it out to the shape you want.

Notes on Shortcrust Pastry

  • Even you make mistakes, you’ll still end up with a shortcrust, so, no worries. 🙂

Rice with Green Lentils, Raisins and Dates – Persian Style – Adas Polo

Adas Polo or Adas Polow

Cuisine: Persian / Iranian
Region: Common

The Adas Polo is another Persian classic recipe that seldom needs further introduction. The ingredients are available all year long. There are many, many variations of this recipe; some recipes, like this one, are meatless, some use lamb, others use beef, some employ a different mix of spices – the variations are… endless.

Serves 4 – 6
Cooking time: 35 min
You need: a skillet, a colander, a rice-cooker and a pot
Notes: It requires soaking for 2 hrs prior to cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1⁄2 cups lentils, soaked
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 1/2Tsp turmeric
  • 1/4Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 Tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4Tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2Tsp saffron, dissolved in 2 Tbsp of water – use a pestle and mortar to crush the saffron before you dissolve it in the water.
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted. If available do prefer Ghee.
  • Optional: 1 potato, sliced into thin rounds

Instructions

Phase 1

  1. Wash the rice and soak it for 2 hours (see here)
  2. Wash the lentils very well, leave them to soak for 2 hours and drain them.
  3. Wash the raisins and pat-dry them on a kitchen paper.
  4. Take a large saucepan, add salt, water and the lentils.
  5. Bring it to a boil then reduce the fire to low and simmer the lentils for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are tender.
  6. Take a colander, drain the water from the lentils and set them aside.

Phase 2

  1. In a skillet, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until they are golden.
  2. Add the raisins, the dates and the spices – except for the saffron.
  3. Mix well and set aside.

Phase 3

  1. Cook the rice. Most of us use rice-cookers, so…
  2. Add the rice in the rice cooker with how ever much water it requires. (Usually 2 measures of water for one measure of rice. Brown rice needs more water.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. After it’s done, transfer the rice to a large bowl.

Phase 4

  1. Take a pot.
  2. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add a layer of potato slices.
  4. On top of the potatoes add a layer of rice.
  5. On top of the rice add a layer of the lentil-raisin-date mix.
  6. Keep on going; the top layer should be rice.
  7. Cover the pot and cook on medium fire for 10 minutes or so.
  8. Drizzle the melted butter and the saffron-water over the rice.
  9. Cover the top of the pot with a towel to prevent steam from escaping, and put a lid on top of the towel.
  10. Cook on low fire for about 30 minutes.
  11. At the end of the process the potatoes on the bottom are going to be crispy and the rice will be steamed and infused with the aromas of your spices.
  12. Ready to serve.

Notes Rice with Green Lentils, Raisins and Dates Persian Style – Adas Polo

  • Phases 1, 2 and 3 can be done simultaneously: put the lentils to simmer, put the rice to cook and saute the onions and the rest while the rest is cooking.
  • In Phase 4 it is common practice to arrange the layers like a pyramid, so that the steam comes out of the sides.
  • The crispy bottom is called Tahdig or Tadig and is much prized in Iran.
  • Using a potato is optional – but it does make for a very nice crisp. 🙂

Fresh Herb Kuku – Persian Rice Recipe

Kuku Sabzi

Cuisine: Persian / Iranian
Region: Common

In Iran, this is an essential dish for the New Year’s feast. For the rest of us it’s a fantastic, fresh, and nutritious recipe. It has various preparation stages but don’t let that intimidate you from enjoying a truthfully fragrant dish. Enjoy!

Serves: 6
Cooking time: approx. 15 min
You need: mixing bowls, a skillet, an oven sheet pan and parchment paper

Ingredients

Caramelizing onions

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium, yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped

Garnish

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1⁄3 cup (50 g) dried barberries, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 Tsp grape molasses* or sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water

Batter

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp advieh (Persian spice mix. See Notes.)
  • 1+1/2 Tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) finely chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) finely chopped spring onions (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup (85 g) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup (85 g) finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup (85 g) finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp rice flour
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp dried fenugreek

Other

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, for cooking the kuku

Instructions

Caramelize the onions

  1. Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions for 15 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  2. Remove the onions and allow to cool.

Make the garnish

  1. In the same skillet, place the oil, barberries, grape molasses, and the water, and stir-fry for 4 minutes over medium heat (taking care as barberries burn easily).
  2. Transfer the barberries to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F.
  4. Line a quarter-sized (9+1/2 x 13 in or 24 x 33 cm) rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

Make the batter

  1. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the baking powder, advieh, salt, pepper, and turmeric.
  3. Beat lightly with a fork.
  4. Add the garlic, lettuce, herbs, walnuts, flour, and caramelized onions, and fold in gently using a spatula. Do not over-mix.

Cook the Kuku

  1. Brush the lined sheet pan with 4 Tbsp oil.
  2. Pour in the batter, and gently shake the pan to even out the batter.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
  5. Garnish with the caramelized barberries.
  6. Cut the kuku into pieces in any way you like. (Squares works best.)

Notes on Fresh Herb Kuku – Persian Rice Recipe

  • You can substitute barberries with cranberries.
  • Advieh is a Persian spice mix. You can buy it ready-made from a specialty store or make your own. Here’s how.
  • Serve hot, or at room temperature, with lavash bread and Yogurt and Persian Shallot Dip (mast-o musir, page 49). Nush-e joon!

Turkish Cheesecake – Künefe

Künefe or Kanafeh

Cuisine: Turkish
Region: Common

Künefe or Kanafeh is the Middle Eastern version of Cheesecake. Unlike the Western iterations of the concept Künefe does not contain cream as a cooking ingredient. There are many ways to make Künefe. Some call for a frying pan or skillet; others use the oven; most of them use sugar; others use honey; some suggest to serve Künefe with Kaymak (buffalo milk cream); others don’t care about cream – and so on, and so forth. Our Turkish Cheesecake recipe is made in the oven and uses honey syrup instead of sugar syrup.

Serves: 6
Cooking time: approx. 30 min
You need: a small oven pan, a large bowl, a small saucepan and a small pot.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 250g (9 oz) kadayif or kataifi (angel hair) pastry.
  • 250g (9 oz) fresh mozzarella* cheese, shredded to pieces. See Notes.
  • 125g (4+1/2 oz) clarified butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm.

For the Syrup

  • Scant 3/4 cup honey.
  • 1/2 cup minus 2.5 Tbsp of lukewarm water.
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda.
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice.
  • 3-5 drops of rose water (optional).
  • 1/8 Tsp ground nutmeg (optional)

For Serving

  • A handful of ground green pistachios, about 1/4 cup (or less, or more – it’s up to you).

Instructions

First, Make the Syrup

  1. Put the honey and the lukewarm water in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir until honey has dissolved.
  3. Turn on the fire to low-medium heat.
  4. Place the saucepan over the fire.
  5. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring it.
  6. Add the baking soda; wait for a few beats and then add the lemon juice; wait for another few beats and add the rose water and/or nutmeg if you’re using them.
  7. Continue to simmer and stir in low-medium fire for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Set it aside to cool off.

Then, Make the Künefe Cheesecake

  1. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Turn on the oven (to preheat) at 190C/374F.
  3. Take a medium oven pan and butter its bottom. Don’t overdo it. Put it aside.
  4. Take a large bowl.
  5. Untangle the kadayif (angel hair) pastry.
  6. Take a pair of scissors and cut the kadayif (angel hair) pastry into short, 1 to 2 cm or 1/2 to 3/4 inch, lengths into the bowl.
  7. Mix the lukewarm melted butter into the shredded kadayif pastry. Work the butter through the pastry evenly.
  8. Separate the now shredded and buttered kadayif pastry into two equal portions.
  9. Spread the first portion of the kadayif pastry over the bottom of your buttered oven pan.
  10. Cover the pastry with the the cheese.
  11. On top of the cheese layer spread the second half of the kadayif pastry.
  12. Put the pan in the oven and bake for approx. 30 minutes or more, or less, depending on your oven.
  13. You need the kadayif pastry to turn adequately golden or golden-brown so, do check progress, without leaving the oven door open for long: you don’t want to lose much heat.

Combine

  1. Turn off the oven.
  2. Take the golden or golden-brown pan of Künefe out of the oven and onto the stove.
  3. Pour the room-temperature honey syrup over the Künefe. Pour it evenly.
  4. Cut the Künefe into wedges or squares.

Serve

  1. Sprinkle the ground green pistachios on top of the Künefe.
  2. Serve hot. (Not piping hot… just hot.)

Notes on Turkish Cheesecake – Künefe

  • Kadayif pastry is also known as Angel Hair pastry or Kataifi pastry. You can find it in Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern grocery shops.
  • Regarding the type of cheese… hmm. In Turkey they use Kashar (the Greeks call it Kaseri). Alternatives to Kashar or Kaseri: the Bulgarian Kashkaval, Italian Mozzarella (although it’s a bit bland), Mascarpone or even Pecorino Romano. The latter is saltier, so, go for it only you’re into more “salt & sweet” flavours than the rest of us.
  • For the differences between Honey and Sugar, click here.

Abzhorka – Sirloin Beef and Potato Salad

Abzhorka

Cuisine: Russian
Region: Common

Abzhorka is a classic, traditional Russian dish that can be a starter, a side dish, a salad or a main course. (Fun, eh? 🙂 )

Serves 4
Cooking time: 60 min
You need: two pots and two bowls

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) sirloin beef
  • 2 yellow onions, cut in rings
  • 3 pickles, cut into strips
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • @350ml (12 oz) mayonnaise (recipe here)
  • 2 Tbsp cider or wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, or 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Put the carrots in a pot.
  2. Cover them with water.
  3. Bring to a boil in medium fire. Let them simmer until they are tender.
  4. Drain them and cut them in rounds.
  5. Put the sirloin in a another pot.
  6. Add water (so that the beef doesn’t get stuck on the bottom of the pot) and salt to your taste.
  7. Boil over medium fire, until the meat is tender.
  8. Drain the meat and cut it into thin strips.
  9. In a bowl, mix the carrots, the sirloin beef, the onions and the pickles. (You may want to slice the pickles into thin stripes. Up to you.)
  10. In another bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the vinegar, the olive oil or butter, salt, pepper and the 2 Tbsp of water. Stir well.
  11. Combine the contents of the two bowls – and the food is ready.

Notes on Abzhorka – Sirloin Beef and Potato Salad

  • Decide whether you will keep the sirloin broth to use it for something else or discard it altogether.
  • If you’re using butter instead of olive oil be sure to melt it first.
  • Feel free to use any kind of pickle you wish.
  • Abzhorka can be a starter, a side dish, a salad or a main dish. There’s no rule. 🙂
  • Recipe for home made mayonnaise, here.

Busiate Pasta with Sicilian Pesto

Busiate con pesto Siciliano

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Sicily / Trapani

Busiate or Busiati is a spiral shaped pasta. Check the reference here. If you can’t find Busiate then you can either make them yourself (yes, it is possible, check the Notes below) or use whatever type of long and twisty pasta you can find.

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: approx. 15 min
You need: a food processor, a mixing bowl and a pot.

Ingredients

For the Pesto

  • 2 cups (glasses) cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves – packed
  • 1/2 cup (50 g, or 1.7 oz) finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for serving
  • 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp golden raisins
  • 1/4 Tsp chile flakes
  • 3 anchovies, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 peperoncino, seeded, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Make the Pesto

  1. Put the tomatoes in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Pour into a sieve to drain the excess juices.
  3. Return the tomatoes to the processor and add the almonds, basil, Parmesan, oil, capers, raisins, chile flakes, anchovies, garlic, and peperoncini,
  4. Process until finely ground.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Put it in the fridge until you need it. (Don’t put it in the fridge if you’re going to use it 10 min later.)

Make the Pasta

  1. Put it in a large pot, and boil it to al-dente (according to instructions)
  2. Drain the cooking water but keep 1/4 cup.

Combine

  1. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl along with the pesto.
  2. Toss them to combine.
  3. Add a couple of Tbsp of cooking water, if needed, to even out the pesto sauce.
  4. Transfer to a large serving platter, or plates, and serve with more Parmesan.

Notes on Busiate Pasta with Sicilian Pesto

  • Try to buy real Parmesan, and grate it at home. It does make a difference.
  • How to make Busiate pasta: here.
  • Some versions of Busiate pasta contain eggs.

Chicken Tagine

Cuisine: Moroccan
Region: Common

This traditional Moroccan Chicken Tagine recipe is simply mouthwatering. Let’s get to work, shall we?

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: 55 to 65 min
You need: a heavy skillet or tagine and a mixing bowl
Notes: requires marinading for 4-5 hours

Ingredients

  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Tsp saffron threads, pulverized
  • 1/2 Tsp ground ginger
  • 1+1/2 Tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp of salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 – 14 pieces of chicken (thighs with bone and skin are best)
  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 12 – 14 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 12 – 14 cracked green olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 – 4 small preserved lemons (sold in specialty food shops). Or just lemons. (Make sure they are not waxed.)
  • 1+1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp honey (stirred in the chicken stock)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin, turmeric and 1/2 Tsp salt together.
  2. Add pepper to taste.
  3. Rub the chicken with the mixture, cover, then refrigerate and marinate for 4 to 5 hours.
  4. Heat the oil in heavy skillet.
  5. Add the chicken, and brown on all sides.
  6. Remove the chicken to a platter.
  7. Add onions to the skillet, and cook over medium-low heat until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
  8. While waiting, quarter the lemons, remove the pulp and cut the lemon skin in strips.
  9. Is you’re using a tagine, transfer the onions to it. If not, leave the onions in the skillet.
  10. Put the chicken on the onions.
  11. Add the cinnamon stick.
  12. Scatter the olives and lemon slices over the chicken.
  13. Mix the honey and the lemon juice into the chicken stock.
  14. Pour the mixture over the chicken.
  15. Cover the tagine or skillet.
  16. Place over low heat, and cook about 40- 50 minutes, until chicken is done.
  17. Scatter the parsley on top, and serve.

Notes on the Chicken Tagine

  • This recipe does depend on the chicken stock you’ll use. If that’s helpful, you will find a recipe for (European style) chicken broth, here.

Creamed Hungarian Caraway Soup

Krémes Köménymagos Leves

Cuisine: Hungarian

A Hungarian caraway soup with a twist: adding cream makes it a classic winter soup. This is not a “fire and forget” kind of thing – it does require some stirring.

Serves: 6
Cooking time: 20-30 min
You need: a skillet, and perhaps a sieve

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1/3 coup flour
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1+1/2 Tsp salt
  • A pinch of ground pepper
  • 3/4 Tsp paprika
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Put the butter int the skillet and melt it over low heat.
  2. Add the flour, the caraway seeds, the salt and the ground pepper.
  3. Heat until the mixture bubbles and is lightly browned, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the paprika.
  6. Then, gradually, add the water, stirring constantly.
  7. Return the skillet to the fire and bring rapidly to a boil, stirring constantly.
  8. Cover and simmer for 15 min.
  9. Meanwhile prepare and set aside the Croutons
  10. Remove the soup from the fire.
  11. Slightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl.
  12. In the same bowl, add 3 Tbsp of hot soup and stir vigorously.
  13. Immediately blend the egg yolk mixture into the hot soup in the skillet .
  14. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for @2-3 min.
  15. Remove the skillet from the fire.
  16. At this stage the “gourmet” thing to do is to discard the caraway seeds by pouring the soup through a sieve. Your choice, really. 🙂
  17. Just before serving, add the heavy cream.

Notes on the Hungarian Creamed Caraway Soup

  • Do not overcook or allow the soup to boil.

Croutons – Hungarian Style

Kenyér kockák

Cuisine: Hungarian

Hungarian style Croutons are a side dish for the Hungarian Caraway Soup and the Creamed Hungarian Caraway Soup. However, crouton is crouton, no? Feel free to use it as you see fit.

Yields: 1+1/4 cup
Cooking time: 5 min
You need: a (heavy) skillet

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tbsp of butter
  • 2-3 slices of bread
  • Salt or pepper, if you wish.

Instructions

  1. Put the butter in the skillet and melt it over low heat.
  2. Cut the bread into square pieces.
  3. Put the bread into the skillet and stir until all sides are coated and browned.

Notes on Croutons – Hungarian Style

Sardine Bouillabaisse Soup

Cuisine: French
Region: the Central Plateau and Languadoc

The Sardine Bouillabaisse Soup is as tasty and hearty as it sounds, really. 🙂 Enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8
Cooking time: 20-30 min
You need: a skillet or heavy saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/2 to 2 Kg of sardines
  • 4 medium onions, diced
  • 500g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 sliver of an orange rind
  • 1 generous sprig of thyme or a Tsp of dry thyme
  • 2 fennel stalks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch of safron
  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) potatoes, cut in cubes
  • finely chopped parsley
  • garlic croutons
  • salt and fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Clean and scale the sardines.
  2. In a large, heavy saucepan make a bed of onions, tomatoes, garlic, orange rind and all the herbs – except for parsley.
  3. Season well with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  4. Add the potatoes on top of the mixture.
  5. Cover the mixture with water – and be generous with it. (But don’t overdo it.)
  6. Bring to a boil and cook briskly for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Add the sardines and continue boiling for a further 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.
  8. Drain the stock into a soup bowl and transfer the potatoes and the sardines to a dish.
  9. Serve the liquid and the remaining vegetables as a soup, accompanied with garlic croutons (see Notes, below).
  10. Following that, serve the sardines and potatoes sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Notes on the Sardine Bouillabaisse Soup

Moroccan Potatoes with Fennel and Celery

Batata Bil Bisbas

Cuisine: Moroccan / Morocco
Region: Common

This recipe for Morrocan for Potatoes with Fennel and Celery can be a starter, or a salad, or a main meal. There’s no rule. Enjoy! 🙂

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 30 min
You need: a saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1/3 of a glass (cup) olive oil
  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) potatoes, cut in quarters
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut in pieces of about 2.5cm (1 inch)
  • 2 fennel bulbs, quartered and then halved (=each quarter cut in half)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 sprigs mint, chopped coarsely
  • 4 sprigs basil, chopped coarsely
  • juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Take a saucepan and pour in half of the olive oil.
  2. Add the potatoes.
  3. Add the celery and fennel on top of the potatoes.
  4. Add the garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Add enough water to barely cover the (green) vegetables.
  6. Bring it to a boil
  7. Simmer for about 15 minutes with the lid on.
  8. Fifteen minutes later: add the mint and the basil.
  9. Stir and cook without the lid to reduce the liquid for approx. 10 minutes.
  10. Take the saucepan off the fire, let it sit for a moment and drizzle in the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil.

Notes on Moroccan Potatoes with Fennel and Celery

  • Potatoes can be peeled or with their skin on. If the latter just make sure you wash them very, very well.
  • Can be served hot, warm or cold – your choice.

How to Cut and Core Fennel Bulbs

  • We have a video for you, here.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası

Cuisine: Turkish
Region: Common

Hot or cold, the Turkish Red Lentil Soup is a good one. It is nutritious too. Using vegetable broth/stock turns the recipe to vegetarian and vegan. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 2–25 min
You need: a pot, maybe a handheld blender

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (about 200 ml) of red lentils, washed and rinsed
  • 7 cups of broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 Tsp of cayenne pepper or 1 Tsp of red pepper
  • 1 Tsp of salt
  • Chopped mint for serving
  • A few drops of lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Combine the ingredients in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil then lower the fire and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove the pot from the fire and blend the soup with a utensil or a handheld blender until it is creamy but not completely pureed.
  4. Serve with a garnish of mint.
  5. Add a few drops of lemon juice for taste.

Notes on Turkish Red Lentil Soup

  • To make your own vegetable stock, click here.
  • To make your own chicken broth, click here.

myfoodistry - why dieting doesn't usually work

Why dieting doesn’t usually work: Sandra Aamodt

TED Talks

In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they’re 10 years old. In this honest, raw talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt uses her personal story to frame an important lesson about how our brains manage our bodies, as she explores the science behind why dieting not only doesn’t work, but is likely to do more harm than good. She suggests ideas for how to live a less diet-obsessed life, intuitively.

Tahini Sauce – Tarator

Tarator

Cuisine: Lebanese

Tahini Sauce or Tarator is a creamy sauce used with fish, or as a salad dressing, or as a roasted vegetables dressing.

Yield: 250ml
Cooking time: 10 min
You need: a bowl

Ingredients

  • 100g tahini
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • approx. 100ml cold water

Instructions

  1. Add the lemon juice into the tahini and combine both with a spoon (or a fork) until the mixture is thick and fluffy.
  2. Add the garlic.
  3. Add the salt.
  4. Start adding cold water, little at a time and keep stirring. Before you add more water make sure that the mixture has no lumps.
  5. Keep adding and mixing water until the sauce is creamy, without lumps.

Notes on Tahini Sauce – Tarator

  • Goes well with roasted vegetables. Can be used as a salad dressing or a dip, too.
  • Regarding the health benefits of tahini, click here.

Goat Cooked in Water and Olive Oil

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

Slow Cooking Supreme, this one. Goat Cooked in Water and Olive Oil takes very little time to prepare and a long time to make but the result… is mouthwatering. We picked this recipe when, at some point in life, we were roaming the mountains of Crete/Greece. A shepherd offered us this dish as lunch. Forgetting it proved impossible.

Serves 6 – 8
Cooking time: 3 – 4 hrs
You will need: a stock pot

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 kg (2 – 4 Lbs) of goat meat. Do prefer a leg and do ask the clerk to cut it up in cubes or chunks of at least 7 cm x 7 cm (@3 Inch x 3 inch).
  • hot water (see below)
  • 2-4 cups of very good quality olive oil (see below)
  • 3-4 pinches of good quality oregano
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Salt the meat (don’t overdo it).
  2. Put the meat in a tall and narrow stock pot.
  3. Add enough water to cover the meat and then add the same amount of water you just used, on top of it.
  4. Bring it to a boil, then lower the fire to medium-high.
  5. After a few minutes, you will see a layer of foam forming on top of the water. Skim that off, and keep skimming until there’s little foam left. This part of the operation should be over within @ 10 to 20 minutes.
  6. Lower the fire to medium low.
  7. Add pepper.
  8. Add some salt – again: don’t overdo it: one or two pinches are enough.
  9. Add 3-4 pinches of dry oregano.
  10. Add the olive oil. The olive oil will sit on top of the water (olive oil and water don’t mix) and it’s thickness (on top of the water) should roughly be 2.5cm / 1 inch. The amount of olive oil you’ll need depends on the kind of pot you’re using: if it’s tall and narrow, then 2 – 3 cups should be enough. If the pot has a broad rim… you’ll need more olive oil. (Which is a waste, really).
  11. Let it cook for as long as it takes for the water to evaporate. For 2 kg / 4 lbs you’re looking at @4 hours of simmering.
  12. The food is ready when the meat is tender and… cooked.

Notes on Goat Cooked in Water and Olive Oil

  • Water to Olive Oil Ratio. Depending on the water-to-olive oil ratios you used it can be that the food is ready when the water has evaporated completely and only oil is left in the pot; OR when there’s still broth under the oil. Going one way or the other is a matter of preference: some people like their gravy oily and thick, others prefer it to be lighter and watery. It’s a matter of preference, really.
  • Do NOT cover the pot. You already have a “lid” on, and that “lid” is the layer of olive oil sitting on top of the water: it lets the hot air bubbles out and, under it, the meat is boiling and roasting in the same time. (Strange but…true.)
  • Oil of Oregano will not do it for you. It has to be very good quality, dry oregano.
  • Goat meat is “sinewy” by nature. (It is also very lean.) It HAS to be cooked in low fire, for hours – and there’s no shortcut to this.
  • Spices. This recipe doesn’t call for any other spices, really. But you can certainly try combinations of coriander, cardamom or whatever else suits your palate.
  • Sides. Boiled and broiled potatoes, or rice would do nicely. Should you need to balance the olive oil’s sweetness you could also steam or boil some greens like Swiss Chard or Kale or Spinach or something bitter like that.
  • A tip regarding how to prepare deep frozen meat: here

Korean Chicken and Ginseng Soup

Cuisine: Korean
Region: Common

The Korean Chicken and Ginseng Soup is one of many Korean classic, traditional chicken recipes. Enjoy!

Serves 4
Cooking time: @ 30 min
You need: a skillet and a pot

Ingredients

  • 1 glass (cup) of shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, diced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 8 glasses (cups) of chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 Tsp red chili pepper paste
  • 1 Tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 green onions (scallions) chopped fine

Instructions

  1. Put the sesame seeds in a skillet and stir fry for 1 minute. You know the’re ready when they turn golden brown. Turn off the fire and move the skillet aside.
  2. Take a large pot.
  3. Add the garlic, the chicken broth and the ginger, turn on the fire and heat until it boils.
  4. Blend in the chili paste, the soy and the sesame oil.
  5. Then, drop in the chicken and keep on cooking until the chicken meat warms up. (How much it warms up, is up to you.)
  6. Ready to serve. Scoop the soup from the pot and into the serving bowls.
  7. Drizzle each bowl with the green onions (scallions) and sesame seeds.

Notes on Korean Chicken and Ginseng Soup

  • Serve with rice.
  • Recipe for Asian style chicken broth, here

Indian Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce

Imlee Lobhia

Cuisine: Indian
Region: Common

Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce is dairy-less, meatless, satisfying and comforting one-pot recipe from India. Enjoy!

Yields approx. 9 cups or 2 Liters
Cooking time: approx. 60 min
You need: a heavy bottomed stock pot with a lid, a food blender/processor, a bowl, a strainer and a frying pan
Notes: requires soaking overnight

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (glasses, about 500g or about 1 Lb) dried black-eyed peas, picked over, washed, soaked overnight, and drained.
  • 1 Tsp turmeric powder
  • 8 cups (glasses, about 2 Liters) boiling water, divided
  • 1 dried tamarind pulp cube, about 5 cm / 2 inch
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
  • 1 piece of ginger about 3 cm or 1 Inch, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 to 3 fresh Thai or cayenne chillies, stems removed and finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 2 Tsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 cup (glass) of regular or light coconut milk

Garnish

  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

In the beginning

  1. Take a heavy bottomed stock pot.
  2. Add to it the lobhia, the turmeric and 7 cups (approx. 1.7 Liters) of water.
  3. Turn the fire on to medium high and bring to a boil. It may take some time.
  4. After coming to a boil, reduce the fire to medium low.
  5. Partially cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the lobhia is soft.
  6. Turn off the fire, cover the pot and set it aside to cool off. Do NOT drain the water.

Tamarind pulp

  1. While the stock pot is cooking…
  2. Soak the tamarind pulp in the remaining 1 cup / 240 mL of water (preferably warm) for 10 to 20 or even 30 minutes – depending on the quality of the pulp and the temperature of the water.
  3. Then, with your clean and washed hands, break down the pulp and squeeze the liquid out. The point here is to turn water into tamarind juice.
  4. Strain the juice with a fine strainer.
  5. Discard the pulp, seeds, and fiber.
  6. With a blender or a food processor combine the tamarind juice with the tomato and blend to a watery paste. Set aside.

Continuing

  1. Take a frying pan, add the coconut oil.
  2. Turn the fire on to medium high.
  3. Wait a for a few beats and then add the onion.
  4. Cook it for 6 to 7 minutes, until brown. Caramelized is OK, too.
  5. Add the ginger and the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  6. Slowly and tenderly add to the pan the tamarind/tomato paste, the fresh chillies and the brown sugar.
  7. Stir the mixture well and cook for another 4 minutes.
  8. Turn off the fire and transfer the mixture to the stock pot containing the lobhia.

Back to the stock pot

  1. Turn the fire on to medium–high and add the coriander, the red chilli powder, and salt.
  2. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and cook for 1 minute, until warmed through.
  4. Turn off the fire.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
  6. Garnish with the cilantro and it’s done.

Sides

  • Serve with brown or white Basmati rice or Naan bread. See notes.

Notes on Indian Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce

  • Alternative to the stock pot: a Dutch Oven.
  • If you want to make your own Naan bread, here’s a recipe/video.

Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin

Dijaj Bialhayl – دجاج بالهيل

Cuisine: Lebanese
Region: Common

The Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin is similar to an Arabic dish called Kebsah but with a lot of twists. This recipe tastes better the next day, so, feel free to cook it in advance, store it and serve in the following day or two with a different side dish. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 40 to 60 min
You need: a pot, a bowl and a container

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, about 2.5 Kg or 4.5 Lb, cut into 10 pieces with the skin on
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1+1⁄2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1⁄2 cup peeled and shredded carrot
  • 2+3⁄4 Tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄4 Tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3⁄4 Tsp ground allspice
  • 1⁄2 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 Tsp ground cloves
  • 1/16 Tsp ground nutmeg
  • 5 cups (glasses, about 1 Liter) boiling water
  • 1/3 cup (glass) tomato paste
  • 3⁄4 cup peeled and diced tomato

Instructions

Rinse the chicken

  1. Take a pot, put the chicken in, and add 6 cups of cold water and the vinegar to refresh the flavour of the chicken.
  2. Drain the water, transfer the chicken to a bowl and set it aside.

Then

  1. Add olive oil in the pot.
  2. Turn the fire on to medium high.
  3. Add the onions, carrots, salt, and spices, and sauté for 2 minutes or so.
  4. Add the pieces of chicken, and cook until the meat turns white – you don’t want to see pink colour in the meat.
  5. Add the 5 cups of boiling water, the tomato paste and the tomatoes.
  6. Stir well to dissolve the tomato paste in the water.
  7. Increase the fire to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, uncovered.
  8. Reduce the fire to medium and simmer with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.
  9. Turn off the fire.
  10. Transfer the pieces of chicken to a flat tray and set aside to cool, uncovered for about 15 minutes.
  11. DO NOT discard the broth.
  12. After 15 minutes remove and discard the skin of the chicken. You may want to discard some chicken bones too – that’s your choice. Just don’t discard the centre bone from the thighs or drumsticks.
  13. Put the pieces of chicken in a container just large enough to hold them and cover with some of the reserved broth.
  14. If you don’t serve it right away keep in the fridge for the following day. It does taste better-next-day, this one.
  15. It can be served at room temperature (if you live in the Middle East) or warm or hotter – depending on your taste.

Sides

  • Pita Crisps with Sumak is a good one. For the recipe click here.
  • Rice with Raisins and Almonds is another good one. Click here.

Notes on the Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin

  • Keep the broth for something else. E.g. you could make some really good rice with it. 🙂

Rice with Raisins and Almonds – Lebanese Style

Cuisine: Lebanese
Region: Common

It does take a few extra things to do other than simply boiling rice, but, well, the result is… impressive. Rice with Raisins and Almonds can be had as a main dish, or as a side dish – your choice. Enjoy!

Serves: 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish
Cooking time: 20 to 30 min
You need: a pot, a baking sheet, a platter

Ingredients

  • 1 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (glass) rice
  • 2+1⁄2 cups of hot chicken broth
  • 1⁄2 cup (glass) toasted slivered almonds
  • 1⁄2 cup (glass) toasted golden raisins
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

Instructions

For the rice

  1. Put the olive oil in a medium pot.
  2. Turn the fire on to medium, put the pot on it and preheat the olive oil.
  3. Add the rice and stir so that olive oil coats the grains.
  4. Add 2+1⁄2 cups hot chicken broth.
  5. Increase the fire to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Then reduce the fire to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the broth has been absorbed by the rice.
  7. Turn of the fire, remove from pot and and set it aside, covered, to cool off – about 20 minutes.
  8. Before serving, fluff the rice: separate the grains with the tines of a fork.

For the almonds and the raisins

  1. While the rice is cooking, turn on the oven to 180C/350F to preheat it.
  2. Take a baking sheet pan and spread an aluminum foil on it.
  3. Spread the almonds and raisins, arranging so that they keep separate.
  4. Put the baking sheet pan in the oven, preferably in the centre, and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking occasionally. You want the almonds to turn golden and the raisins to be puffy.
  5. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, empty the contents to a bowl and drizzle in the melted butter, mixing well. See notes.
  6. Set it aside to cool off.

For serving

  1. Take a platter, empty the rice on it and garnish the top with the almond and raisin mix.

Notes

  • Regarding raisins and almonds: between step #4 and step #5 instead of using a mixing bowl you can drizzle and mix the butter directly on the raisins and almonds on the baking sheet.
  • You may want to transfer the buttered raisins and almonds to a dish lined with a paper towel to absorb some of the excess butter – it’s up to you.
  • Unsalted butter works best.
  • This recipe can be used as a side dish to the Lebanese Style Cardamom Chicken, or can be had a main dish.

Traditional Turkish Baklava Recipe with Honey Syrup

Baklava

Cuisine: Turkish
Region: Near East, Middle East, North Africa.

Baklava is Turkish Cuisine’s most emblematic and widely known dessert. Other nations in the area make it too, with certain twists. E.g. the Greeks prefer less spice in their Baklava, the Lebanese tend to want their Baklava drier (with less syrup) and cut in mouthfuls, etc.

Traditionally, classic Baklava consists of a layer of walnuts sandwiched between two batches of filo pastry sheets, generously drenched in syrup. As you can freely imagine there are many variations to the concept: some prefer to make baklava with forty (40) layers of less-than-paper-thin filo sheets (yes, it’s possible, even handmade); others use a lesser number of thicker yufka filo sheets; some make it with a hazel-nut filling; others use no nuts at all, opting for fillings made of orange pulp or dates. In this (most traditional) Baklava recipe we use pistachio nuts, walnuts and honey syrup instead of sugar syrup.

Makes: 60 mouthful size pieces
Cooking time: approx. 35 min
You need: a large oven pan, a large bowl, a saucepan and a small pot.

Ingredients

For the Baklava

  • 500g (1 Lb 2 oz) yufka pastry sheets or filo pastry sheets
  • 250g (9 oz) butter, melted
  • 250g (9 oz) unsalted pistachio nut kernels or walnuts, crushed or ground
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the Syrup

  • 1+ 1/4 cups honeyr
  • 1+1/4 cups (minus 5 Tbsp) of lukewarm water.
  • 1 Tsp baking soda.
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice.
  • 3-5 drops of rose water or orange blossom water (optional).

For Serving

  • A handful of ground green pistachios, about 1/4 cup (or less, or more – it’s up to you).

Instructions

First, Make the Syrup

  1. Put the honey and the lukewarm water in a saucepan.
  2. Stir until honey has dissolved.
  3. Turn on the fire to low-medium heat.
  4. Place the saucepan over the fire.
  5. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring it.
  6. Add the baking soda; wait for a few beats and then add the lemon juice; wait for another few beats and add the rose water or orange blossom water – if you’re using them.
  7. Continue to simmer and stir in low-medium fire for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Turn off the fire.
  9. Set it aside to cool off.

Then, Make the Baklava

  1. Place the oven rack either below the middle of the oven or at the middle. (Lower in the oven makes the Baklava base crispier.)
  2. Turn on the oven (to preheat) at 190C/374F.
  3. Take a large bowl.
  4. Mix the nuts with the cinnamon in the bowl. Put it aside.
  5. Take a large baking pan (large enough to take the filo sheet in) and butter its bottom. You don’t need to overdo it, but you don’t have to be stingy about it either.
  6. Divide the filo sheets into two equal stacks.
  7. With a brush, butter the top side of a filo sheet.
  8. Set the filo sheet on the pan. DO NOT press it down.
  9. Butter the top side of another filo sheet and set it on top of the previous one.
  10. Repeat the exercise until you finish the first stack.
  11. Then, layer the nuts, evenly.
  12. After that, butter another filo sheet and set it on top of the nuts.
  13. Repeat the exercise until there’s no filo sheet left.
  14. Take a sharp knife and half-cut the Baklava into squares. (Half-cut means cutting the Baklava deep enough, but not all the way to the bottom.) Ideally you want your Baklava squares to be about 3×5 cm or 1+1/4 x 2 inches.
  15. Put the pan in the oven and let it bake for approx. 30 min or until golden to golden-brown.

Combine

  1. Turn off the oven.
  2. Take the golden or golden-brown pan of Baklava out of the oven and put it onto the stove.
  3. Pour the room temperature honey syrup over the Baklava. Pour it evenly.
  4. With a sharp knife, finish cutting the Baklava into squares.
  5. Sprinkle the ground green pistachios on top of the Baklava.

Serve

  1. Serve hot (not piping hot… just hot) or at room temperature.

Notes on Classic Turkish Baklava Recipe

  • Be careful with the walnuts; they main contain shards of walnut shells so… do pay attention and pick them carefully.
  • You could add some nutmeg in the “nuts and cinnamon” mix, if you wish. If you do, don’t overdo it: you want nutmeg to complement and enhance cinnamon, not take over.
  • If your filo sheets are bigger than your pan, no worries; use a sharp knife to cut off the edges before you set the next filo sheet in.
  • If your local store doesn’t carry filo or yufka pastry you can find it in Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern grocery shops and bakeries.
  • Cooking time is approximate. There are many types of ovens out there – some work with gas, some are electric, some are convection ovens, etc. Check the Baklava after 25 minutes and decide if it needs more baking.
  • If you have to open the oven door, just remember to do so very quickly because losing a lot of heat stops the baking process – and you don’t want this.
  • For the differences between Honey and Sugar, click here.

Lebanese Lamb Stew with Aubergines, Mint and Vinegar

Lahma Bi Khal

Cuisine: Lebanese
Region: Common

Cooking this Lebanese Lamb Stew with Aubergines, Mint and Vinegar (Lahma Bi Khal) recipe may indeed reveal that there’s more to the palate than meets the eye. 🙂 Enjoy!

Serves: 6 to 8
Cooking time: approx. 120 min
You need: a pot, a colander, a large skillet, a sheet pan or grill pan and about 3 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) shallots or baby onions
  • 1 Kg (2 Lb) shoulder of lamb – boned
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves – uncut
  • 1 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp ground allspice
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 3 medium-sized eggplants
  • 4 Tbsp vinegar – red or white
  • 1 Tbsp dried mint, crushed
  • Hot water
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the onions or shallots.
  2. Add water in a pot, bring it to a boil and drop the onions or shallots in the boiling water.
  3. Poach the shallots for 5 minutes.
  4. The skins are now loose.
  5. Drain the onions or shallots in a colander.
  6. Peel the onions or shallots while they are still warm.

Then

  1. Cut the meat into 8 large pieces and trim off some of the fat, but not all of it.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet.
  3. Add the meat in the skillet, and saute the meat on all sides.
  4. Take the meat out of the skillet. The skillet now has a lot of animal fat in it.
  5. Add the baby onions or shallots and the whole cloves of garlic to the fat and saute until they are golden.
  6. Lift them out, set them on the side and separate the garlic from the onions/shallots.
  7. Pour the fat off the skillet, and return the meat to the skillet.
  8. Cover the meat with hot water, increase the fire and bring it to a boil.
  9. Remove the froth / scum.
  10. Time for the spices: add the garlic, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and sugar. (Leave salt for the end – see Notes.)
  11. Turn the fire down to low.
  12. Put the lid on the skillet and simmer, covered, for about 90 minutes, until the meat is very tender.
  13. Keep an eye on it. If you see the hot water evaporating by much add some hot water as necessary, to keep the meat covered while it’s simmering.

In the meantime, while the meat is cooking…

  1. Cut the eggplants into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) rounds.
  2. Sprinkle them with salt, and leave them on the side for about 30 minutes to bleed. Pat them with a paper towel when they’re ready.
  3. Brush the eggplant rounds with olive oil and place them on an oiled sheet pan. Alternatively you can use a grill pan.
  4. Put the sheet pan under the preheated broiler or put the eggplants in a grill pan.
  5. Turn them once until they are brown but not cooked through. (They will cook through in the skillet, during the next stage.)

Finally…

  1. Add the onions to the meat.
  2. Add the vinegar and mint.
  3. Keep simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add the eggplants and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  5. About 10 minutes before the end taste the sauce and add salt to taste.

Notes on Lebanese Lamb Stew with Aubergines, Mint and Vinegar

  • You can serve it plain, or with vermicelli pasta, orzo, rice. etc. (Please avoid serving potatoes as a side dish to this recipe – trust us on this.)
  • If you serve it plain, a bit of bread to soak up the juices would be a nice thing to do, no? 🙂
  • If you have one big eggplant instead of three medium ones, cut the eggplant rounds in half.
  • Lamb meat is saltier than beef, so, adding salt to taste towards the end, when you can taste the broth, makes some sense. (But you can do whatever you like, of course. 🙂
  • You can omit the sugar, if you like; or you can substitute it with a teaspoon of honey. (If you opt for honey, squeezing a few drops of lemon juice in it will help.)
  • For the difference between sugar and honey, click here.

How to Convert Sugar to Honey

This is honey-to-sugar conversion table that might come in handy when making desserts. Curiously enough although honey is sweeter than sugar it also has lower glycemic index than sugar; not to mention that honey contains other nice things in it, whereas sugar is… sugar. Check the Notes at the end of this post. Here we go.

Cups

  • 1/4 Cup Sugar -> 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar -> 4 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar -> 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar -> 1/2 Cup Honey + 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tsp
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar -> 2/3 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tbsp
  • 1 Cup Sugar -> 3/4 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2.5 Tbsp
  • 2 Cups Sugar -> 1 +1/4 Cup of Honey + 1 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 5 Tbsp

Grams / Ounces

  • 050g (1.76 oz) Sugar -> 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 067g (2.36 oz) Sugar -> 4 Tbsp Honey
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Sugar -> 67 grams or 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 133g (4.7 oz) Sugar -> 1/2 Cup Honey + 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tsp
  • 150g (5.3 oz) Sugar -> 2/3 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tbsp
  • 200g (7 oz) Sugar -> 3/4 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2.5 Tbsp
  • 400g (14.1 oz) Sugar -> 1 +1/4 Cup of Honey + 1 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 5 Tbsp

Notes on How To Convert Sugar to Honey

  • Honey is denser than sugar, so, it can easily lump and make your baking dense, too. This is why you use Baking Soda.
  • Honey is 20% water. So, to offset this, you need to reduce the other liquids you’re using. This is why we mention these reductions here.
  • Honey has a higher sugar content than sugar (yup!), so, it cooks faster and burns easier than sugar. To offset that you need to lower the oven temperature by 25C / 77F.
  • When making honey-syrup DO NOT boil the mixture in high fire. Rather simmer the mixture in low to medium fire.
  • More information regarding Honey Vs Sugar, here.

Tahini Halva with Lemon Juice and Cinnamon

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Common

Tahini halva With Lemon Juice and Cinnamon is one of the simplest and most delicious vegetarian or vegan desserts one can ever have any day (and probably anytime). Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 3 min
You need: a plate

Ingredients

  • 1 slice of tahini halva;
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon,
  • 1 pinch of cinammon,

Instructions

  1. Cut a 1.5cm (1/2 inch) slice of tahini halva.
  2. Put it on a plate.
  3. Coat it with the lemon juice.
  4. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top of it.

Notes on Tahini Halva with Lemon Juice and Cinnamon

  • Choosing tahini halva: vanilla flavour works well; no flavour (if you can find it) is even better.
  • Some brands use a lot of sweeteners in their halva. If you have the option, ask the clerk for a taste before you buy.
  • You can find tahini halva in any Greek or Middle Eastern shop.
  • For the health benefits of tahini, click here.

Lamb Roast with Potatoes, Lemon Juice and Oregano in the Oven

Arnaki psito ston fourno

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Epirus

A friend asked for this (all time oven classic) Greek recipe for a lamb roast in the oven, so, without further ado… voila! (And a heartfelt thanks! to Libby who passed on the recipe. 🙂 Enjoy!

Serves: 6 to 8
Cooking time: +75 min
You need: an oven pan

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb, approx. 1 + 1/2 to 2 Kg (about 3 to 4 Lbs),
  • approx. 2.5 to 3 Kg (about 5 to 6 Lbs) of potatoes,
  • 1/2 cup (glass) of extra virgin olive oil + a little more oil to coat the meat ( See Instructions),
  • 1 + 1/4 cups (glasses) of hot water,
  • 1 + 1/2 Tbsp yellow mustard,
  • 3/4 cup (glass) hot water (for the yellow mustard),
  • 2-3 pinches of dry oregano,
  • 4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed but not cut,
  • Juice of 2 lemons ,
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

  1. Turn on the oven to 200C (392F) and let it preheat while you prepare.
  2. Wash the oven pan you’re going to use.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut them into wedges. (See Notes).
  4. Squeeze the lemons, keep the juice and discard the pulp.
  5. Wash the meat in cold water and pat-dry it with a paper towel.
  6. Put the meat on the cutting board.
  7. Use a sharp knife to make 4 incisions all around the meat, close to the bone.
  8. Insert the garlic cloves into the incisions.
  9. Smear the bottom of the pan with a little bit of olive oil – not more than 2 Tbsp.
  10. Put the meat in the centre of the pan.
  11. Rub some olive oil in your hands, and coat the meat with the oil on all sides. (Do not overdo it. You need the meat glistening, but not drenched in oil.)
  12. Time for the seasoning: sprinkle the dry oregano on the meat and then salt and pepper it to taste.
  13. Add the potatoes in the pan and arrange them around the meat.
  14. Empty your 1/2 cup (glass) of extra virgin olive oil into the pan (but not on the meat).
  15. Empty your 1 + 1/4 cup (glass) of hot water into the pan.
  16. Pour the lemon juice on the meat and the potatoes alike.
  17. Fill 3/4 of a glass with hot water, dilute the yellow mustard in it and then empty it on the potatoes, only.
  18. Put the pan in the oven, on the lowest rack.
  19. The food will be ready when the water has evaporated and there’s only olive oil gravy left in the pan.

Salad and Dessert

You might want to consider a green and light salad with this recipe, like spinach, fresh/green onion, arugula, dill, parsley, etc. A bit of oil and vinegar as dressing should be enough.

This dish is rich and hearty, so, when it comes to dessert, the suggestion is to go simple. E.g. a bit of Tahini Halva with Lemon Juice and Cinnamon will not only cleanse your palate but may also help with digestion.

Notes on Lamb Roast with Potatoes, Lemon Juice and Oregano in the Oven

  • Check progress from time to time. Sometimes the meat cooks faster than the potatoes so, turn the meat over to cook on the other side too, if that’s what’s needed.
  • The suggested cooking time is indicative and it largely depends on your oven: some ovens use convection, some not; some ovens retain the heat differently than other; etc..
  • It generally takes around 60 min of cooking/roasting time per 1 Kg (2 Lbs) of meat, so, for 2 Kgs (4 Lbs) of meat you’re generally going to need approx. 120 min.
  • Therefore, you might want to adjust the size of your potato wedges to the amount of meat you’re cooking: if you have 2Kgs (4 Lbs) of meat then you might want your potato wedges to be bigger than smaller, so that the potatoes don’t cook earlier than the meat and vice-versa. If you see that the meat is cooking faster than the potatoes you can always cover the meat with an aluminum sheet, or remove from the pan it when you think it’s done.
  • You can scale the recipe down at will – it will still be delicious. 🙂

Lamb Stew with Dill in Egg & Lemon Sauce

Arni me Anitho kai Avgolemono

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Crete

This is an easy recipe for a Lamb Stew with Dill in Egg and Lemon Sauce. Who said “easy” can’t be “delicious”? Here’s the living proof of it. 🙂

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: approx. 60 min
You need: a bowl and a casserole or skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 Lb) lamb, cut in portions
  • 1 bunch of dill, diced
  • 4-5 fresh/green onions
  • 1/2 glass (cup) of olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 glass (cup) of hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash the meat in cold water.
  2. Salt it.
  3. Take a casserole, pour in the olive oil, the green onions and the meat.
  4. Saute all of the above for a few minutes.
  5. Lower the fire to minimum.
  6. Add the water.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Put the lid on.
  9. Simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Time depends on the quality of the meat.
  10. Add the dill and stir.
  11. Simmer for another 15 minutes. At this stage you prepare the egg and lemon sauce. See below.
  12. About 15 minutes after you stir in the dill, and after you made the egg and lemon sauce, you turn off the fire.
  13. Slowly add the egg and lemon sauce in the casserole.
  14. Give it a stir or two and let it rest.

For the Egg and Lemon Sauce

  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the lemon juice, a little water and a little of the lamb broth cooking in the casserole. (That’s all. 🙂

Notes on Lamb Stew with Dill in Egg and Lemon Sauce

  • As a side dish you could consider boiled and broiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice or orzo pasta. (Or anything you like, really. 🙂
  • Regarding the meat’s cut, lamb shoulder or shanks work well with this stews. Ask the clerk to chop it up to (more-or-less) portions. (You need the bones broken so that the gravy is good.)
  • Preparing deep frozen lamb or goat meat has a few tricks. Click here for more.

Veal or Beef Stew in Lemon Juice

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Common

Simple and extremely delicious, this Veal or Beef Stew in Lemon Juice recipe leads to a yet another one-pot, minimum-cooking-skill Sunday lunch stew or weekday special. Enjoy!

Serves: 4 to 6
Cooking time: approx. 90minutes
You need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.2 Kg (2-2.5 Lbs) veal for stew.
  • 2 onions, diced.
  • 2 to 4 cloves of garlic, diced.
  • Juice of 2 to 4 lemons.
  • 2 Tsp dry oregano.
  • 2 Tbsp dry thyme.
  • 1/3 cup (glass) extra virgin olive oil.
  • Enough hot water to cover the meat in the pot.
  • Optional: 1/2 cup (glass) dry white wine.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

  1. Take a pot, put it on the stove, turn the fire on to high, and pour the olive oil into the pot.
  2. Add the meat into the pot and saute it. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to saute it in batches.
  3. When the meat is almost sauteed, add the onion and the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Optional: add the wine and wait for it to evaporate.
  5. Add the lemon juice, the oregano, the thyme, the pepper and enough hot water to just cover the meat.
  6. Lower to fire to medium (or medium-low, even), put the lid on, and simmer for at least 60 to 90 minutes. Check progress from time to time.
  7. Ass the salt sometime (e.g. 15 to 20 minutes) before the end.
  8. Turn off the fire and let the stew set for a while.
  9. (That’s all. 🙂

Notes on Veal or Beef Stew in Lemon Juice

  • In terms of which cut of meat works well with a stew: chuck, bottom sirloin flap or a fatty brisket cut will do. Ask the clerk to cut the meat in portion sizes (but NOT bite-size). Include the bone, if possible.
  • In terms of side dishes, may we suggest rice (Basmati works well) or some form of potato, e.g. potato puree, French fries or boiled and broiled potatoes.
  • In terms of salad, something green will do, like spinach, arugola, etc.

Shrimps with Lemongrass and Basil

Cuisine: Thai

A classic dish and recipe from Thailand, Shrimps with Lemongrass and Basil is a healthy dish containing no less than 14 ingredients.

As a main dish with rice : Serves 2
As part of a multi-course meal: Serves 4
Cooking time: approx. 30 min
You will need: a wok or skillet
Notes: contains sugar

Ingredients

  • 10 oz (330 g) medium-sized shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1⁄2 Tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1⁄2 Tsp all-purpose corn starch (preferably organic)
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 Tbsp high-heat cooking oil, divided
  • 4 Tbsp minced lemongrass
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh hot red or green chili, preferably Thai (deseeded if you prefer less heat), finely sliced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced (optional)
  • 1 Tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tsp fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 + 1⁄2 Tsp sugar
  • 1 cup (20 g) fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Toss the shrimp with the sesame oil, all-purpose corn starch, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat 1⁄2 of the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp turns pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
  5. Wash and thoroughly dry the wok or skillet.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in the wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Add the lemongrass, garlic, shallots and chillies, stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the reserved shrimp, kaffir lime leaves (if using), soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar; stir-fry for 2 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.
  9. Add the basil leaves and stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until basil is wilted.
  10. Dish out and serve immediately with jasmine rice.

Notes on Shrimps with Lemongrass and Basil

Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)

  • Thai kitchen is incomplete without a bottle of fish sauce, and that goes for every kitchen throughout Southeast Asia. Fish sauces range from mild to strong and smoky to pungent; the best ones ones are clear and light in color. Fish sauce is made from layering anchovies and salt in a sealed container for about six months, until siphoning off the fermented liquid. the sauce’s fishy aroma dissipates when cooked and emboldens and brings together the other flavors in any dish. Fish sauce doesn’t need refrigeration and it will keep indefinitely in the cupboard.
  • As a general rule, 1 Tbsp of fish oil equals to 1 Tsp of salt. A good substitute is soy sauce mixed with a splash of oyster sauce or anchovy paste.

Shrimps with Lemongrass, and Basil: Nutritional and Scientific Analysis

by Anastasios Varvoglis,
Professor Emeritus of Organic Chemistry, University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Summary

Shrimps with Lemongrass and Basil is a healthy dish, but the dish alone is not nutritious enough, lacking carbohydrates and containing little fat – that’s why it is accompanied by rice; bread lovers may prefer to substitute rice with bread. 

A. Shrimps

Shrimps contain a lot of water when raw (65%); their main ingredient is protein of good quality. Carbohydrates are non-existent and fat is minimal, but rich in omega-3 acids. Paradoxically, despite low fat, cholesterol is present in large quantities. On the good side, shrimps are rich in several micronutrients, especially trace elements such as selenium (ranks very high), copper, cobalt (in vitamin B12) and zinc. The red coloration of cooked shrimps is due to a valuable chemical, astaxanthin, which is present in small varying quantities, depending on the diet of shrimps. Astaxanthin is one of the best antioxidants belonging to the family of carotenoids.

B. Basil

Basil is used here in rather large quantities for a herb. Its main characteristic, apart from fibre and small amounts of protein and carbohydrates, is its essential oil, rich in several aromatic compounds. Due to their volatility, these compounds evaporate readily, that’s why basil leaves are added late in cooking. Several studies on the essential oil or individual compounds of basil have demonstrated antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-plate aggregating activity, among various other health beneficial properties.

Tip. Basil may be kept in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for several weeks. Dried leaves are completely free of volatiles but they have a slight aroma reminding hay.

C. Lemongrass

Like basil, lemongrass is used here in relatively large amounts, but it is not important nutritionally. Its pleasant aroma is due mainly to two terpenic alcohols which are used as insect repellents.

D. Fish sauce (Nam Pla)

The Nam Pla sauce is a fermentation product of raw anchovies or other small fish layered in salt. The liquid obtained after storage for several months contains protein (up to 10%), iron, iodine, vitamins (among others also B12) and a lot of salt. As a general rule, 1 tablespoon of fish oil equals 1 teaspoon of salt. A substitute is soy sauce mixed with a splash of oyster sauce or anchovy paste.

E. Soy sauce

Soy Sauce comes in innumerable variations and is made from mixtures of boiled soybeans and wheat, after fermentation. It contains mainly protein (10%), carbohydrates (5%) and salt (14-18%). It does not contain isoflavones, in contrast to other soy products as Tofu.

References

More information about individual ingredients can also be found at:

Classic Yoghurt Marinated Indian Lamb Curry

Classic Yoghurt Marinated Indian Lamb Curry
Classic Yoghurt Marinated Indian Lamb Curry | myfoodistry

Cuisine: IndianRegion: North

Cuisine: Indian
Region: North

This is a classic Yoghurt Marinated Indian Lamb Curry recipe that is very popular in the North of India. The recipe is also healthy and nutritious to boot. (Scroll down for the analysis.)

Serves 6
Cooking time: 40 – 60 min
You will need: a skillet
Notes: requires marinating

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 lbs) x boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 inch (2.5-cm) cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 4 fresh green chili peppers, without seeds, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped

Yogurt Curry Marinade

  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Asian chili powder or ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1⁄2 cup (@250g) plain yogurt
  • 2 Tsp garam masala spice
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a blender or a food processor, blend together the Curry Yogurt Marinade ingredients until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the marinade and lamb, making sure the pieces are well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cumin seeds. They should sizzle in the oil.
  5. Quickly add the ground coriander.
  6. Mix in the lamb with the marinade and sauté over high heat, stirring for 5 minutes.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the juices are mostly dry, 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Add the green chili peppers, tomato, water, and 1 cup of yogurt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lamb is tender and sauce is thick.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with the fresh coriander.

Notes

  • A Tip regarding how to treat deep frozen meat: here

Classic Marinated Lamb Curry : Nutritional and Scientific Analysis

by Anastasios Varvoglis,
Professor Emeritus, Organic Chemistry, University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Summary

The Classic Marinated Indian Lamb Curry is both nutritious and healthy, containing no less than 11 herbs and a total of 18 ingredients.

A. Lamb

Lamb is the kind of meat with many friends but also with some enemies, because of its flavor. This “drawback” is cured by introducing all these delightful flavours of spice and herbs. As it happens with all kinds of meat, lamb is a good source of high quality protein containing all essential amino acids. Its high fat content means also elevated cholesterol; however, the presence of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in sheep/lamb meat offsets this drawback. Concerning vitamins, there are many, especially B6 and B12, whereas there also iron, copper, zinc and selenium.

B. Onions

Onions rank nutritionally among top vegetables, although their content in protein and fat is very low. Carbohydrates are their main ingredient (15%), with considerable quantities of edible fibre. The high value of onions is due to their polyphenols and sulfur compounds. Polyphenols are of several types, including anthocyanins, flavonoids and tannins; most of them have been studied in depth concerning health effects and they are most beneficial. Sulphur compounds are present in lesser quantities and they are not so well studied but they surely add to the overall good picture.

Tip. Peel onions as little as possible because the greater quantities of polyphenols are found in the external layers. When previously chilled, onions are peeled emitting less lachrymatory essential oil.

C. Yogurt

Yogurt contains varying amounts of fat, up to 10%. Whole milk yogurt may be replaced by a light variety which usually is available from cow’s milk (grass-fed cows produce better milk). However, yogurt from sheep’s milk is preferable from a nutritional point of view because of its high content of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is most beneficial to health; on the bad side, this type of yogourt is high in cholesterol (there is no “light” version in the market). Yogurt is rich in high quality protein, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamins (B6 and B12). It has also nutritional benefits beyond those of milk due to its probiotics. Lactose-intolerant individuals may tolerate yogurt because of the conversion of lactose to glucose and galactose, and the partial fermentation of lactose to lactic acid carried out by the bacteria present in the yogurt.

D. Spices

Garam masala is the least known among spices of this recipe, no doubt because it is a mixture of several spices (usually 7, some of which are added separately). Curry is also a mixture of varying ingredients. All spices contain volatile essential oils which are mixtures of several compounds; their use is obviously for their flavors, but most of them are of antimicrobial character. In addition, there are some non-volatile constituents with considerable health benefits. It would be tedious to describe health benefits of all these spices, especially since their quantities, and accordingly their bioactive constituents, are fairly low. However, it is useful to mention epigrammatically some of them:

  • Turmeric contains curcumin, with anticancer properties.
  • Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which prevents clumping of blood platelets.
  • Chili peppers contain capsaicin, an irritant, but also with cardiovascular benefits.
  • Coriander contains dodecenal, a strong antibiotic.
References

More information about individual ingredients can be found also at :

Classic Yoghurt Marinated Indian Lamb Curry
Classic Yoghurt Marinated Indian Lamb Curry | myfoodistry

Cuisine: IndianRegion: North

Merchants of Doubt | myfoodistry

Merchants of Doubt

Merchant of Doubt is a Sony Classics documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver- tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Official Website, here.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi | myfoodistry

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a quiet yet enthralling documentary that chronicles the life of Jiro Ono, the most famous sushi chef in Tokyo. For most of his 85 years, Jiro has been perfecting the art of making sushi. He works from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish; meticulously train his employees; and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation.

Although his restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro only seats ten diners, it is a phenomenon in Tokyo that has won the prestigious 3-Star Michelin review, making him the oldest Michelin chef alive. JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI chronicles Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world, and as a loving yet complicated father of two.

Food Matters | myfoodistry

Food Matters

“Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food.”

— Hippocrates

That’s the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film ‘Food Matters’ from first- time Producer-Directors James Colqhuoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. “With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and ourtendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what’s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it’s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker.

‘Food Matters’ sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide “Sickness Industry” and giving people some scientifically verifiable solutions for curing disease naturally.” – James And in what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several world leaders in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer. ‘Food Matters’ is to be launched globally via the internet using full screen video technology.

The film’s official website can be found at http://www.foodmatters.tv

In Search of Balance | myfoodistry

In Search of Balance

IN SEARCH OF BALANCE is a documentary about how we can use Earth to bring life to the planet. We’re getting closer and closer to the brink. But thanks to the efforts of those who refuse to succumb to the disease of profits over health, a new revolution is making its way across the globe—a revolution to reconnect us to the very thing that gives us life: each other.

It won the “Best Documentary” award at the Sonoma International Film Festival. This inspiring film follows renowned physician, Dr. Daphne Miller, as she seeks answers on how we’ve gone so far off track and how we can climb back to healthy living. The Earth is a complex web of organisms, all connected and able to support each branch of the tree of life, and humans are all part of that web.

The War on Wheat - The Fifth Estate | myfoodistry

The War on Wheat – The Fifth Estate

It’s a multi-billion dollar battle for your belly. Millions of people are joining the anti-wheat revolution. Kellogg’s, the world’s largest cereal maker, has seen its biggest drop in sales since the 1970s.

Food companies are selling off their struggling bread divisions. It’s all because best-selling health evangelists say that wheat is causing everything from fat bellies to schizophrenia. But do they have science on their side? Mark Kelley takes a hard look at what’s driving a movement that is dramatically changing the way we eat.

The War on Wheat - The Fifth Estate | myfoodistry
The Search for General Tso | myfoodistry

The Search for General Tso

This mouthwateringly entertaining film travels the globe to unravel a captivating culinary mystery. General Tso’s chicken is a staple of Chinese-American cooking, and a ubiquitous presence on restaurant menus across the country. But just who was General Tso? And how did his chicken become emblematic of an entire national cuisine?

Director Ian Cheney (King Corn) journeys from Shanghai to New York to the American Midwest and beyond to uncover the origins of this iconic dish, turning up surprising revelations and a host of humorous characters along the way. Told with the verve of a good detective story,The Search for General Tso is as much about food as it is a tale of the American immigrant experience.

PLANEAT - The Movie | myfoodistry

PLANEAT – The Movie

A group of leading international scientists, doctors and professors have spent their lives trying to find out what is the best way to eat. A pattern has begun to emerge in their research, which shows that our animal-based diets are the cause of our most challenging health and environmental problems.

Having to battle against their own beliefs, and those of the institutions they worked for, they have come up with a solution that will change peoples lives forever. They share their ideas on how we can not only prevent prevalent diseases like cancer and heart disease but also cure them. And also how applying the same principles can dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time as providing more food for the planet. In accordance with this scientific evidence, pioneering farmers and chefs around the world are discovering new ways to produce and prepare the food we should be eating.

Sign up to watch the film at www.planeat.co.uk

The Magic Pill | myfoodistry

The Magic Pill

What if most of our modern diseases are really just symptoms of the same problem?

The Magic Pill follows doctors, patients, scientists, chefs, farmers and journalists from around the globe who are combating illness through a paradigm shift in eating. And this simple change – embracing fat as our main fuel – is showing profound promise in improving the health of people, animals and the planet.

Vitamania - The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins | myfoodistry

Vitamania – The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins

Almost one billion of us take a regular dietary supplement, mainly vitamin tablets. Vitamins are enthusiastically endorsed by celebrities, and vitamin-fortified foods line our supermarket shelves. But how safe are these products? Is it true that vitamins are “natural” and therefore can’t do you any harm? How are they regulated, and how can parents make the right choices for their children’s health.

These surprisingly urgent questions are investigated by scientist Dr Derek Muller in Vitamania, the latest documentary made by Emmy Award-winning Australian filmmakers, Genepool Productions.

Filmmaker’s website: https://www.vitamaniathemovie.com

Vitamania Bonus Scene – How To Make A Synthetic Vitamin

GMO OMG | myfoodistry

GMO OMG

Filmmaker and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how they affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice.

His journey takes him to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and even agri-giant Monsanto as he poses perhaps the ultimate question about what we eat: is it still possible to reject our current food system, or have we already lost something we can’t get back?

Official website: http://gmofilm.com

Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO's - Full Movie | myfoodistry

Seeds of Death: Unveiling The Lies of GMO’s – Full Movie

The world’s leading Scientists, Physicians, Attorneys, Politicians and Environmental Activists expose the corruption and dangers surrounding the widespread use of Genetically Modified Organisms in the new feature length documentary, “Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs”.

Senior Executive Producer / Writer / Director: Gary Null PhD
Executive Producer/Writer/Co-Director: Richard Polonetsky
Producers: Paola Bossola, Richard Gale, James Spruill, Patrick Thompson, Valerie Van Cleve Editors: James Spruill, Patrick Thompson, Richie Williamson, Nick Palm
Music: Kevin MacLeod, Armando Guarnera
Graphics: Jay Graygor

NOTES: we always encourage viewers to do their own research.

Eating Animals | myfoodistry

Eating Animals

How much do you know about the food that’s on your plate?

Based on the bestselling book by Jonathan Safran Foer and narrated by co-producer Natalie Portman, Eating Animals is an urgent, eye-opening look at the environmental, economic, and public health consequences of factory farming.

Tracing the history of food production in the United States, the film charts how farming has gone from local and sustainable to a corporate Frankenstein monster that offers cheap eggs, meat, and dairy at a steep cost: the exploitation of animals; the risky use of antibiotics and hormones; and the pollution of our air, soil, and water. Spotlighting farmers who have pushed backed against industrial agriculture with more humane practices, Eating Animals offers attainable, commonsense solutions to a growing crisis while making the case that ethical farming is not only an animal rights issue but one that affects every aspect of our lives.

Directed by: Christopher Dillon Quinn
Starring: Natalie Portman

Official site: http://www.ifcfilms.com/films/eating-animals

Fed Up | myfoodistry

Fed Up

This is the movie the food industry doesn’t want you to see. FED UP blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history.

From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.

For more information: http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home

Foods That Cure Disease | myfoodistry

Foods That Cure Disease

Diagnosed with high cholesterol, Craig McMahon endeavors to take control of his health and beat his imminently threatening genetic fate by consuming a whole plant-based diet inspired by Doctors T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Michael Greger and McDougall.

Craig asks the experts hard science questions and creates delicious healthy meals in his kitchen based from years of education. An inspiring and in-depth approach to achieving a disease-free lifestyle. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, stoke can be prevented and reversed simply by eating the right foods. Craig also became certified by Cornell university in plant nutrition. With over 4 hours of educational science, cooking, diet and hands on instruction, you are taken through the transition to a whole plant-based life.

P.S. Do NOT attempt anything on your self based on the information contained in this film before you consult a medical doctor or physician you trust.

Ramen Heads | myfoodistry

Ramen Heads

Legendary Chef and, “Ramen King” Osamu Tomita opens his kitchen along with five other prestige ramen shops to share recipes and trade secrets. The directorial debut of Koki Shigeno, RAMEN HEADS is a beautiful, simple and stylized homage to none other than noodle and broth… or all the philosophy and flavour that comes along with the soupy calling. 

Official website: http://ramenheads.com

myfoodistry - the cholesterol question

The Cholesterol Question

myfoodistry - the cholesterol question

How much do we really know about cholesterol? Have all our attempts to lock up this culprit accused of ruining our health really made us healthier? And what cutting-edge clues are scientists now following to help keep heart attacks at bay?

If high cholesterol equals heart attacks, why do half of the victims have “normal” levels? Here are the answers to The Cholesterol Question.

Go to https://curiositystream.com for more.

AeroPress Movie | myfoodistry

AeroPress Movie

AeroPress Movie is a 45-minutes documentary revealing the story of AeroPress – from its inventor’s workshop in California to the stages of the AeroPress Championships around the world. It explores what makes people so excited about this odd-looking yet iconic coffee maker.

“The AeroPress Movie is a beautifully and intelligently made film about a simple brewer that has become one of the most beloved coffee-making tools on the planet.”

Sarah Allen, Barista Magazine.

Starring: Alan Adler, Tim Wendelboe, Tim Varney, Tim Williams, James Hoffmann, Kyra Kennedy, Alex Tennant, Paulina Miczka, Anders Valde, Lisa Ligon.

Watch the film online: http://aeropressmovie.com

The Biggest Little Farm | myfoodistry

The Biggest Little Farm

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature.

Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the Chester’s unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.

Featuring breathtaking cinematography, captivating animals, and an urgent message to heed Mother Nature’s call, THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM provides us all a vital blueprint for better living and a healthier planet.

A film by John Chester. Starring John & Molly Chester.

Official website: http://entractfilms.com/en/films/the-biggest-little-farm

Deli Man | myfoodistry

Deli Man

Jewish culture reflects the heart of a vital ethnic history. As that culture continues to shift and adapt alongside mainstream America, delicatessen food—as its name suggests—remains a beloved communal delicacy. In Houston, Texas, third-generation deli man Ziggy Gruber has built arguably the finest delicatessen restaurant in the U.S. His story—augmented by the stories of iconic delis such as Katz’s, 2nd Avenue Deli, Nate ‘n Al, Carnegie, and the Stage—embodies a tradition indelibly linked to its savory, nostalgic foods.

Official site: http://www.delimanmovie.com/

Potato Salad with Olive Oil, Capers, Parsley and Pickles (among other things)

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Common

Another hearty and healthy classic potato salad recipe from the European South. Omitting wine makes it Halal and also Lenten. Can be had as a main dish, or as a side dish – your choice. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: 45 min
You need: a pot, two bowls and a strainer

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) potatoes.
  • 2 onions, cut in rounds.
  • 2 green onions, diced.
  • 20 black olives.
  • 1/2 cup dill pickles, diced.
  • 2 Tbsp capers.
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced.
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 Tsp mustard.
  • 4 Tbsp parsley, diced.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of white wine.

Instructions

  1. Peel and wash the potatoes and then cut them to cubes.
  2. Take a pot and add water and salt.
  3. Add the potatoes in the pot, put the pot on the stove, put the lid on the pot, and turn on the fire to high.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the fire to medium, until they are soft. It generally takes about 20 minutes.

While the potatoes are boiling, it’s time to make the dressing.

  1. Take a bowl and add the onions, the garlic and the parsley. Mix them well.
  2. Take another little bowl and add the olive oil, the apple cider vinegar and the mustard. Mix them well.
  3. Combine the two bowls.

Finally…

  1. When the potatoes are done, empty the (potato) pot in a strainer.
  2. Empty the strainer in a bowl.
  3. While the potatoes are still warm add the dressing (and the wine, if you’re using any) to the bowl and mix well.
  4. Add salt and pepper and let the mixture sit for a few minutes, to absorb the fragrances.
  5. Garnish with the olives, the dill pickles and the capers.

Notes on Potato Salad with Olive Oil, Capers, Parsley and Pickles

  • This potato salad can served hot, warm or in room temperature.
  • You could choose to serve on a bed of spinach or arugula. (More greens are better of one’s digestive system than less greens, no? 🙂
  • Enjoy!

Cuttlefish Casserole

Soupies Giouvetsi

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Monastic Community of Mount Athos.

The Cuttlefish Casserole is a Greek Orthodox Lent classic: easy to make, a tasty, hearty, one-pot recipe full of good things for one’s own health. Enjoy!

Serves: 6
Cooking time: approx. 60 min
You need: two pots and an oven pan or dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) cuttlefish.
  • 500g (1 Lbs) orzo.
  • 3 onions, diced.
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil.
  • 2-3 Tbsp tomato paste, diluted in a little water.
  • Red pepper.
  • Black pepper.
  • Salt.

Instructions

  1. Turn on the oven to preheat at 200C or 390F.
  2. Pour approx. 1 Lt of water in a pot, put it on the stove, turn the fire on to high and bring it to a boil.
  3. Put the cuttlefish in a strainer or colander, immerse it in the hot water and blanch the cuttlefish in the hot water.
  4. Take the cuttlefish out of the water but do not discard the water. Keep it for later.
  5. Pour the olive oil into the other pot, turn on the fire to medium and add the onions.
  6. Saute the onions until they are golden.
  7. Add the diluted tomato paste, the spices and a little salt.
  8. Taste and add the 1 Lt of cuttlefish-water you did not discard earlier.
  9. Let the mixture come to a simmer.
  10. Move the contents of the pot to an oven pan or a dutch oven.
  11. Add the orzo and the cuttlefish and stir well.
  12. Put the pan or dutch oven on a lower rack, in the oven.
  13. Cook for approx. 40 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the orzo has absorbed all the liquid.

Notes on Cuttlefish Casserole

  • Enjoy!

A few words about Mount Athos

Mount Athos, also known as the Holy Mountain, is the epicentre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism and home to 20 monasteries with a strong monastic community since the 12th Century A.D.

The monks of Mount Athos do observe their fasts and lents for about, or more than, 200 days per year. As you may well discover, “fast”, “lent” and “monasticism” are not necessarily synonyms to tasteless, unimaginative or sloppy food. 🙂

Vegetable Stew with Potatoes, Eggplants, Zucchini and Peppers

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Common

A clean, nice vegetarian and vegan recipe for a Summer vegetable stew. Can be served hot, warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 45 min
You need: a pot, a few bowls for the ingredients and perhaps a measuring jug

Ingredients

  • 2 potatoes, about 300g or a bit more than 1 Lb.
  • 1 eggplant, about 300g or a bit more than 1 Lb.
  • 3 peppers, about 300g or a bit more than 1 Lb.
  • 2 zucchinis, about 200g or bit under 1 Lb.
  • 2 medium onions, about 200g or bit under 1 Lb.
  • 200g or 1 cup of crushed or diced tomatoes.
  • 2 Tsp of tomato paste.
  • 1 Tsp of sugar (optional).
  • 1 garlic clove.
  • 5 Tbsp or 50ml of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 30g, or about 1/3 bunch of fresh parsley.
  • 250ml or a scant cup of warm water.
  • 1 Tsp dry oregano.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

Prepare

  1. Wash the eggplant, the peppers, the parsley and the zucchini.
  2. Cut the ends of each eggplant and then cut them in cubes.
  3. Arrange the eggplants on a platter, sprinkle them with salt and leave them to “bleed” while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Cut the ends of the peppers and then cut them in cubes.
  5. Cut the ends of the zucchini and then cut them in cubes.
  6. Chop the parsley.
  7. Peel and cut the onions in cubes.
  8. Peel the potatoes, wash them and then cut them in cubes.
  9. Peel and crush the garlic with the flat side of a knife.
  10. Pat-dry the eggplants with a paper towel. Now they are ready to use.

Then…

  1. Take a pot, put it on the stove and turn the fire on, high.
  2. Pour the olive oil in the pot.
  3. Add the onion.
  4. Add the garlic.
  5. Saute them for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the potatoes.
  7. Add the peppers.
  8. Add the zucchini.
  9. Add the eggplants.
  10. Stir the pot and add the tomato paste.
  11. Stir the pot again, and add the diced/crushed tomatoes.
  12. Add the sugar (optional).
  13. Add the water.
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  15. Lower the fire to medium.
  16. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for about 40 minutes.
  17. Then, add the oregano, stir, and add the parsley.
  18. Mix well and turn off the fire.
  19. Leave it for a bit to settle and serve.

Notes on Vegetable Stew with Potatoes, Eggplants, Zucchini and Peppers

  • If you are not vegan, a side of feta cheese or any cheese similar to that is highly recommended.
  • This stew can be served hot, warm or at room temperature – depending on how hot the day is, no?
  • Some people like to add extra olive oil and lemon juice in their servings; your choice.
  • Enjoy!

Cottage Pie – or Shepherd’s Pie

Cuisine: British
Region: Common

Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional British classic dish warming hearts and bellies. 🙂 Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 90 min
You need: a measuring jug, a potato masher, a big bowl, an oven pan, two pots and a strainer

Ingredients

  • 500g (2 Lbs) lean minced beef.
  • 1 beef stock cube.
  • 500ml warm water (to dilute the beef stock).
  • 2 carrots.
  • 1 big onion.
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste.
  • 6 potatoes (about 1Kg or 2 Lbs)
  • 2 Tsp corn flour.
  • 5 Tbsp milk.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare

  1. Wash and peel the carrots, then cut them in rounds.
  2. Peel the onion and cut it in cubes.
  3. Add 500ml of warm water in a measuring jug and dilute the beef stock cube in it.
  4. Peel the potatoes, wash them very well and cut them in 4 equal parts.

Then….

  1. Take a pot, put it on the stove and turn the fire on, high.
  2. Put the minced beef in the pot and saute, stirring well, for about 10 minutes or until it turns brown.
  3. Add the onion.
  4. Add the carrots.
  5. Add the tomato paste.
  6. Add the diluted beef stock.
  7. Stir well, reduce the temperature to medium, put the lid on half open and let it simmer for 30 minutes. When done, turn the fire off.
  8. Turn the oven on to 200C (390F) to preheat.
  9. Fill another pot with water, put it on the stove and turn the fire on to high.
  10. Add the potatoes to the pot, close the lid and boil for about 20 minutes or until they are soft.
  11. Turn the fire off, and empty the potatoes into the strainer.
  12. Dissolve the corn flour in about 10ml of warm water.
  13. Put the potatoes in a bowl and mash them, while slowly pouring in the milk.
  14. Add the corn flour to the milk and potato mix.
  15. Keep mashing until it turns to a smooth puree. It shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes.
  16. Time for the oven pan. (Make sure it’s clean, eh?)
  17. Lay the minced meat evenly on the bottom of the oven pan.
  18. Lay the potato puree on top of the minced meat, spreading it evenly with a fork.
  19. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  20. (Don’t forget to turn the oven off, when it’s done.)

Notes Cottage Pie – or Shepherd’s Pie

  • Regarding the type of milk: low fat, full fat, cow, sheep or goat milk… the choice is yours.
  • Enjoy!

Green Cheese Pie without Filo

Prasini Tyropita Choris Fylo

Cuisine: Greek
Region: Common

This is a good one: instead of using the flour to make filo sheets … you mix it in with the rest of your ingredients and stick the pan in the oven. (How difficult can that be? 🙂 Enjoy!

Serves: approx. 10 portions
Cooking time: approx. 30 min
You need: a grater, a whisker, an oven pan, a large bowl and several smaller bowls

Ingredients

  • 1+1/2 cups or 250g (1/2 Lb) wheat flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1+1/2 cups or 250ml milk
  • 35g fresh dill, or 70g dry dill
  • 5 green onions, about 80g
  • 2 Tsp or 10g baking powder
  • 3 zucchinis, about 300g
  • 500g feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup or 100ml olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare

  1. Turn the oven on to 200C (390F).
  2. Cut the ends of the green onions and wash them.
  3. Wash the dill.
  4. Wash the zucchinis.
  5. Chop the dill and put it in a bowl.
  6. Chop the onions in rings and put them in a bowl.
  7. Chop off the ends of the zucchinis and shred them into thin ribbons with the help of a grater. Put the shredded zucchinis in a bowl.
  8. Crumble the feta cheese with your fingers and put it in a bowl.
  9. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk them.
  10. Lay a baking sheet on the bottom of your oven pan.

Then….

Take a large bowl and:

  1. Pour in the eggs.
  2. Pour in the milk.
  3. Pour in the olive oil.
  4. Add the flour.
  5. Add the baking powder.
  6. Add the feta cheese.
  7. Add the onions.
  8. Add the zucchinis and the dill.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Mix the ingredients well.
  11. Carefully empty the large bowl into your oven pan, spreading the mixture evenly.
  12. Put the pan on a lower rack of your oven (close to the bottom) and bake for about 30 minutes.
  13. When ready, turn off the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Notes on Green Cheese Pie without Filo

  • You can serve it hot or at room temperature, as a main dish, a snack, a starter or a side.
  • If you don’t have a baking sheet to cover the bottom of your pan… it’s not the end of the world: smear the pan with some olive oil pour the mixture directly into your pan. The bottom of the mixture should cook to a crust, much like a pizza does.
  • Regarding milk and feta cheese: low fat, full fat, cow, sheep or goat milk… the choice is yours.
  • Zucchinis are watery, so, before you add them into your mixture make sure you drain the water from the zucchini-bowl.
  • Enjoy!

Honey Versus Sugar

There are many, many differences between honey and sugar.

For example, while sugar is composed of fructose and glucose in equal measure, honey is composed +20 different types of sugars, trace elements, some vitamins and small amounts of minerals.

Then, while sugar is fast absorbed by the body (storing undigested calories for later use), honey’s digestion rate is much slower, therefore burning calories during digestion instead of storing them.

And, although honey is sweeter than sugar… it actual has a lower glycemic index. (This is NOT an excuse to overdo it, eh?)

Here are a few links to help your Honey Versus Sugar research.

Lebanese Crispy Pita Bread with Sumak

Cuisine: Lebanese
Region: Common

Resembling the Italian Pizza Contadina (the farmer’s pizza) the Lebanese Crispy Pita Bread with Sumak is a delicious side dish to scoop up juice or dips with; or even a snack for “that” time of day. It is easy to make and easier to savour. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: approx. 20min
You need: a baking sheet, a brush and a platter.

Ingredients

  • 1 large pita bread about 25cm 10in diameter or 2 medium pita breads about 15cm or 6in diameter
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sumak

Instructions

  1. Turn the oven on to 180C / 350F and let it preheat.
  2. Take a baking sheet and line it up with aluminum foil.
  3. Take a knife and carve the pitas into squares. Make sure you don’t cut the pita all the way through; just carve lines on the pita without separating halves.
  4. Place the pitas on the foiled baking sheet and put it in the oven – preferably in the centre.
  5. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Shake the sheet periodically. They have to crisp all the way through.
  7. Once crisp, turn off the oven, take the baking sheet out and transfer to a platter. If the squares haven’t already separated use a knife to cut them.
  8. Brush the squares with the olive oil and drizzle with the sumak.
  9. (That’s all.)

Notes on the Lebanese Crispy Pita Bread with Sumak

  • The thickness of pita breads varies from brand to brand. Consequently, some pita breads may take longer or shorter time to bake.
  • Regarding storage: if you’re storing them for later use, let them cool off completely before you pack them up. Store them covered at room temperature. If, a day later, your pita squares seem stale, that means they did not toast long enough in the oven.
  • The Greeks toast pita bread in the same way, only they use oregano, salt and pepper instead of sumak.
  • The Italians use oregano too, but they have also turned the whole concept to… a pizza. They call it Pizza Contadina – the Farmer’s Pizza.

Korean Garlic Chive Salad

Buchuoi Muchim

Cuisine: Korean
Region: Common

This Korean Garlic Chive Salad can be savoured as a salad or a side dish, preferably with grilled beef, dumpling soups or Bibimbap (mixed rice) during the summer. It tastes of garlic and onion and it is served at room temperature. Enjoy!

Serves: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a salad
Cooking time: less than 5 min
You need: a mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Korean garlic chives – cut into 5cm/2inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Gochugaru spice
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • Optional: 1 Tsp toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Take a medium mixing bowl and mix all of the ingredients together.
  2. Toss well to combine.
  3. Serve at room temperature.
  4. (That’s all.)

Notes on Korean Garlic Chive Salad

  • The taste is strong, so, be careful with that.
  • Korean Garlic Chives, Buchu, differ from Western chives and taste like a combination of garlic and chives. If Korean garlic chives are unavailable in your area you could use a combination of thinly sliced scallions, onions, and chives.

Shakshuka – Israeli Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Shakshuka

Cuisine: Israeli
Region: Common

In Israel “Shakshuka” tends to mean “breakfast” but it can be had as a quick lunch too. Delicious, nutritious and fast to make Shakshuka is very much appreciated there, and elsewhere. Enjoy!

Serves: 3
Cooking time: approx. 20 min
You need: a skillet or frying pan

Ingredients

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (glass) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 Tsp paprika or 1 pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 Tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp mint, finely shopped

Instructions

  1. Take a frying pan add the extra virgin olive oil in a pan.
  2. Turn the fire on to medium.
  3. Wait a few beats, and add in the finely chopped garlic.
  4. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add in the onion and the green bell pepper.
  6. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the onions are soft.
  7. Add the juiced tomatoes.
  8. Add the ground cumin powder, paprika or chilli flakes and salt.
  9. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  10. When thicker, make a small dent in the sauce – a slot for each egg.
  11. Crack the eggs into the tomato-slots.
  12. Cover the pan and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are cooked. For runny eggs, cook a little less.
  13. Turn off the fire, garnish with parsley and mint and serve with bread, toasted or otherwise.

Notes Shakshuka – Israeli Eggs in Tomato Sauce

  • This is the type of thing where you can experiment with spices and herbs.
  • You can scale the recipe up – no problem with that.
  • If you’re using canned tomatoes please make sure that the only preservative is ascorbic acid.
  • Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Artichokes, Lemon and Capers

Spaghetti con Carciofi, Limone e Capperi

Cuisine: Italian
Region: South

Artichokes are abundant and much revered in Italy, and elsewhere. This is a classic, mouthwatering spaghetti with artichokes dish from Southern Italy. Enjoy!

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: approx. 15 to 20 min
You need: a pot, a saucepan and a platter.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 can, about 340g or 12 oz, of quartered artichokes, drained
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, and a bit more to garnish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 500g, or 1 Lb. spaghetti (or other pasta that you may have)
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and a bit more to garnish
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

For the sauce

  1. Take a large saucepan, add the oil and turn the fire on to medium high.
  2. Add the garlic, the onion and the chilli flakes.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 min – until golden brown.
  4. Add the wine and the artichokes.
  5. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the wine is reduced to half.
  6. Stir in the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Set it aside and cover it to keep it warm.

For the pasta

  1. Take a large pot, fill it up with 4 to 6 Liters or Quarts of water and salt it generously.
  2. Turn the fire on to high and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta and stir from time to time.
  4. Cook until al dente – according to the instructions on the pasta box.
  5. When done, drain the water but reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.

Combine

  1. Add the pasta and the 1/4 cup pasta water to the saucepan with the reserved sauce.
  2. Turn on the fire to medium high and cook about for 5 minutes more.
  3. With the fire still on, add the capers, the parsley, the lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Toss to combine.
  5. Turn off the fire, transfer to a platter and garnish with more cheese and parsley.

Notes on Spaghetti with Artichokes, Lemon and Capers

  • Try to buy real Parmesan cheese, and grate it at home. It does make a difference.

Pasta alla Carbonara (the real one)

Pasta alla Carbonara

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Central

“Alla Carbonara” means “the coal worker’s style”. No one knows how this recipe got its name – some maintain that charcoal workers in the Italian mountains cooked spaghetti this way, others that the very generous dash of black pepper makes the dish look like charcoal. Whatever the case, this is a very classic Italian dish, presented here in its original form, with eggs instead of cream. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 15 min
You need: a pot, a skillet, a whisk and a mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced.
  • 300 g (about 10 oz.) pancetta, cut into thin strips, crosswise.
  • 1/3 cup (glass) of white wine.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • 500 g or 1 Lb of spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle or penne.
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley – flat leaf is best.
  • 2 eggs.

Instructions

For the pasta

  1. Take a large pot, fill it up with 4 to 6 Liters or Quarts of water and salt it generously.
  2. Turn the fire on to high and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta and stir from time to time.
  4. Cook until al dente – there are instructions on the pasta box.
  5. When done, drain the water but reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  6. While the pasta is cooking…

For the Carbonara sauce

  1. Take a skillet, add the oil and turn on the fire to medium high.
  2. Wait for a few beats and add the garlic.
  3. Cook the garlic until it’s golden – about 1 minute.
  4. Add the pancetta and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the edges are crisp.
  5. Add the wine, reduce the fire to medium-low and cook for about about 3-4 minutes more.

Combine

  1. Take a large bowl and add the grated cheese, the parsley and the eggs and whisk them well.
  2. While whisking, slowly pour in the reserved pasta water until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the pasta to the bowl along with reserved pancetta mixture.
  4. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
  5. Toss it all together and serve immediately.

Notes on Pasta alla Carbonara

  • Try to buy real Parmesan, and grate it at home. It does make a difference.
  • You could use guanciale instead of pancetta.

Armenian Lule Kebab

Cuisine: Armenian
Region: Common

“Lule” means “sausage shape” in Armenian. (In the Near and Middle East they like their Kebabs (burgers, really) to look like sausages: long and skinny.) This Armenian Lule Kebab recipe is a good one: fragrant, complex and completely satisfying. The non-Kosher among us can accompany Lule with mint-flavoured yogurt.

Yield: about 12 kebabs
Preparation time: approx. 20 min
You need: a food processor and a mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 medium size onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Kg / 2 Lb of lean ground beef. Ask the clerk to run it through the machine only once.
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 5 Tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 Tsp of Cumin
  • 1 Tsp of Paprika
  • 1 Tsp of red Aleppo pepper. If you can’t find it, see Notes.
  • 1+1/2 Tsp of sea salt
  • 1 Tsp of black pepper
  • 1+1/2 Tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1 raw egg

Instructions

  1. Put the cut onion and the 2 cloves of garlic in a food processor.
  2. Process until onion and garlic are very finely chopped.
  3. DO NOT discard the juice.
  4. Put the meat in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the processed onion and garlic – along with their juice – to the meat.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients to the meat, mixing well by hand.
  7. Using a 1/2 cup measure, make 12 balls.
  8. Roll the balls into sausage shape (called Lule in Armenian).
  9. Grill or broil the kebabs. You could use a cast iron grill pan, too.
  10. If you’re grilling or broiling you may want to skewer the kebabs. (Makes it easier to flip sides.)

Notes on the Armenian Lule Kebab

The recipe actually revolves around the complexities of the Aleppo pepper but, alas, it is difficult to find. Alternatives:

  • Combine 4 parts of sweet paprika and 1 part of cayenne pepper. A part can be a Tbsp or a Tsp – depending on the quantity you need.
  • Korean Gochugaru pepper. Similar taste and complexity.

How to Make Vegetable Stock

Cuisine: European / Generic

A true and tried generic recipe and instructions on How to Make Vegetable Stock for European cuisines. A vegetable stock is nothing more than vegetables simmered in a very low fire for some time, so that the veggies release all their essence and flavours in the liquid. It can be made as complicated as one can make it – there’s no rule here. We present a basic vegetable stock recipe that – we believe – will serve you well.

Yields: approx. 2 liters (quarts)
Cooking time: approx. 100 min
You need: a stockpot, a sieve and a large bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 3-4 shallots
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 handful of mushrooms (if you have any)
  • 2-3 leek greens (if you have any)
  • 1/4 Tsp (or less) of sea salt
  • 4-6 peppercorns
  • 1-2 sprigs of thyme (or a pinch of dry thyme)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (for browning)
  • About 4 liters (quarts) of cold water

Instructions

  1. Rinse the vegetables well, (particularly the leeks) and cut them to 2.5cm / 1 inch pieces.
  2. Put the oil in a large stockpot and light the fire to medium.
  3. Pour in the vegetables and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until they soften up. Don’t fully cook them – just brown them lightly.
  4. Add the cold water. It should be enough to cover the veggies, plus a bit more.
  5. Raise the fire and bring it to a boil.
  6. Reduce the fire to low and simmer, semi-covered with the lid, until the liquid is reduced by half. It should take about 90 minutes or so.
  7. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
  8. Discard the vegetables. (They are cooked-out anyway.)

Notes on How to Make Vegetable Stock

  • Avoid starchy, bitter or strong vegetables (like cabbage). You want the broth to be delicious but also with a “round” taste, lending to the taste of other dishes. (That’s the point, really.)
  • Feel free to adjust the seasoning as you see fit but DO NOT add more salt: you will use this stock in future dishes and added salt may and can get in the way of your future creations.

Tomato Egg Drop Soup with Ginger

Cuisine: Chinese
Region: Common

Soup or starter, hot or cold, the Chinese Tomato Egg Drop Soup with Ginger recipe is certainly fresh. 🙂

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 15 min
You need: a soup pot, a fork and a bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes (see note)
  • 2 stalks green onions, chopped
  • a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 packed cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 Tsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat a small soup pot over high fire for about 10 seconds.
  2. Add the oil and heat it until it starts to shimmer.
  3. Add the tomatoes, onions, soy sauce, and ginger.
  4. Stir for about 30 seconds to soften the tomatoes.
  5. Add the water and bring the soup to a slow boil, then reduce the fire to medium low.
  6. Add the spinach and stir.
  7. Beat the eggs in a small bowl.
  8. Put a whisk or a fork in the egg mixture.
  9. Lift it up over the soup pot, and slowly pour the eggs through the fork tines (or whisk tines) as you move it in a circular motion around the pot. This creates “stripes” of egg that will float on the surface. Stir to break it up a bit, if you wish.
  10. Drizzle the soup with the sesame oil, garnish with the cilantro, and serve immediately as a starter.

Notes on the Tomato Egg Drop Soup with Ginger

  • There is no need to seed or peel the tomatoes.
  • Tomatoes must be juicy, so, best to use fresh tomatoes when they’re in season, otherwise use tin tomatoes from a brand you trust. (The only preservative listed on the can should be ascorbic acid.)
  • The traditional Asian cooking oils are: dark sesame oil, peanut oil and grapeseed oil.

Gnocchi with Cream and Red Wine Sauce

Gnocchi con salsa di panna e vino rosso

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Umbria
Serves: 6-8

A yet another classic Italian recipe, this time from the region of Umbria, Gnocchi with Cream and Red Wine Sauce is something that’s worth cooking. Enjoy!

Cooking time: approx. 40 – 45 min
You need: a skillet, a pot, a blender and a slotted spoon

Ingredients

for the Gnocchi

  • If you want to make your own Gnocchi please click here.

for the sauce

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup or 2 oz of guanciale or pancetta, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1+1/2 cups robust red wine
  • 1+1/4 cups heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Instructions

Make the sauce

  1. Take a skillet, add the oil and the butter and heat over medium fire.
  2. Simmer the guanciale or pancetta for 4-6 minutes, or until the fat renders (melts).
  3. Add the onion. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
  4. Add the wine. Simmer for 20-22 minutes, until it evaporates.
  5. Add the cream, salt, and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, then remove the skillet from the fire.
  7. Let the sauce cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and purée until it’s smooth.
  8. Return the sauce to the skillet and keep it warm on very, very low fire.

Cook the gnocchi

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and, working in batches, cook the gnocchi for 4-5 minuses or until they are tender.

Combine

  1. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi into the skillet with the sauce.
  2. Stir in 1/3 cup of Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
  3. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and serve.

Notes on Gnocchi with Cream and Red Wine Sauce

  • If you can, buy real Parmesan cheese and grate it at home. It does make a difference.
  • Guanciale is cured pork cheek. You can also use pancetta.
  • In terms of red wine, and given that the recipe comes from Umbria, Italy, the suggestion is to use red Sagrantino wine. Past that, any dry, full bodied red wine will do

How to make Gnocchi

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Common

We are all “conditioned” to an understanding that Gnocchi – and other pasta – is something that you buy in a box from a store. Well…actually, one can make Gnocchi – and other pasta – at home. Here’s a recipe on How to make Gnocchi.

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: 45 to 60 min
You need: a saucepan, a bowl, a baking sheet, parchment paper and a potato ricer

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) potatoes
  • 2 Tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 + 1/4 cups of flour, plus more for tossing
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Take a big enough saucepan, add water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the potatoes into the saucepan.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 25 to 30 min until potatoes are tender.
  4. Drain the potatoes.
  5. When the potatoes are cool enough, peel and grate them into a bowl. You might want to use a potato ricer.
  6. Stir in 2 Tsp of salt, flour, and eggs until you form a dough.
  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until they are smooth.
  8. Divide the dough into 6 balls.
  9. Taking 1 ball at a time, roll the dough into a 50 cm/20 inch rope about 2 cm or 3/4 inc thick.
  10. Cut crosswise into 2.5 cm or 1 inch pieces and transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
  11. Toss with some flour to prevent sticking.
  12. Chill until ready to use.

Notes on How to make Gnocchi

  • None, really. Enjoy! 🙂

How To Make Advieh Spice – Persian Spice Mix

Advieh

“Advieh” means spice in Persian / Iranian language. It is a spice mixture used in Iranian / Persian cuisine.

Cuisine: Persian / Iranian
Region: Common

Yield: >1/2 cup (30 g)
Preparation time: <10 min
You need: a mixing bowl and spice grinder or mortar and pestle

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp dried rose petals
  • 2 x 3-inch cinnamon sticks, crushed (it will help with the grinding)
  • 2 Tbsp cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground golpar (Persian hogweed; whole seeds are hard to find)

Instructions

  1. Put all the spices together in a bowl and mix them lightly.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  3. Grind to powder.
  4. Empty the powder to an airtight glass container and keep it in a cool place.

Notes on How To Make Advieh Spice – Persian Spice Mix

  • Enjoy!

How to Desalt Olives

Well, believe it or not, olives are NOT meant to be eaten straight out of the brine (as many of us do). The way to desalt them is rather simple:

  1. drain the brine,
  2. put the olives in a bowl,
  3. add water in it,
  4. change the water every 1 hour…

…. until the salt level drops down to something you can handle.

Storage
Put the olives in a jar (or jars) and add olive oil to the brim. The olive oil you’ll use for storage does not have to be first quality extra virgin olive oil. Regular olive oil will do.

Olive Tapenade – Spread

Cuisine: Generic
Region: Generic

A classic olive spread or tapenade for dipping and nibbling. Can’t go wrong with this one. 🙂

Cooking time: 10 min
You need: a food processor, a mixing bowl and jars for storage

Ingredients

  • 1+1/2 cups pitted, brine-cured olives (could be 1 c Black and ½ green)
  • 3-4 anchovy filets, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons capers rinsed
  • 1+1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley or cilantro
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic roasted if desired
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Chop the olives in a food processor until coarse.
  2. Chop the parsley and add to the processor bowl.
  3. Finely chop the anchovy filets and add to the processor bowl.
  4. Crush garlic and add to the processor bowl.
  5. Blend with olive oil until mixed.
  6. Remove the mixture from the food processor and put in a bowl.
  7. Add lemon juice to the mixture, stirring until mixed.
  8. Store in jar(s)

Notes on Olive Tapenade – Spread

  • Olives are NOT meant to be eaten straight out of the brine. Always take the salt out before you use them. The way to do this is rather simple: drain the brine, put them in a bowl, add water in it and change the water every 1 hour until the salt level drops down to something you can handle.
  • Then, you store the olives in jars of olive oil. The olive oil you’ll use for storage does not have to be first quality extra virgin olive oil.

How to Make Busiate Pasta

Cuisine: Italian

The cook here uses only water and flour. (That makes it vegan.) You can also use 3 eggs and 3 Tbsp of olive oil for every 3 cups of flour.

If you are using eggs, and if you won’t consume the pasta you just made all in the same day, it would make sense to keep your pasta refrigerated, or even in the deep-freeze if you’re planning for longer term storage.

Cod with Vegetables and Garlic

Cabillaud et légumes à l’aïoli

Cuisine: French
Region: Provence

Cod and Vegetables with Garlic – a typical Provençal dish. Let’s do the deed without further ado, shall we? 🙂

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 45 min
You need: a bowl and a baking pan

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 lbs) of cod
  • 6 potatoes, sliced
  • 1 cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 12 carrots, peeled
  • A handful of green beans, trimmed
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise

For the aioli:

  • 4–6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Pepper and salt
  • 1 + 1/2 cup (glass) olive oil

Instructions

  1. Poach the cod for 45 minutes. OR, wrap it tightly in a foil and cook it in the oven (say 180C/350F).
  2. While the fish is cooking:
  3. Boil the potatoes.
  4. Steam or boil the cauliflower, the carrots and the beans just until al dente.
  5. On a serving platter, present the fish surrounded by the hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, and vegetables.
  6. Present the aioli in a separate bowl.

For the aioli:

  1. In a bowl, mash garlic with the egg yolk, pepper, and salt.
  2. Drizzle the oil in slowly, beating steadily, until the mixture thickens. (You can use a blender too).
  3. Keep it in the fridge until serving.

Notes on Cod with Vegetables and Garlic

  • It can be served as soon as it is cooked, but serving it cold is equally delicious.
  • You can add different vegetables according to your taste. There’s no hard rule here.

Baked Eggs with Morels (mushrooms)

Oeufs cocotte aux morilles

Cuisine: French
Region: Ardeche

No need for formal introductions for this one.
Let’s cook, shall we? 🙂

Serves: 6
Cooking time: 20 min.
You need: an oven baking dish and 6 ramequins
Option: requires 2hrs of soaking if the mushrooms are dry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of morels or other mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 cup (glass) heavy cream, preferably crème fraiche
  • 1/2 cup (glass) grated Gruyère
  • 1/2 cup (glass) diced ham
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 slices white or whole wheat bread

Instructions

Preparation

  1. If you’re using dry morels, put them in water for 2hrs to reconstitute. Then squeeze them dry and chop.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.

Cooking

  1. Take a bowl,
  2. Mix the cream, ham, and morels.
  3. Divide the mixture among the ramequins.
  4. In each remaquin make a hole in the centre of the mixture.
  5. Break an egg into each hole.
  6. Top with freshly ground pepper.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the white of the egg is set, while the yolk remains soft.
  8. Toast the bread and cut it into fingers.
  9. Serve the bread with the baked eggs.

Notes on Baked Eggs with Morels

  • Enjoy!

Turkish Lamb Stew over Eggplant Puree (Hünkar Beğendi)

Hünkar Beğendi

Cuisine: Turkish
Region: Common

This is an ultra-classic, traditional Turkish recipe whose name translates to “Sultan’s Delight”. As we can reasonably imagine there are many, many variations of Hünkar Beğendi: some recipes call for cheese and milk, others for milk and flour. Some call for lamb, others of beef. Some call for butter, others for olive oil and some “Westernized” versions even call for … vegetable oil and margarine (hello?).

We chose a version that (we believe) is most representative of Turkey and its people.

Most people in Turkey would choose to cook the stew in the previous day, leaving only the eggplant puree for the day of the meal. One reason is that a day-old stew is incredibly tasty; another reason is that it splits cooking time over two days. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 90 min
You need: a skillet or pot for the lamb stew, a baking tray, a saucepan and a wooden spoon for the eggplant puree.

Ingredients

For the lamb stew (Hünkar)

  • 1/2 Kg lamb, leg or shoulder cut, cubed
  • 3 medium-large tomatoes, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tsp thyme and oregano (mixed)
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 glass (cup) hot water
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

For the eggplant puree (Beğendi)

  • 3 medium sized flask eggplants
  • 4-5 Tbsp grated cheese *
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 litre warm milk
  • 1 bunch chopped parsley to garnish

Instructions

For the lamb stew

  1. Take a pot, put the butter in it, turn on the fire to medium heat.
  2. When the butter melts, add the lamb and saute lightly.
  3. Add the onion and the garlic.
  4. Saute the mixture for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is golden and the meat brown.
  5. Add the minced tomatoes, the tomato paste and a glass (cup) of hot water.
  6. Stir the pot well.
  7. Add the thyme and oregano mix, salt and pepper.
  8. Give it a stir and it let it simmer.
  9. Once the stew is simmering, cover the pot with the lid and turn the heat to low.
  10. Let is cook for one hour, until the lamb is soft and the sauce has thickened.
  11. Turn of the fire and let the stew rest.

For the eggplant puree

While the stew is cooking…

  1. Preheat the oven to 240C/460F.
  2. Prick the eggplants with a sharp knife and put them on a baking tray. *
  3. Put the baking tray in the oven.
  4. Bake the eggplants for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft.
  5. Turn off the oven, take the baking tray out, and put the eggplants on the side to cool off.
  6. Then, take a knife and slit the eggplant lengthwise.
  7. Take a spoon, scrape off the eggplant pulp, mince it and put it on the side. Discard the eggplant skin and the seeds.
  8. Take a saucepan, add the butter in and melt it over medium fire.
  9. Add the flour little by little while stirring continuously with the wooden spoon.
  10. The mixture is now solid. Start adding the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously to keep the mixture smooth.
  11. After the milk has all gone in, the mixture will start to thicken.
  12. Now is the time to add the eggplant.
  13. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  14. Finally add the grated cheese and (you guessed it) keep stirring so that the puree is smooth and thick enough to provide a nest for the lamb stew.

Serving

  1. Make a puree nest on each plate and empty a scoop of lamb stew in it.
  2. Sprinkle it with parsley and serve.

Notes on the Turkish Lamb Stew over Eggplant Puree (Hünkar Beğendi)

  • Hünkar Beğendi will taste good, maybe better, the next day too.
  • For the lamb stew: you could substitute the thyme & oregano mix with a pinch of cumin. It could take some more ground pepper, too.
  • For the eggplant puree: you could add a pinch of nutmeg if you so like BUT, if you do that pay attention to the taste of the cheese you’re using. In Turkey they use “Tulum” which is sharp and salty so, a pinch of nutmeg here may do very nicely but it may not work with well e.g. Asiago cheese. So, when/if you feel like experimenting with spices we would encourage you to start building the spices from the cheese up.
  • Potential cheeses for the eggplant puree: Tulum (of course), Parmesan (subtle and sweet), Pecorino Romano (sharp and potent), Asiago (nutty and creamy), aged Cheddar, etc.

Lentils with Rice and Caramelized Onions – Mujadara

Mujadara (in Arabic) or Fakoryzo (in Greek)

Cuisine: Greek, Lebanese, Egyptian
Region: Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East.

Lentils with Rice and Caramelized Onions, going by the name of Mujadara in the Middle East and Egypt and Fakoryzo in Greece, is a popular, humble and nutritious staple “recipe of the poor”.

In our modern days science confirms that the combination of rice and lentils can substitute the effect of meat for a long period of time. (Scroll down to Notes.) How people came to the same conclusion without any scientific means and long before science could attest to that fact… remains a mystery enshrined in people’s traditional cuisines.

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: 60 min
You need: a small pot and a saucepan
Notes: requires soaking

Ingredients

For the lentils

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf

For the rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2+1/2 cups of hot water
  • Salt and pepper

For the caramelized onions

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion cut in slices
  • 1/4 Tsp cumin
  • 1/8 Tsp allspice
  • 1/2 Tsp brown sugar

For the garnish

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley or fresh coriander finely chopped.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Wash the lentils and put them in a bowl to soak for at least 30 min.
  2. Wash the rice and let it soak for at least 60 minutes, preferably 2hrs. For more information about washing and preparing rice for cooking please click here.

Cooking

  1. Take a small pot, put the lentils in and add cold water – twice the amount of water it takes to cover the lentils.
  2. Bring them to a boil and let them simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Lower the fire and add the diced onion and the bay leaf.
  4. Let it simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but still holding.
  5. Take the pot off the fire, strain the lentils with a colander and put them on the side.
  6. Take a small saucepan and add a bit of olive oil and the sliced onion.
  7. Saute the onion until translucent and add the cumin, the allspice and the sugar.
  8. Stir frequently in very low fire for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions release all their caramels and turn golden dark.
  9. Remove the onions from the pan with a slotted spoon and put them on the side.
  10. In the same saucepan, pour 1/3 cup of olive oil and add the rice.
  11. Saute the rice until it glistens.
  12. Add 2 +1/2 cups of hot water and let the rice simmer in very low fire until it is soft – that will take around 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Do not stir the rice while it’s cooking.
  14. When you see the rice making holes on the top, add the lentils and stir.
  15. Let it simmer for another 1-2 minutes and then turn off the fire.
  16. The meal is ready.
  17. At this point you’ll have to decide whether to stir in the caramelized onions or to reserve them for garnish.

Serving

  • Garnish each plate with fresh parsley or coriander and/or the caramelized onions (if that’s what decided earlier).

Notes on Lentils with Rice and Caramelized Onions – Mujadara

  • Rice does contain protein but this protein does not contain all of the aminoacids, mostly lysine, the human body needs to function well. Lentils (and all pulses) on the other hand contain the lysine that rice doesn’t have. In turn, rice is rich in methionine, another type of aminoacid that lentils do not have. The combination of the two increases the protein value of the meal.
  • It is a favourite dish in the Greek Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox world during the periods of Lent (when consumption of meat and dairy is forbidden).

Frikkadels – South African Braised Meat Balls

Frikkadels or Frikkadelle

Cuisine: South African
Region: Common

Frikkadels was very popular in Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Yes, the idea for this recipe is… that old.) No wonder it followed the Dutch settlers all the way to South Africa.

Serves 6 – 8
Cooking time: @30 min
You need: a mixing bowl and frying pan or a skillet

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp of butter or 1/3 of a cup of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 750g (1+1/2 Lbs) lean minced beef
  • 1 slice of thick crustless white bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp ground allspice

Instructions

  1. Put the frying pan or skillet on the stove. Turn on the fire to medium high.
  2. Add 1/3 of the butter or oil in the pan or skillet and then add the onion.
  3. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
  4. Turn off the fire.
  5. In the mixing bowl combine the minced beef, bread, eggs, salt, pepper, allspice and the onions you just sauted.
  6. Shape the mixture into balls.
  7. Add the remaining butter or oil in the skillet.
  8. Turn the fire on to medium high.
  9. Add to the pan a few Frikkadels at a time and brown them for about 5 minutes on one each side.
  10. Turn the fire down to medium (or lower) and keep cooking the Frikkadels for another 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
  11. Serve hot.

Sides

  • Mashed potatoes.
  • Diced onion in a tomato sauce.

Notes on Frikkadels – South African Braised Meat Balls

  • Enjoy!

Ground Lamb or Beef with Onions and Tahini Sauce in the Oven

Siniyeh

Cuisine: Israeli / Jewish
Region: Yemen

Simple, fast and delicious, Siniyeh, namely Ground Lamb or Beef with Onions and Tahini Sauce in the Oven, is a Jewish recipe from Yemen that is been cooked in Israel today. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6
Cooking time: 45 min
You need: a bowl, a skillet and a small baking pan (see notes)

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) ground lamb or beef. (Go for lamb!)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley (fresh)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 cup (@270g) of tahini

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Wash your hands very, very well.
  3. Take a large bowl and add all the ingredients except for the pine nuts and the tahini.
  4. Use your hands to knead the mixture to a paste.
  5. Brush the baking pan with olive oil. It shouldn’t take more 1 Tbsp of oil.
  6. Spread the meat mixture in the pan, evenly.
  7. On the stove top, turn the fire on to medium high.
  8. Take the skillet, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil, add the pine nuts and saute for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. When the pine nuts turn to light brown remove the skillet from the fire.
  9. Empty evenly the contents of the skillet, pine nuts and oil, on top of the meat mixture. o
  10. Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top turns to brown.
  11. Take the pan out of the oven and pour the tahini over the mixture, evenly.
  12. Bake for another 15 minutes, until the top looks nicely browned.

Notes on Ground Lamb or Beef with Onions and Tahini Sauce in the Oven

  • Regarding tahini: depending on the brand and/or for how long jar has been sitting on the shelf some tahinis are thick like paste, others liquid like milk and others in various other forms of thickness. You can dilute tahini by putting it in a bowl and slowly adding water while you stir with a fork. You want tahini to be even and creamy, without lumps.
  • Regarding the dimensions of the baking pan: a round one @25 cm / 10 inch in diameter or a rectangular one @23×23 cm or 9×9 inch should do.
  • You can of course play with your own spices when/if you have an idea as to how to combine them with the body of the recipe.
  • You can pair this recipe with rice and/or a green salad.
  • A few words about the health benefits of sesame, here.

Pasta with Butter and Cheese

Pasta al Burro e Formaggio

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Common

Italian, hearty, classic and so simple a pasta recipe it’s almost… unbearable. Enjoy!

Serves 4
Cooking time: 10-15 min
You need: a pot and big bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of Spaghetti or Macaroni (@500g or @2 Lbs)
  • 200g (less than 1 Lb) of grated cheese (@50g or less than 2oz per person)
  • 4 Tbsp of butter (1 Tbsp per person)
  • +2 Lt of water

Instructions

For the Spaghetti

  1. Add at least 2 Lt of water in a pot.
  2. Add salt.
  3. Turn on the fire and bring it to a boil.
  4. Add the spaghetti in the pot and stir from time to time.
  5. The spaghetti is to be al dente, cooked but not loose. Check the instructions on the pack for the exact cooking time.

For the Macaroni

  1. As above, put the macaroni into salted boiling water, and boil twelve to fifteen minutes, or until the macaroni is perfectly soft (meaning: the opposite of al dente. Check the instructions on the pack for the exact cooking time.)
  2. Stir frequently to prevent the macaroni from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Turn the macaroni into a colander to drain.

For the butter and cheese

  1. While the spaghetti or macaroni is cooking, grate the cheese. You can start with 50g per person and then put some more in a small bowl so that guests can help themselves if they want more.
  2. Take 1 Tbsp of butter per person, turn the fire on to medium-low and heat the butter up.
  3. Turn the butter in a big bowl and mix the cheese with the butter.

Mixing it up

  1. Turn the Spaghetti or Macaroni into the bowl and mix well.
  2. You are now ready to serve.

Notes on Pasta with Butter and Cheese

  • You can use Parmesan cheese (for a sweeter taste) or Pecorino cheese (for a saltier and sharper taste) or… any cheese you like, really.
  • Regarding Spaghetti, avoid the thin varieties. (You need enough surface on the spaghetti so that the butter and cheese can stick to it.)
  • Regarding Macaroni, go for Mezzani or Zitti (or any short Macaroni with a tube you have in the pantry, really.)

Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Dates, Almonds and Pistachios

Cuisine: Moroccan / Morocco
Region: Common

The Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Dates, Almonds and Pistachios is a classic Moroccan Tagine recipe that’s usually made for weddings and family gatherings. It will take some time to cook but… as with almost all traditional recipes everywhere in the World there’s no shortcut: it. must. cook. slowly.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 120 min
You need: a heavy based casserole with a lid and small frying pan

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (+ 2 Lbs) of lamb, preferably leg, but shoulder or neck will do too. Ask the clerk to cube it to bite-size pieces.
  • 2–3 Tbsp of ghee or 1/4 cup of olive oil. (See Notes)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1–2 Tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 Tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • Warm water
  • 1/4 Kg (approx. 8 oz) pitted dates (full and moist is better than squished and dry)
  • 1 Tbsp honey; the darker the honey, the better.
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Tsp of butter
  • 2–3 Tbsp blanched almonds
  • 2 Tbsp shelled pistachios
  • 1 bunch of parsley, diced

Instructions

  1. Put the tagine or casserole or dutch oven on a medium fire and add the ghee.
  2. Heat the ghe (it won’t take long) and add the onions.
  3. Saute the onions until they turn golden / brown.
  4. Add the turmeric, the ginger and the cinnamon. Give it a good stir.
  5. Wait for a beat or two and add the meat.
  6. Stir the meat in the spices, making sure that the meat is coated on all sides.
  7. Add enough warm water to almost cover the meat.
  8. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low or low. (Low is best).
  9. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for approx. 90 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
  10. Ninety minutes later: add the dates into the mix, and after that stir in the honey.
  11. Cover with a lid again and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  12. When it’s done, turn off the fire, season with salt and black pepper and let it rest.

While the meat is resting…

  1. Heat the olive oil with the butter in a small pan.
  2. Stir in the almonds and pistachios and cook until they begin to turn golden brown.

Then…

  1. Scatter the nuts over the lamb and dates and sprinkle with the parsley.
  2. It’s ready.

Sides and Salads

  • Rice or couscous will do for a side dish.
  • When it comes to salad, anything “green” with a lot of lemon juice will do. (You need the lemon juice to cut through the sweetness of the recipe.)

Notes on the Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Dates, Almonds and Pistachios

  • Substituting ghee with olive oil will makes the recipe Kosher.
Tajine
Clay Tajine

The Tagine is a kind of clay cook-ware with a heavy conical lid.

Since it is most likely difficult to find a proper North African Tajine pot where we live, we can safely substitute it with either a heavy bottomed casserole with a lid, or a dutch oven.

It will probably not taste the same, given that the heating and heat retention properties of clay are quite different than those of metal cook-ware but… well.

Egyptian Fava Bean Stew – Fuul

Fuul, or Ful, or Ful Medames, or Ful Medammes, or Fuul, or Ful Mudammas

Cuisine: Egyptian
Region: Common

The Egyptian Fava Bean Stew or Fuul as a staple food is probably as old as Egypt. There are many variations (of course). We present an ultra-classic Fuul recipe as a basis – and then you’re free to change the flavour and/or add the topings of your choice.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: +60 min
You need: a pot or saucepan or skillet and a mixing bowl
Notes: requires soaking overnight

Ingredients

Basis

  • 2 cups small dried fava beans
  • 2 Tsp baking soda (for dried beans only)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 Tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp ground coriander
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Choice of Toppings

  1. Chopped tomatoes, a generous dash of olive oil and chopped parsley on top.
  2. Extra lemon wedges, chopped onion, sliced cucumber, chopped green pepper, fresh mint and/or one hard-boiled egg per person.

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Take a pot, put the dry fava beans in it, add 6 cups of water and 2 Tsp of baking soda and let them soak for anywhere between 12hrs and 24hrs. (The more you soak them, the better.)
  2. Feel free to change the water when/if you remember doing it. Changing the water helps in getting rid of the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients more effectively.
  3. When soaked enough, empty the water and rinse them with cold water.

Cooking

  1. Take a pot or a saucepan and empty the fava beans in it.
  2. Cover with fresh water.
  3. Turn the fire on, bring to a boil, and then lower the fire to minimum.
  4. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the beans are soft enough to mash.
  5. Give it a stir from time to time and add more (hot) water if necessary.
  6. occasionally and add more water if necessary.
  7. While the fava beans are simmering, take a bowl and mix in the pressed garlic, the cumin, the lemon juice, and about 2/3 of a Tsp of salt.
  8. When the fava beans are ready remove them from the pot or saucepan and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Do not discard the water, you might need it a bit later.
  9. Mash some of the the beans with a fork or pestle. You want some of them mashed and some of them in tact.
  10. Add the lemon juice mixture into the mixing bowl and stir, gently.
  11. Add more fava bean water if necessary. You want the beans wet but not soupy.
  12. Time for adjustments: taste the mixture and add more lemon juice or salt if think it needs it.
  13. The Fuul is now ready. Transfer it to a serving dish and add the toppings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Variations

Once you have the basis of the Fuul ready you can turn that basis to a new dish or side.

Here’s how:

  • Add the desired amount of Fuul in a saucepan.
  • Add 2-3 Tbsp of water.
  • Mix in the ingredients of your chosen variation.
  • Heat the mixture through over low fire.

Note: the measurements below are per cup of Fuul.

Spicy Tomato Fuul

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tsp. harissa paste OR 1/2 Tsp. chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Tahini Fuul

  • 1 Tbsp tahini paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • Chopped parsley

Curry Fuul

  • 1 +1/2 Tsp. curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic, mince
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped

Butter Fuul

  • 1-2 Tbsp butter
  • Important note: Egyptians traditionally use a local butter called ‘zebda baladi’ . (See Notes, below.) A good substitute to that is butter made from sheep/goat milk.

Sides

  • Sweet tea
  • Arabic bread or Pitta bread with an extra drizzle of olive oil on top . If you’re making Butter Fuul use an extra pat of butter instead of olive oil.

Notes on the Egyptian Fava Bean Stew – Fuul

  • Zebda Baladi is a special kind of butter they make in Egypt and it is distinctly different from the butter we know in other places in the world. More information on Zebda Baladi, here.
  • Fuul can be a main dish, or a side dish to something else. If you intend to cook Fuul as a side dish feel free to scale the recipe down.
  • Canned fava beans do not need soaking and take something like… 10 minutes to cook. The downside is their generally bland taste, so, you may need to exercise your seasoning skills when/if you cook with canned fava beans.

Japanese Okra and Bonito Salad

Aemono

Cuisine: Japanese
Region: Common

A simple, fast and tasty Japanese salad with Okra and Bonito fish Curiously, okra is not very popular in North America but it is preferred and cooked voraciously in other parts of the World. Japan is one of them.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 10 min
You need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 40 Okras
  • 50g (or more, there’s no rule) dry bonito shavings or flakes
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Cut the top off the okras
  2. Take a pot, put them in, and boil them in salted water for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Take the pot of the fire, drain the okras in a colander or sieve.
  4. Put the sieve under cold running water.
  5. Drain the water, put them on a cutting board and chop them to pieces – as wide or thin as you like.
  6. Put them in a bowl, add the soy sauce and drizzle with the bonito shavings.

Notes on the Japanese Okra and Bonito Salad

  • Enjoy!

Anglo – Indian Lamb Mulligatawny Stew or Soup

Cuisine: Anglo – Indian

The Anglo-Indian Mulligatawny stew is where West meets East, and vice versa. According to Wikipedia, “Mulligatawny is related to the soup rasam. Due to its popularity in England during British India, it was one of the few items of Indian cuisine that found common mention in the literature of the period. Early references to it in English go back to year 1784.” There are many variations of this recipe – some use ghee, others oil, some use lentils, other use lamb or beef, others are vegetarian. This one calls for lamb and lentils.

Serves: 6
Cooking time: 60 min
You need: a casserole or pot and saucepan or skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg (@2Lbs) of lamb or mutton – preferably with bones, shoulder or breast cut.
  • 1 handful of masoor dal (red gram dal)
  • 2 glasses (cups) of coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs of olive oil, or coconut oil
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 2 Tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 Tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 Tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Tsp cumin powder
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, diced and mashed
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, diced and mashed
  • +2 glasses (cups) of hot water
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 2 onions, medium sized, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp mint, diced, for the garnish.

Instructions

The lamb

  1. Take a casserole.
  2. Put in the meat and the dal.
  3. Cover with water.
  4. Cook the meat in medium-low fire until it’s tender.
  5. Stir the mixture until the dal is smooth.

The spices

  1. Take a saucepan and add the oil or ghee.
  2. Heat it up, and saute the curry leaves, the green chillies and the onions until they change colour to brown.
  3. Add the ginger and the garlic and saute for a few minutes.
  4. Now it’s time time for the rest: add the chilli powder, the cumin powder, the coriander powder and the turmeric powder and saute for a few minutes until the oil separates from the mixture.

The combination

  1. Empty the saucepan into the casserole (into the meat and dal, that is). Mix well.
  2. Add the coconut oil, gently, stirring well.
  3. Salt to taste.
  4. Add 2 more glasses (cups) of water.
  5. Simmer in medium-low fire with the lid on for about 15 to 20 minutes.

The garnish

  1. Remove the casserole from the heat.
  2. Add the lime juice.
  3. Garnish with the mint leaves.

Notes on the Anglo – Indian Lamb Mulligatawny Stew or Soup

  • Can be served with bread or rice.
  • Olive oil is very recent to India. For a more “authentic” flavour you could substitute the 2 Tbsp of olive oil with 1 Tbsp of ghee (clarified) butter.
  • Needless to mention that ghee makes the recipe non-kosher.

Sauted Eggplant with Capsicum and Yogurt – Turkish style

Köpoğlu

Cuisine: Turkish
Region: Istanbul

This is a classic family/home cooking recipe from Istanbul. A bit spicy for Western palates, but well, it’s very much worth it.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 20 min
You need: a saucepan and a bowl
Notes: requires soaking the eggplants for 30 min

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants (aubergines)
  • 1 glass (cup) olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum (red spicy pepper), seeded and cut into squares
  • 1 green capsicum (green spice pepper), seeded and cut into squares
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 125g (4+1/2 oz) thick yogurt (Turkish or Greek-style or Labneh)

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Peel and dice the eggplants, and put in a large bowl.
  2. Cover with salted water, and leave to soak for 30 minutes; squeeze the pieces out well and pat dry with paper towel.

Cooking

  1. Peel and dice the eggplants, and put in a large bowl.
  2. Turn the fire on to medium-high.
  3. Add the olive oil in a large saucepan and put the saucepan on the fire.
  4. Wait for a beat or two and add the eggplants to the saucepan.
  5. Saute the eggplants for 8–10 minutes – until the eggplants are soft and start to brown.
  6. Using a slotted spoon (or even a fork, if you wish) move the eggplants to a plate. Don’t drain the olive oil, you’ll need it for the next rounds.
  7. Return the saucepan to the fire.
  8. Add the capsicums. They saute a lot faster than the eggplants.
  9. When ready, remove the capsicums from the saucepan. Put them on a paper towel to drain off the oil.
  10. In the same saucepan saute the garlic for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes.
  11. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and start to breakdown.
  12. Arrange the eggplant and capsicum in a dish, then top with the tomatoes.
  13. In a small bowl, whisk the yoghurt with a little salt.
  14. Once the vegetables have cooled, top with the yoghurt and serve.

Notes on the Sauted Eggplant with Capsicum and Yogurt – Turkish style

  • This dish is to be savoured warm, not hot.
  • Remember: the point here is to merely saute the vegetables, not fry them.
  • Runny yogurt will not work very well with this recipe.
  • Speaking of yogurt, try to find sheep or goat yogurt, if available.

Dutch Green Split Pea Soup

Erwtensoep

Cuisine: Dutch / Holland / Netherlands
Region: Common

Erwtensoep is a Dutch winter classic and traditional recipe that offers enough strength to keep us going.

Serves 4
Cooking time: 50 min
You need: a pot

Ingredients

  • 500 grams (@1 Lb) green split peas
  • 1 Lt (34 fl oz) water
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 small potato, peeled
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small smoked ham hock, or ham bone or sausage
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Rinse and wash the split peas, and add them with the water to a pot.
  2. Chop the vegetables and add them to the water.
  3. Add the bay leaf.
  4. Add the smoked meat.
  5. Add salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer in low fire for about 40 minutes.
  7. When the peas are soft, remove the bay leaf and stir the soup several times. You want the peas to dissolve and made creamy.
  8. Now, take the meat out of the soup.
  9. Cut the meat off the bone and stir it back in the soup. If you’re using sausage, now it’s the time to add it to the mix.
  10. Taste for salt and pepper and adust accordingly.
  11. Done.

Notes on the Dutch Green Split Pea Soup

  • Traditionally it is served with a slice of dark rye bread.
  • Using a beef sausage makes the recipe Halal or Kosher.
  • This is a better-next-day recipe – as with all stews, really. When reheating, remember that the soup is thick and it might scorch in the pan. Add a bit of water if that’s the case.

Dutch Endive Stew with Mashed Potatoes

Andijviestamppot

Cuisine: Dutch / Holland / The Netherlands
Region: Overijssel

A Dutch winter classic. Do note that there’s no need for dairy with Dutch potatoes because they are creamy by nature. The idea here is that the vegetables release enough juices to make the potatoes moist enough.

Serves 2
Cooking time: 20 min
You need: a pot, a skillet and a bowl

Ingredients

  • 600 gram (1.3 lb) potatoes
  • 400 gram(14 oz) escarole endive
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 bacon strips
  • Optional: a pinch of nutmeg and/or pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into regular sized chunks.
  2. Put them in a pot.
  3. Add enough water to barely cover the potatoes.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil.
  5. Add salt.
  6. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  7. Time for the skillet now to fry the bacon. It can cook on its own fat, or you might want to help it a little with a bit if water.
  8. When the bacon is done, cut into small strips or chunks.
  9. Try the potatoes with a fork. If they are easily pierced or fall off the fork it means that the potatoes are ready.
  10. Keep a glass (cup) of the the potato-water and discard the rest.
  11. Mash the potatoes in a bowl. Add some potato-water if the mashed potatoes seem dry.
  12. Wash the escarole endive, rinse and cut into 2cm (about 1 inch) strips.
  13. Mix the escarole endive in with the mashed potatoes and then add the bacon.
  14. Taste for salt and adjust is necessary.
  15. Optional: add a pinch of pepper or nutmeg if that suits your taste.

Notes on the Dutch Endive Stew with Mashed Potatoes

  • If escarole endive is unavailable you could use mustard greens, fresh spinach or arugula – they all work well.  
  • Given that it’s difficult to find creamy Dutch potatoes in other places around the world, you may consider using dairy if the result is not creamy enough for your taste. Fresh cream would do the trick, but not too much; all you need is to make the potatoes a bit creamy, after all.

Baked Beans with Tomatoes and Mushrooms – Italian Style

Fagioli al Forno con i Funghi

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Tuscany

These Baked Beans with Tomatoes and Mushrooms is another hearty, wholesome recipe from Italy’s Tuscany. It actually tastes better the next day.

Serves: 8
Cooking time: 60 min
You need: an oven proof casserole or dutch oven and a pan
Notes: requires soaking overnight

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) dried small white beans
  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, white parts only, cut into thin slices
    • or 1 large onion, cut into very thin slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 Kg (1/2 Lb) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp of butter

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Put the beans in a bowl, add enough water to cover them by at least 5 cm or 2 inches (or more, you can’t go wrong here) and soak them for anywhere between 12hrs and 24hrs. (The more you soak them, the better.)
  2. Feel free to change the water when you remember doing it. Changing the water helps in getting rid of the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients more effectively.

Cooking

  1. Next day: drain the beans and transfer them to a big enough, ovenproof casserole.
  2. Turn on the oven to 160C / 325F so that it starts preheating.
  3. Add the tomatoes, the leek or onion, the garlic and the olive oil to the beans.
  4. Add your salt and pepper and stir.
  5. Put the casserole on the stove.
  6. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 fingers / 1 inch.
  7. Bring it to boil.
  8. Cover the casserole with the lid and transfer it to the preheated oven (160C / 325°F).
  9. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the beans.
  10. Close to serving time put the butter in a pan, melt it in medium fire and saute the mushrooms in the butter.
  11. Then, when the beans are ready, stir the sauted mushrooms into the beans and serve.

Notes on Baked Beans with Tomatoes and Mushrooms – Italian Style

  • Check the beans for moisture from time to time. If the beans look too dry then add a little hot water, 1/4 glass (cup) at a time. If they look like soup then uncover the casserole to help the liquid evaporate.
  • You can use a dutch oven instead of a casserole.

Italian Baked Beans with Tomatoes and Ham or Bacon

Fagioli al Forno

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Tuscany

This is a hearty, winter day’s Italian recipe for beans and meat. It actually tastes better the next day.

Serves: 6 to 8
Cooking time: 60 min
You need: an oven proof casserole or dutch oven
Notes: requires soaking overnight

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) dried small white beans
  • 1 large smoked ham hock, or @100g (1⁄4 Lb) bacon
  • 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, white parts only, cut into thin slices
    • or 1 large onion, cut into very thin slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

Preparation
  1. Put the beans in a bowl, add enough water to cover them by at least 5 cm or 2 inches (or more, you can’t go wrong here) and soak them for anywhere between 12hrs and 24hrs. (The more you soak them, the better.)
  2. Feel free to change the water when you remember doing it. Changing the water helps in getting rid of the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients more effectively.
Cooking
  1. Next day: drain the beans and transfer them to a big enough, ovenproof casserole.
  2. Turn on the oven to 160C / 325F so that it starts preheating.
  3. If you are using a ham hock: scrape it if necessary and scald it with boiling water.
  4. If you are using bacon: tie the slices together with a string. (You’ll remove the string later.)
  5. Add the ham hock or bacon, the tomatoes, the leek or onion, the garlic and the olive oil to the beans.
  6. Add your salt and pepper and stir.
  7. Put the casserole on the stove.
  8. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2 fingers / 1 inch.
  9. Bring it to boil.
  10. Cover the casserole with the lid and transfer it to the preheated oven (160C / 325°F).
  11. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the beans.
  12. At serving time remove the ham hock or bacon and cut it. You can then use it either as a side dish or mix it in with the beans – your choice.

Notes on Italian Baked Beans with Tomatoes and Ham or Bacon

  • Check for moisture from time to time. If the beans look too dry then add a little hot water, 1/4 glass (cup) at a time. If they look like soup then uncover the casserole to help the liquid evaporate.
  • You can use a dutch oven instead of a casserole.