This was the first meal we made with the lamb than we acquired from from Mr M’s family. In celebration of Greek month we bought a half lamb from Devon which was lovingly butchered, by his brother.
The chops were simply roasted with rosemary, thyme, lemon juice and some shallots.
To accompany them we made a Buckwheat pilaf (ish). According to my mother in Greek cooking any random selection of ingredients can be referred to as a Pilaf, ours had raisins, almonds, the roasted shallots and a glug of oil. Served with some fresh green veg, this was Greek inspired rather than dictated.
The pilaf was nutty, but lacked herbs. The lamb was ace. Mr M says 8.
So this blog is the first in over a week. I’ve not been too well (and was a way for a bit) and Mr M reverts to being a beans on toast type of guy if he’s just cooking for himself. Can’t say I blame him, cooking alone is no fun and we started the blog to do together, month 5 and I’m not quite prepared to give up on it, even if this month is patchy.
So back to the subject line, the eminently Greek Moussaka. My mum makes a great one, but sadly I didn’t have her around to assist. I turned instead to Vefa’s Kitchen. I compiled the same ingredients as I know my mother would, beef mince, courgettes, aubergines and potatoes. I fried the mince with onions, garlic, tomatoes and cinnamon. The aubergines were salted, left for half an hour, then fried. The courgettes were also fried. The potatoes were chopped thinly, but not parboiled. I also made a rich bechemel sauce, with eggs and halloumi. I laid all the potatoes at the bottom of the dish, covered with the some of the mince, veg, bechemal, repeated and finished with the bechemel. Baked for 35 minutes. Served to hungry boy’s, tasty but not as good as Mum’s. Why? Less salt, cinnamon and frying equalled less flavour. Mr M still gave it a 9!
This was another recipe from the Vefa’s Kitchen cookbook which has clear instructions, nice illustrations and many many recipies. However it doesn’t have much or any explanation for the origins of usual occasions for individual recipies, so the reason for this soup being listed as Mount Athos Monastery Bean Soup is unknown.
As an introduction to soups in general the cookbook says that “making a soup is a relaxed process that is more or less rule free… Simply simmer the ingredients in water or stock union they have yielded their flavours to the liquid.” I think this is a pretty neat description.
To that end, this dish contained a variety of vegetables, chiefly carrot, green peppers and tomatoes and a couple of types of tinned beans. One dried red chilli added spicy heat and some parsley, red wine vinegar and a little sugar added some refinement and the whole lot was simmered gently for an hour and served with some hard cheese.
A tasty and summery dish that was pretty filling for a soup not based on potatoes! Mr M scored it 8 out of 10.
Super easy tonight another recipe from the Cypriot book. Chicken pieces, tin of tomatoes, chopped onion and lots of cumin. One hour in the oven. Served with rice and salad. The cumin was a nice change from the green herby flavours of the past few months.
Mr M says 7.5.
Another recipe from the Vefa’s Kitchen cookbook with lots of onions!
Half a kilo of chopped onions, boiled in salted water provided a base for some beef meatballs and butter and cooked in the oven for 30 minutes before a sauce of yoghurt, egg and red wine vinegar. The meatballs consisted of beef mince, egg, parsley, red wine, red wine vinegar, bread and more onions!
Very sour an oniony, but interesting. Mrs M scored it 8 out of 10.
Tonight’s dinner was little fried pork meatballs, flavoured with cinnamon and parsley. Served with brown rice and a simple tomato and cucumber salad, tasty and quite like the snacks my delightful Greek teacher Effie used to serve me.
Mr M voted 7, obviously I need to work on my meatball making! Although he has been spoilt recently with my Mum’s excellent beef meatballs and I have to admit that mine weren’t a patch on Effies.
A healthy dinner tonight and one that makes me realise I’m getting on. I never would have you touched a bean soup in my teens, even though my mother assured me that beans were good! Message got through eventually.
Some onions were sweated til soft, then carrots, celery, green pepper, tomatoes and puree were added to a big pan. In went some tinned haricot beans (I’m an English girl, no time/hassle involved so soaking beans were out). Bit of water and then it cooked for an hour.
Tasty and healthy, and served with some pitta. But not too exciting mid week food. Just a 7.
A month of Italian food and we start Greek month with a Cypriot pasta dish. I like to think of it as fusion between the two cultures. I’m not sure if this has an history dating back to Venetian occupation of Cyprus or if it’s just something tasty that’s evolved more recently.
This has a number of elements. Macaroni was cooked, slathered in butter, raw egg and halloumi. Pork mince, a little onion, seasoning and parsley were fried until brown. A rich bechemel sauce was made, enhanced with eggs and more halloumi.
Sauce then pasta, followed by sauce, all the meat, more pasta, then the remains of the sauce. Baked in the oven for 35 minutes then served with a simple salad.
Creamy, with the salty minty tang of halloumi throughout. The meat and parsley were a nice savoury element. Mr M was pleased, 8.5 out of 10. A good start.