Preparation: 10 min
Cooking: 60 min
This is an easy, cheap and nutritious dish that actually improves over the next few days so keep any leftovers in the fridge.
½ kg / 1.1 pound dried white navy beans, soaked overnight
½ cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced or grated
2-3 carrots, sliced in thin rounds
a small bunch of celery, roughly chopped
1 ½ tbsp of tomato paste
salt and pepper
Soak the beans overnight. The next day, put the beans in a deep pan and cover with fresh water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and drain them in a colander.
Sauté the onions first, then add the carrots, the celery and finally the beans. Add the tomato paste and cover with water. Do NOT add any salt or pepper yet.
Simmer for about an hour until the beans are tender. If you use a pressure cooker, 10 minutes should be enough. Taste and -finally!- season.
Serve with Tabasco sauce or feta cheese, anchovies and olives. If you feel adventurous try adding chilli peppers and garlic for a stronger effect.
Food for thought
The return of Charles Dickens.
In London of December 1952, twelve thousand people were killed due to heavy smog caused by the immense burning of coal. In Athens of December 2012, there is hardly a family that can afford to pay the double price for heating oil after the government raised the tax and pushed up the prices for 1.40-1.60 euro per litre and have thus resorted to burning wood, newspapers, old furniture, whatever they can afford.
As Yiannis Larios, the photographer, wrote: “This is Athens of shame. This is today’s (actually yesterday’s) photograph from earlier on. There is no plan, only a mandarin-style inspiration of irrational increase in heating oil. It brings one-fourth in tax revenue and has turned Athens into a chamber of soot. An experiment conducted by idiots at the expense of the health of us all. Share this.”
Tired of watching a boiling pot for fear it might overflow and create a mess on the stove top? It is true there are solutions out there in the market but they’re costly. All you need to do is place a wooden spoon or fork or anything looking like it on top of your pot. It keeps your boiling soup where it belongs and at no extra cost too. 🙂
Preparation: 20 min
Cooking: 45 min
10 artichoke hearts, fresh if possible
5-6 spring onions, inc. the green parts, chopped
1,1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
4 medium carrots, sliced into thin rounds
½ cup of olive oil
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
For the sauce:
2 freshly squeezed lemons
If you choose to use fresh artichokes, discard the outer leaves and rub the hearts with a lemon and leave them in a bowl of cold water along with the used lemon while you prepare the other vegetables.
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the green onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, the artichoke hearts cut in half and the potatoes and continue to sauté the vegetables another 5 minutes. Stir them well and add just enough water to cover them, along with the dill and the seasoning. Cover and simmer an additional 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the remaining juice is no more than a glassful.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. When the artichokes are ready, ladle the remaining juice into the mixture and continue to whisk to combine. Remove the saucepan from the fire and pour the mixture into it stirring gently. Return to simmering and stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens, just a few seconds.
Food for thought
Preparation: 25 min
Cooking time: 2.5 hours
By courtesy of my good friend Nectaria, this dish is ideal for Christmas dinner. I cooked it yesterday for friends who announced me that I went through to the next round of Master Chef. 🙂 Serve with chestnut purée.
3 kg / 6.6 pounds pork neck
6 tbsp olive oil
3-4 celery sticks with their leaves
2 carrots sliced
2 apples unpeeled and cut into quarters
10 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
1 glass of sangria
1 glass of sour-cherry juice
2 tsp salt and pepper
1 tbsp massala
For the purée:
1 kg / 2.2 pounds potatoes, peeled
300 gr / 10.5oz chestnuts
1 cup of warm milk
100 gr / 3.5oz butter
Purchase a whole 3-kilo porn neck, stuff it with the garlic cloves and season. Brown it in a large pan with olive oil. This should take about 15 minutes.
Move the meat in a deep baking covered pan, preferably with a grate. Smear with the massala and add the vegetables, the sangria and the sour-cherry juice. (What I did is this: I purchased the meat the day before and marinated it in garlic, sangria and juice for a day.)
Preheat oven preheat oven to 180oC / 350oF / Gas Mark 5 and let it roast for 2.5 hours. Let the pork rest a bit before slicing it.
For the gravy:
After placing the pork in a serving plate, pour the remaining sauce and vegetables in a saucer. Mush the veggies and add a tbsp of corn flour to thicken the mixture.
For the purée:
Boil the potatoes for 30 min. Boil the chestnuts in the milk adding a bit of salt. Remove both, peel the chestnuts and mush. Add the warm milk, butter and some more salt. Stir gently till smooth.
Food for thought
Can’t bear to comment on the Connecticut massacre. My heart goes out to the parents. Is it time American citizens set their priorities right?
Baking: 10-15 min
This traditional Greek Christmas treat must be one of the most delicious things on earth. The real magic of kourabiedes is how they melt in your mouth. The sugar coating is guaranteed to give you that Santa beard you’ve always dreamt of. 🙂
1kg (2.2 pounds) unsalted (fresh, if possible) butter
2 egg yolks
1 cup of powdered/confectioners’ sugar (you’re going to need 1kg on the whole)
½ wine glass of almond liqueur (Amaretto or Disaronno)
2 tsp baking powder
1 soup dish of ground almonds
1.8 kg (4 pounds) flour
½ tsp soda
3 vanilla tubes (9 grams/0,3 oz on the whole)
Place the almonds in a shallow pan with a tbsp of butter and cook until lightly browned. Stir constantly.
Cream butter with 1 cup of powdered sugar until it turns white and fluffy (it should take 5 to 7 minutes), add the rest of the ingredients, leaving the ground almonds last. When you come to adding the flour, do it slowly. You’ll need a large bowl and to knead by hand for a few minutes. The dough should be soft but crispy.
Use oil-paper instead of oiling the baking pan, and preheat oven to 180oC / 350oF /
Gas Mark 5.
Shape into little balls (the size of walnuts) or in a crescent shape and place 1 inch apart. Don’t be tempted into making them larger because, man, do they rise!
Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Let them cool for a few minutes before sifting generously the rest of the powdered sugar over them.
Food for thought
A couple of recipes ago, I promised to refer to one of the most controversial European politicians and definitely Italy’s most colourful figure, Silvio Berlusconi, the moment he made a comeback. Hardly a few days went by and there he is, stating his intention to run again as his country’s leader. The election is expected to be held sometime between March and June (though Berlusconi is certainly capable of causing it sooner). This is right after (or before) the German elections (hint, hint!). Mr Berlusconi said PM Mario Monti’s austerity policies had harmed Italy. Mr Monti announced he intended to resign, because the PDL had withdrawn its parliamentary support.
If Berlusconi is re-elected then the European cards are reshuffled, this time putting Germany, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Eurozone under immense pressure since he’s clearly opposed to the austerity measures imposed.
I might just have found the best affordable wine to accompany pizza. It’s organic and costs only 10€. 🙂
You can order it from the link below: http://www.trofos.com/pagesall/productfinal.aspx?pid=328
Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 45min
I have recently become obsessed with this soup, it’s very easy to prepare and yummy as hell. 3:)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts and 2 chicken legs
5-6 small potatoes
1 lt milk
2 glasses of water
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp butter
a couple of parsley leaves to garnish
Finely chop the leeks, potatoes and chicken. Heat the olive oil in a large cooking pan and add the leeks and chicken. Stir for 3-5 minutes until the leeks have become soft and the chicken light brown. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper and paprika. Pour in the milk and water and let it simmer for 45min. Don’t cover the pan completely, let it release the steam.
When it’s ready, I suggest mashing the potatoes so the soup becomes creamy and thick. Add the butter, and serve adding some more paprika if you like.
Food for thought
Yesterday the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state – a move strongly opposed by Israel and the US. The Palestinians can now take part in UN debates and potentially join bodies like the International Criminal Court.
Today Israel on Saturday unveiled plans to build 3,000 more Jewish homes, including in controversial areas that would sharply divide the West Bank, severely hampering prospects of peace.
With Israeli officials declaring that they would like to see Gaza Strip go back to the Middle Ages on the one hand and Palestinian officials calling for the destruction of Israel on the other, what are Middle-Eastern people’s chances of living peacefully with each other?