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Lia’s Kitchen meets Riverside Market Garden

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Lia and Poppy

About a month ago I started visiting the people who grow delicious food locally. It was a good reminder that the food we put on our plates and which many times is grown organically, is a hard labour of love. I walked and talked with Tom from Bleancamel Market and then Poppy and Debby from Riverside Market Garden.

Alongside with discussions I had last autumn with Poppy Nicol working with Riverside Market Garden these visits became the inspiration for a pop-up pie shop at Roath Farmers’ Market on 23 May 2015. This was a true collaboration with hardworking growers. The Greek pies we offered people used fresh ingredients from Riverside Market Garden, either picked or foraged from the farm a couple of days before the event. Blaencamel Farm also supplied some of their delightful rainbow chard.

We are nearing the end of a period called the hungry gap when new crops, such as for example potatoes and carrots, are not there yet or are available in small amounts. Instead of focussing on what we don’t have we looked around us to the delightful and nutritional greens that are available throughout May. This awareness of wild greens’ abundance has also been the result of on-going research into wild foraged greens that I spent my childhood eating and picking with my family. Catalan Chicory, radishes, dandelions, purslane, chard and beetroot leaves have been a staple of the Greek diet for years and indeed many restaurant offer these as a delicacy in inspired recipes with fish, lamp, cuttlefish or in plain refreshing summer salads. In the past year I have been making the connections between what grows in the place I grew up and the place I live. And I have been noticing that  many growers have been cultivating or even introducing some of these feisty crops into our diet.

My choice to make pies is not only because of my love of pie and my mission to make sure that everyone in Britain knows what a good homemade Greek pie tastes like, but also because wild green pies have something special because of their freshness – they always surprise people with the flavour and texture of their ingredients.

On 23 May we sold all our wild green pies and hopefully we helped people reimagine they can do with the food that nature gives them each season.

I have one message to leave you with- support your local growers, visit the markets they attend and order your precious life giving food from them where you can. Remember that fresh and organic also means nutritious and healthy. And of course as ever I would like to say: don’t forget to eat more pie!

Want to learn how to make Greek Pie?Contact Lia’s Kitchen for private cooking lessons, catering orders and bespoke pop-up events & dinners. Email liaskitchen@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list.

Visit www.riversidemarketgarden.co.uk to find out more about your local growers. A weekly vegetable box scheme is delivered in Roath, for more information see here:

Our menu on 23 May included Nettle and green garlic pie, Chard pie, Chard & dandelion pie with chocolate mint and fennel leaves.

Savoury cornmeal cake

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photo 1

This is a recipe I have been playing with for years and I finalised it recently whilst delivering the Love Food Hate Waste campaign in Roath. I was looking for recipes in my notebook that can help people use their leftovers and what they have in the fridge/freezer. The savoury cake was one our roadshow freebies and was sampled at our last Love Food Haste Waste event on 10 Mach at Cardiff Students’ Union in return for pledges to take action to reduce waste.

It is a delicious recipe that can be adapted to help you use greens and smaller quantities of leftover vegetable. The batter can remain the same and you can be as creative and daring as you like with what flavours you create. You end up with an amazing tasty snack on its own or with some relish or chutney on top and a (gluten-free) substitute to bread which is fantastic with soups or a tin of baked beans.

Cornmeal is a basic ingredient for one of my favourite Greek breads called Bobota. Grated pumpkin and marrow with cornmeal and feta cheese has always been one of my most favourite bakes that my southern Greek Granma Vasiliki used to make for us. And five years ago the lovely Zoe English, of Bird to Market, handed over Nenneh Cherry’s cornbread recipe to me after my excited squeals on tasting it for the first time in my life. So this savoury cake recipe is born from all these influences and is fast becoming one my favourite things to make this spring. I have adapted it to be gluten free – through the use of gluten free plain flour. And with courgette and tomato season approaching and rainbow chard already on the tables at our Farmers’ markets I am very excited for the many versions of the savoury cakes you could be imagining. Enjoy!

 Ingredients (1 Bundt or other round 23-25cm baking tin)

  • 350g Plain flour, preferably gluten free mix
  • 250g Cornmeal (coarse or medium)
  • 4 tsp Baking powder
  • 80g Sugar (caster)
  • 100g Butter melted
  • 2 Eggs
  • 450-480ml Milk
  • 1-2 pinches of salt
  • Some extra butter and flour for lining the baking tin
  • 1 Small bunch fresh basil or other mixed or frozen herbs, including stems (around 30g)
  • 225g Cherry or mini plum tomatoes (up to 300g)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 medium or 1 large courgette diced OR
  • 1 aubergine diced
  • 1 Medium courgette coarsely grated
  • 150g grated cheese, parmesan and cheddar mixed (or whatever you have available)
  • salt & paper to season

Olive oil for the frying

Preparation (1hr and 15 minutes)

  1. Prepare your vegetable mixture first to allow enough time to cool.
  2. Fry the sliced onion with a pinch of salt, cover and let to nearly caramelise whilst you prepare the rest.
  3. Dice the courgettes or aubergine and halve the cherry or plum tomatoes.
  4. Add the courgette or aubergine with another pinch of salt and fry for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and basil, stir and cover until all ingredients soften- for around 5 minutes.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat to cool down.
  7. Grate the last courgette and the cheese.
  8. Mix the flour, cornmeal and baking powder.
  9. Add the rest of the dough ingredients and mix well so that there are no lumps.
  10. Add your fried ingredients, raw courgette and cheese.
  11. Pour into a lined baking tin and bake on 180 Celsius for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Lia’s Tips:

  • The batter should be moist but not too runny. You can add 450ml of the milk first and see if you need to add more after you add the tomatoes and vegetable.
  • You can use spinach and other greens such as Kale. Feel free to experiment with various herbs ad ingredients. Use what you have in the fridge and for inspiration on flavours look up focaccia recipes.
  • This is a great recipe for using those herbs that you have in the freezer or the ones that are about to go off in the fridge!
  • For a bread tin and smaller quantity of the cake halve the recipe ingredient.
  • The cake rises quite a lot and it keeps well in the fridge for about a week.

Pancake heaven

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Lia Moutselou:

Another pancake idea for today’s celebration. This one is more adventurous but so delicious. I also swear by the pancake mixture recipe in this entry. Never fails me. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Lia's Kitchen:

Shrove Tuesday is now gone but I’d like to think that pancakes can return to Lia’s kitchen before the next one in 2014.

Pancakes don’t always have to be overindulgent naughty treats. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I hope this post becomes a quick and easy pancake recipe reference and an inspiration for an alternative savoury filling.

This recipe was given to me by Dan Green who, hat’s off to him, makes the best pancakes I have ever had-he flips them and all that! I just followed his instructions to make the batter, made a filling with what we had in the fridge and watched him put the pancakes together skilfully for us.

Aubergine and fenugreek pancake filling ingredients

1 small aubergine, cubed in 2cm pieces
Half an onion finely chopped
Half a tin of chopped tomatoes
Pinch of cinnamon powder
3-4 handful fresh fenugreek leaves roughly chopped

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Egg and Banana Pancakes

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egg and banana pancake

Pancake day is one of my favourite food calendar highlights. Spelt flour or buckwheat flour pancakes are on the top of my list. For your savoury pancakes nothing can beat a good galette bretonne with some melted butter in the mixture. As for fillings spinach, ricotta and sundried tomato and good quality cheddar and ham are two I always choose. And for my sweet tooth I can’t find two more satisfying than a chocolate spread and banana filling or a simple drizzle of maple syrup with cinnamon and crushed walnuts.

But today I am suggesting you try a different kind of pancake, without flour and one that can use those over ripened, even black bananas which you squashed forgotten at the bottom of your fruit bowl.

Egg and banana pancakes, as sung by Jack Johnson the troubadour of the surf, are a fantastic breakfast but can make a great gluten free alternative for pancake day. And all of our Love Food Hate Waste cooking workshop participants, who learned how to make those on 7 February, will tell you they are simple and quick to make. So don’t hesitate to give them a go.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mashed overripe banana(large)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 Tablespoon flax/lineseed ground (optional)
    Or
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut or almond butter (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Olive oil/butter/or coconut oil.

Preparation:

  1. Mash the banana well.
  2. Mix with the beaten eggs.
  3. Sprinkle the baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix well.
  4. If you are adding ground seeds and peanut butter do this last and mix well.
  5. Alternative just throw everything in a mixer/blender and mix well.
  6. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture to a slightly oiled pan.
  7. Cook on very low heat for up to a minute or until the edges seem set and the middle seems almost set.
  8. Flip with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds max.
  9. Serve with crispy bacon and maple syrup, or fruit, yoghurt and honey.

Tips: You can add chopped or mashed fruit in the pancakes. The ground seeds or the peanut butter can help bind the mixture. Don’t worry if the mixture seems too runny. Just cook the pancake at a lower temperature until the edges of the pancake seem set and the middle almost set. You can prepare the mixture the night before and leave in your fridge ready for breakfast.

The savvy soup called Ribollita

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Have you ever looked at vegetable leftovers in your fridge or the seasonal mix in your vegetable boxes and thought: ‘What could I make with this?’. Have you every thrown away cooked vegetable leftovers? If yes this soup is for you. If not the soup is still for you so try it anyway.

In the past month I have been working with Green City Events to deliver the Love Food Hate Waste Cities Campaign in Cardiff through Roath based roadshows and cooking workshops. In this process I have been developing and revisiting recipes that can help people be savvy and healthy.

The lovely soups of Ribollita and Minestrone were my natural first choices because they are very easy to make and they can have as many variations as the people who make them.

Ribollita literally means reboiled in Italian. It is a Tuscan soup that uses leftover cooked vegetable and is eaten with stale toasted or grilled bread. You can make Ribollita with any seasonal vegetable at our disposal but the dominant ingredient should be a mix of greens and you should include some kind of cooked bean.

My Ribollita soup can be easily turned to a Minestrone with the addition of more stock or water and pasta or quinoa. This is a great solution if you have less vegetable or more visitors to feed.

On 7 February 2015 at our first Love Food Hate Waste cooking workshop participants prepared four different versions of Ribollita and Minestrone types of soup using different herbs to flavour it, different grains or pasta and mix of vegetables at their disposal. Why not love food and your leftover vegetable too by trying our soup?

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stick
    300 mixed greens
  • 150-200 g left over root vegetable/squash or potato
  • 2 carrots (around 160g)
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • ½-1 tin chopped tomatoes Or a couple of ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1 can beans drained and washed
  • (280g) 50g rice/quinoa Or 100g pasta 2lt stock or boiling water
  • Herbs of your choice such as: 10-15 leaves of basil 1 teaspoon oregano Or 2 teaspoons thyme 3 bay leaves Salt & Pepper
  • Pecorino or parmesan cheese garnish (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Wash and chop all your vegetable and greens.
  2. Sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and herbs and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté for another few minutes.
  5. Add the root vegetable or potatoes and carrot and stir fry for a bit.
  6. Add the stock and simmer for ten minutes.
  7. Add the beans, greens and pasta and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  8. If you are using quinoa and rice add at the same time as the stock.
  9. Seasons with salt and pepper.

Lia’s Tips: the authentic ribollita uses recooked vegetable which you can add towards the end of the soup. Sage and parsley are another great combination of herbs for this soup. Kale, Cavolo Nero, flower sprouts, brussels sprouts, broccoli stalks and spring greens are some of the delicious leafs that you can add to your soup.

 

Pop pop pop goes 2014

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The last 2014 Lia’s Kitchen pop-up dinner took place on the last full moon of the year . On Sunday afternoon I ‘sat’ tired amongst boxes and paperwork reflecting on the two pop up dinners we completed this weekend. What a success!

Accounted for are a broken box (it happens), a broken gazebo (don’t ask), at least 30 to-S and fro-S between the shed , the living room and the car, hours of cooking , sorting , cleaning, thinking. And also one proud me and endless moments of contentment.

I begun and ended this year’s pop-up dinners at Penylan Pantry a deli/café that has livened up and brightened our area.  I have thrown five pop up dinners since May 2014 all exploring foods, cultures and recipe combinations that I love. It’s been quite the journey, fulfilling and always full of surprises.

The next immediate thing on the cards for me is slightly different in that it will involve educational waste awareness workshops to help people reduce their food waste. I will be working with two social venturers I respect a lot. I am very excited and proud I will be using my free time towards such a venture.

As for the future…it holds surprises that I cannot predict but I am sure there will be congregations as beautiful and warm as those of the last two days. So watch this space ! Get in touch! Don’t be a stranger!

Thanks to all who have joined our table and made these pop up dinners so wonderful. It’s the people who appreciate what’s offered to them and enjoy each other that create this wonderful atmosphere that seeps into our life and fuels Lia’s Kitchen.  

Thank you old and new friends who help make Lia’s Kitchen happen through your hard work -you know who you are. 

Happy birthday to the Penylan Pantry who is one today. Mel and Jo well done you are stars and thanks for hosting Lia’s Kitchen events.

Photos by Jo, Penylan Pantry, Dean Doyle, Lia’s Kitchen and Dan Green.

 

Chilli con Carne with Galo Pinto

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My ultimate Mexican Chilli con Carne uses diced beef and spicy pork sausage cooked in a mole sauce with strong accents of chocolate, honey and chili. I serve this stew with Galo Pinto, a Nicaraguan pilaf, flavoured with ground clove. Set aside a couple of hours to prepare this recipe. This dish is recommended for large dinner parties. It is a real treat for the carnivores with deep chocolate and beef flavours that go wonderfully well with a slightly chilled LINI 910 Labrusca Rosso Reggiano D.O.C or LINI 910 In Correggio Lambrusco Scuro Emilia I.G.T. The wines highlight the sweet accents and spice complexity of this dish. They are a refreshing wine alternative to beers usually consumed with Chilli con Carne dishes.

This recipe has been develop as part of the on-going collaboration with Kilgarriff and Kahan and has been featured in the Wales Online Weekend Magazine and Wales Online.

Ingredients

Feeds 6-8

  • 800g diced beef
  • 200g Salsicce picante or other spicy pork sausage diced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • OR
  • 200g Chorizo sausage diced
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 chilli peppers finely chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 1 can kidney beans (400g)
  • 50g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 300ml red cooking wine
  • 150-200ml stock
  • 2 star anise flowers
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander
  • Olive oil to fry
  • Salt to season
  • 1.5 cup long grain rice
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups stock
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to season

Preparation

2hours

  1. Dice the sausage and beef in small chunks (5cm).
  2. Heat enough oil to coat a deep pot and stir fry the beef and sausage with a pinch of salt for 5-10min.
  3. If using the spice sausage add the smoked paprika at this stage.
  4. Add the onion and bay leaves and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the chilli peppers, cumin, coriander and cayenne and stir fry for at least five minutes to release aromas.
  6. Add the tomatoes, beans and oregano and stir well.
  7. When the tomato stars bubbling add the wine, stock and star anise.
  8. When this come to a gentle boil at medium heat stir in the honey and crumble the chocolate.
  9. Stir well to makes sure they dissolve in the sauce.
  10. Simmer on low heat for 1.5 hours or more until the meat is soft and melts in your mouth.
  11. Add the chopped coriander at the end of the cooking process.
  12. In a medium pot sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with pinch of salt and the cloves until translucent.
  13. Stir in the rice and mix well to ensure all grains are coated with the clove and oil.
  14. Add the thin stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until cooked but not sticky.
  15. Season to taste.
  16. Serve with a dollop of Greek Yoghurt and slices of avocado.