liaskitchen

ANA MARIA & JUAN’S AREPAS DE CHOCLO

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This is a very special recipe shared with us by Ana & Juan, two siblings born in Colombia and now living in different parts of the world. Sharing and making recipes, such as these sweetcorn arepas (arepas de choclo), from places we call home help us feel closer to each other when we are too far to hug. Thank you Ana Maria Millan and Juan for sharing a tasty treat and transporting us to your Mum’s Colombian Kitchen table, in that flat that was bought precisely because it could fit a table large enough to gather friends and family as its focal point of togetherness. Much love and respect to Ana’s wonderful Colombian Mama and all the Mamas many of us miss from afar! Thank you to Ana who shared this recipe and her words, which make up most of this post. Ana was born in Colombia and has been living in the UK for nearly 20 years.

Arepas are a traditional food of Latin America, and they come in many varieties. Some are made with different types of corn (e.g masa harina) or rice flour. They are eaten as part of a meal or as a meal itself. This recipe is made with young sweetcorn (choclo) and a mix of flours.

Ana says, ‘I like it because it is sweet, and also because it helps me bring together some of the components of my multi-cultural family: a Colombian recipe with Dutch cheese. My husband is Dutch so we try to make the most of both worlds. Although I only started making arepas after moving to the UK, this recipe takes me home, to my mum’s kitchen. The ideal way to have these is with Colombian hot chocolate, with cheese inside (but that’s another story).’

‘For us sharing food is very important. Growing up we always had dinner together – it was the time of the day when we would sit together and talk about our day and anything that was happening. And, that is something that I do with my family too – dinnertime is family time.’

Arepas De Choclo

What (feeds 2)

  • 2 cups or 340g sweet corn kernels (use defrosted or tinned + drained)
  • ½ cup or 110g flour – use either masa harina OR gluten free flour OR a mix of gluten free and fine cornmeal ground furtner in a stone pestle or mortar
  • 1 teaspoon of softened butter or coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp. or around 60ml milk (dairy or vegetable)
  • Pinch of sugar

How (30min)

  1. Place the sweetcorn in a food processor until it is mushy, but not smooth. Some kernels should be visible.
  2. Heat the milk and melt the butter of choice.
  3. Add the flours and sugar to the blender and blend till smooth.
  4. The batter should look like thick porridge but it should not be too stodgy. If it is too thick, dilute it with some more milk.
  5. Use a large non-stick pan to fit many small pancakes or a smaller to make 2-4 large ones.
  6. Heat a little bit of butter until melted. Pour the mixture in small or larger circle shapes. Flatten to about 1cm thickness (not too thin but a little bit more like an American or blueberry pancake).
  7. Cook on low heat until it is nice and golden for about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Flip over carefully so it doesn’t break. Put the sliced or grated cheese on top and cook for another 3-4 minutes. You can fold in half and flip over to melt cheese further.
  9. Serve and enjoy.

Lia’s Tips

  • My perfect Ana & Juan arepas used a mix of gluten free flour and fine cornmeal (used for cornbread) ground down further in a stone pestle and mortar.
  • Gluten free flour arepas were the second best.
  • Heating up the milk to melt the butter worked really well.
  • After my third attempt, I realised that the best way to blend the mix well was to add all the ingredients to the blender after first blending the corn kernels
  • I used round metal moulds/cooking rings to make my round arepas. It helped my shape them and spread them thinner but they were mostly 2cm thick. I made mine about 10cm wide so the recipe quantity yielded between 8-10 small arepas.
  • I LOVED using oat milk and coconut oil in my arepas. Ana is right it enhances the arepa sweetness
  • I LOVED Ana’s Colombian/Dutch family tradition of using Edam cheese for the filling. It’s saltiness counterbalanced the arepa sweetness perfectly.
  • Torn shreds of mozzarella was the second best cheese to use.
  • I didn’t always fold the arepa as mine were mostly small.
  • I loved serving with vegan or crisped up real bacon. Yum!
  • Yes, I did the full Colombian thing and had chocolate with those. However, sweetened milky coffee was amazing too.

LUCY’S PAELLA

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This is a recipe from our community and friends. Thanks to the the lovely Lucy Byrnes for the permission to share and adapt a recipe that makes her feel festive and takes her to a happy place she wants to share with us.

Lucy’s recipe feeds 4-6. It helped us see how easy is it to make paella at home to share with loved ones at all times and particularly during festivities.

What:

  • 6 chicken drumsticks & wings (around 500g)
  • 75g chorizo, sliced
  • 2 peppers, Lucy recommends yellow & red for the colours
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ -1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2-6 strands of saffron
  • 2 pints or 1200 litre chicken or other stock  (1 or 2 stock  cubes depending on taste)
  • 200g-250g paella rice
  • 500-700g sea food you want (Lucy likes big prawns with the heads on and mussels. Use half and half)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Lemon to serve
  • Salt for chicken

How:

  1. Get the mussels soaking for a few hours, scrub well to remove grit and pull the beards off.
  2. Season the chicken with generous amount of salt. Set aside whilst you prepare the veg.
  3. Prepare the hot stock, add the saffron, a couple of prawn heads and a mussel or two and set aside.
  4. Use a paella pan or shallow cast iron pan with a lid instead.
  5. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in the pan and lightly brown the chicken both sides turning occasionally for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the sliced chorizo. Cook for a further minute. 
  7. Take the chicken and chorizo out and set aside making sure the fat stays in the pan.
  8. Add the chopped onion to the pan (no need for extra oil) and fry until it starts to caramelise.  Add the sliced peppers and cook for a couple more minutes.
  9. Stir in the crushed garlic, a small amount of saffron and the rice and stir it well.
  10. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan.
  11. Add the stock first bit at a time, then the rest of it after a couple of minutes. Stir well and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  12. At this  point the rice probably needs between 5 and 10 minutes so you need to add the mussels.
  13. Cover and after 3-4 minutes add the big prawns.
  14. Then turn the heat off and let it sit with the lid on for 10 minutes so that the rice can soak up all the juices.
  15. Squeeze some lemon juice when you serve and a nice cold glass of white wine and you are sorted as Lucy says.

Lia’s Kitchen Notes

  • If you have no paella rice, you can use risotto or pudding rice. Just wash once to clear some starch.
  • You can add the paprika to the chicken to marinade.
  • Stir fry the rice until it starts getting translucent before adding the stock.
  • Once you add the stock, stir once and then cook uncovered for 15-18 min.
  • In honour of the Valencian paella I like my rice slightly caramelised at the bottom. Only add the mussels in when you are sure most of the water had evaporated.
  • The Spanish do not usually use chorizo but we love it as the dish It reminds us of the Creole Jambalaya, which uses long grain rice and spicy southern sausages.
  • We used a ten centimetre deep pan around 25cm wide. It just about fit 3 drumsticks, 2 chicken thighs, 500g mussels and 200g prawns.
  • We used chicken on the bone and with the skin on. I like crispy skin and the flavour the bone adds.

#paella #spanishfood #food #recipes#worldflavours #globalkitchen #instafood #celebrate #easyrecipes #lucyspaella #liaskitchen

#paellarecipe #yourrecipe #recipesfromthecommunity

Broadbean CropShare #3: Broadbean pod fries with Korean Gochugang dipping sauce

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When you read our guest Broadbean Crop Share blog on Global Gardens Website News Section on 10/06/2020 you can read more about our approach to food and culinary exploration. In the past year Lia’s Kitchen has collected over fifty cook books (second hand and donations) for a shared cookbook library. When exploring what we could do with the fresh broad bean crop given to us by Global Gardens Project we turned for inspiration to these books. It was in Genevieve Taylor’s Charred that we learned how to make a dipping sauce with Korean red pepper flakes. We had to adjust the recipe to our ingredients but we want to fully credit this book for the idea and inspiration. Our Broadbean pod fries inspired by Chef Tom Hunt are gorgeous with that sauce. The only problem is you can actually eat too much and be unable to move. Our crop share recipes have taken a Wasteless approach using the whole plan from leaves, pods and beans. Enjoy!

Broadbean fries with Korean chilli flake dipping sauce

Ingredients

Genevieve’s Korean pepper flakes dipping sauce variation

  • 3 Tbsp. soya sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Korean chilli red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. mirin sauce
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. caster sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seed toasted and then ground

Method:

  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a non-stick pan and set aside to cool down.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. When the seeds are cooled grind finely in a pestle and mortar and add to the sauce. Let it sit whilst making the Broadbean pod fries.
  3. Place three fingers of vegetable oil in a deep pot and turn the heat up placing a lid on.
  4. Make sure you string the pods well when you are shelling the beans. Use a sharp knife to double string the sides of the split pod again before frying preparation.
  5. Cut each pod shell in 5cm long pieces.
  6. Mix the flour and salt well in a bowl.
  7. Place the milk in another bowl.
  8. Dust the pod shells in flour lightly on both sides. Shake flour off well.
  9. Swiftly dunk the floured pods in the milk and return to the flour.
  10. Dust in flour for the second time.
  11. By this time the oil should be ready for deep frying.
  12. Place the pods in the pot but do not cram.
  13. Reduce the heat and deep dry for around 4 minutes or until golden but not burnt.
  14. Remove with a slotted spoon
  15. Drizzle with the sauce or dip each fry in the sauce with every bite you take!

Broadbean CropShare #2: Creamed broad beans with yoghurt and roasted hazelnuts on crostini

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This is the second recipe we are contributing to the #Stayhomeeatveg crop share by Global Gardens project. You can read Lia’s blog on Global Gardens Website News Section from 10/06/2020 where she talks about what this crop means to her and shares tips and ideas on cooking with fresh broad beans.

Creamed broad beans with yoghurt and roasted hazelnuts on crostini

You will need three crostini slices for this recipe too. For the Crostini all you need is finely sliced bread (up to 2cm) brushed with olive oil and toasted on a really hot non stick pan. Now for the topping.

What (three portions):

  • 100g shelled and double podded green broad beans
  • 10g butter (nearly a Tbsp)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 70 to 100g Greek or other yoghurt
  • Savory herb leaves (optional)

How:

  • Take a handful of whole hazelnuts, place in a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes on a hot oven (200 degrees Celsius). Remove to a plate and cool down.
  • You will need around 300g broad beans in pods to yield 100g double podded beans.
  • Remove the bean seeds from the pod. Keep the pods aside to make delicious fritters on the same day.
  • Blanche the beans in boiling water for at least 3 minutes. Cool and remove the shell. Here is how to do it.
  • Melt the butter in a non-stick pan, toss the split beans in with a pinch of salt and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Mash with a hand masher in the pan on really low heat.
  • Take of the heat and whilst still warm, add the yoghurt (and savory if using) and mash to a creamy consistency.
  • Peel the skin off the hazelnuts by rubbing between your hands. Roughly chop or grind.
  • Place a thick layer of Fava/creamed broad beans on each crostini. Top with the hazelnuts and some freshly ground pepper if you prefer.

LOVE EWE

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We have joined forces with Ty Caws cheesemongers in Wales to tell you why we think you should give ewe’s or sheep’s milk cheese a go.  Contact our friend Owen and place your order for that cheese now! Or attend some of the forthcoming Farmer’s markets in Wales where Owen and the team showcase cheese we love to eat.

To help you take that step to loving ewe, we are sharing an easy, baked cheese recipe for the fantastic & award winning #fettle cheese from Shepherd’s Purse in Yorkshire. You can order #fettle from Ty Caws or get it at forthcoming farmers market in Cardiff. We also recommend Brefu raw ewe’s milk cheese from Cosyn Cymru (uses thistle rennet so it is truly vegetarian).

Here is why we think you should eat Ewe’s milk cheese:

1. It’s so tasty! If you are not so hot on goat cheese (which we also love by the way) why not try some sheep or ewe milk cheese instead?  You might actually like it.

2. It is digestible! A great alternative to cow’s milk cheese and an overall much more digestible dairy product for most humans!  

3. You support UK sheep farmers who really need our help to survive during these hard times. Shepherd’s Purse Cheese company recently increased its investment in a sheep farmer collective it supports to ensure the production of fettle and other sheep’s milk cheeses. Every slice you buy it from Ty Caws in Wales this helps some sheep farmer continue having the demand to sustain a dairy producing herd. How great is that?

Bougiourntí Baked Fettle Recipe

What:

  • 150g Fettle cheese
  • 1 mild green chilli pepper, sliced in rings
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes or two small tomatoes sliced
  • Two sprigs of fresh oregano or a generous amount of dried oregano
  • Two springs of fresh thyme from the garden (optional)
  • 5-6 Tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil

How

  1. Place a 20cm by 20Cm square aluminium foil sheet on a chopping board and fold sides in slightly to contain the olive oil you will use.
  2. Drizzle half the olive oil on the bottom of the foil, add the oregano springs or pinch, the thyme sprigs if you are using, half the sliced chilli pepper and half the sliced tomatoes.
  3. Place the slab of fettle cheese on top of the ingredients.
  4. Top with the rest of the oregano, thyme, pepper, tomatoes and olive oil.
  5. Fold the foil sides in and then downwards to create a baking purse. Rather than acking the foil tightly and flat fold like you would a brown paper bad and allow an air gap for the roasting.
  6. If you have a small lidded pot use that instead of aluminium foil.
  7. Bake for 20 min on 180 degrees Celsius in the oven.
  8. Cool for a couple of minutes before serving. Eat with plenty of bread to enjoy the juices of the baked cheese, seasonal veg, herds and olive oil.

Whilst Fettle uses a feta cheese making method it is not feta but it is utterly delicious. It seems less ‘pickled’ than Greek feta cheese and is therefore less tangy! But as the sheep herds graze on grassier plains the cheese is creamier, nuttier and denser in texture (as well as salty enough to make it distinct). When baked its texture changes beautifully to be a little bit more chewy (like halloumi on a grill). We also loved it in fresh tomato salads with salted onions and generous amount of extra virgin olive oil.

Lia’s Kitchen is a community interest company which aims to raise awareness on independent, sustainable and local food producers and suppliers as part of its objectives. We seek out local knowledge to raise awareness of such produce. We also aim to raise awareness on food which is accessible to people with health conditions and dietary restrictions – ewe’s milk cheese makes dairy products accessible to those with cow milk intolerance or allergies. Whilst were given free samples of the ewe’s milk cheese we were not obliged to write about it or to recommend its consumption Please make sure you do not consumer dairy products if you are allergic to all dairy! . We were not paid for this feature.

Lime & coriander cauliflower rice

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National Vegetarian Week in May 2019 coincided with a new crop of cauliflower from one of our organic vegetable suppliers, so we thought it is best to share one of our best kept secrets. Cauliflower rice is a recipe which became a regular dish in our kitchen since 2015. We decided to share this at Riverside Real Food Roath Farmers’ Market two weeks ago for one of their community events. It is an easy and quick alternative to grain rice and a great additional side dish to your dinner table. It’s versatility also makes it the perfect addition to lunch boxes, picnics and barbeque tables.

Organic Cauliflowers grown in Wales

This recipe is inspired by south American and Caribbean flavours. Think lots of lime, a bunch of coriander and a combination of caramelised onion and garlic. And did we say its vegan and gluten free?  Cauliflower is a wonderful vehicle of flavours and you can adjust this recipe to take other flavour notes. Other cauliflower dishes we love include the Greek steamed cauliflower salad in lemon and extra virgin olive oil, cauliflower base pizza and deep-fried cauliflower nuggets (the current vegan craze). 

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower head, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 30g coriander, chopped
  • Juice of two limes
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1-1.5tsp fine sea salt ff

Preparation

  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide, non-stick pan. You will need your widest pan for this.
  2. Add the finely chopped onion with a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and sauté for 10-15 minutes, until the onion slightly caramelises. Don’t forget to stir occasionally to make sure the onion browns evenly.
  3. Cut the florets off the cauliflower and chop the stem into small chunks.
  4. Grate the whole cauliflower to rice grains size. The easiest way to do this is through a food processor (pulse in batches to reach the grain like consistency). But you can also grate by hand on the large side of your grater.
  5. Add the minced garlic to the onion stirring well and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Increase the heat to medium, add the cauliflower in three batches, stirring well to coat the cauliflower grains with the oil and onion/garlic flavour.
  7. After 10-15 minutes of stir frying add the lime juice and salt, stir quickly and thoroughly and remove from heat and cover.
  8. Add the finely chopped coriander and freshly ground pepper.
  9. Taste to check if you need more salt or lime.

Try making a masala cauliflower rice with a bit of chilli sauce and some chopped tomatoes. Or an Italian flavoured one with basil, garlic and parmesan. Yum!

Arakas – peas the Greek Way

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Arakás is a dish ideal for a quick and easy complete vegan meal any day of the week, throughout the year. It is a garden pea, carrot and potato stew with simple, clean flavours and beautiful textures, characterised by the fruity flavour of olive oil and the aromas dill and parsley.

Arakas with Feta Cheese

Arakás belongs to Laderá, a category of dishes which is a staple in the weekly Greek diet and which literally translates to ‘with oil’ or ‘oily’. Rather than cooking vegetables as a side, the vegetable of choice is the main event, with a similar process of preparation for each Ladero dish but different vegetable and herbs starring in each recipe depending on the seasonality and accessibility of vegetables, e.g. Okra, aubergine, green beans, etc.

Modern Greeks still eat copious amounts of Laderá despite their increasing gyros and souvlaki eating habits – they are healthy, affordable and delicious staples of a balanced diet.  And for convenience it is ingenious to have dishes which provide you with a whole meal in a pot making vegan and vegetarian food easily accessible throughout the year. With frozen peas available this dish can help you make the most of small quantities of carrot and potato you have left over. Just bag yourself some dried dill and parsley to use in this recipe in the future so that you don’t have to find fresh herbs each time.

Ingredients

  • 500g frozen garden peas
  • 2 carrots, sliced in thick rings or cubed
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed (walnut size cubes)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200g chopped tomatoes or passata (or 1 large fresh tomato grated or 1 Tbsp. tomato paste)
  • ½-1 small bunch of dill (up to 20g)
  • A few sprigs finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Preparation

  1. Coat the bottom of a medium sized pot with the olive oil.
  2. When hot add the chopped onion with a teaspoon of salt and sauté on low heat until translucent.
  3. Add the potatoes, carrots and pepper. Stir well to coat the oil.
  4. Add the frozen peas and stir well until they are also well coated with oil.
  5. Add the tomato of your choice stirring well for a couple minutes to start the cooking process and release the tomato flavour.
  6. Finally add the herbs and up to 1.5 cups boiling water with another teaspoon of salt.
  7. The water should cover the ingredients but should not be too much as you are aiming for a dry stew rather than a soup or saucy dish.
  8. Stir well and when the contents come to the boil simmer the stew for 30 to 45 minutes.
  9. The food is ready when liquid is absorbed.  There should be enough liquid to sponge up with nice slice bread but not so much as the vegetable swim in it. 
  10. Cool down the dish for 10-15 minutes before serving. This dish is delicious in room temperature or reheated up to two days from cooking. It also freezes well.

The Wasteless Skordalia Bread Dip

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This Wasteless dip is inspired by my Greek heritage. Skordalia is a popular dip which can be made with stale bread or potatoes. My favourite is the one using bread. It is a kind of bread sauce, brought to life by walnuts, sharp vinegar flavours, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. It is traditionally served with deep fried salt cod and once you start you can’t stop eating it. At Wasteless suppers we usually serve it with smoked paprika temperate vegetable and cucumber slices.


Ingredients

  • 200g leftover bread, soaked in water and well drained
  • 1 large handful walnuts
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper (optional)
  • a generous pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)

Preparation

1.     Soak the bread slices with the crust in some water until soft.
2.     Squeeze out the water well with your hands and place in a food processor.
3.     Add the garlic cloves crushed. You can add more garlic but the longer you leave the dip in the fridge the stronger it becomes.
4.     Top with the walnuts, salt and pepper/nutmeg and olive oil and blitz until lovely and creamy.
5.     Taste to adjust the salt and vinegar levels. The vinegar really makes this dip special so if you feel something is missing add another teaspoon.
6.     This dip is absolutely delicious with raw vegetable, as an accompaniment to salads, with tempura vegetable and fried fish (in the traditional Greek way).

#VegPower! Quick Kale spaghetti

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Getting down your greens is a very important step of keeping healthy during winter! Kale is a member of the brassica family and has great nutritional value. From high levels of iron, vitamin K, C and A, to anti inflammatory benefits it’s a food both accessible, locally grown and often organic.

Kale with spaghetti and red elfcup mushrooms

Kale can help you increase your greens intake in easy and tasty ways. Make a pledge now to eat more veg any time of the year. Follow the #vegpower campaign for inspiration.

Here’s an easy recipe to get you started – Kale with spaghetti. When Zöe Rozellar walked into our kitchen with this idea of cooking kale it opened so many possibilities! You can also enjoy the kale as a side, for breakfast with egg (Zöe’s favourite) or with rice/couscous/quinoa. You may also add raw or cooked mushrooms to this dish – the red elf cup mushrooms from Blaencamel market stalls were a treat with this dish.

Ingredients (2-4 portions depending on starter or main size)

  • 300g organic kale
  • 1Tbsp. Sesame seeds
  • 250g spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground nutmeg or more
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 250g goats cheese or feta cheese

Preparation (up to 30min)

  1. Wash the kale, pull leaves off the harder stalk (if not tender) and drain.
  2. In a big baking tray dress in 1/2 tsp salt, the sesame and a couple of generous lugs of olive oil. Massage well so that oil and salt dress all leaves.
  3. Bring water to the boil for pasta adding salt and oil. And preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  4. At the same time you start boiling the pasta, add the kale in the oven after you cover the tray tightly with aluminum foil.
  5. The kale should bake at least for the duration of your pasta preparation.
  6. Once the pasta boils and is in the colander, return the pot to heat, cover its base with olive oil and add the two cloves of garlic roughly chopped.
  7. Lower the heat and stir fry the garlic till softer – a couple of minutes – taking care not to burn.
  8. Add the paprika, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of pepper and stir fry for about half a minute or so.
  9. Add the spaghetti and a pinch of salt. Toss well to dress in spices.
  10. Remove the kale from oven, add to pot and stir well.
  11. Remove dish from heat and add the crumbled cheese.
  12. For a vegan version add Dukkah or roasted and crushed hazelnuts instead of cheese.

Melomakarona and a Happy New Year…

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Well I hope you are having the most wonderful time this festive period! Whether you are resting, working, travelling (to, from and) at faraway places, having some precious time alone or sharing precious time with your loved ones, you deserve every single moment of the rest or adventure you get.

melomakarona 1.jpg

The most precious time of the winter holidays for me is between Christmas and the New Year. In Greece, our Santa Claus traditionally visited on New Year’s eve (Agio Vasili). By that time our religious or traditional fasting had finished so we could eat whatever we wanted. On New Year’s eve our grandma enchanted us with stories of the little Kalikantzaroi elves, naughty mythical creatures that hid things and played pranks on us and each other. We were allowed to stay up past midnight and often dance into the night at family or communal parties. So, I love these next few days and their promise of renewal and light. So I wanted to remind everyone that the fun is not over.

Celebrating the year that is gone, with all its ups and downs, and welcoming the year ahead is a wonderful process. It is our life that we are talking about after all. I hope you reflect but also rejoice in the thought of all times ahead.

My gift to you is my ‘Melomakárona’ recipe, the Greek Christmas biscuit, the ‘honey-macaroon’ which when baking fills your home with festive scents of cinnamon, orange and clove, and when eaten melts into your mouth in sweet delight.

Take some time to make these for yourself. And indulge in them with a nice glass of hot coffee, mulled cider and a nice red wine.

May you have a wonderful 2018 and happy times ahead!

Melomakarona recipe

Ingredients (make 30-40 biscuits)

  • 500g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 175ml olive oil
  • Zest of half an organic orange or one clementine
  • Juice of one orange and one clementine
  • ¾ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 100g sugar
  • 60ml cognac
  • A generous handful of coarsely ground walnuts

For the syrup:

  • 300ml water
  • 250ml honey
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Preparation (45 minutes depending on the size of your oven)

  1. Sieve the flour and mix in the baking powder.
  2. Beat the oil, sugar, baking soda, spices, citrus fruit zest, cognac and sugar well together until combined.
  3. Add the liquid mixture to the flour and mix well with clean hands until you have a soft, pliable dough (about 5 minutes).
  4. Use two non- stick baking sheets or line baking trays with baking parchment.
  5. To shape the biscuits use a tablespoon of dough (max) and roll into a 5-8cm long tube about 3cm wide.
  6. Place on the baking sheet allowing at least 3cm between biscuits. This will allow the biscuits to expand when baking.
  7. Before you add to a preheated oven (175 centigrade) press the middle of the biscuit tube down lightly with the back of a fork. You should be left with an oval, oblong dough shape with the markings of the fork clear on it.
  8. Bake for 20-30minutes in 170 centigrade or until they are firm on both sides but not too hard. This often depends on your own preference so try a couple of different baking styles to decide what you like best. I prefer my melomakarona on the softer side so that they can absorb more syrup. My cousin prefers them dry with no syrup.
  9. Whilst the biscuits are baking place all the syrup ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. As soon as the biscuits are ready throw in the syrup, soak and turn.
  11. Remove almost immediately or maximum after a minute if your cookies have baked too hard. The biscuits should absorb enough liquid but should not be falling apart when your remove them with a spatula.
  12. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with the walnuts.
  13. Cool down and even refrigerate. The biscuits are better the next day.