liaskitchen

Kuku the Persian frittata

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Yesterday my hungry belly and mind dug up a craving for a Persian frittata we recently tried in Bristol. I was reading about the Persians reaching the coastline of Pelion in ancient times in a book by Kostas Akrivos about Alfons Hochhouser, the Austrian pioneer of Eco tourism in Pelion. Funny how even historic facts turn to recipes in my world.

Kuku is an easy and delicious recipe. You need a large quantity of mixed herbs and eggs but the rest is very easy. It took me about 20 minutes to make. The result is a fragrant, beautiful and tasty dish!

Ingredients
Feeds four

3 cups finely chopped dill, parsley, coriander, chives or fresh onions
6 eggs
1 tsp turmeric
100g dried cranberries and cashews chopped
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Knob of butter

Preparation
20 minutes

Preheat the oven for 10 minutes.

Chop equal amounts of all herbs and mix in ball

Beat the eggs.

Add the salt, pepper, garlic and mix.

Add the herbs , cashews and cranberries and mix.

Pick a frying pan that can be placed in the oven and melt the butter.

Pour the mixture in and lower temperature.

Fry for a couple of minutes until the sides start firming up.

Then place in the oven for 5 minutes in high temperature until it firms up.

Remove cool down and eat.

The frittata freezes well.

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A-not-so-Greecee-food-affair

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Last night the Greek gods of Olympus gathered around our table to savour good food and good company.

A-not-so-Greecee-food affair presented dishes that many people in Britain have a different cultural reference for like revithokeftedes (the Greek falafel), politiki salad (the Greek coleslaw ) and Aubergoni (Cycladic cannelloni-like aubergine parcels).

On arrival people were greeted with a glass of Nectar-a strawberry cucumber and lemon juice cocktail sweetened with honey. And we closed the supper with an almond meal and semolina cake doused in brandy syrup and served with ice cream.

Everyone was an Olympian god last night-persona randomly allocated on arrival. And there was poetry (Cardiff’s ode to Greece), singing which included the very apt political song ‘Εν δυο κάτω’, learning your name in Greek and some interesting Greek facts relating to Nana Mouschouri’s vocal cords and private parts. I am still laughing!

Thank you all for such a wonderful night and honouring Lia’s Kitchen with your presence. I can’t wait for the next supper club. If they are all like this one we are in for a year of a wonderful evenings.

I hope the gods smile on you today .

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Leek is gold

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It has been a cold spring in Wales but on my return from the vegetable stock exchange this morning I can say, hand-to-heart, I was hoping for a cheaper price for leek when I set out on my quest at dawn. But leek is gold and spinach is platinum it seems.

Still, final ingredient ticked off my list, I am enjoying a warm spiced apple tea surrounded by onions, leeks, and boxes of goodies with which I concoct Lia’s Kitchen food samples for sale at the Art Carbootique, Chapter Art, tomorrow (14 April 2013).

It takes preparation getting ready for a market stall and serving food, even if just samples. Food hygiene training, finding a kitchen, paperwork, beautification, set up and much more add up when you have weekends only to fit it in. It’s all fun and worth it though!

I can’t wait until tonight and Sunday morning for the part I enjoy most: The cooking!

My recipe (post) cards are in front of me. They look beautiful and include recipes for the three dishes I’ll be making.

And guess what there’s leek in one of the recipes, lots of it!

Good morning!

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Mexican biscuits

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These biscuits will make you dance and yelp ‘άndele άndele!’ like Speedy Gonzales!

I tasted these in Laugharne at a restaurant called the Ranch and could not wait to get back to bake.

Ingredients

Makes around 50 pieces

70gr sugar
210gr salted butter
300gr flour
100gr walnuts, coarsely ground
Zest of one orange
1 Tbsp (spiced) rum

Preparation

Keep the butter in a warm room before creaming with the sugar.

Add the walnuts, zest and rum and knead dough with your fingers.

Shape the dough in mini ovals, 3cm wide and 4cm long.

Bake in 170 Celsius/gas mark 3 to 4. The biscuits must remain pale once baked.

Cool down. Enjoy with hot chocolate, coffee or a glass of red wine.

For a different flavour try pistachio nuts with lime.

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Scrambu

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An alternative to scrambled eggs. It’s nice to imagine recipes for ingredients you did not know how to cook with. Scrambu has made Tofu part of our regular diet easily.

Ingredients

Serves up to 4

350gr Tofu, plain or smoked
1 onion finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika, plain or smoked
½ tsp salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
100gr baby plum or cherry tomatoes (handful)
100gr grated cheddar cheese
1 small bunch of fresh coriander or basil
Garam massala spices (optional if you are using coriander)
pepper
Oil

Preparation

Sauté the onion in a bit of oil until translucent. Season with a pinch of salt.

Add the mustard seeds until they start popping.

Add the tomatoes sliced in half or quarters and cook for a few minutes until softened.

Crumble the tofu with your hands into the mixture.

Add the turmeric and paprika and stir with a wooden spoon. Add as much turmeric as you need to make the tofu look like scramble eggs.

Cook the tofu with your spices for about five minutes. Season with the rest of your salt and pepper.

Turn the heat off and add the grated cheese. Toss until the cheese it melts nicely.

Taste and season more if required, tofu is very bland and might need more salt than you thought it does.

Be creative with your spices in tofu. You can make Indian, Thai or Italian flavoured scrambu as we do or make your own version. Coriander goes really well with garam massala spices and you can add a chilli pepper too. But the basil and tomato version is very tasty too with a pinch of cinnamon or pimento berries.

Enjoy on warm buttered toast.

 

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Roath Pom-lette

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What a lazy and leisurely weekend this one is!  Yesterday’s weekly pilgrimage to Roath farmers market filled our kitchen with vegetable and meat essentials for the week. We still get surprised at how much cheaper than we thought the local or organic produce at the market is. For example, you can get a dozen of free-range fresh eggs from Nantgwared farm for £2.40 and organic eggs for a similar price. From my experience fresh means fresh at Roath farmers market.  Or at the end of each month you can get 3 home cooked ready meals for £10 at Clare’s Plant2Plate stall, which is what I call healthy and economic convenience food. The stallholders have quite a few farmers markets in South Wales to keep them busy and ensure that the produce on sale is regularly renewed.  Did you know that you can find out which farmers market is closest to you at the farmers market wales website?

I love living in Roath. It is such a beautiful and friendly neighbourhood, so central yet almost like a little independent market town. I hardly ever find myself shopping in town these days. Roath’s streets are lined with charity shops where we go on outfit treasure hunts. There are so many health shops, coffee shops, household shops, pharmacies and grocery stores as well as your usual supermarket chairs. You can definitely keep busy all weekend particularly as you are guaranteed to stop and talk to someone you know every couple of minutes! Roath allows me to come a step closer to the way I would like to live my life: shop local, support healthy local business activity, walk or ride rather than drive and spend less money on clothes and non-essential goods.

One of my regular destinations during the weekend is Spice of Life, at the very beginning of Inverness Place in Roath. Spice of Life, run by Gareth, is a cornucopia of spices, seeds, nuts as well as various pastas, pulses and basic cooking ingredients. This weekend we stocked up on some Italian coffee, almonds and pearl cous cous, which we used for our Saturday evening meal.

We were ravenous by the time we returned home as we also stopped at the Record Store, one of Cardiff’s independent record stores, which I left elated carrying two LPs , one of Eartha Kit and one of Pink Floyd, and Sho Gallery, where Dan is putting up some work, the kind that makes you giggle!

Pomlette Recipe 

This is one of the most satisfying omelettes I ‘ve made. Pomlette is new to my kitchen because I had never used potato flour before yesterday but the use of flour in omelette is not. I have added different types of flour to omelette mixtures a few times for a more filling version of the dish and to create an interesting cross between pancake and omelette. I have also read about many vegan omelette recipes using chickpea flour instead of egg, which could mean that if you mix flour and eggs you need less eggs and could be making a healthier version of an omelette . Omelette purists might tell you it is unacceptable to add flour to an omelette. But then again why not ignore them and try this recipe? And if you do tell me how you like it?

Ingredients 

  • 4 Nantgwared farm eggs
  • 4 finely sliced spring onions
  • 1 sweet yellow or red pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove crashed
  • a couple of pinches smoked paprika
  • ½ to ¾ cup of milk
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of potato flour
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Use a hand mixer to make a smooth mixture with the eggs, milk and potato flour adding a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  2. Sautee the onions, the sweet pepper with the sweet paprika and just before adding the mixture throw in the garlic.
  3. Cook in a 20-25cm wide non-stick frying pan for 4 minutes before adding the grated cheese.
  4. Either continue cooking for another 4 minutes as is or fold and flip for another 4 minutes on both sides – until firm but not completely dry.

Did you find this recipe interesting? You can follow me on twitter @moutselia or subscribe to this blog by email at the top right of this page. 

A recipe for destruction ?

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I have lost my appetite… There is something deeply wrong in my psyche when my kitchen becomes still and quiet. It looks so clean! And this is not just because Dan has been meticulously keeping the house beautifully tidy. My favourite room of the house has not been hosting my creative rants. For now: I have lost my ability to meditate over mouth-watering scents, aromas and flavours.

I am deeply affected to the core by what is happening in Greece. I am in a state of turmoil, sadness, awe, anger, anticipation, disappointment….all that and more at the same time. All I can think about is a persistent question: what have been the ingredients for Greece’s recipe for destruction?

There are moments when I want to run back to Greece to join the people I love and all these intelligent, affected people I am conversing with on the internet. I am not sure what more we can do or say: but I just want to be close to them. I feel a bit like a traitor being out here: 14 year of drifting into an ever growing diaspora.

I am left speechless by the quantity and quality of the analysis, discussion, written word that is flooding the blogosphere, the internet, twitter and Facebook. The wavelengths of the web are carrying a wealth of information and opinion in an age where citizens become valid journalists and reporters of their own reality and ideas. I am amazed by the guts of some of the Greek journalists who recently published a front page with a blank picture frame during this politically volatile week for Greece, in anticipation of a new prime minister, one who in reality was appointed by the Merkozy twins. At times I have been disappointed by the unnecessary and naïve nationalistic responses and statements of some and the attacks of Greeks on each other: a cancerous and unnecessary approach to coping with all of this.

I weep silently at work, in the street, at night lying awake and in my dreams. But I also have moments of pride and excitement to see such a high percentage of young Greeks produce such quality art, expression, views, blogs, parody, and see how they cope with this demise in a dignified way withstanding the unjustified attack of idiotic and naïve foreign voices that are looking for a new scapegoat in the international arena for politics (instead of finally comprehending there is a global shadow theatre of master puppeteers that we have ALL collectively been part of without our conscious choice and through pledging political indifference or ignorance). We will all be affected!

This week I have been gratefully and accurately informed by “When the Crisis hit fan” of Kostas Kallergis that Polukarpos Palainis pointed to me. I have laughed at the satirical commentary of Pitisirikos, a pioneer of blogging and satirical political commentary in Greece with a sharp sense of humour, going strong for a long time (I have known of him for the past 4 years). I have followed Ellinofreneia (Greek madness) and the fantastic Press Project as well as hundreds of other individuals and blogs. Thank you to all for sharing and keep it coming!

I discuss from a distance, remain deeply affected and think: ‘Is all this virtual stimulation and debate sufficient?’. And once you understand that the demise of a place and a society you love so much is not just the cumulative impact of individuals’ action or a handful of political decisions, political incompetency, mindless corruption, unjustified individualism and opportunism but also an indication of the failure of the global political and economic system that we have all supported with our consumerism and inaction: What do you do? Who do you blame? What change can you bring about and how?

What am I doing here? I take my hat off to my friend Katerina Georgantidou who left Cardiff to return to Greece this summer because of her need to be there and is teaching, organising hooping sessions and classes and giving back her own to contribute to the strengthening of the city’s psyche.  I am sure the transition has not been easy.

In my dreams I have been instructing my subconscious to seek answers in discussions with Chomsky, Socrates and my granddad who was born at the turn of the last century and died in 1989. Some say I think too much: I think that I am perplexed and don’t know how to act. And I just miss being close to those I care about!

I have lost my appetite trying to understand what the foul ingredients of this recipe of destruction are: I find myself in a state of political depression and seek to understand what change I can make to my way of life first and fore most.

I know all this sounds very pessimistic but I do glimpse hope and it is in the same place as my dear  friend Maria Sini sees it: in creativity, art and imagination that can perhaps help us reshape and regroup, change micro cultures we don’t like and maybe reinvent what now seems lost . Recently I have admired the street art of Bleeps. gr, listened to an interview he gave to Onair24.gr, which thankfully did not reveal his identity, and was inspired Rachel Donadio’s the references to a renaissance of art rising from the fumes of a Greece on fire in the New York Observer and New York Times on 14 October (I don’t have the reference), seen numerous clips and videos on youtube.

Have you got a glimpse of hope to share with me and each other?

If yes contact me here or on twitter: @moutselia