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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Dear readers,

Being laying in the sun and diving in the cool water for the best part of this week and unfortunatelly my cooking is somehow left behind..
Yet, although I feel somewhat guilty.. I couldnt help it. My holidays are slowly coming to an end and taking the plane back home, to a moist, cloudy Holland is unavoidable.
My boyfriend is joining me to the vacation house by the end of this week which helps stimulate and motivate my cooking. Hopefully some greek summery recipes will come up again soon on the blog.

Until then, I would like to share with you some beautiful photographs from Alexander Semenov.

Alexander Semenov’s photographs are pure and magical.
A new underwater world with its beautiful creatures opens up in front of us through a series of photos under the name Planktonology.
Jellyfish (or Jellies) and snails dance in the water, defying any sense of orientation, time and gravity mesmerising the viewer.

Tip!
Did you know, jellyfish are quite popular as a food in Asia? They can be cooked in a variety of ways, boiled, steamed, fried and can accompagny noodles and salads!

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Planktonology

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“De re coquinaria”, or “On the subject of cooking” was the overall title of a Roman collection of recipes, APICIUS.
It is thought to have been written somewhere around the 4th or 5th century A.D. by a roman gourmet lover and was ment to be used in the kitchen! It was organised in 10 books, under 10 themes (fisherman, gourmet, many ingredients, gardener etc) It is a very useful text as it enables us to take a glimpse into the culinary habits of the ancient times for the people residing around the Mediterranean basin.

There are no tomatoe recipes, no pasta but there are a couple of what can be thought as a meatball recipe.
Apicus, mentions round meat patties, and lists their recipes in order of his preference. The best, says Apicius were made of peacock after which he enjoyed meatballs made of pheasant, then rabbit, then chicken and, last, suckling pig.

Of course at the older days, meat was a rare commodity reserved for the rich.
As such, every part of the animal and all kinds of meat were preserved and used.
But lets not forget that meatballs started loooong before the meat grinder was invented in 1829.
The meat would often have to have been cooked. The leftover were then easily shredded by hand, minced in any number of primitive ways, or pounded with a heavy object. They would be mixed with other ingredients and cooked.

During the Venetian golden years, meatballs were heavily spiced, as the trade with the Arabs brought spices and flavors of the East to Europe.

Easy as they are, they can be vary tasty and a nice appetizer or main dish for a warm summer dinner accompanied by a nice salad with a light vinegraitte.

So, I decided to bake some meatballs.

Since I had pre-prepared the mix (minced meat,finely chopped onion, bread crumbles and fresh mint leaves) the day before and let it in the fridge so that the aromas from the herbs would infuse the meat, the only thing left to do would be shaping the little balls, rolling them in flour and frying them!

Adding a bit of lemon and they were ready to serve!


tip!
In China, meatballs are morphed into fishballs, which can be a nice alternative for a lighter dinner or for our vegeterian friends!

Enjoy!
x Elleen

I remember first seeing zucchini blossoms as a child.

They were large and brightly colored orange and I somehow knew they were drinking cups for little summer fairies, used by them to drink the morning dew.

My grandmother would cook them in the oven after stuffing with rice and serve them for a light summery lunch with a tomato salad.
When we had guests over she would stuff them with feta cheese and herbs and coated by a mix of flour. Then she would throw them in a hot olive oil pan and make them golden.

Walking in the garden of the vacation house this morning, I couldnt help notice the zucchini plant blooming..
I had been obsessing over cooking some zucchini blossoms for a couple of years but somehow i was never at the house at the right time of the season so you must understand how excited and surprised I was.

Its important to pick the flowers up in the morning, before the sun comes up. Otherwise they will close.

There are 2 types of flowers. Male and Female ones… The male flowers grow from the stem of the plant, while the female flowers grow on the end of each emergent zucchini.

(female flower collected at the wrong moment…see how the petals are closing?)

(male flowers collected at dawn)

After collecting the flowers, you must remove the pistils and stamens as they taste very very bitter.
Wash them delicately and prepare the stuffing.

For the feta one, I combine feta, fresh mint and parsley, egg yolks and occasionally a drop of honey.
For the rice ones, I make a mixture of rice, zucchini, peterselie, onion and garlic.
There are a lot of different recipes out there and I would encourage you to experiment with them trying to create your flavor. You can easily add an ingredient or remove one from any of the above suggestions.


Tip:
You can keep the stem of the male flowers while they cook. Its very handy as you can hold the flower from the stem and prevent damaging the delicate petals.

One of my favorite singers Kathy Mattea once said..
“Chocolate’s okay, but I prefer a really intense fruit taste. You know when a peach is absolutely perfect… it’s sublime. I’d like to capture that and then use it in a dessert.”

I always thought of ripe peaches as the epitome of summer flavor..sweet, juicy, delicate..

So, when I arrived at the vacation house a few days ago and saw that we had ripe peaches i couldnt resist plucking some from the tree.

The first sweet thing I craved were slices of peaches with a touch of caneel.

The second, was sweet milky icecream.

The third.. the sweet peach icecream made in a vintage ice cream maker.

To be honest, I wasnt quite certain whether it would work..but fortunatelly..it did!

So there you are dears,

Yum Yum peaches in a milky heaven!





Last night, I arrived at the village house with my dog charlotte.
The village house is the family vacation house, situated in an island called Evia, north east of Athens.
The name of the village is Kalimeriani, which in greek literally means good side (kali=good, meria=side).
The view is indeed pretty good. One can gaze the valeys and the mountains all the way to the sea.

As with most holiday houses, the house is empty half the year which means that every time I put the key at the door, it feels like time had frozen all year long and will start again. Its like last summer was yesterday..
Furniture and utensils covered with dust cloths, the house silently had been waiting for a winter and a spring..until on a warm August afternoon, I had arrived!

This morning, waking up reality caught up with me.. Dust Covers removed, kitchen cleaned and groceries done at a nearby village. Doing my groceries around noon, was definately not a smart idea. The sun at its brightest, sizzled my skin and left me breathless and feverish.

Thats when i decided i would be making icecream!

I bought chocolate and decided to bake cookies in order to make a thick lucious chocolate ice tart when i found an odd shaped bowl that my lucky guess is, it was a vintage ice cream maker!!!!
I cant remember my grandma ever using it…ever! And she is no longer here so i can ask…
Nevertheless..i pulled some white flesh peaches off our peach tree and did my best to make a peach flavored vintage style home made ice cream!

I have to stir frequently until it solidifies..right?
Dear readers, keep your fingers crossed…tomorrow we are having peach icecream!