Tahini sauce

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I am seriously addicted to tahini (and chilli flakes as I stated in the past). Being a Cypriot, I grew up on tahini. Tahini pies, tahini sauce, tahini with honey on bread, I am so grateful that my culinary heritage includes this tasty and healthy, sesame treasure. Tahini sauce is very easy to make and it’s absolutely fantastic with almost anything! I love it with chicken or lamb shawarma, with kebabs, falafel, salads or even plain with some nice, fresh pita bread. Continue reading

Parmesan Crisps

parmesan crisps.jpgThese cheese crisps couldn’t be easier and make the perfect garnish for soups or salads.

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbs grated parmesan (not finely grated. Medium grater holes are best)

Method

Preheat oven to 175 C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Mount tablespoons of the parmesan cheese on the paper, eight in total, spacing them about 3 cm apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 6-7 minutes, until cheese has melted and is golden in colour. Remove crisps with a silicon spatula. They will crisp as they cool.

Caramelized Almonds

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almonds
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Method

Preheat oven to 160 C. Roast the almonds for 10 minutes until fragrant. Spread on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper.

In a small pot, mix the sugar and water over high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Then stop and bring to boil. Do not stir mixture again or sugar will crystalize. Boil mixture until a deep amber colour is reached. Pour caramel on top of almonds (careful, caramel is very HOT! Don’t be tempted to touch with your fingers and make sure no kids are around). Leave to cool completely and harden. Peel off parchment paper and cut with your hands into big pieces. Store in a covered container, lined with parchment paper.

Pico de Gallo (mexican tomato salsa)

 

This Mexican tomato salsa is the best accompaniment to fajitas and, yes, souvlaki (pork kebabs)!

Ingredients

  • 1 kg fresh tomatoes, diced without the seeds
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 green chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Keep covered in the fridge.

Crispy Fried Onions

 

beef-curry2 copyUndoubtedly the best topping, to any great curry dish. The sweetness of the onions works so well with this spicy dish. You could buy them already fried, from the supermarket, but the home made ones are miles ahead in taste and flavor. I usually use red onions as they are sweeter and have less water, therefore they are crispier when cooked.

Slice them thinly using a mandoline (if you have one) and fry them in plenty of sunflower oil (or any other frying oil of your choice), over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Don’t crowd them in the frying pan, it’s best if you do it in batches. Careful not to burn them, as overcooked onions taste bitter. What you are looking for is a nice golden colour.

When you take them out of the pan, leave them to drain on kitchen paper. The onions will not be really crispy when you take them out of the pan, but they will become crisp after they cool and the paper absorbs the excess oil.

You can keep them sealed in a plastic container for 3 days.

 

 

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 lime (or lemon), juiced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ green chilli, without seeds, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 1 Tbs fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

 Method

Peel the avocados and put in a bowl in big chunks. Keep one tablespoon lime or lemon juice. Drizzle the rest over the avocados and mix gently. This will keep the color from changing. Add the salt, cumin and cayenne and mix with a fork, breaking up the avocado while mixing with the spices. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Drizzle the tablespoon of lime juice on the surface of the guacamole. Cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic touches the surface of the guacamole. Put in the fridge until ready to serve.

The “magical” Red Pepper Paste

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Red pepper paste is a key ingredient for authentic “lahmajoun” (armenian flatbreads)

My sister Myranda, who incidently lives in her kitchen too, one day gave me a small jar of something that looked a lot like tomato paste, only it was brighter in colour. I remember she said to me «this paste is magical». And how right she was. The sweet taste and aroma of this paste will lift any tomato based dish to another level. Tomatoes have acidity which is usually nutralized by the addition of a little sugar. One teaspoon of sweet red pepper taste is enough to make any tomato sauce sweeter without the sugar. Red pepper paste is widely used in armenian and turkish cuisine and it’s a necessary ingredient in cooking authentic «Lahmajoun», the delicious meaty flatbreads. Spend some time in the kitchen and make a small jar of red pepper paste. It will add magic to your dishes. Continue reading