Fava à la Grecque

12 October 2017

There are a lot of similarities between Turkish and Greek cuisine with both claiming baklava as their own and many other shared dishes, but there are also some striking differences. One variation we’ve noticed on our travels around Turkey and Greece has been with the dish known as fava in both countries.

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Fava à la Grecque

Last week we featured Turkey’s take on fava, made with broad beans, so this week we’re going to balance things up and have a look at Greece’s take on this dish, which is made with yellow split peas.

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Ingredients for fava à la Grecque

These dried peas proved quite hard to track down in Turkey – most supermarkets don’t stock them, but we eventually found them on sale in Datça market, mixed in with a few lentils and whole grains for good measure!

Greece’s version of this dish is runnier than Turkey’s, more like a hummus consistency, so it’s more suitable to use as a dip or spread. We’ve added some sumac to bring together these two esteemed cuisines in a spirit of gastronomic entente cordiale!

Ingredients (makes 6-8 healthy servings)

250 g yellow split peas, soaked in cold water for 1-2 hours

One medium red onion

One garlic clove

One teaspoon dried thyme

25 ml olive oil

500 ml water

Juice of one lemon

Pinches of salt and black pepper

Use a pinch of sumac, slices of red onion and a squeeze of lemon juice to garnish the fava

Method

Fry the finely chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil over a medium to high heat until the onions start to caramelise. Add the split peas and thyme, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Pour in the water, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so until all the liquid is absorbed.

Allow the cooked mixture to cool for ten minutes and then use a hand blender to make it into a smooth paste. As you’re blending the mix, add the lemon juice to give it a creamier consistency.

Use a pinch of sumac, slices of red onion and a squeeze of lemon juice to garnish the fava and then serve warm with crusty bread and a green salad.

 

Fava a la Turca

5 October 2017

This time on Knidos Cookery Club we’ll be looking at fava, a popular Turkish meze made from broad beans (we’ve used dried but use fresh if you have them). Greece also has a dish called fava, but its version uses split peas and is an all-together different beast to Turkey’s variant which is left in the fridge to firm up into a spread that can be sliced into chunks (more on the Greek variation next time round).

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Knidos Cookery Club’s take on fava served with mint

Our variation on the Turkish fava theme turned out a bit less smooth than the one served up in Turkish cafes but it still tasted great! Having cooked up the beans into a mush, we went for a swim while it cooled down. Apparently, it should have been pushed through a sieve while still warm, but no worries – it turned out all right on the night albeit a bit lumpier than expected!

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Fava served with … dill in a restaurant in Akyaka, Turkey’s slow food capital

In Turkey fava comes adorned with sprigs of dill (some recipes even put dill in the bean mix itself). Knidos Cookery Club is not a big fan of dill, so we’ve used some fresh mint leaves to adorn our take on this Turkish classic.

Ingredients (makes around 8-10 individual servings)

200 g dried broad beans (soaked overnight in cold water)

One small red onion

400 ml water

One teaspoon honey

25 ml olive oil

Pinch of salt

Mint leaves to garnish

Method

Put the drained beans into a heavy-based pan with the finely chopped onion, olive oil, honey and salt and pour the water over the top. Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for an hour or so until all the water is absorbed and the beans are breaking up to form a thick paste.

Allow the mix to cool and while still warm press through a metal sieve with a wooden spoon to remove any excess liquid. Oil a glass serving dish and pile the bean mix into the dish. Cover with clingfilm (clear plastic wrap) and leave overnight in the fridge.

Serve in cubes or diamond shapes, cutting the solid mass with a wet knife (to avoid it sticking). Garnish with mint leaves and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil and serve with crusty bread as part of a meze platter.

 

 

Adventures with Artichokes

5 May 2016

This week Knidos Cookery Club is attempting to tackle one of the most daunting vegetables out there – the globe artichoke. This enormous edible thistle with its armadillo-like outer leaves has always intrigued me – you never quite know what might be lurking inside the beast.

Known as enginar in Turkish, it is widely cultivated in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions. It is a measure of the regard that this vegetable is held in that it has its own international festival in Urla near Izmir, Turkey (this year’s has just gone – it was held from 28 April – 1 May).

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An artichoke plant in Turkey

On 1 May, Knidos Cookery Club donned its walking boots and joined the annual walk from Datça on the Mediterranean Sea to the shore of the Aegean Sea, north of the village of Kızlan. On the way a number of artichokes were spotted growing in people’s gardens.

On returning home, my aim was to try and serve up something close to a dish that is a staple of many home-cooking restaurants in Turkey – an artichoke bottom filled to the brim with mixed vegetables or, sometimes, broad beans, but after peeling away the outer leaves and the choke my specimen’s bottoms were found to be a bit lacking in the size department.

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The planned dish of broad beans, bakla in Turkish, overflowing from an abundant base had to be modified at the last moment and instead I settled on a salad of diced artichoke and broad beans in a lemony sauce, garnished with strips of avocado.

Broad beans appear around the same time as artichokes in the market in early spring and the two team together well, especially with the addition of a lemon or two. For an even greener salad, I picked up some ripe avocadoes in the market and topped the finished dish with a few slices of alligator pear.

The tough outer leaves can be eaten as well. After steaming for 30 minutes or so, the bottoms of the leaves reveal some tasty artichoke flesh that you can pull through you teeth to get at the goodness. Dipping them in melted butter with a dash of garlic makes them even more delicious.

Ingredients

Two medium sized globe artichokes

250 g fresh broad beans

Two spring onions

The juice of one lemon

One ripe avocado

Olive oil

Herbs and spices

Method

Wash the artichoke and cut away the stem. Steam it in a large pan for 30 minutes or so until the outer leaves are tender.

Peel the leaves away from the main body and save to eat as a starter, dipped in olive oil or melted butter.

Now remove the fibrous choke that surrounds the fleshy, edible part of our oversized thistle. You should be left with a concave disc of artichoke.

Place the artichoke in lemon juice to stop it discolouring.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the diced spring onion.

After a few minutes stir in the peeled broad beans and chunks of squeezed lemon and cover with a mix of water and the rest of your lemon juice and keep at a rolling boil for 30 minutes. Boil off as much liquid as you can to leave a runny, lemony sauce.

Chop up the artichoke and mix with the broad beans in the lemony sauce. Add fresh herbs such as mint and parsley and season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with thin strips of avocado and serve with a tomato and onion salad to contrast the vivid reds with the verdant greens of the artichoke medley.