In keeping with the ‘Waste not, want not‘ mantra, this week we’ll be using some radish greens in a mini quiche.
Often discarded, these peppery leaves taste great when fried up with some spring onion, garlic and a dash of soy sauce.
Ingredients ( makes four mini-quiches)
150 g radish leaves
1 radish (for decoration)
2 spring onions
1 garlic clove
Dash of soy sauce
60 g crumbly white cheese
25 ml olive oil
150 g filo pastry or shortcrust pastry
Saute the chopped onions and garlic in a little olive oil in a heavy-based pan for 2-3 minutes, add a dash of soy sauce and then add the radish leaves and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the leaves start to wilt.
Allow the mix to cool for ten minutes then mix in the eggs and cheese. Prepare cases in small baking dishes with the filo pastry, brushing each filo leaf with olive oil.
Pour the mix into each pastry case to half way and then bake for 20 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 180 c.
Garnish with radish slices and serve with a green salad laced with more sliced radish!
Next week should see the start of negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union as talks are scheduled to get underway on 19 June to hammer out the ultimate shape of Brexit.
In the lead up to this momentous day, this weekend also marks another seminal event in Britain’s troubled relationship with continental Europe – 18 June is the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, a battle which saw forces under the command of the Duke of Wellington deliver a fatal blow to Napoleon Bonaparte’s ambitions in 1815.
Only time will tell if the Maybot, in cahoots with the Rev Ian Paisely’s successors in the DUP, can produce a victory as decisive as Wellington’s – one thing is clear, some major sustenance is called for and what better than a hearty Lentil Wellington, our veggie take on Beef Wellington, a dish supposedly named after the duke.
Yes, besides giving his name to the wellington boot, the duke is also linked with this dish, which has a rich filling encased in pastry. Leah Hyslop suggests that the name was a patriotic makeover for a popular French dish:
The dish’s clear resemblance to that French specialty, filet de bœuf en croûte, could suggest the name was a timely patriotic rebranding of a trendy continental dish.
In our own era, food-patriotism was to the fore in 2003 when France refused to go along with the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, causing some in the USA to call for ‘french fries’ to be rebranded ‘freedom fries’.
For a Turkish twist, we’ve used layers of yufka, the local version of filo pastry, to cover our rich lentil and vegetable sauce. Make sure you leave on overlap of pastry of about 8-10 cm around the edges of your dish in order to create a top to encase the filling.
Ingredients (serves 4)
250 g aubergines
250 g courgettes
250 g tomatoes
75 g black lentils
2 spring onions
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon cinnamon, cumin, red chili flakes and coriander seeds
Pinches of black pepper and salt
250 ml vegetable stock
100 ml red wine
100 ml olive oil
Filo pastry (around 300 g)
Wash the lentils until the water runs clear, and then cook in a heavy-based pan with the vegetable stock and bayleaf. Bring to the boil and then simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes or so until the liquid is absorbed.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetables: finely chop the spring onions and garlic, cut the aubergine and courgette into one cm thick slices and then cut into four. Place the vegetables into a heavy-based pan, add the herbs and spices and pour 50 ml olive oil over the veg and then cook over a medium heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Chop the tomatoes and add to the vegetables and cook for another five minutes, continue stirring every now and then. Now add the cooked lentils and the red wine and cook for another ten minutes or so until the liquid is absorbed.
While this is cooking, prepare the pie case. Grease a large pie dish with olive oil and layer leaves of filo pastry, brushing each layer with olive oil. Make sure you leave a pastry overlap of around 8-10 cm around the edges of the pie dish.
Pour the filling into the pie case and fold over the overlapping filo pastry, brushing with more olive oil to help seal the top of the case. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180 c /gas mark 5 for 30 minutes or so until the top of the pie begins to turn a golden-brown colour.
Allow to cool for ten minutes and then serve slices of the pie with a crisp green salad and roasted new potatoes.
This time round on Knidos Cookery Club we’re off to Turkey’s far north-east corner and across the border into Georgia. This mountainous country shares some dishes in common with the people of Turkey’s Black Sea coast such as the bread and cheese concoction known as khachapuriin Georgia, pide in Turkey.
Georgian dishes rely on both fresh and dried local ingredients. The diet is generally meat-heavy – this point was crudely pushed home last year when outraged sausage-wielding activists attacked Kiwi Café, a vegan café in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, throwing chunks of meat and fish at diners, but there are lots of options for non-carnivores as its cuisine also features a wide range of veggie dishes.
Georgia’s location on a number of east-west trade routes heading through the Caucasus Mountains has seen different influences make their mark on its eating culture over the years, with spices playing a key role.
Dried beans, or lobio, walnuts, pomegranates and spices like coriander and blue fenugreek give a distinctive taste to the local fare. Cheese also features strongly on the Georgian table, from the versatile sulguni, an elastic, brined cheese akin to mozzarella, that can be deep fried to the fresh white imeruli cheese.
Georgia’s dried red beans are made into a dish calledlobio, that, depending on the region of the country it’s prepared in, can be like a soup, a stew or re-fried beans. It is usually cooked in a clay pot and sometimes comes with a thin layer of bread as a cover on top. Mashed red beans are also cooked inside bread in a dish called lobiani.
We’ve decided to do our own take on a lobio dish, and to get our own back on those meat-wielding activists, by making a Georgian-influenced veggie sausage, to be served as part of a brunch or main meal.
Ingredients (makes 8-10 sausages)
200 g dried red beans, soaked overnight
100 g red lentils (one cup)
150 g fine bulgur wheat (1.5 cups)
50 g chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
25 ml olive oil for frying the sausages
1 tablespoon plain flour
Soak the beans overnight and then cook for an hour or so over a low heat until the beans are cooked and beginning to break up. Drain and reserve the cooking water , then mash the beans roughly.
Wash the lentils until the water goes clear and then place in a pan with the water from the cooked beans – add more water so the lentils are covered by 2 cm of liquid. Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes or so. The lentils should be going mushy and there should be about 1 cm of water covering the lentils – add more water if necessary.
Add the washed bulgur wheat to the cooked lentils and blend well. Allow to stand for 30 minutes or so and then add the toasted, chopped walnuts and the mashed beans. Then grind the spices together and add to the mix. Leave overnight in the fridge to allow the flavours to blend.
Sprinkle some flour on a chopping board and roll lemon-sized portions of the mix into sausage shapes, coating evenly with flour. Fry the sausages in the oil until browned on the outside and then serve with baked beans and a fried egg for a top brunch.
This week in Knidos Cookery Club the focus is on capers, the unripened flower buds of Capparis spinosa, a thorny evergreen shrub that is native to the Mediterranean region.
This wonder bud can be used to add taste to a variety of dishes from pastas and pizzas to salads and stews. They can be preserved in brine, sun-dried or salted to allow their complex lemony flavours to come to the fore.
A few weeks ago, Knidos Cookery Club was treated to a tasty lasagne topped with salted capers from the kitchen of Mr Alan in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. On returning to Knidos, our tastebuds awakened, the Saturday market and the local shops were scoured and a jar of capers in brine was tracked down.
We spotted a Nigel Slater recipe in The Guardian recently for a tomato, olive and French bean tart – we decided to give it a go with some modifications, using some Datça capers in place of the olives. Here’s what the finished product should look like:
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
100 g filo pastry (yufka)
500 g tomatoes (any sort or a mix)
20 green beans
25 ml olive oil infused with dried thyme
Seasoning: pinches of salt, black pepper, cumin, dried thyme
Grease a large baking dish with some olive infused with dried thyme and place a sheet of filo pastry in the dish. Brush with more oil and put another layer of filo pastry – continue oiling and layering until pastry is used up.
Thinly slice the tomatoes and layer on the pastry base. Dot with capers and season with pinches of salt, black pepper, cumin and dried thyme.
Put the dish in a pre-heated oven (200 °C/gas mark 6) and bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry starts to go a deep golden colour. Keep an eye on it to make sure the pastry doesn’t burn.
While the tart is baking, cook the beans in boiling water for 4 minutes.
When the tart is cooked, arrange the beans in a criss-cross pattern on top of the tomato and caper base. Serve with a green salad – we had a purslane, rocket, sorrel, cucumber and onion salad dressed with lemon, olive oil and pomegranate sauce.
When it comes to food, Turkey and Greece have more in common than they’ll often admit. They share a love for small cups of strong coffee and sweet tooths all around the Aegean Sea love baklava, made from chopped nuts and layers of filo pastry drenched in honey.
On the savoury side, no selection of starters is complete without that famous yogurt dip made with cucumber and garlic – known as cacık in Turkish, tzatziki in Greek. A Turk’s ıspanaklı börek is a spanakopita to a Greek.
One area where there is some clear water between the Greek and Turkish kitchen is the choice of which bean to combine with a rich tomato sauce. While the Greeks favour dried giant white beans to make the dish known as gigantes plaki, in Turkey this dish is made with the smaller haricot, or navy, bean and is called kuru fasulye. Greece also has a dish made from small white beans called fasolada, but this is more of a soup.
This week on Knidos Cookery Club, we’ll be looking at the Turkish version. When thinking about Turkey’s national dish the döner kebab or köfte, meatballs, generally spring to mind, but in fact it is the humble kuru fasulye that takes the honour. It’s the ultimate Turkish comfort food when served up with pilav, a portion of rice cooked with orzo pasta.
The version that came out of the Knidos Cookery Club kitchen was a bit drier than some found in Turkish cafes. For a saucier version of this dish, add more liquid during the cooking stage; perhaps 100 ml more of water or stock or reserved cooking liquid from the beans.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
250 g dried white beans (haricot or any small white beans you can find) soaked overnight
Four medium-sized plum tomatoes
One medium-sized red onion
One green pepper (the long, thin banana-shaped one)
3-4 teaspoons red pepper paste
200 ml cooking liquid reserved from the beans (use 100 ml more for a runnier sauce)
Seasoning: pinches of salt and pepper, a teaspoon of cumin
Fresh parsley to garnish the finished dish
50 ml olive oil
100 g orzo pasta (pasta shaped like grains of rice)
300 g washed rice
Cook the beans in a pan of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a lower heat for up to 45 minutes or so until the beans are cooked but not going soft. Skim off the foam periodically.
Heat the 25 ml of oil in a heavy-based pan and then add the chopped onion. Cook until translucent over a medium heat. Add the diced green pepper and keep cooking for another 4-5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes – grate them to remove the skins. Add the red pepper paste and season with salt, black pepper and cumin. Pour in the reserved cooking water from the beans and stir. Add the beans, give it a good stir and keep it bubbling away for 15 minutes or so. You want the beans to stay firm.
To make the rice, heat 25 ml olive oil in a heavy-based pan then add the orzo and stir. Cook until the orzo starts to turn a golden colour. Now add the drained, washed rice and keep stirring. When the rice is coated with oil, pour in water or stock so the rice is covered by about 1 cm of liquid. Add salt if required.
Turn the heat down and cook until all the water is absorbed. turn off the heat and allow it to stand for 10 minutes or so and cover with a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll and put the lid on.
Serve the rice and beans together, garnishing the beans with some chopped parsley. have some crusty bread like a baguette on hand to soak up the juices.
This week, Knidos Cookery Club is going to have a look at a local take on the pie – börek.
This member of the baked, filled pastry club is made from thin layers of filo pastry, known as yufka in Turkey. It comes with a variety of fillings including spinach, white cheese, potatoes, grated courgettes, swiss chard, leeks or combinations of these fillings.
There are two main ways of preparing börek – in a large pan and then sliced after baking, or as an individual serving in a cigar-shape. Either way, the börek is a moreish treat so always make more than you think you’ll need!
Kindos Cookery Club will tell you how to make the individual servings today. To make the pan version, layer 3-4 sheets of filo pastry in a large, greased dish, brushing glaze between the layers (as in this recipe for a zesty leek, goat cheese and walnut tart). Next add the filling of your choice and then top it off with 3-4 more sheets of filo and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Follow the baking instructions below for the individual pies to cook the pan version.
Follow these steps to make some tasty individual white cheese and spinach börek.
Ingredients (To make 5 individual pies)
15 sheets of filo pastry
500 g spinach
One medium-sized onion
100 g white cheese
50 ml olive oil
50 ml natural yogurt or milk
Fresh mixed herbs (mint, oregano, thyme,dill)
Salt and pepper
To make the filling, heat some olive oil in a heavy-based pan and cook the chopped onion over a medium heat until translucent. Add the chopped, fresh herbs and washed and shredded spinach. Season with dashes of salt and pepper.
Cook until the spinach wilts and then add the crumbled white cheese. Mix well and allow to cool.
Make a glaze for the filo pastry by blending equal parts of olive oil and natural yogurt (or milk). Brush the glaze over one 15 cm x 15 cm sheet of filo (or triangle shapes if you can find them), then place another layer of pastry, glaze and finally one more sheet and glaze.
Put two generous dollops of filling onto the bottom edge of the layered filo sheets, leaving about 2 cm at each end. Roll the pie into a cigar shape and press the ends down.
Brush with glaze and sprinkle nigella seeds over the cigar.
Place on a greased baking tray and put into a pre-heated oven and bake at 200 °C (gas mark 6) for 30 minutes or until the pies are golden brown in colour.