Tomato Fritters (Ντοματοκεφτέδες)

 

Having not harvested any tomatoes this Summer, needless to say, I`m more than delighted to be harvesting now, November and December!  And what tomatoes!  – red and tasty, firm flesh, thin skinned with minimal core!  

This is a lovely simple recipe, a great meze!

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Ingredients

750 g ripe tomatoes

1 large onion grated

50 g melting cheese grated, or crumbled feta cheese

250 g approx self raising flour, or add 1 tsp of baking powder to plain flour

Small bunch each, of mint and parsley

Sprig of basil

Sprinkle of oregano

S & P 

Procedure

Peel your tomatoes, (there`s a quick tip below).  Chop the tomatoes into dice sized chunks and place in a colander to strain off excess liquid.  Leave for about 20/30 minutes.  

In a bowl, place the grated cheese, finely chopped herbs and oregano and the tomato chunks, S & P.  Stir well.  Add the flour in doses till you have a very thick mixture.

Heat about 1/2 cm of olive oil in a frying pan.  Have the heat at almost full.  Using a dessertspoon, plop dollops of the mixture into the pan.  Turn to brown on the other side.  They don`t need too many minutes so keep your eye on them.  Lay on absorbent paper.

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Easy Peel Tomatoes

Bring a pan full of water to the boil, add the washed tomatoes and leave on the heat for about a minute.  Remove and dunk into cold/iced water, the skins will come away very easily with a knife.

 

Pumpkin Tart

 

`Tis the season to cook pumpkin!

Ingredients

Pastry

170 g flour

50 g icing sugar

110 g butter, cubed

2 egg yolks

A little grated lemon peel

A pinch of salt

Filling

1 kilo of peeled, cleaned pumpkin, chopped into chunks

75 g sugar

A generous tablespoon of honey

3 eggs beaten

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Grated nutmeg

100 g full fat cream

Grated lemon peel

Procedure

Throw all of the pastry ingredients into a bowl, knead well until you have a smooth mix.  Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to rest for an hour.

Boil the pumpkin chunks till soft, strain well and leave to cool.  

Heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Butter a 20/25 cm flan tin.  Using the cling film, roll the pastry into a circle.  Lift and lay into the flan tin. The pastry will mould with your fingers also, so you can push and pull to it to fit the base and the sides.  

Once the pumpkin has cooled, zap it in the blender and pour into a bowl.  Add the honey, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and grated lemon peel.  Mix well.  To finish, add the cream, mix well and pour into the pastry case.  Bake for 40 minutes.  

Leave to cool before slicing.

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Pumpkin Puree (Πουρές με κολοκύθα)

 

A super alternative to plain ol` mashed spud!

Ingredients

500 g cleaned and cubed pumpkin

300 g peeled and cubed potatoes

3 tbsps olive oil

1 wine glass fresh milk

1/2 wine glass cream

1 tsp ground coriander 

Salt (pepper optional)

Procedure

Boil the cubed pumpkin and potatoes in salted water, till soft.  Strain very well and mash, or blend.  It will be quite runny, so return to the hot plate allowing the excess liquid to evaporate, stir continuously to avoid burning.  Once it has stiffened, add the liquids and the coriander, leave on a medium heat, stirring until it has thickened nicely.pumpkin-puree-small

 

Tip

It`s easy to peel pumpkin using a peeler, if you cut into slices, approx. 5/6 cm width

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Beef Stew with Grape Syrup (Μοσχάρι Κοκκινιστό με Πετιμέζι)

 

A traditional dish, rich and inviting, just the thing for these dark nights!

Ingredients

1 1/2 kilos stewing beef (fat trimmed off)

2 large onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 good sized, ripe tomatoes, grated (skins discarded)

2 tbsps tomato puree

1 generous glass of dry red wine

3 tbsps grape syrup (πετιμέζι)

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground clove

Olive oil

S & P ground

Procedure

Fry the beef chunks in the olive oil till all sides of the meat are seared, remove the meat to a plate.  Add the onions to the pan and fry till transparent, add the crushed garlic and the spices, stirring well to distribute the flavours. Return the meat to the pan, and when the ingredients are bubbling nicely, throw in the wine and stir.  Allow the alcohol to evaporate for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in hot water, just enough to cover the meat.  

Add the grated tomato, tomato puree, the grape syrup and stir.  Add salt and pepper, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium. Leave for at least 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. 

Serve with pureed potato or rice.  

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Today, I served it with pureed pumpkin…….recipe here

Looming `eck – The Assembly

 

Well, she was true to her word.  K. Kaliopi closed her shop up at the end of October and upon my call to her, declared she would come down to assist me with setting up the threads on my loom.  A little apprehensively, I made my way up to Kritsa to pick her up.  

There she was, waiting for me at the exact place we had arranged, at the exact time!   No problems getting into the truck (no lift up required).  A very spritely 86 year old chattered intently to me on the route back down to Kanakary.

She gave a cursory check over my loom and then got down to work immediately.  She requested a carpet and two chairs.   I happily obliged. 

Rather naively, I imagined that the chairs were for us to sit on, well that`s what anybody would presume, but no, the combs were hung on the chairs and we sat on the floor!  We set about and passed the 200 threads through the combs.  A surprisingly involved procedure which engaged the use of some head scratching mental arithmatic to calculate where we should begin the threading and a “stealer”, which caught the threads and pulled them through the slotted combs.  

Afterwards, she set to work systematically assessing what was required on my loom. Bit by bit, we assembled the inumerous threads, canes, ropes, brakes, handles, weights.  We loaded the combs, weighted the threads, squeezed, tweaked, tightened and adjusted all relative parts and then she declared it was ready for use and requested I returned her to Kritsa!

Of course I obliged, a little shell shocked at the speed, intensity and ability of K. Kaliopi with her instruction. Despite this, it had taken us three and a half hours to set it up.  Throughout the duration of her visit she repeated several times, whilst wagging her finger at me………    

“Αν θέλεις να γεράσεις, αργαλειό να αγοράσεις”

Basically, if you want to get old, buy a loom!  

I`m not sure whether she meant that the loom would age me, or whether the loom would promote long life.  Whichever way, I was eternally grateful for the time and effort she invested in me and my loom.

Photographic material, unfortunately, is limited, as I was so intent on not missing any part of the instruction of the asembly.threading-the-loom-with-kaliopi-1-smallthreading-the-loom-with-kaliopi-2-smallthreading-the-loom-with-kaliopi-4-smallthreading-the-loom-with-kaliopi-6-smallthreading-the-loom-with-kaliopi-7-smallthreading-the-loom-with-kaliopi-8-smallthreading-the-loom-with-kaliopi-10-small

The following day, I popped down to take a look at the waiting loom and noticed an escapee thread!      Argh, now what?!  Did it escape whilst we were shuffling and shunting, or was it an oversight? Hmmmpf!  

Logic tells me that it wouldn`t interfere with the finished result as it there is no gap in the threads in the combs, (basically I would just be one thread short ie 199 instead of 200), but on the other hand, my need for everything to be perfect, is nagging at me to pull out some of the threads to cater for the escapee.  

We will see………….

Carob Creations – Beetroot and Carob Syrup Easy Chutney

Can be pushed together in a few minutes, keeps well for up to one week in a closed container in the fridge.  Goes perfectly, anywhere a normal chutney would go.  Flavours improve enormously if left overnight before consumption.

Ingredients

4 medium beetroots, cooked, peeled and grated

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon of grated fresh root ginger

2 tablespoons carob syrup

1 tablespoon white apple vinegar

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (2, if you like it tangy)

1 tablespoon ground walnuts

Salt and ground black pepper

Procedure

Throw all the ingredients into a bowl, mix, refridgerate, eat!

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         Recipe Kindly Provided by Yannah Bidirini

Carob Creations – Carob Flour Brownies

An afternoon tinkering in the kitchen yielded this delightful recipe.

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Ingredients

1 cup of ground, blanched almonds  – don`t blend too fine, leave a little chunky

3/4 cup carob flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 vanilla capsule

100 g dark cooking chocolate

50 g white cooking chocolate

1 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 eggs

2 tablespoons carob syrup

1 heaped tablespoon unsalted, smooth peanut butter

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  In one bowl, place all dry ingredients, ie, ground almond, carob flour, baking powder and vanilla.  Melt the two chocolates in a ben mari, stirring well to combine.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, add the olive and coconut oils, carob syrup and peanut butter, beat lightly until all the ingredients have mixed together. Remove the chocolate from the ben mari and add the egg mixture. Stir well.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing well.

Line a 30 x 20 cm baking tin with greaseproof paper* and pour in the mixture,  Spread evenly and bake for approx 20 minutes.  The finished result should be moist, so don`t overcook or it will dry and crumble.  Allow to cool before slicing.

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* To line the baking tin with greaseproof paper, run the paper under the tap and gently scrunch it up and squeeze out the water.  This makes the paper softer and easier to push into the corners.

Notes

If you chose gluten-free baking powder this is a 100 % non gluten recipe. It can be made even healthier by using chocolate made with stevia or sugar free versions.  There are many chocolate variations available on the market so chose which suits you the best.  No processed sugar is added to the recipe, but if you feel you need it a little sweeter, then a couple of tablespoons of stevia can be added, or add an extra tablespoon of carob syrup.

The flavour of carob is very distinctive, but not overly overpowering.

Carob Creations – The Syrup

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It appears I have nothing to blame for my unacceptable absence, other than sheer time (or should I say, lack of it).  But acknowledging that the Summer has finally packed it`s bags and moved on, seems to have provided me with some precious time, despite the reduced daylight hours.

This year, I was a little disappointed that I managed to make only one batch of carob syrup, time just seemed to be against me.  September, being the ideal month, whizzed past in a dizzying haze.

Anyway, on an October visit to Bio Aroma in Agios Nikolaos, I instantly recognised the ambrosial aroma of carob syrup in the making!  Unfortunately, they couldn`t let me enter their factory to view the procedure and get my dose of that heavenly smell.

Back home, motivated, I snaffled two sacks of carobs Vags had carefully harvested and stashed away for use with his animals and set about making a bumper batch of my favourite syrup.

Ah!  so love this stuff and the aroma lingers in the air for ages.

Tonight (Friday), with the smell of wood smoke on my clothes and in my hair, its 6.00 pm and I`m patiently waiting for the syrup to reduce sufficiently on the bbq fire, so that I can then bring it into the house and complete the reduction on the oven hot plate.  This way, I get the best of both worlds, the syrup obtains that superb smokey flavour and indoors, I can keep an eye on the procedure up close and not risk over reducing it.  You can check out the full procedure here.

Check out the recipes, titled Carob Creations, which use both the syrup and the flour, give them a try and let me know your thoughts!