tapas

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It’s a Saturday afternoon and we’re having a warm winters day in Perth. The rain filled week has left the grass green, the vegetable garden fed and full and the cloudy skies have cleared in celebration of the weekend. My itchy feet were dreaming of a holiday in Greece or Italy or some foreign city full of history, cobbled streets, blue waters and gorgeous men unable to pronounce my name properly.
Who needs to speak English when you have the language of love…

In these moments of passionate day dreaming, I usually feel inspired to use my hands in a creative way.
And by that I mean cooking something to eat, obviously.

Much to the delight of my family (who usually spend Saturday’s working hard in the garden while I toil in the kitchen) and in honour of my wonderful new South African friend, I whipped up Greek tapas, that even Zeus and Aphrodite might have feasted upon.

Paprika spiced meat balls:

  • 250g lean beef mince
  • Stalk of finely chopped spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pinch ground pepper.
  1. Mix all ingredients together, roll into little balls and cook on a medium heat for about 10 mins, turning regularly.
  2. Once cooked, serve in a bowl with a dash of paprika and some chopped parsley.

Balsamic hummus:

  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • Lug of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

With a food processor, combine all ingredients and season to taste.

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Zucchini ribbon, feta and spring pea salad:

  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 300g spinach and rocket mix
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 150g feta
  • handful toasted pumpkin seeds
  • squeeze of 1/2 lemon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  1. Grab a flat salad dish and lay on the greens.
  2. With a mandolin (or peeler) peel thin slices of zucchini and toss it into the greens.
  3. Scatter over the peas (cooked frozen peas work well) and crumble over the feta cheese.
  4. Season to taste, sprinkle over the toasted seeds. Drizzle over some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and squeeze of lemon.

Assemble your dishes on a large wooden table, add in some homemade spelt bread, a bottle of crisp white wine, a few friends and let the afternoon roll away in simple bliss.

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Ghormeh Sabzi

It took me a while to pronounce this phrase correctly but after tasting this beautiful Persian stew for the first time, the words rolled off my tongue as though I was fluent!
In the last few months I have become good friends with Sami and Meysam who recently moved to Perth from Iran. We have been excited to learn more about each other’s cultures and especially each other’s food!
Ghormeh Sabzi is a warm and comforting stew that is usually only cooked when a special guest comes to visit. I felt privileged when they wanted to cook it for me and some friends, when we visited them in their home a few weeks ago!
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This is the delicious crusty bottom of the cooked basmati rice – a new method that I’ve discovered!

Serves 4-6 people.
(Use beef chuck, lamb or extra veg for a vegetarian option
Ingredients:
  • 200g beef chuck
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion
  • juice of half a lime
  • 2 strands of saffron
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 100g spinach
Method:
  • Finely chop leek, parsley, spinach, coriander and fry in pan with a dash of olive oil.  Set aside.
  • In a cup of hot water, add the saffron and set aside.
  • Finely chop red onion and fry up in some olive oil, seasoning and turmeric.
  • Chop the meat into rough chunks about 1cm x 2cm and add to the onion. Cook for 3-5min and then add the cup of saffron infused water and extra water to cover the meat.
  • Leave to cook on a low temperature for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  • Add the red kidney beans and the cooked greens. Cook for a further 20min.
  • Spoon this beautiful stew onto some basmati rice and enjoy around a table with friends!

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