Marinated Feta

Marinated Feta

Many of us buy those pots of antipasti in supermarkets. The little plastic pot that you fill with stuff for a two or three pounds. Well they always have marinated feta and/or olives.

Well I thoughts I’d give it a go myself – for no other reason that I’d bought too much fresh feta from my local Syrian supermarket in Brentford and couldn’t feasibly eat it all before it was past it!

Fortunately there was a recipe for marinated feta in Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour.

This is incredibly simple and just benefits from maturing for 24 hours or so.

In a big bowl, cube some feta, add olive oil, garlic, pickled chillies, finely sliced banana shallots, fresh coriander, lemon rind and lemon juice and stir the whole thing together carefully (you don’t want to mash the feta).

I didn’t add salt to mine – I find the feta is salty enough as it is.

Once it’s all nicely mixed, decant into jars – I used the plastic pots left over from the fresh feta and seal the lid. Pop in the fridge and leave for as long as you can resist.

We ate this for days! We had three or four pots of the stuff and we grazed on it, had it on toast, sneaked spoonfuls from the fridge and made it part of a meze meal.

For something so simple to make it really makes sense to give it a go yourself rather than buy it pre-made for you.

Quick Chilli and Brown Rice

Quick Chilli and Brown Rice

It seems like forever since I posted on sifty. I have been eating – honest – I just haven’t been able to muster the enthusiasm to photograph and blog. It gets very cold on a boat this time of year – it kind of discourages you from doing anything!

Our fortnightly visit to Freya’s parents offered up two surprises:

  • a new cookbook (for Freya really – as it was her birthday)
  • a flick through a load of magazine supplements

This weekend’s Daily Mail supplement (which I would never advocate reading) had an interesting article about Ella Woodward and her ‘soon to be released’ cookery book ‘Deliciously Ella’. At the back of the magazine were some very healthy recipes that caught my eye – so I snagged the magazine and made the chilli and brown rice last night.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find black beans in my local supermarket so I swapped them for Fava beans. As the recipe suggests you can knock this up in 10-15 minutes. Its so basic. But it was just what you need when it is -1 outside and you need something warm quickly!

To make this you do nothing more than add grated carrot, garlic, kidney beans, black beans (fava beans in my case), passatta, tomato paste and a jalape├▒o pepper to a saucepan and heat through for 10 minutes. That’s it – nothing more.

For me it was a bit too tomatoey – Freya loved it. It made plenty. There’s tonnes left for lunch today and it cost next to nothing to make.

I’ll make this again when I am short on time – and I’ll make it with the correct ingredients next time.

Black Pepper Tofu

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It’s #VeggieWeek this week. Check out the lovely food being posted on Twitter.

I’ve made this recipe before – from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty – but it was way too spicy and way too salty for Freya – so I ended up eating the lot. I shortlisted it again for this round of recipes – but toned down some of the ingredients so that it was a ‘sharing plate’ rather than something all for me.

I think it looks really classy.

When you look at the ingredients for this recipe you’ll realise what I mean. There are 8 red chillis, 12 garlic cloves, 5 tablespoons of black pepper, 3 tablespoons of ginger, and 12 shallots. Hopefully Ottolenghi won’t tell me off for giving out the quantities here – but it does make you think ‘gee that’s gonna be hot’!

I used 4 chillis, 6 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of pepper, half the ginger – and kept all the shallots. It was still too hot for Freya! I probably would have used more pepper but my pepper mill decided it had given me enough ground pepper already and refused to give me more than 3 tablespoons. And that took me nearly 20 minutes. Next time I’ll be smarter and use my pestle and mortar.

It’s amusing that the recipe says this is quick to make. I don’t think it is. You have to fry to tofu in small batches so as not to steam them:

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Then you have to drain them and let them stand while you do the sauce:

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You then make the base by frying the dry ingredients (above) in butter:

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and then you add the sauce to the fried ingredients:

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which is essentially three types of soy sauce.

Once that’s all done you return the tofu to the pan, reheat and serve.

I love this dish – it’s so tasty and the tofu is really crunchy, having been dusted in cornflower and fried at quite a high temperature.

I love hot food. I love chillis, and I love those bottles of ‘dare to try me’ sauce. I have lots of them! As I’ve said before though with recipes that call for chillis; it would be nice if they said how hot the chillis should be – or how big – because there is such a wide variety of size and heat. You could end up making very different dishes every time.

I don’t think Freya will ever like this one as it is just a little bit too spicy. Fortunately we’d already had some quite nice Sweet Potato pancakes so she didn’t go hungry. There was quite a lot left over (I’m not an animal!) so that was my dinner the following day too !

There was a lot of washing up after this. All the prep bowls, the cast iron frying pan for the tofu, my lovely Al Clad Tagine for the sauce – and all the utensils. Not a quick dish – but a very tasty one.