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.

Baked Eggs with Feta, Harissa and Tomato Sauce & Coriander

Baked Eggs with Harissa, Tomato Sauce and Coriander

Another amazing dish from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. We had this before we went to Morocco; part of a week where we thought we’d try out the types of food we were likely to eat while we were on holiday. Sadly stuff like this was nowhere to be found.

It’s an incredibly tasty dish and, although it is supposedly what people eat for breakfast, it was a main meal for us. I should knock one of these up the morning before our next Monopoly Board Pub Crawl (we are well over half way !).

Our local Syrian supermarket has fresh feta. Its far superior to the stuff you get in packets, much smoother and it matures if you keep it a couple of days. We buy it a lot and it often ends up in this recipe (as well as the pistachio dip) – I’ve made them both many times.

It’s very simple to make but does take a while if you want your sauce to be rich and your eggs well baked.

The sauce isn’t unlike most tomato based curry sauces. You fry some red onions, add lots of garlic, stir in turmeric, cumin, coriander and cinnamon and then the harissa paste. Once the onions are well coated add both tinned and fresh tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Very simple.

Pour this sauce into a shallow ovenproof dish and break chunks of feta into the sauce, and stir in lots of coriander.

Then make four wells in the sauce, crack eggs into the wells, season with pepper and bake in the oven until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

I like recipes like this because you don’t have to paw over them for ages. It can be a one pot creation if you start your sauce in the right dish. First time round I doubled my washing up by not planning properly.

The recipe recommends eating this with flatbreads, which we did. Mopping up that awesome tomato sauce was very satisfying.

Pistachio and Feta Dip with Tenderstem Broccoli

Pistachio and Feta Dip

One thing Freya absolutely loves to eat is this dip. Since the first time I made it she was blown away and we’ve had it many times since.

It comes from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour – which I bought after having a really disappointing Persian meal in a restaurant in Brentford, London. I decided I could do better – bought the book and have made many things from it since.

This is a very quick dip to make – if you have a Nutribullet, a Vitamix or (if you’re wealthy) a Thermomix.

Simply put shelled pistachios, olive oil, feta cheese, dill, coriander, garlic, a red chilli some greek yoghurt and the rind and juice of a lemon in a blender and blitz until smooth.

As you can see I served mine with some raw tender stem broccoli.

The dip has so things going on. It’s salty, nutty, has a chilli hit and is creamy and smooth. I don’t think I’ve ever made a better dip.

Persiana is a great book – the best one I’ve found in its category.

I made quite a few tagines from the book (which I loved). Unfortunately this left me disappointed when I went to Morocco and their food was bland and uninteresting in comparison.

Carrot and Mung Bean Salad

Carrot, Feta and Mung Bean Salad

 

Another dish from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, I made this last night after we’d already had our evening snack of halloumi wraps.

We eat out at lunchtime way too often for my liking and every time it costs us over £10. It soon adds up – and it eats into the day. It’s rare that we can go out for lunch in less than an hour. Worse than that we never eat healthily at lunchtime. Fast-ish food is never that going to be healthy in Hatfield.

I knocked this up pretty quickly (maybe 35 minutes) whilst watching the new David Attenborough series ‘Life Story’. You have to see it – it’s shot in 4K – gorgeous photography!

Anyway, this recipe is quite easy – finding dried mung beans is the hardest bit. I found mine in a turkish supermarket. I’ve since been assured that many indian shops stock them.

Cook some mung beans in water until they are done but still have some bite. While they are simmering away, cook some carrot batons in very little water with a little sugar and salt.

When both the mung beans and the carrots are nearly done, fry some fennel seeds, caraway seeds and cumin seeds in a little olive oil until they pop.

Drain the mung beans, add the popped seeds and toss together with some garlic, white wine vinegar and chilli flakes. Let is cool down.

Finally, add the carrots, chopped coriander, lemon zest and diced feta and gently toss together with a little more olive oil.

This really is a tasty dish and one I will be making often. It’s very filling, has many textures and is very colourful. Leaving it overnight to allow the garlic and vinegar to soak into the beans makes all the difference.

Ottolenghi strike again. I’m really looking forward to making ‘Red Onions with Walnut Salsa’ on Thursday when I cook again.

Tuesday’s is now ‘Free Sausage and Mash’ with a pint night in the ‘Horse and Groom’ in Old Hatfield. You really can’t turn that down ! We had it last week and the sausages were excellent – coming a close second to the amazing gravy that covered them !

Smashed Pea, Dill and Feta Crostini

Image

I love green food. I love peas. Fresh peas. And this dish from Maria Ella’s ‘The Modern Vegetarian’ caught my eye whilst I was shortlisting things to make this week.

If you leave out the bread, this is a raw dish. No cooking. Very very simple. Toasting bread isn’t cooking anyway – unless you are one of those toast burners out there. So this really is a no cook dish.

It was another quite late dinner for us as I foolishly placed an Ocado delivery for 8pm. I chose this recipe because it was the quickest and I was hungry. Very quick to make this one!

You can make this in less than 10 minutes. And here’s how:

  • smash some garlic in a pestle and mortar
  • smash some dill and salt into the garlic
  • smash some fresh peas into mix
  • add olive oil, keep smashing
  • add lemon juice keep smashing
  • add parmesan and smash a bit more
  • add crumbled feta – ease off on the smashing
  • toast some ciabatta – try not to smash it
  • serve with some pea shoots on top – if you can find them

You want a texture a bit like this – rather than a massive mush!

Smashed Peas

One thing you must be careful not to do is watch the last five minutes of Season 4 Episode 8 of Game of Thrones whilst doing all this smashing. It just doesn’t sit well !

This is a great simple easy dish – looks lovely – tastes amazing – and you can adjust the amount of parmesan (or leave it out all together) if it’s too cheesy for you.

This was supposed to be a starter for us – but it was filling enough that we didn’t need to eat anymore.

I’m sure this will be one of those go to dishes when I’m time starved or just want a quick bite.