Tag Archives: feta

Recipe: Eggplant Tarts

My brother and I have an annual tradition for Christmas, where his gift to me is a ticket to one day of the Boxing Day test, and mine to him is a picnic lunch for my brother and sister-in-law and their guests at the cricket that day.  It’s a pretty good deal all round, except for the fact that my entry into the MCG seems to be the cue for everyone to forget how to bat properly – I’ve watched four batting collapses in four days of cricket over the last three years.  But this year, I was in luck, and got to spend a fabulous day yesterday watching India play test cricket as though they were playing a one day match, and the batting was spectacular (the less said about Australia’s fielding, the better.  Let’s just say that the batsmen spent most of the day throwing caution to the wind and hitting fours all over the place with impunity.  I loved it.).

I always over-cater, and never more so than this year, especially because my mother inexplicably decided to bring lunch for her and dad.  Apparently, it didn’t occur to my mother that I would be catering for them as well.  Anyone would think she had never met me…

Anyway, I made a big beetroot and carrot salad, and planned to make spiced roast pumpkin pasties, only I was really tired when making the pastry and quadrupled the flour when I meant to double it… and of course once I figured that out, I had to add more of everything else and had way too much pastry, so I decided to throw together some eggplant tarts as well.  Naturally, these turned out to be the hit of the day, which is a bit of a pest, since I hadn’t written down anything I’d done.  Or taken any photos, which is why these ones are so bad.

So this is my attempt to reconstruct said tarts, because they really were tasty, and I’d like to make them again sometime.

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90 ml olive oil
90 ml cold water
380 g flour (3 cups)
1 tsp herbed salt – I used the Garlic Lovers Spice from Gewürzhaus
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

olive oil
lavender salt
2 cloves garlic
2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup white wine
2 roasted peppers, sliced
1 x 180 g container Persian Feta, drained
a large handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

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Recipe: Stuffed Pasta Shells with Ricotta, Mint and Feta

Aargh!  Here I am, with the best intentions in the world about posting lots of exciting things, and I can’t, because I don’t have time, because I’m too busy cooking!  Well, and singing.  To give you a brief glimpse of the current craziness: Friday night was singing lesson and making vegan truffles for a birthday yesterday, yesterday I was out all day at said birthday, today was choir, a birthday dinner for a different set of people, practicing cake decorating, and bonus practice cupcakes erupting all over my oven (moral of the story: do not forget to put the eggs in the cupcakes.  It’s fine if they weren’t supposed to have eggs in the first place, but if they were, it turns out that one of the things eggs do is prevent bicarb-fueled cake eruptions), tomorrow is another singing lesson, Tuesday is a dinner party, Wednesday will be last minute cake experiments for the wedding cake I am making for Sunday, Thursday is choir, Friday is singing practice and baking wedding cakes, Saturday is baking more wedding cakes and decorating them, and Sunday is a wedding.

So you see, even typing very fast, that doesn’t leave much room for blogging.  Especially when the cakes you were hoping to blog about erupted all over your oven…

So here’s a random recipe I started writing down for you months ago and then forgot about completely and never came back to.  It’s still good, though.  It started off Italian in feel, but sort of started sidling shiftily in the direction of Greece with the herbs and feta.  Feta is very shifty that way.  Still, cultural identity issues aside, it tasted pretty good and was well worth making.  And finally I have something to do with those giant pasta shells that ogle me so enticingly from the supermarket shelves and then sit in my pantry for months doing nothing…

Your Shopping List

500 g frozen spinach
olive oil
5 cloves garlic
400g tinned tomatoes (chopped)
750 ml passata
1/2 cup water
1 small bunch basil
500 g ricotta (preferably fairly solid ricotta from a deli, not the smooth stuff in a tub)
150 g feta cheese
2 eggs
a large handful fresh mint
salt, pepper
375 g giant pasta shells
1/4 cup parmesan, approximately
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, fresh if possible

 

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Recipe: Warm Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Salad

So I was minding my own business at work this Friday (and I apologise once again for the dearth of posts here, but work has been *crazy*) when I got an SMS from Andrew: “Do you have a recipe for pumpkin and sweet potato salad?”. As it happens, I don’t, so I SMSed back: “No, but I can write one!  What do you need…?”

Anyway, it transpired that one of the teachers at the school where Andrew is doing his placement had a sweet potato and pumpkin salad at some point which she really liked.  She thinks it had Philadelphia cheese in it, and that the vegetables were roasted.  I had no problem with roast pumpkin in a salad (indeed, roast vegetable and chickpea salad is one of my favourite lunches after a roast the night before), but was dubious about the Philly.  I still am dubious, in fact, but fortunately I am not even a little bit dubious about Persian feta, which is creamy and tangy and makes much more sense in this context…

Here’s my version. It’s rather lovely, if I say so myself – sweet and mellow from the vegetables and peppery from the rocket and creamy and tangy from the cheese.  And so colourful!

Your Shopping list

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 700g in total)
a big wedge of pumpkin (about 800g)
olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper
1 medium bunch of rocket
1-3 spring onions, depending on whether they are the lovely chubby oniony ones or the ones that are like giant chives.
100 g persian feta
olive oil, balsamic vinegar
 

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Recipe: Not Really Moussaka

It tastes much better than it looks…

So I had this idea about making vegetarian moussaka with some of the leftovers and veggies I had in the house.  And I looked at the Delia vegetarian moussaka, and liked the look of it, so I thought I’d give it a try.  But then I couldn’t leave it alone, because I realised she was doing it wrong (moussaka has to have layers or it doesn’t count, at least in my book).  And then I had to send Andrew out for Emergency Potatoes.  And then it would barely fit in my casserole dish even when I pressed it down really hard, so I couldn’t give it as much custard as it deserved (and a sane person wouldn’t have given it any).  And then I realised that I actually had a casserole dish which it would have fitted, only now it’s way too late because it’s all in the oven.  Also, it’s 8pm on a weeknight and I’ve only just got this in the oven, possibly because I only started cooking at nearly 7pm and then I fiddled around being indecisive about the recipe and not multitasking.

It’s going to taste fantastic, you know, but I really could have done it better.  Much better.  This quantity looks like it will feed about 6-8 people, depending on how hungry they are and whether they are having bread and salad on the side, and also depending what’s for dessert, because you have to leave room for dessert, you know.  Even when it’s chocolate pudding from a box.  Which it might possibly be, but I’m allowed to do that, because it will also be with fresh strawberries and stewed rhubarb and icecream, which makes it Healthy.  Well, maybe not the ice-cream, though, you know, calcium is good for humans, and anyway, who needs to worry about healthy when you’ve just eaten a main that is packed full of vegetables and lentils?  Not you.  Not me, either.

OK, maybe I should just get on with the recipe.

Your shopping list

2 eggplants
olive oil
salt, pepper
75 g puy lentils
75 g green lentils (or use 150 g of either puy or green)
375 ml vegetable stock (from a box, or make your own)
400g tinned tomatoes, or leftover quick tomato sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
200ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
600 g potatoes, thickly sliced
2 brown onions, chopped fairly finely
2 capsicums (one red and one green, ideally), chopped
6 cloves of garlic, crushed (or to taste.  I am a garlic fiend, and six cloves is positively moderate in my book)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried mint
500g yoghurt
2 tbsp flour
2 eggs
200 g feta
50 g parmesan

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Making Cheese while the Sun Shines

Well, it shone a bit.  Or didn’t actively rain.  Something like that, anyway.

Today, I attended a one-day workshop on making feta cheese.  Actually, we made four kinds of cheesestuff – Greek-style feta, gourmet feta, yoghurt and ricotta – and left with the recipes for two others – mascarpone and Amy’s Serendipity  (title mine – our instructor, Amy, made us some cheese a few days earlier but forgot to put in the rennet.  We all liked the result more than any of the other cheeses on offer at lunchtime, and begged for the recipe) It was excellent.  Even if I am now eyeing my gourmet feta and yoghurt with a dubious eye, wondering if they are actually going to set or if maybe I didn’t shake them up enough.  Or shook them too much.  Oh dear…

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Not a proper recipe for not entirely Greek Salad

I think I may have to start a section of this journal for recipes that aren’t proper recipes but which people ask me for. You know, for recipes like pasta bolognese or fruit crumble, which are a handful of this, and one of those, and a sprinkle of that, and a whole tin of the other, and actually, maybe we need another handful of this after allThese kind of recipes are only ever going to be recordable by weighing all the ingredients you might possible want to use before you start cooking, and then weighing the packets again after you finish and calculating the difference.  Which is something I never think of until it’s too late. 

Inevitably, recipes like this are also the ones people ask for.  And this is very sad, because I have so many recipes I can describe, but when it comes to these ones, all I can do is wail “I don’t know what I put in there!”.  Because it changes every time.

Anyway, my mother in law asked for this recipe, so here it is.  Sort of.   I’m totally guessing at the quantities, especially for the dressing, so use your best judgment.  On the bright side, it’s a salad, so it’s pretty hard to go wrong on.  And sometime soon I really will figure out what I put in my fruit crumbles, too.  Promise.

Your shopping list

100g persian feta (the soft creamy kind that usually comes marinated)
100g marinated green olives (inauthentic, but I like them more than the black ones), stoned and halved
half a small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil infused with blood orange, or plain extra virgin olive oil and a little blood orange juice or lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
salt, black pepper
250g of good cherry or mini Roma tomatoes, or whatever little tomatoes you have in your garden that have not been eaten by the very hungry caterpillar, cut in half
one largeish lebanese cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthways, and chopped into thick chunks
one red or yellow or orange capsicum, cut into thick slices and the slices halved
leaves from about half a small lettuce (I like butter lettuce for this), gently torn
a handful each of fresh mint and fresh oregano or marjoram leaves, gently shredded, and if you have some nasturtium petals or other herb flowers, why not add them too?
 

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Recipe: Roman Pine-Nut, Cheese and Herb Purée

This recipes is adapted from Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens by Mark Grant.  Somewhere, I know, I have the vegan version of this recipe, in which I substituted tofutti cream cheese for the feta, but I can’t find it now.  For what it’s worth, I believe I used a little more tofutti than I would have used of the feta, and it needed to sit overnight in the fridge, as it was fairly liquid when first made (but firmed up nicely overnight).  More recently, I’ve tried it with 150g firm tofu, and that worked very well and gave a good consistency.  With or without feta, it’s delicious – very fresh and tangy and lovely on fresh bread.

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100g pine nuts
80ml olive oil
80ml red wine vinegar
125g feta (or 150g firm tofu)
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of coriander
half a bunch of mint, maybe more.  The original recipe says 3 mint leaves, but I completely ignore this theory
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of savory (I used marjoram instead)
1 sprig of rue (I used fennel fronds or dill)
salt and pepper

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