Pork With Giant Beans

TAFA_porwithbeans2Pork with beans is a traditional dish in Greece.

For this recipe, I’ve used butterbeans or ‘gigantes’ (giants) instead of the small fassolia (haricot beans). And, if you want to save time and effort, you can use a can of butterbeans instead of the dried beans that you have to soak overnight and boil the next day.

When this dish was first invented, the cooks would have used fresh tomatoes and for anyone who has tasted tomatoes plucked straight from the vine you’ll know that they’re sweet with  lots of flavour.

Nowadays, cooks tend to use canned tomatoes. But they can be slightly bitter and tasteless. So, when I’m using canned tomatoes, I always add a teaspoon of sugar and a few tablespoons of tomato puree to the recipe. This takes the bitter edge off the dish and adds depth.

Much of the flavour of Greek and Cypriot dishes come from olive oil, lots of it. I used 2 tablespoons, enough to saute the onions and the meat. So, to give even more flavour, I added powdered vegetable stock. It worked. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients 0.00 (4 Servings)

  • olive oil 2 tbsps
  • pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces 500 gs
  • dried white beans or can of butterbeans 100 gs
  • canned chopped tomatoes 1
  • half a can of water
  • tomato puree 3 tbsps
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • vegetable stock powder 2 tsps
  • dried oregano 2 tsps
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan and fry slowly till soft and golden.
  2. Meanwhile heat the other tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and sauté the pork until coloured.
  3. Add the pork to the cooked onion.
  4. Then add the tinned tomatoes, half a tin of water, 3tbsp tomato puree and 1tsp sugar.
  5. Next add the vegetable stock and oregano.
  6. Mix everything together, place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and cook over a slow heat for 1 hour.
  7. After an hour, remove the lid and give everything a good stir.
  8. Add the beans and cook for another 15 minutes until the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced.
  9. Grind over black pepper.
  10. Serve with roast potatoes.

We’re Talking About Food Again

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Two years ago, I began writing this blog.

I thought it would be easy – a few recipes, a few photographs, a few stories and away we go. But life has a habit of getting in the way, and that’s what happened. I allowed myself to be distracted by other, more pressing things  and although I posted sporadically, I was always in a hurry.

Eventually, I had to make a choice and that was to either close down the blog completely or get back online. Frankly, I felt stuck. I couldn’t contemplate doing all the work again but the blog wouldn’t let me go.

So, with a newer, fresher design, a new logo, a more secure platform, the blog is back.

I couldn’t have done it without the support of my sons, my partner, friends and the 3 people who listen to me every month and keep me accountable for carrying out my projects, including this one (you all know who you are – thank you.)

My main reason for setting up this blog was to kickstart  a memoir about my experiences living in the Middle East and Cyprus, sharing stories and recipes from the countries  where I lived. But, I can’t ignore the experiences I’ve had since I returned to Scotland, the places I’ve been or the food I cook now.

So, against everything I’ve read about having to have a ‘niche’ and positioning yourself as an ‘expert’ in your field, I’m just going to write. I hope it strikes a chord with some people out there in the virtual world and in the real world.

On a recent holiday on the stunning Isle of Skye in Scotland with my partner, my two sons and their partners, the conversation sooner or later always turned to food. We had rented a huge house and when we weren’t sampling the local, freshly caught seafood, we were cooking and ‘talking about food again’. And as everyone is an enthusiastic and accomplished cook, I have asked them to share their recipes on this blog.

Meanwhile, I made a lazy Sunday lunch. I love bruschetta and it’s the perfect food when you don’t have much time or  don’t want to put in much effort. It’s also a good way of using what you have to hand. This is a quick recipe for

Roast Mediterranean Veg Topped With Grilled Halloumi

Ingredients 0.00 (2 Servings)

  • thick slices of sourdough bread 2
  • olive oil ....
  • clove of galic 2
  • leftover roast veg ....
  • halloumi slices 4-6 ....

 

Directions:

  1. Lightly toast both slices of bread and keep warm
  2. Then grill or fry the halloumi slices until golden – should only take a few minutes
  3. Rub the garlic over the warm bread – it’s usually easier to split the clove in two to do this – and drizzle them with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil or more, if you like
  4. Top with the roasted veg.
  5. Place the grilled halloumi on top
  6. Eat immediately or the halloumi will become rubbery

Eat and enjoy, and in the months to come, I’m looking forward to our  ‘talking about food again’.

 

Chicken Mango Salad with Fresh Herbs and a Thai Twist

Thai SaladSome of us get home from work, too tired to cook, and microwave a ready meal.

Others get home from work, too tired to cook, and manage to come up with a quick, delicious meal anyway.

My first-born son falls into the second category.

He invented this salad recently, and it sounded so refreshing and looked so delicious in the photo that I have been inspired to put, not quite pen to paper, but fingers to keyboard, and here is the recipe.

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A Stop Down Hoxton: Middle Eastern Delicacies in London

How often do you find a restaurant serving alternative dishes in a largely Eurocentric culinary industry in London? Not often, right?

Luckily, even in the middle of vast cityscapes, residents and tourists can always refill their tummies with their favourite dose of Asian cuisine in the hidden gourmet paradise of Shoreditch.

It’s a good thing too that for those craving to take a bite of the Middle Eastern recipes, there is a great place just a ride away via Hoxton’s underground station.

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Fattoush and The Macmillan Calendar

I’m always happy to contribute to anthologies, books and publications that support recognised  charities.

Macmillan Cancer Support is no exception. They do a wonderful job of looking after cancer sufferers and their families providing ‘practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care’. 

I was asked to contribute a recipe to the new 2013 calendar which features 12 delicious recipes all contributed by Macmillan staff and supporters.

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Foodies Festival Edinburgh 2012

On Sunday, I visited the Foodies Festival, held in Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park, not far from where I live.

I persuaded my partner Neil to come with me and, in the afternoon, we had a leisurely 10 minute stroll up to the park.

The festival was crowded with people walking around or lying on the grass, enjoying the sunshine and the music.

The aroma of smoking haddock and herrings filled the air.

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In Search Of The White Cottage

Brodick, Isle of Arran

About two weeks ago, my partner, Neil asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday. I said, half -jokingly, “go to Arran”.

The Brodick Ferry

I wasn’t completely serious because visiting the Island of Arran, on the west coast of Scotland, was something I had been talking about  ever since I returned from Cyprus in 1997. It remained one of those tantalising future events – I would go there ‘one day’.

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Pumpkin and Goat’s Cheese Risotto

Pumpkins are not just for Halloween, Thanksgiving or for taking Cinderella home from the ball.

pumpkin, food, talking about food again, food blog,recipeBoth the flesh and the seeds of the pumpkin are an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. They are also lowfat, highfibre and low in calories.

In short, they are one of the superfoods of the vegetable world.

So, when one arrived in my organic veg box nearly 2 weeks ago, I was very excited (I know, I need to get out more).

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