Greek island food

October 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

greek wrap

After a couple days with my friends in Rome, I hoped on a cruise that sailed through the Mediterranean. Our first stop was in Santorini, Greece, the idyllic island with the famous blue domed churches. We climbed a staircase for about 20 minutes in the hot sun and had to dodge donkeys on the way. The view from the top was spectacular and perfect for a honeymooning couple.

We walked around the island and when hunger struck, I tried to find a falafel. For some reason, every donair shop was out so I just got a plain vegetable wrap. The pita was warm, chewy and soft and the vegetables were crisp and refreshing. The tahini and tzatziki sauce were tasty on the fries.

Lily in Santorini

A few days later we stopped on the famous party island of Mykonos. We found a nice restaurant in the village near the pier and enjoyed a feast. I ordered a few items that I had never tried before and was very excited for the authentic meal. We got a delicious beet salad with yogurt and dill that was creamy but very light.

The next appetizer that I tried was the zucchini fritters. They were in a thick batter and a bit chewy with a crunchy exterior. They were much heavier than the beet salad. One of my favourites was the fried feta which came with onions, peppers and zucchini fried in with the cheese which we ate on bread. Wow, it was amazing. The cheese thickened a bit and was slightly stringy and the flavours of the veggies were infused into the cheese.

mykonos meal

The last item that we ordered was a big flop. We ordered a strong cheese which came on top of bread with slices of tomatoes and tzatziki on the side. We all found the cheese unbearably overpowering and let it be. The cheese was so strong that I could not even get the taste out of my mouth the next day. I had an amazing time in Greece and have always loved their food. I can’t wait to find these new recipes.

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Saya’s Watercress and Inari Salad

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

watercress and inari salad

A delicious and filling salad that can be eaten as a meal or light snack.

Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients:
watercress
sliced warm inari

plum dressing
sesame oil
white rice vinegar
ponzu
2 umeboshi chopped (pickled plum)

Directions:
1. Place the watercress in a bowl and top with sliced inari.
2. Mix the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle on salad.

Japanese Snacks

September 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Japanese snacks

This is the delicious assortment of Japanese snacks that was presented to with coffee.  Well that is except for the chocolate. At home the only savoury snacks I eat are chips. These are way better and the textures and density vary, creating a nice effect on the palate.

Starting at the upper left is imo kenpi which is made from sweet potatoes, a popular vegetable in Japan. They look like really old McDonald’s fries that have turned brown. They are very sweet and have a crunchy candied exterior.

To the right is a delicious chocolate that is made from coconut nectar and coconut milk. It was made in switzerland and absolutely divine.

The two bottom items are rice crackers. The left one is called okaki and the right is called okaki senbei meaning with soy sauce. The round ones look like a flattened quarter and are quite crispy and light on the palate. The okaki are fluffy and airy with a salty coating.

They are all so yummy and filled me up for hours. I am definitely stocking up on bags of all three snacks before I go and hope to find them at the Japanese grocery store at home.

Chard Dip

July 26, 2013 § 1 Comment

chard dip

My spinach dip is quite famous and surprisingly only has 4 ingredients. Whenever I bring it to picnics or potlucks, people often ask for the recipe and I share it. The next time that I see them, they comment that they tried to make it but it wasn’t as good as mine.

I think the secret to cooking is to start with the best quality ingredients. I try to buy as much as I can from the farmers market and then I shop at organic food stores. The secret to this recipe is the organic sour cream which is the base of the dip. That alone will make or break this recipe.

People also comment that this recipe is so simple yet so flavourful. I believe in a less is more philosophy. All you need is to know how to cook properly and get a sense of how to combine ingredients that compliment each other. In this recipe I contrast the texture of the creamy sour cream to the crunchy water chestnuts. This creates a polar effect on the palate and keeps the dish alive.

To spice up my regular spinach dip and to get some chard into my kids, I decided to substitute spinach for chard. To be honest, it tastes exactly the same and turns the dip a little pink, my favourite colour. I thinly sliced focaccia bread which I toasted in the oven and served it with the dip.

Cooking time 20 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 bunch swiss chard
1/2 tsp (2 ml) – 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 can 227 ml sliced water chestnuts – drained and chopped
2 cups (500 ml) organic sour cream

Directions:
1. Cut off stalks of chard and cut into 1 inch pieces and steam.
2. When the chard is wilted, drain any water, transfer to a cutting board and chop.
3. Place the chard in a bowl, add salt and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the water chestnuts, stir and let sit another 2 minutes.
5. Add the sour cream and serve with crackers, bread or veggies.

Hummus

May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

hummus

Hummus is easy to make and very inexpensive., plus chickpeas are a great source of protein. I keep hummus on hand to eat as a snack with veggies or use it as a spread for sandwiches.

Cooking time 10 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1 can chickpeas 398 ml or 14 fl oz
1/2 cup (125 ml) chickpea liquid
1 tbsp (15 ml) tahini
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cumin
paprika (optional)
olive oil (optional)

Combine the first seven ingredients in a blender and blend. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil.

Tzatziki

May 1, 2013 § 2 Comments

tzatziki

Tzatziki is a delicious and healthy snack that you can eat in so many ways. Traditionally it’s served with Greek food but you can also use it as a dip for veggies. Personally, I like to add a dollop of tzatziki to my meals to add flavour.

Cooking time 10 minutes
Makes 2 cups (500 ml)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (125 ml) grated cucumber
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1 1/2 cup (375 ml) plain yogurt
2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil

Combine the cucumber, salt and garlic in a bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Stir in the yogurt and olive oil.

Indian Life Pawkoras

April 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Pawkoras

It’s been 2 months since I’ve been back from India and lately I’ve been craving the Indian food that I indulged in. Though I love cooking, there are many things that I don’t bother making anymore and pawkoras are one of them. I used to make big batches of pawkoras but it was time-consuming to fry them plus my house would smell of smoke for days.

When I discovered the easy no-nonsense of frozen pawkoras, I never looked back. For $5.99 you can get 15 frozen golf ball sized pawkoras with a generous portion of tamarind chutney by Indianlife. They use natural ingredients and you can find their products in the freezer section of the grocery store.

I buy mine at the health food stores like Wholefoods and Choices. The samosas taste very authentic and are not too spicy so the whole family can enjoy them. I often serve them as appetizers at dinner parties and people go crazy over them.

To cook the pawkoras, all you need to do is preheat the oven and cook them on a baking sheet for 16-20 minutes, turning them half way. They are so easy to make and worth the hassle free price of $5.99. I promise that once your try them, you’ll be addicted.

Indian Life Pawkoras

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