We’re fast using up all the adjectives for March 2020… ‘challenging’ times, ‘difficult’ days – I think we may exhaust them all soon. There has to be a peculiar irony that a year that should be defined by 20/20 perfect vision is the most unpredictable one most of us will have ever experienced.
So it seems really wrong for Kouzina to carry on as normal …. I don’t think anyone will be interested in me wittering on about complicated dishes that you may not be able to get the ingredients for. I’m wondering if it might be better and hopefully more helpful to share some lovely, mainly Greek, recipes that are easy to make from stuff you have in store or freezer. When you can’t get hold of certain products, it’s always good to have suggestions for alternatives – I hope I can do that. I love conjuring up a tasty plate of food from the things I have to hand, so not everything will be a traditional Greek dish but it might bring a bit of Greek flavour to your tables.
I’m going to start off with a real Greek classic, Fakés – aka lentil soup. It’s such a staple dish, I can’t believe I haven’t posted this before.
Just a few words about the ingredients. There are all sorts of lentils, brown, green and black (‘puy’), to mention the main ones. If you use the black ones here, it’s best to boil them for a few minutes and drain before adding them to the soup mixture. You don’t need to do that with the brown and green ones. Just rinse and bung them in – just keep an eye on them during cooking as you don’t want to cook them to mush!
Use the best tomato purée that you have, of course, but honestly you’ll get a good result with any. It’s a quick. easy recipe and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making it every week!
Keep safe everyone.
Here’s the recipe…
200 gm brown, green or ‘puy’ lentils
1 desert spoon tomato purée
750 ml water
150 ml olive oil
1 small onion chopped finely
1 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
Ground black pepper
Rinse the lentils in a sieve and put to one side.
Heat 2 table spoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until it has softened but not too brown.
Add the tomato purée and stir into the oil/onion mixture and cook for a few seconds. Add the water, the remaining olive oil, the bay leaf, the oregano (if you’re using it) and salt and pepper,
Bring it to the boil. Once boiling turn it down and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes and add the lentils.
The next stage depends on which lentils you’re using.
IF USING BLACK (‘PUY’) LENTILS In another pan put the rinsed lentils and cover with cold water. Bring this to the boil and allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Drain completely and then add to the pan with the tomato mixture.Allow this to simmer for about 20 minutes until the lentils have cooked. Check the seasoning and serve.
IF USING BROWN OR GREEN LENTILS Just add the rinsed and drained lentils to the pan with the tomato sauce and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Check frequently after about 15 minutes though, as you don’t want it to cook to a mush!
Which ever lentils you use, this is a fairly thick soup. Serve with bread, salty cheese and olives.