Mediterranean Food

Feasting Around The Med -Cruise Countdown- Friday – Crete- Baked Lamb meatballs with tomato, aubergine and feta.

I cheated today and bought a supermarket greek dish…. But it would be easy enough to make and was very tasty.

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Feasting around the Med – Cruise Countdown – Sicily – Sicilian Meatballs ala Forno

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Put the lamb, breadcrumbs, pine nuts, lemon zest, soaked raisins and their juice, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, most of the parsley (saving a little to serve) and half the parmesan in a bowl. Season, then mix together well.
2. With wet hands, roll and pat the mixture into 24 meatballs (the size of golf balls). Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over a high heat, then fry them for about 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Set aside.
3. For the arrabiata sauce, heat a good glug of olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, anchovies and chillies, and gently fry for a few minutes, until soft. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and cinnamon and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often, or until reduced. Pour in a splash of red wine vinegar, season well, add the sugar if you think it tastes too sharp, and mix through most of the basil leaves.
4. Cook 12 oz of Pasta in salted water until al dente, then drain and transfer the pasta to a 25–30cm ovenproof dish, porn on the arrabiata sauce then dot the meatballs on top, along with the torn pieces of mozzarella. Sprinkle over the remaining basil leaves and parmesan, and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

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Feasting Around the Med – Cruise Countdown – Italy – Bruschetta and Olives for lunch.

I baked the bruschetta then sliced it.

Mixing olive oil with chopped tomato, garlic, red onion and mixed herbs I then spread this on the slices and then grilled to your liking.

Served with green and black olives on an olive olive oil, lemon Juice and garlic marinade.

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Feasting Around the Med – Cruise Countdown – Friday – Crete – Sage chicken and Lemon Potatoes with Griddled Courgette.

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It’s the first time I have cooked potatoes with lemon and the taste was remarkably good. The chicken with lemon and sage was very similar to a French dish I have cooked before, but the olive oil adds a lovely texture to the ‘gravy’.

4 good sized chicken pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
100 ml olive oil
120 ml white wine
120 ml water
2 sprigs of fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, pepper
Method

Take off the skin and fat from the chicken if you wish to. Heat the oil in a large casserole pot until nice and hot. Brown the chicken on all sides and then remove. Turn down the heat and add the onions, cooking until soft and translucent.

Add the chicken back to the pot with the onions and add the wine and water. Season well and simmer for about 1-1¼ hours or until the chicken is well-cooked.

Add the lemon juice and sage sprig and cook for 5 minutes or so.

Serve with Cretan Lemon Potatoes.

10 -12 medium waxy potatoes
Juice of 4 lemons
Lemon zest
2 garlic cloves 2 tablespoons of Cretan Olive Oil
1 tsp dried greek oregano
Sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C: 375°F: Gas 5.

Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into quarters lengthwise.

Place into a large, deep ovenproof baking dish. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Peel and crush the garlic cloves and grind together with the oregano and mix with the olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour this mix over the potatoes to completely coat them. (Add more olive oil if necessary.)

Bake uncovered for around 30 – 40 minutes or until tender.

You can at this stage place under a very hot grill for a few minutes to brown, if desired.

Serve with grilled meat or grilled fish or slow cooked casseroled meat dishes.

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Feasting around the Med – Cruise Countdown – Thursday – Turkey – Felafel

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A nice easy meal this evening
Felafel .. From a box mix served in Pitta bread, spread with Hummus and with chopped tomatoes and cucumber.

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Feasting Around the Med – Cruise Countdown – Wednesday – Greece – Moussaka – Greek salad – Roasted Peppers

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A shop bought Moussaka was accompanied by a Greek salad, roasted peppers dressed with oil and red wine vinegar, and black and green olives dressed with garlic parsley, lemon and olive oil.

Greek salad

Ingredients

Serves: 6

3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into medium pieces or wedges
2 cucumbers, sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 (200g) pack feta cheese, crumbled
handful black Greek olives, pitted if desired

Method

Prep:15min › Ready in:15min

In shallow salad bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Sprinkle with salt to taste and let sit for a few minutes so that the salt can draw out the natural juices from the tomato and cucumber.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle feta cheese and olives over salad. Serve.
Tip:
Letting the salted tomatoes and cucumbers sit for awhile before adding any oil is essential to a good Greek salad. The natural acidic juices from the tomato combine with the olive oil to make a delicious dressing, with no need for vinegar or lemon juice. Crusty bread is also a must so you can mop up every last bit of juice!

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Feasting around the Med – Cruise Countdown -Tuesday – At Sea

I like at Sea Days in the countdown as it gives me the opportunity to confuse Helen with false clues.

So today we had jacket potato, sea bass with ginger and lime butter and green beans.

As we would have just left Sicily we could have taken a cake onboard, so I made a Sicilian pudding.

Crostata di Pesca

A crostata is simply an Italian free-form pie or tart, typically filled with a fruit jam or fresh fruit.

For a quick and very easy dessert, you could even use a refrigerated pastry. I used puff for my version and shop bought peaches. I may make another before we go away as I still have plums on the tree in the back garden. I think the sharpness of the plums would make this even tastier.

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
4-5 tablespoons cold water
3 large peaches, sliced
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg beaten (for egg wash)
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces
extra sugar for sprinkling on dough (optional)

To prepare the pastry: In a medium-size bowl, stir flour and salt together, cut in shortening with pastry blender (or 2 knives) until they are the size of peas.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water at a time over flour mixture, stirring with a fork until all is moistened. Form into a ball.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough, transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet (if you’re using a refrigerated pastry, place directly on parchment-lined baking sheet.
In another bowl, gently mix peaches, sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit you may wish to adjust the sugar more or less) and flour together.

Pour the fruit mixture into the centre of the pastry round, leaving about 2-3 inches around the edge, dot butter on top of the fruit.

Fold the pastry up and over the fruit to make a nest.
Brush the dough with the beaten egg, sprinkle the dough with sugar.

Bake at 200 centigrade for 30 minutes or until the peaches are bubbling and the crostata is golden brown.

Crostatas are a nice addition to breakfast, a welcome companion to your afternoon coffee or tea and especially tasty for dessert with a scoop of vanilla gelato.

Makes four generous servings or 6-8 small portions

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Going to Sicily don’t forget to try the Cannoli!

“To come to Sicily and not try some Sicilian cannoli is just as unimaginable as not seeing the Greek theatre if visiting Taormina.”

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When ordering your cannoli, remember to order a cannolo, if you wish for one only, and cannoli for two or more as this is the plural.

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Feasting around the Med – Cruise Countdown – Sunday – Italy – Minestrone and Lasagne

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2 weeks until the off.. I’m still confusing Helen with clues. I bought her some Kendall Mint Cake today for Hill Walking.

For tonight’s meal I cooked minestrone soup.

  • Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes.
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    Followed by my lighter version of Lasagne made with a turkey breast mince, chopped onion, mushrooms and tomatoes cooked in Olive Oil and stock and a cheese sauce made with margerine, flour, light cream cheese and milk flavored with grated nutmeg, placing pieces of sheet pasta between the layers of meat and cheese before cooking in the oven.

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    We completed the meal with coffee and biscotti.

  • Biscotti, also known as cantuccini, are twice-baked cookies originating in the Italian city of Prato.
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    The Healthy Mediterranean Diet Explained.

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    Feasting around the Med – Cruise Countdown – Saturday – At Sea

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    When I started this countdown to our cruise, I did not think about the long term benefits.

    The Healthy Mediterranean Diet Explained.

    Although I cook a lot from scratch, I also cook convenience foods and am suckered as many are into highly processed fast food.

    I’m finding even in this short space of time how easy it is to cook easily, healthily and well using Mediterranean recipes.

    I’m finding I don’t want the at Sea day off today. Helen has enjoyed the food this week as well, so when we have finished this 3 weeks I may see if I can persuade her that Mediterranean is the way to go……. Although I notice we need to increase the red wine content…. Not a problem.

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