roasted pepper dip

We are at an important junction in our life… we have decided to leave the busy city in favor of a peaceful island. While the pros and cons are a matter of huge discussions, I can tell you some things that are true no matter which way you look at them.

The direct connection with nature is the most calming and fulfilling aspect of island life and really balances your mind. For example rain is no longer viewed as something that will create traffic, ruin your designer shoes or make life on your scooter hell, but rather a godsend gift that will water the plants and vegetables you are growing, soften the soil and fill the water tank. Not to mention the amazing smell that fills the air after a storm. Another aspect is that you are a part of your food’s long jurney way before it gets to the shop. The hard work it takes to grow vegetables without any chemicals or machines. Makes you think what do they really put into the ones they sell so cheap…….?

Our neighbour grows a lot of produce and the other day he brought us a basket filled with the most cute and colorful bell peppers… normal, natural sized, not the melon sized things they try to pass for peppers at some shops. I wanted to use all of the basket before they went bad but there is a limit to how many peppers you can eat raw in a salad, so I made this dip and I guarantee you can eat it all easily and wonder how a kilo of peppers went into you so effortlessly.

– mel

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grilled cauliflower & aubergine salad

I don’t travel abroad very often, (especially if it involves a plane,) since my beloved country has wonderful beaches, beautiful mountains, breathtaking islands all within a 4 hour driving range. That is why now that we (Greece) have put ourselves in a bad position, the “developed” northern part of Europe is moving in for the kill…. Noone, no matter how wealthy, wants to spend all their lives in a dull, cloudy environment, and so our nice beaches & failing economy make for the ideal target. OMG, I am becoming like my granfather, rambling off-topic, talking politics in a food blog… let’s get back to cooking & its relevance to me recent travels. Every time I do end up venturing outside of Greece, I am reminded that the true value of the experience is meeting new people, experiencing different ways of life, & seeing diverse cultures. Food is always a big part of any culture, & my recent trip to the Middle east was filled with new flavors & experiences. I loved the spicy teas they treated us to everywhere we went, and the amazing dates that were abundantly present. I had cheese & chocolate made from camel milk and the best lamb I have ever tasted, always accompanied by a fragrant rice side-dish every time I ordered it. One of the dishes that impressed me the most, was this fragrant starter that seemed so representative of the local ingredients and cooking style. This dish however stuck with me and I share with you my attempt to recreate it. Enjoy.

– mel

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almond hummus & pita chips

Finally. Snack FOOD!

I told you I had a craving for pita chips. These things are so deliciously crunchy & perfect for vegging out, watching a little stand up comedy.

Paired with almond & roasted red pepper hummus…. well it’s just divine.

Yea, Mel & I had a little veg. A well deserved putting-up of our exhausted feet. Moving is hard work (especially when one of you is a hoarder, not naming names).

I honestly think I deserve a medal for pulling this off. Trying to cook in our kitchen whilst it looks like an obstacle corse was interesting to say the least. I can’t wait to restore order to it. Looking at all my dishes strewn across the counters is unnerving.

Still, I promised I would do something really good with those gluten-free pita breads we made, & I’m pretty darn good at keeping my promises. Especially when they coincide with my cravings.

Right, back to packing… see you all on the other side of the move! xxx

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stuffed vine leaves

I am proud to present this recipe as it is a classic, summer, mediterranean dish that embodies what I love about cooking.

It is essentially this instinctual, adjust-as-you-go way of cooking associated mainly with traditional home cooking and slowly perfected through repetition & learning from your mistakes. The approach of the modern chef however has become an exact science that in a way, takes all the fun out of it. I’m not knocking it, I just prefer the other way.

I know that analyzing the exact quantities and cooking temperatures, or knowing the 1/10/100 rule for pasta boiling will eventually yield better and more consistent results, but I miss the flow I get into whilst cooking when I do that.

It’s funny how my grandmother boils pasta using that exact 1/10/100 ratio but doesn’t even know it… I measured once out of curiosity without her knowing to see if she was close…

For instance, standardizing this recipe that she cooks to perfection every time would call for exactly the same rice & vine leaves to be used each & every time it’s made. Part of the fun though is knowing how to adjust to what ingredients the farmers market had to offer last Thursday & maybe a different type of rice that will require more or less water.

Therein lies the emotional part of cooking in my opinion. Trying to gauge how the ingredients you are using are going to react and therefore adjusting your methods slightly brings you closer to nature, and if you happen to grow your own vegetables as well then you are part of a very special process that really soothes & feeds the soul.

– mel

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grilled haloumi bruschetta with sweet tomato jam & mint

Let me start by saying that I’m glad to be back after a long time. I miss cooking for the site and I hope you all missed me…

On that note I’d like to say how amazing Lauren has been in keeping the blog up and running by herself and …our blog has become gluten free focused???

My oh my, I thought the day would never come especially since I am a known bread-junky.

However since no one should be eating gluten anyway, I am happy to play along.

So, for this post I start easy since I am a bit rusty in the kitchen. I include this condiment that’s going to transform the flavor of many dishes you might usually prepare. This sweet tomato jam goes well with almost anything you can think of. Most sandwiches, especially grilled cheese. Almost everything that comes off of a bbq, particularly vegetables like portobello mushrooms and pork chops. I found that it pairs nicely with most bean/rice combo salads, noticeably chickpeas.

– Mel

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