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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stuffed onions

While I was writing this recipe, I was getting that feeling of deja vu… A quick look to our recipe archives and the feeling was confirmed… apparently we like to stuff things. Vine leaves, pumpkins, peppers you name it… Lauren even stuffed a cookie inside of another cookie!

That sounds strange but anyhow we specialize in stuffing as it seems. Maybe we should call ourselves “Whatever’s Stuffed” or “We Stuff Everything” or something along those lines.

This recipe is essentially a steak with caramelized onion and a side of basmati rice… but all conveniently packed in one nice little package ideal for easily feeding many. Enjoy and stuff you next week.. erm I mean see you next week…

 – mel

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caramelized onion tart with mediterranean vegetables

Do you get this phase in your cooking adventures where you want to impress and don’t know exactly how? Then you start adding ingredients, spices and aromatics and usually you end up with something that tastes like soap and dog food…

Having hit 30 years old recently, I am slowly realizing how right my grandma was when she told me “less is more”. Being at an age where I can somewhat claim that I can speak from experience…. in every field of ones life, the “less is more” mentality is making more sense every day.

What happens though is that you get all the basics figured out first and then the fine tuning takes place. You can see this in sports for example… the top players in every sport make it seem like it’s easy, effortless (Messi anyone?) whereas the bad players move a lot and accomplish little. This happens in cooking too, and that’s the reason I love italian food. Basil, mozzarella, tomato and olive oil… and that’s the end of it. Throw in some yeasty dough and you have pizza, and who doesn’t like pizza?  You see… they have been fine tuning their recipes since 239857295b.c. and are now in that sweet spot I envy so much.

This is what I am trying to accomplish with this recipe… take a few simple vegetables and bring out the best they have to offer. Of course, you can add goat cheese and make it “better” but all you are doing is adding “noise” and I think I can reduce the ingredients more if I tried.

– mel

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pineapple glazed pork chops

Until I started experimenting with cooking, I wasn’t a big fan of pork. The deep intense flavor of a beefy steak is hard to beat. I like games though, and generally I think that most things have to be approached with that mentality. So, when I started playing around with pork and it’s amazing variety of combinations, I was hooked… sweet barbeques sauces, glazes, fragrant spices and off course, fruits.

This week, we have a not-so-new combination of pork and pineapple… but with a twist. Most of these recipes add some spice like cinnamon, and I was looking for something unusual to make this recipe interesting enough to make it on our blog. My inspiration came from a dessert recipe book which combines pineapple with that amazing pepper I love so much… szechwan. It’s usually found in asian specialty shops or big supermarkets, and it boasts a seriously fragrant peppery aroma.

– mel

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chestnut soup

We’re back to soups, chestnut this time. I know it sounds a little odd, but hear me out. It is cold outside. It is the time of year where you start finding street venders selling these little gems roasted on every corner. Soups are good for you, they warm the soul. Chestnuts are sweet in a comforting way. Yeah, I’m clearly all about comfort eating.

I know our soup images seem repetitious, I can’t find a way around that at the moment. Maybe we’ll do something crazy like photography it in a mug. Then again, that would just be silly. So I’ve just been reminded by my dearest little Julia who looks like an elf, that I do like pictures of soup in mugs. The reason she knows this, is being a food photographer herself, she showed me her portfolio & her images of soup in mugs & I was thrilled… I forgot. I’m going to copy her now. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Enjoy the soup. The sweet, hearty, chestnut soup.

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