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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smokey eggplant dip

This dish is found everywhere in Greece and the smokey eggplant flavor steals the show. It’s in simple dishes like this that the basic flavor of an ingredient can shine and therefore the quality of the produce must be top. Paired with a rustic farmers style bread a few olives and feta cheese you get a perfect example of Mediterranean flavors. Sure you can bake them with the feta cheese, layered with some tomato and onion but trust me less is more.

– mel

burnt aubergine salad

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felafels with sesame yogurt dip

Did I tell you that we found a puppy? Oh yes. A little, lost, stray puppy & he is just the cutest thing in the world.

Guess what, my dog likes our cooking. Actually, he loves falafels. I know this because on the day we found him, we had made falafels for ‘clean monday’. We kept trying to feed him all sorts of things to get his little belly full, but when he smelt the falafels on the table, he went nuts. We gave in & gave him half of one. Trust me, half was more than enough, he’s only got a tiny little puppy belly…. which is actually getting pretty round now that I think about it.

That’s not all he loves, he’s got a thing for fruit too. Apples, bananas, melon, it’s crazy, and he actually chews his food properly instead of just swallowing it whole. Our dog, the food lover. I have to say, I’m impressed. We called him Sushi Roll (which we also substitute in for little Sashimi, Nagiri, or as Mel calls him… re Dude).

Enough about our puppy though, this isn’t a place where people come to read about our pets, you’re all here for the food… the pet is just a bonus, right?

Right, so, the food. Falafels. What can I say? I think I’ve got a soft sport for falafels. Actually, it’s a soft spot for anything middle eastern. All of those spices, flavors & smells. I think it’s just heavenly. It makes me think of Dubai & miss it pretty good. I’m not talking about Dubai how it is now, I’m talking about Dubai 20 years ago when it was still mostly desert, dunes & amazing beaches. Yes, it is safe to say I love the middle eastern cuisine.

Mel & I made this recipe back when we were still catering a few years ago. It was actually a huge success at the time. Well, it was a huge success with me any way. Every couple of weeks when we would make it, I undoubtedly always ended up eating half of them myself. That’s no small feat either since it yields a couple dozen at least! Still, I hope everyone loves it just as much as I did, do, will always. Yum! Continue reading

chicken curry pasta

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