Tomato patties

In the summer sun, tomatoes around the Mediterranean are at their best. They are juicy, fragrant, soft and full of flavour. Here is a recipe that employs the Mediterranean cuisine at its finest. Tomato patties. I first had them in Greece as a student and they are the ultimate food with yoghurt and ouzo! I took inspiration from this recipe found here:

https://www.huffingtonpost.gr/entry/ntomatokeftedes-to-keftedaki-toe-kalokairioe_gr_5d456f57e4b0acb57fcd0c88?utm_hp_ref=gr-homepage

which is in Greek.

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Let’s get going!

Serves 2-4 people

You will need:
5-6 ripe tomatoes (see notes)
5 tablespoons of sour trahana/tarhana (see notes)
2 slices of stale bread
2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
1 small fresh onion, finely sliced
small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
small handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 gloves of garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra for cooking
1 teaspoon of mixed dried herbs
pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

Let’s make it.

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Grate the tomatoes from the coarse side of the grater in a bowl. Salt them with a teaspoon of salt, mix and let them rest for 10 minutes. In a food processor, place the trahana and the stale bread and blitz until very fine. Place the mixture in a large bowl and add the yoghurt, mint, parsley, onions, garlic, baking powder and a tablespoon of olive oil. Drain the tomatoes and add them to the mixture. Season with salt, pepper, mixed seasonings and chilli if using. Mix them all together using your hands, cover with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours, preferably overnight.

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The next day, make small patties the size of golf balls, pat them down and make them not too thick. Add 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan over medium heat and fry the patties for 5-6 minutes each side. Tilt the pan and baste with the hot olive oil every so often to cook the inside and keep them moist.

Drain the patties on a plate with kitchen paper and serve with yoghurt and ouzo!

Enjoy them with good company! Cheers!

Note:

  1. Once you grate the tomatoes you will be left with the skin. Don’t throw it away. Instead, finely chop it and mix it with the rest of the mixture.
  2. Trahanas or tarhanas is a pasta made with sour milk and bulgur and then dried in the hot sun. You can replace it with flour if you cannot find any. You might need to adjust the recipe for the flour. You don’t want the mixture to be too runny or too dry.

 

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Until next time,

The digital cook

 

 

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Lemon cake

Summer is here and lemons are in season. I will give you a very nice recipe for lemon cake topped with lemon glaze and caramelized lemon slices. You can omit the caramelized lemon slices if you wish although I see no reason why you should do that. They are delicious. Sour and sweet, tangy with an amazing taste!

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Let’s get going!

Serves 10 – 12 people

You will need:

3 large eggs
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup Greek yoghurt 2%
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Zest of six lemons
Juice of two lemons
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze
1 and a half cup of icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

For the caramelized lemons
1 lemon cut into thin slices
1 cup of granulated sugar
Juice of a lemon
¾ of cup of water

 

Let’s make it!

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Butter a medium sized pan with a detachable bottom and dust it with icing sugar. In a large bowl, beat vigorously the eggs with yoghurt and the vegetable oil using a hand whisk until smooth and unified. Add the oil and whisk again until combined. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix again. Using a fine sieve, sieve the flour and baking powder in the mixture. Add the salt and using a spatula mix it gently until barely combined.

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Empty it in the prepared tin and place it in the oven. Lower the temperature to 175 degrees Celsius and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Rest the cake for about an hour and then take it out of the pan to cool completely.

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In the mean time prepare the glaze by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust the lemon juice and icing sugar to your liking to make the glaze as thick or runny as you like it.

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For the caramelized lemons, place the water, lemon juice and sugar in a large pan over high heat. Once the sugar has melted, lower the heat to medium and add the lemon slices. Cook them for 15 minutes shaking the pan occasionally. Take the slices out and lay them on an oven paper to dry out.

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Once the cake has cooled completely, glaze it and decorate it with the caramelized lemon slices. Serve your lemon cake with a cup of tea or an ice cold coffee. Enjoy it with great friends!

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Until next time,

The digital cook.

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Flour-less chocolate cake

So, it’s been almost a year since I posted. This has to do with many things that I have been currently trying to juggle. However, as many of you might notice (those who follow me on Instagram or Twitter) I haven’t stopped cooking and baking. So today I will share with you a recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay for a flour-less chocolate cake. This one I had it flavoured with orange and cinnamon, whilst the chef uses fresh mint. As my friends are not fan of mint I decided to make it orange and cinnamon instead.

Let’s get going!

Serves 8 people

You will need:

3/4 cup of granulated sugar
130grams of icing sugar +3 tablespoons
220grams of dark chocolate + 20grams extra
105 grams of butter, room temperature
5 eggs
350ml of double cream
7 drops of orange extract
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

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Let’s make it!

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Lightly grease with some butter an 18 cm round cake tin with a detachable bottom. Dust it with flour and shake of excess. Make sure that no part of the tin is left uncovered.

Layout a baking paper on a hard cold surface, like your kitchen counter. In a pan over medium heat pour the granulated sugar. Shake the sugar occasionally (DO NOT STIR) and allow it to melt into caramel and become dark amber in colour. Once it is done, pour it over the baking paper carefully. Immediately dust it with the cinnamon and let it cool down. The caramel will start to solidify. Leave it to cool down and create a caramel-y window pane. Do not touch the caramel with your fingers right now. It is extremely hot!

When the caramel is firm and has cooled down, break half of it into very small shards using a pestle or a rolling pin. The rest, break it into bigger shards and save them for decoration later.

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Using a bain-marie melt 220grams of dark chocolate. Add the butter and keep stirring until all is melted and combined. Take it off the heat and set it aside to cool off.

In another bowl, beat 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks with 40 grams of icing sugar until thick and fluffy. Fold in the chocolate mixture using a spatula as to not knock out the air from the eggs. Then fold in the small shards of caramel.

In another bowl beat 3 egg whites with 90 grams of the icing sugar to a meringue. Add the sugar in thirds to ensure a glossy and stiff meringue.

Fold a third of the meringue into the chocolate-egg mixture, and then carefully fold the rest of it in two parts into the mixture. The whole cake mixture should be light, fluffy and airy.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake has risen and the centre is no longer wobbly.  Set it aside to cool. It will sink a little bit due to the fact that it has no flour but don’t worry about it.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping. In a clean bowl beat the cream with the rest of the sugar and the orange extract until stiff and it holds its shape.

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Take the cake carefully out of the tin an top it with the cream. Scatter the larger shards of caramel on top and grate 20 grams of good quality chocolate.

Until next time,

The digital cook

 

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Baked Okra

Baked okra

Blah blah  blah thoughts blah blah blah introduction… On with the recipe. Okra is in season now. This is a very healthy, vegetarian meal and if you omit the feta cheese is vegan as well. Full of nutrients and prepared and made in less than 40 minutes. Let’s make it.

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Serves 2

Time needed: 40 minutes including preparation

You will need:
1 kg of fresh okra, the tops cut off and then cut lengthwise
8 cloves of garlic sliced
2 medium sized yellow onions cut in semicircles
1 red bell pepper cut in strips
1 yellow bell pepper cut in strips
2 chilli peppers no seeds cut into strips
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
pinch of cumin
pinch of coriander seeds
4 tablespoons of olive oil
200 grams of feta cheese (optional)
Balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper

Let’s get going!

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Get a large bake tray and place a baking paper over it.

Using mortar and pestle grind the cumin and coriander with a bit of salt.

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In a large bowl place the okra, half the garlic, half of the cumin and coriander mix, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with black pepper. Toss and empty in the baking tray. In the same bowl, place the peppers, chillies and onions. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and toss. Add to the baking tray. In the same bowl add the tomatoes, rest of the garlic, rest of olive oil and season with the remaining cumin and coriander, salt and pepper. Add to tray and toss them all together using your hands.

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Bake for 30 minutes. Nothing will yield a lot, some of the vegetables will get a lovely char but that’s it. Trust me, it’s ready! Divide between the plates, top with feta (if using) and drizzle with good balsamic vinegar. Serve with hot bread and enjoy a lovely healthy meal!

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Until next time,

The digital cook

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Apple cake

This recipe, despite being an apple cake and apples are more of an autumn fruit, was made for my godson’s christening. We really enjoyed it. And I can tell you right now that this is great with a cup of coffee or tea after dinner or in the afternoon while the sun is going down and a soft breeze starts to pick up. Let’s make it!

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You will need:

For the cake:

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 a teaspoon of salt

1 full teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 a teaspoon of cloves

freshly grounded nutmeg

125 grams of butter

1 cup of brown sugar

2 free range eggs

1 cup of apple sauce

1 granny smith apple very thinly sliced

 

For the cream:

350 grams of double cream

3 tablespoons of cream cheese

3 vanilla sachets

2 tablespoons of sugar

 

For the caramel:

150 grams of double cream

5 tablespoons of sugar

1/2 a tablespoon of butter

1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon

1 vanilla sachet

 

First make the caramel. In a small pan over medium heat place the sugar and when it starts to dissolve add the butter. Then stir it in with a whisk. Do not stir the sugar as it is dissolving; it will make the caramel grainy. Stir after you add the butter. Once the butter is melted and the caramel is a deep amber colour add the spices, cinnamon and the double cream. Stir well until it bubbles and take it off the heat. Set it aside to cool.

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Preheat your over to 175 degrees Celsius. Get a cake pan and grease the sides and bottom and dust it with icing sugar or flour. Set it aside.

 

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Mix well with a whisk. In another bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar until mixed well. Add the eggs, one by one, beating constantly until everything creams together. Add the apple sauce and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture gradually while mixing using a spatula. Once everything is mixed together, empty the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bang it on the counter to release any air bubbles and ensure that the cake bakes uniformly. Place it in the oven until a toothpick in the centre comes out  clean. Set it aside to cool down.

 

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese with a tablespoon of sugar and a vanilla sachet. Add the double cream and continue beating (you can use an electric mixer for this step) adding the sugar and vanilla gradually until stiff peaks are formed. Set it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.

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Get the cake out of the form and carefully cut it horizontally so that you have two cake disks. On the bottom cake, place half the cream and scatter the thinly slices of granny smith apple. Top with the second disk. Place the remaining cream on top and level the surface. Drizzle the caramel on top and let it run down the sides.

 

Devour the cake with a cup of coffee or tea and your friends!

 

Until next time,

The digital cook.

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Chicken skewers

Chicken skewers are my favourite kind of barbeque. They are light, stomach filling and with the proper company, the perfect summer lunch. Since the hottest time of the year is around, I decided on this lunch when a friend visited me, because we both like this kind of food. I think the most important reason however, is that this is very easy to prepare and I didn’t want to sweat over a hot stove. I wanted to talk to my friend and discuss the issues of the day. With very few ingredients and only 30 minutes this is an excellent lunch. Let’s make it!

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Serves: 2-3 people

Time needed: 30 minutes

You will need:
2 chicken breasts in cut in cubes
1 red bell pepper cut in squares
1 green bell pepper cut in squares
1 large onion cut into eighths
1 orange bell pepper cut in squares
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt, pepper, fresh oregano

Let’s make it!

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Get 12 large wooden skewers and soak them in water for at least 1 hour. In a small bowl, mix the oil and seasoning and set it aside.

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Preheat your oven grill to medium high heat. Alternating between vegetables and meat, thread them on the skewers. Using a brush, brush the chicken and vegetables with the aromatic oil. Broil for 12 minutes, flip and continue broiling for another ten minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

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Serve it with warm pitta drizzled with olive oil and my favourite coleslaw salad with yoghurt dressing. Enjoy it with a nice, cold beer and with the best company you can get!

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Until next time,

The digital cook

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Savarin au rhum

You know that time of the day when you want to just relax on your patio with friends and discuss the issues of the day? Well, now that is summer this feeling creeps up on me more than ever. I was recently invited to a friend’s house to sit outside on the veranda and dine with him and his family. His parents cooked a lovely meal of kebabs and lasagne and we had a lovely time. The beer, wine and ice cold water was flowing, we sat there and we talked for a good portion of the night while we were dining. I had to bring something to the feast however. I wasn’t going to go there empty handed. People who know me, know that I don’t just appear empty handed. So I asked my friend what kind of dessert he would like to try that I never made for him before. He told me that he tried while he was in Thessaloniki a dessert called baba. That is the Greek name for the savarin. A light fluffy cake, decorated with cream, basted in flavourful syrup and decorated with seasonal fruit. So I went ahead and prepared a lovely savarin, dipped it in amazing dark rum syrup and decorated it with lovely vanilla flavoured double cream and summer fruits. The recipe is time consuming and you will definitely need a mixer with a hook because you cannot do this by hand (unless you want to knead for an hour or something) but I can tell you that it is definitely worth it. Happy cooking!

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Time needed: 3 hours

Serves: 8-10

You will need:
250 grams of flour
10 grams of dried yeast
Pinch of salt
80 ml warm milk
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
75 grams of melted butter

For the syrup:
500 ml of water
300 grams of sugar
50 ml of dark rum (I used Captain Morgan’s)
Apricot jam

For garnish:
250 ml of double cream
Seeds of a vanilla pod
Fresh berries

Let’s make it!

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In a bowl add the milk with the yeast and mix. Set it aside for 10 minutes until the yeast is activated. Add it to your mixer bowl. Add the salt, sugar, eggs, egg yolk and the flour. Using the hook attachment, beat in medium speed add the melted butter in stages until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky and will stick to your fingers. That is the way it is supposed to be, don’t add any more flour. Once it comes together place it in a bowl and cover it with a towel to proof for 70-90 minutes.

Get your cake form, butter it and dust it with flour. Add the now risen dough in the cake form, cover it with a tea towel again and let it rise one more time for another 70 to 90 minutes. Once it has risen, bake it in a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes until it is golden in colour.

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Once baked, take it out of the form while still warm. Make 5-6 holes in the bottom using a sharp knife. In a large pan the cake can fit in, add the sugar, water and rum over medium to high heat. Wait until the sugar has dissolved, take it off the heat, place the savarin in the pan holes down, and baste it with the syrup. The cake will be heavier now that has absorbed the syrup so carefully transfer it to a platter. Using a brush, brush it all over with the apricot jam. Once the savarin has cooked down, decorate it with the whipped vanilla cream and the summer berries.

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Until next time,

The digital cook.

 

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