Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture

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This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.

Ingredients

500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

Posted in Greek, Mediterranean, Quick and Easy, Stir fry, Vegetarian

Stir-fried String Beans

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String beans do not need to be boring and bland.  A little imagination and a few minutes more in the kitchen can vastly change the taste of these delicious and healthy beans, and can change the whole look of a meal.

Ingredients

250 g fresh string beans

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp grated ginger

2 pinches freshly ground coriander seeds

2 pinches of rock salt

2 pinches of black pepper

1 tsp garlic butter (optional)

Bowl of ice water (enough to cool beans)

Method

Boil water in the kettle and pour into a saucepan.  Put in the beans and cook on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until al dente.

Remove from the heat and immediately transfer the beans into a bowl of ice water.  This stops the cooking process which avoids them becoming too soggy.

Towel dry and allow to cool a little.  (You can cook larger amounts and keep in the fridge wrapped in a cloth for a couple of days to fry later if you wish)

Place a  big frying pan or wok over a high heat with the olive oil and toss in the beans stirring occasionally.

Add the ginger, coriander, salt and pepper along with the garlic butter, and cook until they start to brown.

Serve.

 

 

 

Posted in Cakes, Cheese, Greek, Mediterranean, Oven, Vegetarian

Lemon Cheesecake

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I have tried many quick and easy no bake cheesecake recipes but was never really satisfied. Having been inspired by our good friend Deniz’s recipe, this is what we came up with and so far people are loving it.  So here is the recipe.

Stage 1

Ingredients for the base:

3 packets of digestive biscuits (finely crumbled) by using a colander.

60 grams melted butter

2-3 tbsps of milk

Method for the base:

Line a 24 cm spring release cake tin with greaseproof paper, on the base and the sides.

Mix the crumbled biscuits, butter and milk.

Press the mixture into the tin, pushing down firmly with the back of a spoon.

Place in the fridge for about half an hour while preparing the next stage.

Stage 2

Ingredients for the cream:

400 g Philadelphia Cheese

300 ml natural yoghurt

3 eggs

250 g sugar

2 tbsp flour

1 tbsp corn starch

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method for the cream:

Mix the Philadelphia cheese and yoghurt in a blender on the lowest speed.

Then add the eggs into it one by one. Add the sugar, zest then the starch and finally sift the flour.

Add the mixture onto the base and bake it for 40-45 minutes at 165°c. While it is cooking it will rise but do not worry as it will get flatter once it cools down.

Once it has completely cooled, cover with a cloth and refridgerate over night.

Stage 3

Ingredients for the topping:

100 ml milk

100 ml water

2 tbsps sugar

1 heaped tbsp corn starch

1 heaped tbsp corn flour

1 tsp honey

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 2 lemons

1 heaped tbsp turmeric powder

1 packet (5 g) vanilla

1 tsp butter

Method for the topping:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then cook in a pan until it has some texture.  Allow to cool.

Pour the topping over the cream mixture in the cake tin. Allow to set for a few hours in the fridge.

Posted in Beef Dishes, Cheese, Greek, Mediterranean, Oven

Moussaka

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Traditionally, Moussaka is made with minced lamb, but this is rare and expensive where I live so I have altered the recipe slightly using beef instead of lamb… still taste delicious.

Ingredients

Olive oil (for frying)

3 medium aubergines

1 medium onion (chopped)

500g minced meat

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

a handful of sliced mushrooms (optional)

salt and pepper (as preferred)

Grated cheese for topping

Tomato Sauce  (you can also use ready made – 1 tin)

4 medium tomatoes

1 green pepper

1/2 red pepper

1 tbsp tomato pure

1 tsp dried oregano

Cheese Sauce

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

approx 500 ml milk

1 tsp chives

A large handful of grated cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Slice the aubergines (approx 1/4 of an inch thick) then brush with olive oil on both sides, place on a baking tray and grill until golden.  Turn and repeat with the other side.

In a frying pan, fry the chopped onion and garlic in olive oil then add the minced meat and fry, stirring now and then until meat is no longer pink.  Add the mushrooms (if using) and fry for a few minutes more.

In a food processor (if not using a ready made tomato sauce), put in roughly chop tomatoes and peppers, the tomato puree and oregano.  Blend together until you have a smooth tomato sauce.

Add the sauce to the frying pan with the minced meat and stir a few minutes then set aside.

For the cheese sauce, take a saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat and then stir in the flour until well combined.  Slowly add milk, stirring continuously over a medium heat until it begins to boil.  Turn down and simmer for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and add the grated cheese and chives.

Now to put it all together.  In an oven dish, place half of the sliced aubergines over the base.  Pour over the minced meat and level out.  Now place another layer of aubergines then cover with the cheese sauce.  Finally to top it off, sprinkle finely grated cheese over the sauce.  Bake in the oven at 180c for 40-45 minutes or until golden.

Serve with a green salad.

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