Marinated feta

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This, my friends, was super tasty. I love serving (and eating!) nibbles and when Maria, Daniel and Otto came over for dinner when they were in town we had this wonderful feta with jamon from Mallorca (thank you vacuum packaging), buttery olives (also from Mallorca) and some nice olive oil to dip the bread in. Apart from a delicious start to the meal, as we were all starving, it was also quite easy to simultaneously eat this and play run after Otto, the toddler.

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Marinated feta

1 whole proper feta (made form sheep’s milk) 

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olivolja

a few sprigs, rosemary

a few sprigs thyme

1/2 lemon, zest only, either use a grater or zester 

1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes pr Aleppo pepper

salt, black pepper

Place the feta in a shallow dish with edges. Add herbs, chilli, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil on top. Turn the feta so both sides are in contact with the aromatic oil. Leave for a few minutes for the flavours to develop before serving. 

 

Mushrooms, courgette and feta in pitta bread

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The most satisfying way for me to cook is to look in the quite empty fridge and forage a few ingredients and turn them into a delicious meal. It is definitely a challenge but this is usually when I come up with some really good dishes I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

I really despise food waste and am trying my best not to throw produce away so that’s the main purpose of fridge foraging but I like the fact that I can turn this into something really delicious too.

This dish came about when I had some sad looking mushrooms lying about in the fridge together with some spring onions and an opened packet of feta. Together with some courgette, aleppo pepper and garlic in a toasted pitta it turned out to be a great dish. Lots of umami and tang from the feta combined with a bit of heat. A perfect weekday supper.

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Mushrooms, courgette, spring onions and feta in pitta, serves 1

about 8 chestnut mushrooms, washed and sliced

1/2 medium courgette, thinly sliced

4 spring onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/2-1 tsp aleppo pepper or similar (a pinch of cayenne pepper works well)

2-3 tbsp crumbled feta

oil for frying

salt, black pepper

toasted pitta to serve

Heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and let them brown then add the spring onions and courgettes and fry for another five minutes. Add garlic and aleppo pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cumbled feta. Serve with toasted pitta. 

Baked butternut squash with chorizo and feta

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This simple yet very tasty dish was my supper on Sunday night. I kind of forgot about supper until it was half past eight and by then I couldn’t really be bothered to make anything time consuming as Homeland was about to start at nine. And luckily the oven pretty much cooks this for you. Just a little chopping required from the cook.

bnut3The combination of sweet, salty and spicy is always a winner but especially during the colder months as it really warms you up from within.

Baked butternut squash with chorizo and feta, serves 2

1 medium butternut squash, about 400-500 g

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

a pinch of salt

100g feta, crumbled

60-70 g chorizo, sliced/cubed

Wash the squash, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut into large chunks, keeping the skin on. Drizzle with olive oil in an ovenproof dish and season with cumin, smoked paprika and a little salt. Roast in 200C for 20-30 minutes or until soft.

Add the chorizo and crumbled feta to the dish and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Bean salad with leek, dijon and feta

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On Monday we met with the book club to discuss this book; our summer read. Although it is a book club we care a lot about the food too. We each bring a few things each time and the hostess sets the theme, if any. This time I brought along this bean salad I prepared the day before. It went really well with Anna’s couscous salad with chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes, garlic bread and celery sticks and dip and to finish we had apple crumble and custard. Such a nice meal! And I will definitely be making this salad again soon.

Bean salad with leek, dijon and feta, serves 4-5

1 tin (400 g) cannellini beans

1 tin (400 g) flageolet beans

1 leek, chopped

oil and butter for frying

1 garlic clove, grated

salt, pepper

2-3 tsp dijon mustard

1.5 tsp sherry vinegar

chopped parsley

100 g crumbled feta

olive oil to finish

Fry the leek until soft in butter and oil. Once it starts to brown transfer the leek to a large bowl. Rinse the beans and drain. Add more oil and butter to the frying pan and add the beans, cook until warmed through. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Season. Transfer to the bowl and mix with the leek.Add dijon and vinegar and leave to cool. Once cool add the chopped parsley and crumbled feta. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Store covered in the fridge until serving. Keeps for 2-3 days.

Warm salad of bulgur wheat, courgette, spinach and feta

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When I made this salad for lunch this week my expectations were quite low. I used up some veggies I had laying around the fridge and thought I would have an alright lunch, but nothing more.

Although this salad is so simple and easy, it turned out really satisfying. I was actually quite surprised! Never underestimate the power of simple ingredients.

Warm salad of bulgur wheat, courgette, spinach and feta, serves 2

400 ml bulgur wheat, cooked according to the instructions of the packet

1 courgette

olive oil and butter for frying

200 g fresh baby spinach

150 g feta

1/2 lemon, juice only

2 tbsp nice extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of salt, black pepper

Cut the courgette in half lenghtways and slice it. Fry in oil and butter until soft and golden brown. Remove from pan. Add the spinach to the pan and stir until it wilts. Squeeze it to remove excess liquid and place with the courgette.

Heat up the bulgur if needed and mix in the vegetables, lemon juice and olive oil. Add the crumbled feta and season. 

Grilled aubergine with garlic, parsley and feta

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I made these in the week when it was my turn to host the book club, and they went down a treat. I just love soft aubergines in anything but pairing them with another favourite – feta –  is just heaven!

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You hardly need a recipe, but since Simon Hopkinson has already provided one, I have adapted it below.

This dish works both for lunch and dinner and would look great on a buffet too. It suits more casual gatherings, picnics or a more upscale dinner party. Meet the equivalent of your favourite LBD. Just dress it up or down to suit the occasion.

Grilled aubergine with garlic, parsley and feta, serves 4

Adapted from Simon Hopkinson’s recipe.

4 aubergines

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

 handful parsley, finely chopped

5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or coldpressed rapeseed oil)

a little salt, more black pepper

150 g feta

1 lemon, for serving

Turn the grill on high or the oven on 225-250C. 

Run a small, sharp knife round the top of the aubergine, 1cm/½in or so below the stalk and only just cutting through the skin; then make four evenly spaced, similarly shallow cuts, along the length of the aubergine right down to the end.

Grill the aubergines in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn them every 5-7 minutes if you use the grill. They’re done when they’re soft all the way through. 

Let them rest for 2 minutes. 

Peel the skin off the aubergines. Without cutting right through the stalk end, cut the aubergines in half lengthways and gently prise apart until you have two horizontal halves remaining attached at the top end. 

Mix garlic and parsley with olive oil and spoon over the aubergines. Add a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Crumble the feta on top and add some more oil if you like. Serve with lemon wedges. 

Black salsify and feta fritters with wild garlic mayo

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While preparing my supper quite late last night my flatmate asked me what I was making. He looked puzzled when I said I was cooking with salsify and showed him the long dark sticks. He still didn’t know what it was, and I realised then that it is a rather unusual vegetable.

But it shouldn’t be. It grows in Britain and similar climates (like Sweden and Southern Europe), it is nutrious and as it is a root vegetable it makes this time of year a whole lot more interesting (as it is mainly root vegetables and cabbage that grows locally in winter).

In Sweden it is knows as poor man’s asparagus as it is similar in taste, and I read that it is also said to taste similar to oysters.

In this recipe I paired it with feta and lemon juice and added the subtle garlic flavour of the wild garlic in the mayonnaise. The whole dish feels like a promise of spring. Utterly delicious! I had it as a light supper but it also works as a lunch, brunch or even breakfast.

PS. If you haven’t got flavoured oil at hand, you can make the mayonnaise from fresh wild garlic instead.

Black salsify and feta fritters with wild garlic mayo, serves 1

3 black salsify, peeled and coarsely grated 

3 tbsp feta

1 egg white

4-5 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp lemon juice

salt, black pepper

butter and oil for frying

Fry the grated salsify in butter for a few minutes to soften. Then transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the crumbled feta, egg white (save the yolk for the mayo), flour, lemon juice and seasoning. Mix well. Heat up butter and oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Spoon the mixture into the pan shaping four fritters. Fry until golden brown on both sides.  

Wild garlic mayonnaise, serves 1

1 egg yolk, at room temperature 

ca 100 ml wild garlic flavoured oil

1 lemon wedge, the juice

salt, white pepper

Beat the egg yolk and add the oil drop by drop while whisking until you have a thick mayonnaise. Add lemon juice and seasoning. 

Summer salad with sweet potato, aubergine, spring onions and feta

This gorgeous weather needs some lighter food, don’t you think?! Especially if you like me live in a top floor flat with lots of skylights, that apart from letting light in also let the warmth in.

Last week I made this fantastic salad, and I have a feeling I will eat it all summer long. It is just that good. And apart from tasting good it is also good for you. Not bad, heh?

I ate it as it is pictured above, on its own, both for dinner one day and lunch the next. It would of course work well for a summer barbecue or a picnic too.

A salad is a salad; so look at the recipe below as a guide instead of a proper recipe. With the right ingredients you can’t go wrong.

Summer salad with sweet potato, aubergine, spring onions and feta, 2 portioner

2 baby aubergine

1 sweet potato

2 handfuls rocket

100 g feta

3 spring onions, chopped

½ lemon, the juice

extra virgin olive oil

salt, pepper

Wash the aubergine and cut into cubes of ½ x ½ cm. Peel the sweet potato and cut into equal cubes. Place in a roasting dish and coat with olive oil. Season. Roast unril soft, about 20-30 minutes, 200C.

When the vegetables are done, take out two salad bowls and put a handful of rocket in each. Divide the sweet potato and aubergine between the bowls and crumble the feta on top. Add the spring onions and dress the salad with lemon juice and a good olive oil. Season and dig in.

Ottolenghi inspired beans with spring onions and feta

I have probably raved about Ottolenghis vegetarian cookbook Plenty enough for you to know that I love it and use it quite a lot.

The only ‘problem’ I have with the some of the recipes are the more uncommon ingredients that are sometimes required. At least uncommon when not found in a London supermarket. If you live in the countryside and have your own garden it is of course different.

I found a lovely recipe of fried butterbeans with feta, springonions and sorrel. Sorrel being that difficult ingredient to find in a London supermarket this time of year.

Because of omitting the sorrel and making a few other substitutes, this is not an Ottolenghi recipe anymore, but close enough. If you want the real deal, then look in his book and make sure you source some sorrel.

I ate this bean salad as it is with some nice bread for supper, but you can easily serve it as a side dish at a barbecue, instead of mash with sausages or any other way you want.

Ottolenghi inspired beans with spring onions and feta, serves 2

1 can (400g) cannellini beans

plenty of butter and oil for frying

1 garlic clove

1 red chilli, finely chopped

8 spring onions, chopped

2 tsp sumac

1/2 lemon, the juice

1/2 tsp salt

more olive oil

as much crumbled feta as you like

Rinse the beans and drain. Heat up the butter and oil in a frying pan and only add enough beans to cover the bottom, to fry them in batches. Fry until the beans are golden brown, remove and fry the other batch(es). Add the garlic, chilli and onions to the last batch. Fry for a couple of minutes and add the other beans. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and sumac. Add salt and olive oil and lastly the feta.