I’ve posted this recipe before, and we’re all pretty familiar with Aglio Olio and how it tastes. Yesterday, for a friend’s housewarming party, I made some with fusilli, as opposed to the conventional spaghetti. I guess the key really is about garlic-olive oil mixture and getting it right. Once you’ve got the seasoning right, any pasta works in this crowd-pleaser.
Here’s what makes up that awesome garlic flavour:
- garlic, minced
- red chilli, minced
- basil leaves, minced
- dried basil leaves
- dried oregano leaves
- fresh parsley, minced
- freshly ground black pepper
- crushed sea salt
- olive oil
- shaved parmesan
A winner. (:
Mummy was out at work today so I had to make lunch for the family. Here’s a great one-dish meal to have with fresh bread or rice.
Red Wine & Oregano Beef Stew
- 250g minced beef, prepared with:
- 1 tbsp of corn flour
- 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 knob of butter
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 potato, peeled and diced
- half a green pepper, chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- half mug of beef or vegetable stock
- quarter mug of red wine
- 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- a pinch of dried oregano
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch of fresh coriander leaves
- Put the oil and knob of butter into a hot wok. TIP! This is to prevent the butter from burning to brown.
- Add the onion and green pepper, and fry till they start to shrivel a little.
- Toss in the carrot and potato.
- Together with the garlic and chilli, wine and stock, get the minced beef in.
- Add the dark soy sauce too.
- Season generously with freshly ground black pepper, and just a little salt, according to taste.
- Don’t forget the pinch of dried oregano.
- Bring to a boil, place a lid on top and lower the heat to a simmer.
- Let it stay on the stove for 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes or so that it doesn’t dry up. If it’s too dry for your liking, add water in small quantities till you get the consistency you want. Be sure to add salt if necessary.
- Serve with fresh coriander leaves on top.
Greece really does make a special place in my heart warm, especially it’s food. You can’t blame me, the Greek really know how to do their meat. One in particular I have an absolutely soft spot for is Souvlaki.
“Souvlaki (Greek: Σουβλάκι) is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate, often with fried potatoes. The meat is traditionally lamb in Greece and Cyprus, or in modern times increasingly pork due to the lower cost. In other countries and for tourists, souvlaki may be made with other meats such as beef, chicken and sometimes fish (especially swordfish). The word souvlaki is a diminutive of (σούβλα) souvla ‘skewer’, itself borrowed from Latin subula.”
I got this recipe from The Meatwave, but didn’t have all the right ingredients, so I made a couple of subtitutions and hoped for the best.
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Other stuff you need:
- 600g pork loin, cut into inch cubes
- Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before use
- Slice of lemon
- Red onion, sliced
- Fresh rocket leaves
Preparation and cooking:
- Made with your everyday condiments, pour the marinate into ziplock with the pork cubes. Make sure all pieces get a lick of the marinate. Let it sit in the fridge overnight.
- Instead of using a charcoal grill, I did it in the oven, which isn’t as good ‘cos you don’t get that kickass smokiness. But I had to make do.
- After skewering the cubes, grill for about 15 minutes in total at 200°C. Turning them around every once in a while.
- Let them rest for about 5 minutes before gobbling. Serve with a slice of lemon, sliced red onion and fresh rocket leaves.
Remember Pasta Promotion?
Well, I am now proud to present to you, Pasta Evolution.
So what is it?
It’s Aglio Olio made with Chicken Oil
Yes, it’s exactly the same as your usual dry parmesan, garlic, basil, oregano and parsley spaghetti, except that you use the oil rendered from Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions instead of olive oil.
Try it now or regret forever.
Strangely enough, after coming back from Oslo, I found myself reminiscing Greece. One of the things unique to Greek cuisine is the Spanakitiropita, or more commonly known as Spanakopita, which is a spinach and feta cheese pie. There are proper better recipes out there but here’s how I did mine, as little tarts.
Stuff you’ll need:
- 3 eggs
- 200g of feta
- 75g of cheddar
- a bag of prewashed spinach leaves
- zest of half a lemon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- olive oil
- a box of filo pastry
- a 12-hole shallow muffin tray
- First things first, get everything ready. Preheat the oven to 200°C, boil about 2 pints of water, get a pot on the hob on low heat.
- Next, into the mixing bowl, crack the eggs and dump in the cheeses. Add the lemon zest and dried oregano as well. Pepper goes in as well. Stir about and stop before it’s all smooth. In this case, chunky is pretty good.
- When the water has boiled, empty the bag of spinach into the pot on the hob, then pour the boiling water in, just enough to wilt all the spinach leaves. Add a sprinkle of salt and toss about. The leaves should wilt in about 40 seconds or less. Once wilted, turn off the hob and drain the spinach leaves. Add them to the mixing bowl and mix everything about.
- Get your muffin tray ready. Then, on a board, lay out a layer of filo pastry from the box. Half it lengthways and sideways so you get four individual pieces. Drizzle olive oil and pat each of them so they are coated evenly. Sprinkle paprika over the pieces. Layer each of them atop each other. Don’t worry if they’re broken here and there. Once done, lay it in a well of your muffin tray. Repeat for all 12 holes; you should only need 12 layers of filo pastry then.
- Fill the wells of filo with the spinach and cheese filling, or with spanakitiro. Pardon my urge to speak Greek. Wrap the little tarts up erratically.
- Pop them into the bottom rack of the oven. Welcome the Aroma Fairies into your kitchen.
- Take those babies out when they’re golden brown and let them rest for about 10 minutes or so, while you salivate.
- Wait some more if you want. If not, DIG IN.
There are a couple of things that are absolutely necessary in a couscous dish, especially if you’re making one ‘cos you crave the rich flavour of the brilliant Mediterranean. Oregano and Cumin are essential. Unfortunately, I had a craving and had no cumin powder of any sort. But here are the ingredients I used to satisfy the craving as best as I could:
- Onions, preferably red.
- Mushrooms, just because.
- Balsamic vinegar, for ZING.
- Garlic, for wholesomeness.
- Parsley, for healthy colour.
- Oregano, essential.
- Sage, as a pathetic substitute for Cumin.
- Tomato puree, for lush redness.
Roasted root vegetables like aubergines or cucumbers would’ve been lovely. Bell peppers even. But I really had to make do with what I had in the fridge and great thing I had Asparagus and Greek Feta to save the day.
Ignore the Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions. What I’d like to turn your attention to, is the bland-looking mishmash of a pasta.
Lesson for the Day:
Butter, mushrooms, garlic and oregano are a fantastic combination, a crowd-pleaser. But if what you wanna achieve out-of-this-world fireworks that will knock your loved ones out of their seats, add finely grated cheddar and chopped rocket before you take the pasta out of the pan. The nutty flavour of rocket will complement earthy oregano and mushrooms beautifully. The cheese sticks everything together, and adds the coveted stringy trail in every bite.
If you’re still looking at that juicy chicken thigh, I’m sorry the pasta doesn’t look as good. More on the Very Succulent Braised Chicken Portions here.