Green Witch Lemonade

Summertime, summer drinks! This means lemon and mint!

Our son served us this drink prepared with bottled lemonade. He decided to freeze the lemonade

You need:

  • 4 cups lemonade, sparkling lemonade (made with fresh lemon, syrup or bottled)
  • 1 handful fresh spearmint leaves
  • Sweetener, to taste, depends on lemonade

Procedure:

  1. Freeze 2 cups of lemonade in ice cube tray or ice cube bags.
  2. In a food processor combine lemonade ice cubes, mint, 2 cups chilled lemonade and sweetener.
  3. Pulse until the ice is crushed.  Taste and adjust for sweetness then serve immediately.

green witch lemonade

Pretzels

Pretzels

For this recipe you will not need to buy soda ash (sodium carbonate) as with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) it will work very well and the taste is perfect. The important this is respecting the boiling time!

You need

Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soften butter or margarine
  • 1 cup warm water (not too warm!)
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • coarse salt

Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 cups water

Preparation

  1. Put yeast, sugar and water in bowl and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof. Add salt, butter and 1 cup flour. Stir till smooth.
  2. Add rest of flour and knead dough till smooth and not sticky.
  3. Place dough back in bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250°C/ 475°F.
  5. Prepare the glaze: boil water with baking soda.
  6. When dough has risen, punch down and knead shortly.
  7. Divide dough into 24 portions and form rolls of about 30 cm (12 inches), or the size you like.
  8. Allow pretzels to rest for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Place pretzels one by one into the boiling baking soda water and let boil for 1 minute on one side, then flip them over and boil 1 minute seconds on the other side. Remove them using a large slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper or simply greased.
  10. Finally sprinkle with coarse salt.
  11. Bake 12-15 minutes until they are a medium to dark golden brown.

 

Watermelon Cocktails or Mocktails

Watermelon Cocktails or Mocktails

Looking at the list of Pacific Northwest Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables I was surprised to find watermelons.

For this reason I will propose you for this region this cocktail, but I confess that I tried the mocktail version (no vodka but added a few mint leaves to the mixture) and I found that really as good as well.

Try this refreshing drink and enjoy the summer taste!

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Preparation time: 20 Minutes

You need

  • 2 cups seeded and cubed watermelon
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cups ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup lemonade, sparkling from the store
  • Garnish with lime slices, diced watermelon or fresh mint leaves

Procedure

  1. Prepare your water melon and process using your blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve in order to remove large particles.
  2. Add vodka, lemon juice and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add ice, and top with lemonade; stir gently and serve immediately

Chinese Stir-Fried Water Spinach

Chinese Stir-Fried Water Spinach

This is another easy homes tile recipe from Shanghai, quick and easy and perfect for more fresh veggies dishes on your Chinese dinner.

Water spinach is also known as water morning glory. This has numerous ways of preparation, but a simple and quick stir-fry, either plain or with minced garlic, is probably the most common.

You can prepare this dish using fresh greens you have on hand (I used fresh young chard from the garden) and it will be delicious as well!

You need:

  • 500 g fresh water spinach ((or chard or common spinach)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon roasted sesame oil, optional
  • 1 pinch monosodium glutamate

Preparation:

  1. Trim and wash well the spinach. I wash it always twice.
  2. Heat 2/3 of the oil in a wide skillet, add spinach and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and monosodium glutamate.
  4. Stir and add remaining vegetable oil.
  5. Stir shortly again and serve

Bubble Tea, Pearl Milk Tea or Boba Milk Tea

Bubble Tea

We had our first bubble teas a few years ago in the China Town in Bangkok as this became very popular soft drink.

This is beverage was created during the latest 1980s in Taiwan and consists of chewy tapioca balls (also called pearls) commonly added to the drink, mostly cold tea.

There are many variants bubble teas (hot and cold!) and many different ingredients may be added. The most popular bubble drinks are bubble milk black tea with tapioca and bubble milk green tea with tapioca; both of them are often fruits-flavored.

Searching in the internet you will find colored pearls, recipes with non-dairy products (as fruit juice, coconut milk, almond milk,…) and also with sugar alternatives this including honey, stevia or aspartame.

For my bubble tea I used “China lychee black tea” as this is what I had had on hand and uncolored tapioca pearls.

Now it’s your turn to try or adapt this recipe to your taste; have fun!

You need (for two serving!)

  • 1/2 cup dried tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba)
  • 4 cups water (for boiling)
  • 1/2 cup water (for syrup), hot
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for syrup)
  • 2 teaspoon teas (I used lychee flavored black teas, Earl Gray may be good alternative)
  • 1 cup of hot water (for tea)
  • Milk or sweetened condensed milk, to taste

Procedure

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan and add tapioca pearls.
  2. Boil stirring from time to time (prevent sticking at the bottom) for about 15 minutes; remove the pan from heat, cover, and let soak the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes (or prepare the pearls according package instructions).
  3. In the meantime prepare the syrup mixing hot water and sugar until dissolved and prepare the tea infusing it in hot water. Let cool down and place in the fridge
  4. When the pearls are ready drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Place them in small bowl and cover with the prepared syrup. Best let sit for a few hours. The pearls would keep in the fridge for about 2 days.
  6. Pour the prepared pearls into tea into a glass and add the tea and milk for a creamy/milky bubble tea. Sweeten to taste with the syrup from soaking pearls.

Chicken with Fresh Figs

 

Chicken with fresh figs

Fresh figs are delicious fruits mostly eaten fresh or as marmalade. Sometimes you can find tarts or other sweets with them and sometimes served as starter or appetizer with a combination of salted ingredients as cheese or ham.

Shortly I found a Greek recipe of cooked fresh figs with chicken which I had to with fresh Greek figs as now it’s the perfect season for this as I have enough of them around.

For this recipe I used “Romeiko”-wine, a typical strong wine form Chania (Crete, Greece) in taste and smell similar to sherry, but not sweet at all. This is my absolutely favorite wine! This is the wine I used for the figs compote as well.

The result was a tender aromatic and sweet chicken with a rich tasty sauce. As side dish I suggest simply baked potatoes or bread, but bulgur could be a great choice as well.

You need

  • 1 chicken
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 small onions, peeled, halved in sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10-15 fresh figs, washed and halved
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and peel (removed with vegetable peeler)
  • 250 ml strong wine (I used “Romeiko” wine form Chania) or a good rose wine

Procedure

  1. Wash the chicken, pat dry and cut it into 8 pieces. Cut out the fat part of the skin, but don’t remove it completely.
  2. Place the chicken into a wide baking mold, sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and oregano. Rub well the pieces this the spices and arrange them skin side up in the mold.
  3. Place onion, garlic, bay leaf and lemon peel around the chicken.
  4. Arrange figs filling the spaces nicely.
  5. Add lemon juice and wine.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F until golden brown and serve warm.

Figs Compote in Wine with Orange

Figs Compote in Wine with Orange

I like to try new recipes with the ingredients I have on hand, combining them to new creations. For this reason I prepared this dessert on Crete with fresh figs, local wine and a local delicious orange.

Serving suggestion: warm with vanilla ice-cream.

You need

  • 8 figs
  • 120 ml wine (any kind)
  • 60 g sugar
  • 2 strips orange zest (of about ½ orange)
  • 1/2 piece of cinnamon (about 5 cm/2 inches)
  • 4 tablespoon orange juice

Procedure

  1. Wash the figs gently, pat them dry and place them in small sauce pan.
  2. Add wine sugar, orange zest and cinnamon.
  3. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Cover loosely and let simmer for 15 minutes flipping carefully over from time to time until the juice gets a syrup consistence.
  4. Add orange juice and bring shortly to (gently) boil. Not they are ready to serve with ice cream or, for serving them chilled or storing (you can prepare them in advance, switch off the heat and let sit until cooled down before placing them in the fridge.

Walking Around, Cordoba (Spain)

Walking around in Cordoba you can discover a lot of cute places.

 

 

Za’atar Flatbreads

Zaatar Flatbreads

Za’atar is a spices blend use in a lot of countries in the Middle East but probably originated in Egypt . Try this recipe with others Middle Eastern dishes.

You need

Zaatar spices mix

  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme
  • ½ tablespoon ground sumac
  • ¼ tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • Salt

Dough

  • 1 ¼ cups water, lukewarm
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour

Topping

  • ¼ cup olive oil

Procedure

  1. For Za’atar spices mix grind oregano and thyme add the sumac, sesame seeds, and salt and stir well to combine.
  2. Combine in a bowl water, 1 cup of flour, sugar and instant yeast.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes, or until batter begins to risen.
  4. Mix in the salt and the other 2 cups of flour.
  5. Knead the dough well (either by hand or in a standing mixer), adding flour as necessary until the dough is smooth.
  6. Divide the dough into 8 portions and form to balls.
  7. Coat them well with oil and let rise for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 250°C/500°F.
  9. Form each ball into a 12cm/5 inch round flatbread.
  10. Place the flatbreads on greased baking trays. You will need tow baking trays.
  11. Let the flatbreads rest and rise for 30 minutes.
  12. Mix together the olive oil and the prepared Za’atar spices mix.
  13. Dimple the flatbreads with your fingers.
  14. Spread the topping on equally amounts over all flatbreads.
  15. Bake one tray at a time, for 8-10 minutes, or until the flatbreads are golden. Serve immediately.

Summer Night Dream at a Cretan Harbour Festival

Kalyves is a cute village located in the Apokoronas region18 km east of Chania, Greece, which despite the touristic development has preserved its Cretan character and it’s still a relaxing place (no disco!).

Once a year a well-organized festival with music, traditional dancing and food takes place at the picturesque small harbour where really all generations enjoy this event. This year during the evening the fishermen’s menu included: dakos (Cretan rusk) with tomatoes and marinated anchovies, taramosalata, Cretan salad and delicious grilled fish with French fries.

 

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