This is a traditional Roman (Italian) dish which can be severved as appetizer or as a side dish.
Now, that we are approaching the spring and in southern Countries the spring is already there, artichokes appear in the shops and I really don’t want to miss them!
The kind used for this preparation is called “Mammole”, they are quite big sized artichokes and the leaves are rounded shaped.
The mint used for this dish is usually the “mentuccia romana”, in my case I used Turkish mint in my garden, from which I can find some leaves even in winter. I think that the Greek mint (diosmos) would fit also perfectly; for this preparation I would avoid pepper mint, chocolate mint or mint kinds intended for drinks or cocktails. Spearmint would be good as well.
I prepared 3 artichokes, but give you the recipe for 4 of them.
In a small bowl combine the herbs and the garlic, add ½-teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
To clean the artichokes prepare some lemony water (using the juice of half lemon) and rub your and with some lemon as well in order to prevent blackening.
Remove the outside leaves which appear woody and without pulp. Peal the stem and cut it but leave a small piece. If the remaining stems appears soft, do not discard them, but add it to the preparation.
Cut the top of the artichokes (depending on the size, about 4 cm). Open the center of the artichokes and remove the filaments with spoon, a knife or better with the vegetable carving instrument. Place the artichokes in the lemony water; this will prevent them from darkening.
Open the artichokes with your fingers and stuff them with the prepared herbs mixture.
Place the artichokes head side down in pot where they can fit tightly. Add the stems.
Pour the remaining olive oil and the water.
Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, open the lid and let reduce the liquid.
On Crete there is a very special cooking method used for lamb or goat meat. This cooking method is called antikristo which literally means “across the fire”.
In the fields this cooking method is made across large fires with huge grids where the meat ist hanged after salting (only salt is needed) and cooked with the indirect heat of the flames.
The big advantage of this cooking method ist that the meat does not need constant attention and shepherds could continue with their works.
In our case with tried to use a Spanish tool intended for roasting bread. We tool was big enough for one shoulder of lamb! The result was excellent and we could smell and taste Crete even thousands of kilometers away from our beloved island.
The result is awesome: juicy, tender, fresh and melting in the mouth!
This recipe could be regarded as basic recipe (my recipe is already a variation on the Eryn’s one); you may add cinnamon, cardamom, grated lemon peel, nutmeg, brandy, amaretto or what you wish! Have fun and enjoy this delicious healthy cake.
In the original recipe it was suggested to add 100 mL water, but I omitted this as I wanted to be sure that the cake would set enough.
Ossobuco is one of the most appreciated dishes of Milanese cuisine. Veal shanks are cut crosswise to reveal the bone (osso) with its hole (buco) where you will find the delicious marrow. This inexpensive cut of meat is finished with a gremolata, which is a mix of chopped parsley and lemon zest. This combination turns this dish into a very delicious meal. In Italy, the ossobuco is served typically with saffron risotto.
2 veal shanks of about 350-400 g each (you may also use beef shanks)
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 small golden onions, sliced
100 ml white wine
1 small rosemary spring
2 cups chicken or beef broth, more if necessary
For the gremolata
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1 big or 2 small garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Lemon zest of half lemon
Slit the skin around the veal shanks in 2 or 3 places so that slices do not curl when cooked.
Dust the meat with flour.
Heat the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, fry gently, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the onions and set them aside.
Add veal shanks; cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add the reversed onions. Pour in white wine and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes.
Add the rosemary and pour in 1 cup the stock. Simmer and add gradually the second cup of broth, stirring between gently. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, turning the shanks occasionally, until tender, about 55 minutes. If necessary, add more stock or water. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, as you like. If you used beef, you will have to cook it longer until you see the meat is soft enough. When the meat is almost done place the meat aside on a plate and sieve (press the sauce well through) the sauce; return the meat to the skillet as well as the drained sauce; all some water only if it is really nessary.
If you do not like raw garlic, fry it gently in a small skillet.
Sprinkle garlic, parsley and lemon zest over the meat, some should be added to the sauce. Cover and cook until flavors combine, about 5 minutes.
Note: during the cooking time, take you time for the risotto.
This festive cake looks wonderful and tempting. I used a big quantity of cherries we still had in the freezer and as we did not use a lot of fat, the result is a quite light cake, which is perfect after a heavier lunch or dinner.
liquor soaked chocolate covered cherries or Maraschino cherries
For the cherries: In medium saucepan, combine sugar and cherries. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly until the cherries begin to release some liquid (the liquid should only be lukewarm). Switch off and let defrost completely the cherries. With a colander take out the cherries and set them aside. Add cornstarch to the juice, stir to dissolve and heat again. Cook until the sauce thickens, add the amaretto and stir again. Let cool down. Note: depending how much liquid is released you may add some more cornstarch, in this case dissolve about 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch to some juice (or more amaretto), stir in again and bring and heat until it thickens. Add the reserved cherries stir once gently again, remove from heat and let cool down.
For the sponge cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk, beat 3 eggs for 1 min on high speed until foamy, add gradually the sugar and mix for at least 5 minutes. Sift together the flour with the baking powder add for this under the egg mixture until well incorporated. Transfer the batter into a 26 cm cake pan or better a springform pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes or until it appears golden brown and it begins to loosen form the pan. Remove from the pan and the parchment paper and let cool down on a grid.
For the frosting: beat the heavy cream until it thickens, add the mascarpone and beat well again until firm and fluffy (only about 1 minute!). Add the sugar and beat shortly again.
Assembling: Place the sponge on the cake platter, drizzle with Kirsch, pinch with a fork and top with the cherries (placed them one by one on the cake) spoon the sauce (it is too much reserve this for your breakfast yogurt!) over the cherries. Let rest some minutes. Spread the frosting, top with the shaved chocolate and decorate with the liquor soaked chocolate covered cherries.
This is my variation of the “dancing chicken” recipe on a beer tin. As we have wine in our house and plenty of fresh rosemary in the garden, we decided to change the recipe and prepare it with Mediterranean ingredients.
This fantastic cooking method allows the skin of the chicken to roast without being soaked by the liquid; at the same time, the wine in the can inserted into the belly of the chicken will keep the meat moist, tender and very aromatic.
Easter lamb is a traditional recipe, which we always love very much! This year I would like to present you a variation of stuffed lamb, this one is slow roasted and filled with the traditional feta with the addition of dried tomatoes and CARDMOM! Thanks the special addition of this secret ingredient and the recipe becomes a wonderful taste and thanks the excellent sauce it is elevated to a gift from the gods and a real perfect Easter recipe.
According the cooking direction of this recipe, you will get a melt in the mouth well done stuffed lamb. Well done lamb it’s way we always pieces of lamb on Crete and I really appreciate this cooking way. If you prefer medium-rare lamb, you may simply roast at higher temperature (220°C) for the first 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180°C; it’s done when the instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 60 C.
1500 g small potatoes, peeled (if they are big simply quartered)
2-4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (to taste)
1 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
15 dried tomatoes
1/2 cup boiling water
1 pinch cardamom
200 g feta, crumbled
1/2 lemon zest
Salt and pepper, if needed
Filling: In a small bowl, cover dried tomatoes with 1/4 cup boiling water; let soak for 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the water. Add all the other ingredients and adjust with salt and pepper. I did not need salt as the feta and dried tomatoes where dry enough.
On your working surface, place the twines at a distance of about 3 cm between each (in the direction of the long side of the meat, see picture).
Aver the twine adjust the wine leaves in the same size as the meat.
Wash and pat dry the meat and trim any excess fat. If some parts are much thicker than others are, butterfly them to make it evenly thick. Lightly pound the lamb with a meat mallet, if necessary, to further even it out and make it roughly rectangular in shape
Lay the mean skin side down over the leaves and spread the filling over the lamb. Starting at one short end, roll the lamb up tightly together with the leaves. For this step, it is easier if you get the help of a second person! Tie the roll. Brush with olive oil.
Cover the lamb well with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. For this recipe is better not to use the air forced function!
Sauté the onions in a non-sticky skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and when lightly browned and set aside. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and toss the potatoes in it.
Place the lamb in the mold arrange onions around the lamb, add the cardamom pods (one on each side) and arrange the potatoes around the meat (if possible in one layer).
Add the reserved liquid of the dried tomatoes and half of the wine.
Add some salt, pepper to taste, and drizzle 2 tablespoon of oil over all of them.
Cover with the lid and bake for 2 hours at 180°C. If your baking dish does not have a lid cover with parchment paper then with aluminum foil; in this case take care that you add more liquid or you check from time to time that the meat will not dry out (this depends also form the kind of oven!)
After two hours remove the lid, add the remaining wine, check if you need to add more salt and increase the temperature to 210°C, bake for 30 minutes. From time to time, check that you still have enough liquid (I recommend to have a level of at least 1.5 cm liquid on the bottom of your mold).
Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 20 minutes before removing the twine and slicing.