Cauliflower soup – getting ready for the cold days

At the market, last weekend, I was looking for some veggies to make some soup. In the summer, I like the soups where you can still detect the original ingredients, the types of soups that we have in South-Eastern Europe, however autumn time is a different story. Then, I really love a hearty, creamy, rich soup. 

And this time the cauliflower draw my attention…together with some celeriac since was laying all alone next to the cauliflower. Since both are very earthy, thought they will marry perfectly in a soup. To bring in some extra flavour, I just added some watercress and crispy bacon on top.

cauliflower and celeriac soup with crispy bacon and watercress

2 tablespoons olive oil

one large onion or 2 shallots

3 garlic cloves

thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg

3 cups vegetable broth

1 head of cauliflower

1/2 celeriac root

watercress

few slices of bacon

 

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened. Add chopped garlic and the thyme, cook until the garlic softens, add the cauliflower florets and the cubed celeriac. Sautee them and the add the broth, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cover the pot and bring to
a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer, keep covered, and let cook until the cauliflower and the celeriac are tender. 

Puree with an immersion blender. Serve warm topped with crispy bacon, watercress or shredded cheese.

Ode to greek food

I love travelling around the world. Holidays are my favourite way of travelling, however if I could combine travelling with a career – a travelling chef would be IT. Every time I go to a new country I come back home with a gazillion ideas of what to cook next, how to combine new flavours and textures with old ones or how to reproduce an amazing dish that I tried in a restaurant or taverna. And this time it was Greece…

Octopus drying in the sun

Before I went to Greece I did not enjoy the greek cuisine so much, mostly because of the greek restaurants that exist abroad.

Grilled mushrooms  seasoned with oregano, olive oil and parsley

Unless you know a greek that will point you towards the only slightly decent greek restaurant in town, you are doomed to get some badly grilled meat in industrial quantities or some oily mousaka.

Grilled calamari

However, the reality in Greece is totally different. The food is simply amazing, based on fresh ingredients, simple flavours cooked to perfection.

Loukoumades with honey syroup

Of course the greek cuisine has its down sides – it will probably tip the scale towards the heavier side, nevertheless, the entire experience its worth taking this risk.

Marides

And since this time I went to Crete, I did not only have to put up with greek food, but also with some amazing local cretan delicacies like dakos (twice baked bread topped with tomatoes and myzithra), amazingly flavourful olive oil, delicious olives, creamy myzithra cheese, glyka tou koutaliou (spoon sweets), raki and endless amounts of fresh fish or seafood.

Glyko fistiki

Beside the fact that I had some amazing days enjoying the sun and devouring delicious food, this trip will keep me busy for a while afterwards. On top my list to do list is cooking an amazing grilled chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, halloumi cheese and pita bread that I tried during one of our lunches.

Grilled chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and halloumi cheese on top of a pita bread

So stay tuned, the recipe will follow in few days. Until then, here are few photos from Chania, the city where I spent my latest holidays and where I plan/dream to retire one day and open a little taverna …

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Grilled eggplants, olive oil, garlic and feta cheese – greek flavours in a simple dish

Holidays are approaching slowly. One day seems like eternity, when it is the only thing separating you from a gorgeous greek beach. Tomorrow, I am flying to Greece and I my taste buds are  dancing for joy  – all that gorgeous greek food that they are going to enjoy soon. I can already hear the waves and feel the breeze and the hot sun on my skin.

In preparation for this trip, I made a dish that reminds me of Greece and of summer. It consists of few simple ingredients, that will give you a great summery dish.

grilled eggplants, with olive oil, parsley, garlic and feta cheese topping 

appetizer – serves 2

2 eggplants

3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

a bunch of parsley leaves, finely chopped

6 tablespoons of good quality olive oil

1-2 red chilli peppers

salt and pepper

100 grams feta cheese

1 roasted red paprika

Start by grilling the eggplant, for 40 minutes or until it is cooked and soft on the inside  and the skin is charred. Set aside, allow to cool and remove the skin as soon as possible (this part depends on your tolerance to heat ).

Meanwhile roast some red paprika as well, following more or less the same process as for the eggplant. Chop the paprika in small cubes. Mix the garlic with parsley, red-hot chilli pepper, parsley, salt and pepper.

Place the eggplants on the plate, then cut them in quarters on the length. On top of the eggplants sprinkle on top some of the cubed red paprika, crumbled feta cheese and the oily concoction.

Serve warm next to a wedge of lemon.

Kali Orexi!