Bruadarach

Scottish Gaelic: Dreamer, Visionary

Tag: Greek

Cookbook Challenge 11 – The Greek Kitchen

The eleventh of my 12 cookbook challenges is from a Greek cookbook I got in France. It really caught my eye because it describes three generations of a Greek family and their favourite dishes. The extra challenge that Mick gave me was to use feta in the side dish. So this was going to be easy enough. There is one feta dish I love but have never made myself.

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Keftedes, Tsatsiki and Feta Saganaki
Greek meatballs, Tsatsiki and breaded Feta

1/2kg minced meat
400g piece of feta, not marinated
1 Onion
2 Eggs
Flour
Breadcrumbs
Oregano
1 big cucumber
250g Greek Yoghurt
Olive Oil
Garlic
1 Lemon
Dill
Salt, Pepper

 

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Usually I would put crumbled feta cheese into the meat balls, but this time I went without because there was already feta cheese in the side dish. Mix the minced meat with the finely chopped onion and one garlic clove, then add one egg and a big handful of breadcrumbs. Mix it all thoroughly with salt, pepper and oregano. You can add more breadcrumbs if the mix is too wet. Put it aside to let it sit for a bit.

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Grate the cucumber into a bowl and mix it with the greek yoghurt. Finely chop or press two garlic cloves into the mix. Then chop the dill, mix it in and add salt and pepper. Then squeeze the juice of half a lemon in and add a spoonful of olive oil. Mix it all through and put it in the fridge.

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In three deep plates or pots put the flour in the first, the scrambled and salted egg and a bit of water in the second, and the breadcrumbs mixed with oregano in the third. Then start making meatballs out of the mince.

Put finger-high oil in a deep pan and heat it until it sizzles. Cut the feta in big chunks, more than a finger wide. Carefully cover each piece in the flour, then cover it completely in the eggs. In the end, dip it in the breadcrumbs and make sure it’s completely covered again. Since feta cheese is not a very solid cheese, you need to be careful when making the batter so it won’t fall apart.

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You can fry both the meatballs and the feta in the same pan. The feta is done much quicker, so once it’s brown you can take it out and put it in the oven to keep warm. This also helps with melting the cheese in the middle whilst the meatballs are cooking.

Once the meatballs are nice and brown and the feta cheese is nicely hot, plate it all with Tsatsiki in the middle. It also works very well with white bread.

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I’ve made the greek meatballs often, mostly with feta mixed in or a piece of feta in the middle of the meatball – which is fantastic too when it melts! The Tsatsiki with dill was also new for me, and very delicious. The feta was my biggest worry because I knew how crumbly it was. I had no idea how well it would work with the batter. I order it whenever it’s on the menu of the Greek restaurant I’m in. In the end, it worked very well and all the things were super delicious, but the Feta was my favourite! On the one hand because it’s always been one of my favourite Greek dishes and on the other because I’m so happy I can make it myself now. Making it again, I will. Certainly. Soon.

The Cookbook Challenge

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I love cookbooks. I would go so far as to say I collect them to a certain extent. The problem is, there are some I haven’t opened since I got them. Much like my husband Mick who collects musical instruments and sometimes doesn’t try them out. I called him out on it and last December, I gave him a challenge that would make him use all the instruments he hadn’t played before. 10 Weeks – 10 Sounds was very successful and led to really interesting music and a brand new instrumental album.

Now here I was, challenging him to play unused instruments when I still had cookbooks that sat unused on the shelf. There are three that I always use, you can find the reviews below. I can only warmly recommend to get them all. But this time, it’s about other books.

This time, the tables are turned. Now he is giving me a challenge to use the cookbooks that have – so far – only sat on my shelf. Here is the challenge:

You should create one dish from each of the following cookbooks, photograph the process and blog about each one. Let us know a bit about the book, why you chose the recipe, what (if anything) and why you had to change any ingredients or processes. What was difficult? What did you learn? How did the final result taste?

1. Haggis, Whisky & Co.    (leave out a single ingredient)
2. Paul Bocuse Standardkochbuch [The Paul Bocuse Standard Cookbook]    (use an ingredient you have never used) 
3. Austro Tapas    (use breadcrumbs)
4. Crèmes Brûlées    (change an ingredient)
5. Gordon Ramway’s Great British Pub Food    (pick a recipe that contains alcohol (it’s pub food, after all!))
6. Natürlich Jamie [Jamie at Home]    (add something red) 
7. Macarons    (something that goes well with coffee)
8. Vive la France    (add vanilla)
9. La Cuisine Grecque [The Greek Kitchen]    (served with a feta side dish) 
10. Plachutta – Meine Wiener Küche [My Viennese Kitchen]    (traditional, but different) 

 

Now my Favourite Cookbooks:

La Bonne Grand-Mère (The Good Grandmother) – for  French recipes.

No matter if it’s Coq au Vin, Crème caramel or Bouillabaisse, for everything French this is the go-to book. As much as I love full-colour cookbooks with photos, in my experience, the ones without are the ones I end up using most. Like this – there aren’t any photos, merely small sketches that really don’t do anything to help with the cooking. That might make you surprised at how some things actually look in the end, but that’s ok. The cookbook is just that good!

Die Gute Küche (The Good Kitchen) – for  Austrian and other basics.

One of the authors, Ewald Plachutta, is the beef king and Christoph Wagner knows his food too…! Whenever I need a recipe for a dough, a dumpling, any of the basic things that I grew up with and love – this is my go-to book. It’s not just Austrian recipes, also all-time favourites.

Süßes aus dem Sacher (Sweets from the Sacher) – for dessert and cake recipes.

Get it for the Sacher cake – and  then try out all the other recipes as well. If it’s poppyseed noodles or the fantastic lemon meringue pie, Austrian or international desserts… The dishes are really fantastic and one can spend many weeks cooking and eating their way through it all!

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