Greek White Bean Soup | Fassoulatha Se Tessereis Ekdoseis

Bean Soup is a national dish of Greece, and is also popular through nearby countries such as Turkey, Kurdistan and Armenia. Simple and honest, it is still offered to guests along with accompaniments such as crusty bread, cucumbers, olives, sliced celery, and sliced radishes. Beans are so popular in Greece that road side stalls and even petrol stations sell them during harvest time.

There are many variations to this soup as you can imagine. Each household will have its favourite way of making it, and that will vary with the seasons and the available ingredients. Ingredients that are swapped in and out include mint, parsley, celery, hot pepper flakes, red capsicums and cracked wheat (burghul) or roasted non-sweet corn kernels which are often added with the beans to make a creamy soup.

Similar soups include Fava Bean Soup, White Bean Soup, and Italian Barley and Vegetable Soup.

Try other Greek recipes, and other White Bean dishes. Browse all of our Soups. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Greek White Bean Soup | Fassoulatha Se Tessereis Ekdoseis”

Don’t Waste your Spring Onion Greens | Spring Onion Greens Salad

Good on the Greeks! They have a use for the green parts of Spring Onions. Whether you use what we in Australia call Salad Onions (larger bulbs) or what we call Spring Onions (Green Onions, Scallions, small bulbs), this salad will work. If using the larger bulbed ones, the greens can be snipped and the bulb left to mature in the ground.

Similar dishes include Spring Onion Dip, Spring Onion Soup, and Steamed Eggplants with Spring Onions.

Browse all of our Spring Onion dishes and our Greek recipes. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Don’t Waste your Spring Onion Greens | Spring Onion Greens Salad”

Baked Dakos with Spiced Chickpeas, Tomato and Feta

Having just made Dakos (the wonderful Greek salad), using Dakos (the bread that has been dried until very hard), we turned to a recipe for baking Dakos (bread) with chickpeas and tomatoes, spices and feta. It is delicious, and it is just the day for turning the oven on.

The recipe is another one of Ottolenghi’s, but not from his books. It is published on the Ottolenghi website.  It is a great way to use up a packet of Dakos crisp bread, and I know you will enjoy it. Cook the chickpeas the day before if you like (or use canned ones).

The dakos becomes quite soft as it is soaked in tomato juices and a marinade of red wine vinegar and oil. The contrast of the vinegar in the dacos with the tomatoes and chickpeas is absolutely divine. Cook the recipe using a table-friendly oven proof dish, so you can take it direct from oven to table. It is harder to plate, but not impossible.

Similar recipes include Dakos, Dakos with Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta, Pasta Baked with Cabbage and Cheese, and Baked Eggplant Steaks.

Browse all of our Dakos recipes and our Greek dishes. Our Baked dishes are here. and all of our Ottolenghi dishes are here.. We have written about our experiences cooking through his book Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Baked Dakos with Spiced Chickpeas, Tomato and Feta”

Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta

I am a sucker for great Greek and Italian dishes, but abhor dishes that have lots of different processes with an associated mountain of pots and pans to wash. However, this 6-process dish is worth the effort. Allow enough time to cook the dish – you need soaking time for the beans plus cooking time of 3.5 hours. Perhaps it is a Sunday dish.

The flavours are beautiful. Soft, creamy butter beans with intense spinach flavour, salty feta and crispy breadcrumbs. I have to be honest, it is not the most instagram-ready dish when cooked, but despair not! You will melt over the flavours, and ask for a second helping.

Don’t avoid the kneading of the spinach. I have seen versions of this recipe where the spinach is blanched or steamed before cooking with the beans, to avoid the kneading. What we are looking for here is an intensity of flavour, and cooking the spinach beforehand diminishes that flavour. You will be quite surprised what the salting and kneading does to the spinach – it is broken down and quite edible at that point. And the flavour that it adds to the finished dish is a surprising intensity.

The recipe comes from The Glorious Foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas. It is a beautiful collection of regional and rural Greek dishes.

Similar dishes include Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Rustic Spicy Baked Butter Beans, and Florentine Beans.

Browse all of our Lima Bean recipes, and all of our Greek dishes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta”

Dakos | Tomato and Bread Salad from Crete

Dakos, the salad, is a loved salad of Crete, made with rock hard crisp breads and tomatoes, feta and olives. Ottolenghi has a version in his book Plenty More, born of his stay in Crete where he fell in love with it.

Dakos is alsothe name given to  oven-dried breads (often called rusks), which are made with barley to make them sweeter, nuttier and more crunchy than their wheat-only counterparts. Spread out on a plate and covered with the best ripest chopped tomatoes, good olive oil, some crumbled white cheese and black olives, they are seriously addictive. (Confusingly, both this dish and the unadorned rusks themselves are called Dakos!)

Cretan barley rusks aren’t easy to come by (try Greek grocers or online), but the salad Dakos is easy to make with any dried bread, e.g. the Italian Frese Integrali (aka friselle, freselle, frisedde, fresedde, frise) or the Swedish wholemeal Krisprolls, which are more commonly available in some supermarkets and many specialty stores. The tomato juices and vinegar seep into and soften the dry bread as they mix with the creamy cheese and olive oil, to create a timeless Greek experience.

However, if you don’t have access to Dakos or other rusks, try drizzling some medium thick slices of wheat bread with olive oil and baking for 10 – 15 mins in a 175C – 180C oven. They need to be hard, and the ingredients of the salad soak into the bread to soften it and make it addictively delicious.

The taste of any simple tomato-based salad is dependent on the quality of the tomatoes. There is a rich and beefy depth to end-of-season tomatoes that can exceed even those of high summer, but if yours are anything other than bursting with flavour, a pinch of sugar or a few drops of balsamic vinegar will help draw out their natural sweetness. And maybe mix your feta with some ricotta, to simulate the flavour of the sweet Cretan mizithra cheese, which is often served with dakos. (Thanks for this advice, Ottolenghi.)

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Baked Dakos with Tomatoes and Chickpeas, Simple Tomato Bread Salad, and Tapanade Bread Salad with Mozzarella.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, and all of our Salads. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Dakos | Tomato and Bread Salad from Crete”

Dried Fava Bean Mash with Olive Oil | Koukofava

Dried fava beans are loved in Greece. This is an exquisite yet simple dish. Simple food, simple execution, incredible flavour. Fava beans are never mixed with lemon in Greece, as might a puree of yellow split peas, confusingly also called Fava. Rather the acidic and other strong flavours are eaten alongside the puree. Lemon wedges, salty accompaniments, raw onion, olives, pickled peppers and parsley are very common accompaniments. It is rarely eaten on its own.

Fava (the dish) is made with yellow spit peas and the one made with fava beans is call Koukofava. So very confusing, what were they thinking! Koukofava is a favourite in Crete and in various islands in the eastern Aegean. It is often cooked together with a little potato, which gives a smoothness to the final texture but also uses more olive oil.

Similar dishes include Fava Bean Puree with Olive Oil and Dill, Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean recipes, and our Greek dishes. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Dried Fava Bean Mash with Olive Oil | Koukofava”

Fava Bean Puree | Dried Broad Bean Puree

When your broad beans pass their peak and become older, white in colour and rather tough, the best thing is to cook the diggins out of them. Indeed, this also applies to dried broad beans – or Fava Beans as they are most likely called in your local Italian deli or Provodore.

The great thing about dried fava beans is that they bring the beautiful broad bean into your kitchen even in the depths of winter.

Today, broad beans are cooked almost a la Grecque style, with water and olive oil, for a couple of hours for dried beans and a little less for fresh beans. They are then pureed with herbs to make a great spread, dip or accompaniment to your main dish. It makes a great Greek style salad topped with red onions.

Are you looking for other Fava Bean recipes? Try Koukofava, Dried Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

You might like to browse our other Broad Bean recipes, and other dried Broad Bean dishes. There are other Broad Bean Dips and Spreads. Our Italian recipes are here.  Or simply explore, at your leisure, our Early Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Fava Bean Puree | Dried Broad Bean Puree”

Baked Lima Beans with Celery | A Creamy Rustic Greek Dish

Gigantes are Greek Giant Beans (the name always reminds me of Jack and the Beanstalk). You can get them from Greek shops, or Lima Beans (Butter Beans) are wonderful substitutes.

Recipes for Gigantes abound across Greece, and they often involve baking. If soaked, cooked and then baked, the beans are so soft and creamy. Often they are cooked in a terracotta pot.

Our recipe today, a traditional one from Greece, bakes the beans with celery and a tomato base. It takes some time to make – soak the beans overnight, simmer for 60 – 90 mins, then bake for 60 – 90 mins. I recommend it for a quiet Sunday morning (for lunch) or afternoon (for dinner). Slow, wonderful cooking. However, each step is easy, with hardly any oversight required.

The success of this dish depends on each step – soak well, cook the beans until tender but not completely cooked, bake until creamy. And it depends on the quality of the olive oil – ensure current season, good quality oil if you can. And always store your oil in dark bottles or tins in a dark cupboard away from heat, light and the sun’s rays.

Similar recipes include Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta, Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata, Rustic Spicy Butter Beans, Chickpea and Lima Bean Noodle Soup, and Florentine Beans.

Browse all of our Lima Bean recipes, and all of our Greek dishes. Our Baked Bean dishes are here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Baked Lima Beans with Celery | A Creamy Rustic Greek Dish”

Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes

Adding a smoky flavour to vegetables and other foods – garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, beetroot, tofu etc – adds an additional flavour dimension to dishes. It is worth doing for a special occasion. Today’s recipe is a Greek-inspired dish. I have added the instructions for smoking the foods in the recipe, but if you are not inclined to go to this effort, char-grill your veg in your normal, favourite way.

Similar recipes include

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes and Tomato dishes. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes”

Fava | Split Pea Puree

Fava is a puree or spread made from yellow split peas, not Fava Beans (Dried Broad Beans).  The naming of these Mediterranean dishes is a mine field! A puree made from dried Broad Beans is known as koukofava.

There are many versions of Fava, some with cumin and sumac, but this one is made from split peas which are topped with capers and caramelised onion, eaten warm and served as a starter dip. Ottolenghi, whose recipe this is, says the dish is soothing yet exciting. It is indeed. It is a delight to see Ottolenghi use white pepper in several of his recipes – a rare thing these days but an exquisite taste.

You know we love pastes, purees, dips and spreads here and this is a delightful addition to our collection.

Similar recipes include Channa Dal with Eggplant, Green Olive Tapenade, Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse more of our Purees and Spreads. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Fava | Split Pea Puree”