Everyone nowadays rediscovers the value of the Mediterranean diet. There is a trend in Cyprus to include traditional ingredients in present-day recipes. Follow the simple recipes below and you will enjoy delicious dishes with high nutritional value and an element of our local culinary wealth!
Tahini and Rocket Leaves Dip
Ingredients 45 ml tahini paste 50 ml lemon juice 50 ml water 50 gr rocket leaves Salt
Preparation Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Serve as a dip with crisp pitta bread or crudites. Alternatively, the dip can be used as a rich salad dressing.
Anemoessa Rocket Salad
Ingredients Rocket leaves Black raisins Dried figs Hiromeri (smoked pork leg ham), chopped into thin strips Kefalotyri (hard sheep/goat cheese) flakes For the dressing: For every 2 tbsp epsima (concentrated grape juice) 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preparation Wash the rocket leaves well and chop coarsely. Add the whole raisins, halved dried figs and the hiromeri. Top with kefalotyri flakes and drizzle with the dressing.
Chicken on Carob
Ingredients 1 chicken, whole (ask your butcher to cut it open from the side of the breast) Salt and pepper Small carob branches
Preparation Wash the carob branches, drain and arrange in a baking dish. Wash and dry the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place it on top of the carob branches and press it down till it is flat. Bake in oven on medium heat for 1½ - 2 hours. Serve with gravy and roast potatoes.
Cyprus Macaroni with Zucchini
Ingredients 500 gr zucchini 1 stalk of leek 1-2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped 400 gr fresh village macaroni Dry anari cheese, grated
Preparation Chop the zucchini into small cubes. Finely chop the leek. Place zucchini and leek in a saucepan, almost cover with water, and boil on high fire until almost all the water has evaporated. Stir in the olive oil and oregano to achieve a smooth creamy and aromatic mixture. Boil the fresh macaroni for only 2-3 minutes, add cold water and cook for another 2 minutes and strain. Add to the vegetable mixture and mix gently. Serve with grated dry anari cheese.
Marrow Blossom Pilaf
Ingredients 20 marrow blossoms 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 tbsp olive oil ½ cup rice ½ cup bulgur wheat 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste White pepper Pinch of cinnamon Dried, ground mint
Preparation Cut the stems of the marrow blossoms and remove the leaves attached to the base. Wash the delicate blossoms carefully and strain. Grate the onion and cook briefly in the olive oil on low fire. Do not allow onion to brown. Add rice, bulgur wheat, tomato paste, and seasoned. If the tomato paste is unsalted, also add salt and mix. For stuffed the marrow blossoms, fill the blossom with the rice and bulgur mixture, place in a saucepan, add 2 cups of water and some olive oil and cook gently for 10 minutes. Alternatively, arrange blossoms on top of rice-bulgur mixture in a flower pattern and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. The result is a visually stunning pilaf!
Cyprus desserts are as varied as our island’s heritage. Themost traditional sweets are the endless preserves, best accompanied with a Cyprus coffee and a glass of cold water. These so-called ‘spoon sweets’ were long regarded as the pride of every good Cypriot housewife. Sadly, working women these days rarely find time to prepare their own spoon sweets but rely on mothers, grandmothers – or a reputable producer – for their supplies. Shop around and you will discover a whole range of top quality preserves with the full flavour of fruit in fine food stores, or even delivered by a home producer to the neighbourhood fruit shop or grocery. The complete range includes everything fromwalnuts to quince, and bitter orange to miniature aubergines. Served in portions no larger than a spoon – hence the name – they offer you that small, sugary bite you need to round off your meal. For a more filling dessert, the delicious almond- filled and fried pastry known as ‘daktyla’ (fingers), is available in every confectionary, alongside ‘bourekia’, the small pastry pockets filled with fresh curd cheese and honey. No churchyard ‘paniyiri’ is complete without the ‘lokmades’ stalls which serve those popular, syrup drenched fried miniature pastry balls prepared on the spot. And if you happen to be at such a country fair, the brown and bumpy strings of ‘soutzioukos’ - either hanging in a row or stacked on a tray in shorter pieces - are bound to catch your eye. Made once a year during the grape harvest season, soutzioukos consists of a long thread of almonds or walnuts, which is dipped repeatedly in thickened grape juice and air-dried. Sliced into small roundels, soutzioukos is not only a natural dessert, but also makes a wholesome nibble – with or without a glass of Commandaria wine or a shot of zivania! Lining the same type of country stalls, but also available in every supermarket, is the modest and yet so valuable carob honey. Look out for a pure product with no sugar added and you will discover a natural treasure trove of phosphorus, calcium, iron, vitamins, proteins and trace elements. Carob honey is as much a contribution to a healthy diet as it is a delicious sweetener for cereals and herbal teas or, mixed with tahini, a unique sweet sandwich spread. Puddings come in various shapes and sizes, from individual bowls of rice pudding, ‘rizogalo’, and ‘mahalepi’ to the pastry wrapped ‘galatoboureko’. Take a break from the chocolate cake or cheesecake, and enjoy your afternoon coffee, Cyprus style!
Ingredients 400 gr flour 100 gr carob-toffee (pastelli), plus 50 gr for topping 1 tsp vanilla 2 tsp ground cinnamon 4 tsp baking powder 150 gr butter 2 eggs 300 ml milk
Preparation Preheat oven to 180 ° C. In a blender, mix 100 gr flour with 100 gr carob-toffee and grind to a fine powder. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the flour, baking powder, vanilla and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the carob-toffee mixture. Beat the milk and the eggs in the blender, then fold into the dry mixture. Spoon dough into muffin cases and top each muffin with a small piece of carob-toffee. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.