little village

little village
freewheelin' it

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easter Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic

With Easter approaching rather quickly, I thought it would be nice to offer up a simple recipe for roasting a leg of lamb.


- 1 (approx 5 lb.) leg of lamb with the bone in from New Zealand (or from a local farmer).  Generic Canadian lamb, in my experience, has tasted and smelled quite gamey.
- 2 medium sized yellow onions roughly sliced
- 1/2 a bunch of celery
- 1/2 a cup of olive oil
- Fresh Rosemary and dried rosemary
- 6 cloves of garlic
- Dried oregano on the branch (regular oregano is fine also)
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


First, make an aromatic bed by placing the onions, celery and fresh rosemary sprigs in a roasting pan big enough to hold the lamb.  Next, make six 1/2 inch deep incisions in the leg and insert a garlic clove in each one.  Then, coat the lamb with the olive oil and season well with the oregano, rosemary and salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 325'F.  Place the leg of lamb on the bed of aromatics and cook for 1 hour.  Then turn the pan around and cook for 1 hour more.  Finally, remove the lamb from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 45 minutes.  Should feed 4-6 .

With Love,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Top 5 Favourites

Due to having way too much time on my hands, I've been compiling a list (not that you care, but I'm going to tell you anyway) of favourite things to shove in my mouth. And yes, that is exactly what I do with my most favourite edible delicacies.  I shovel heaps of whatever it is into my yap as if nobody's watching.  It is shameful, I know.  I think it's the neanderthal part of my brain that directs my mouth to take the biggest bite possible because there maybe a shortage of wooly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers in the area and I will starve to death.  

In no particular order my top 5 favourite dishes are:

1 New York Cheesecake. Plain

2 Bbq Pork. In any fashion (on the rib, pulled, or chinese)

3 Dynamite rolls or shrimp tempura rolls. Sans mayo

4. Spicy Pho

5. Smoked meat sandwich on a rosemary and rock salt bagel from Siegels bagels

This list may change without notice. 

What are your top 5 faves? Send them to me.  I want to know. 

With Love,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beans and Weeds

My challenge here is to convince you how lovely a simple bowl of beans can be.  This dish is tasty, satisfying, and loaded with nutrition.  It's also, with varying versions, a staple in many countries around the world.  This one in particular is commonly eaten in Greece and Cyprus. 
Another great thing about this dish is there are no boundaries with the ingredients.  You can use just about any kind of bean and many different healthy vegetables that perhaps you never thought of using before.


- About 3 cups of Black eyed peas
- Beet greens from six beets cut into 3 inch pieces and washed
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 handfull of flat leaf parsley chopped
- Olive oil
- Fresh lemon
- Salt


Fill a large pot with water, set to boil and season with salt as if you were cooking a box of pasta.  Add the beans and cook until they are tender, removing impurities from the surface in the meantime.  You may need to add more water at times due to evaporation. Once the beans are cooked, add the greens, cook for another five minutes and remove from the heat.  The dish is done.
Mix the onion and parsley together for garnish.  Dress each serving with a generous drizzle of olive oil and squeeze half a lemon.  Let each person add their own salt and garnish to their own liking.

Beet greens actually have more nutrients than the beetroot itself containing large amounts of iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C.  Beans of course, have lots of fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins.  Enjoy a bowl of beans and weeds and you will feel -I quote my father.."Strong like a bull". 

Possible bean varities to use:                                           
- Navy beans
- Northern beans
- Small white beans
- Black eyed peas
- Broad beans

Possible leafy vegetable varieties to use:
- Swiss chard
- Beet Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Amarinth
- Kale
- Endives

With Love,


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Halloumi with Rocket and Beets

What is halloumi you ask?  It's a cheese which originates from the island of Cyprus and is traditionally made with a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk.  It's unique in that it has a high melting point which allows it to be grilled or fried.  And when done so, the texture becomes bouncy and squeaky and the salty flavour of the cheese is enhanced making a heavenly match with a ripened tomato or a sweet melon.


- 2 slices of halloumi lightly fried in olive oil
- 1 handful of rocket (arugula)
- 2 small beets roasted, peeled and quartered(1 gold and 1 red)
- 2 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 pinch of fresh mint chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper


Assemble the rocket, beets, tomatoes, and halloumi in the centre of a plate lightly tossed with your hands.  Then drizzle olive oil and squeeze fresh lemon over the salad.  Finally, add a pinch of salt, a twist of ground pepper and the chopped mint.  Voila!

With Love,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Roasted Chick Peas with Lemon and Sea Salt

Inspired by my special lady, this is is a lovely snack that's packed full of nutrition.  And it tastes sooo good.


- 2 796ml cans of chick peas drained and soaked and rinsed in cold water
- 3 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1Tbsp of red or white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp of sea salt
- 1/2 Tbsp of paprika
- 1 Tsp of cumin
- 1 Tsp of ground coriander
- 1/4 Tsp of cayenne pepper
- 1 Lemon


Preheat your oven to 400'F.  Make a vinaigrette with the oil, vinegar, and mustard by shaking together in a small container like jar or something similar.  And then toss the chick peas in a large mixing bowl with the vinaigrette.  Lay the dressed chick peas on a large baking sheet so they form one layer and not on top of each other.  Roast in the oven for 30 minutes mixing them with a spoon every ten.  At the 30 minute mark, switch the oven to low broil for about ten minutes or until golden and crispy.  Check on them periodically so you don't burn them. 
When they're firm and golden, remove from the oven and let them rest for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, mix the seasoning together, also by shaking together in a small jar or something similar.  Then toss the roasted chick peas with the juice of one lemon and then the seasoning.

With Love,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

There's A New Vodka In Town

Calling all mixologists.  What are you going to do with this one?  Get ready for it...Smoked Salmon Flavoured Vodka.  Yowza!
I'm still trying to digest the concept of my "go to" cocktail (vodka and soda with a twist of lime) lassooing my tongue with the flavour of smoked fish.  I certainly don't think I'd be able to have a dozen or so of these in an evening.  So what do you do with it?  Drizzle it on a toasted bagel with cream cheese? No.  Add it to a mousse?  Maybe.  I know I'm a nerd for scheming out recipes and concoctions before it has hit the shelves-like a gamer waiting for the new xbox to come out but I am truly curious to see what it tastes like.  That said, you won't find me camping outside the liquor store on arrival date for obvious reasons.  But who knows? It might taste like ?!@#.
Final thought: This might revolutionize the Bloody Caesar.

With Love,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Spanglish Sandwich

Remember that scene in the movie Spanglish?  When Adam Sandler is assembling his late night snack -  a gourmet adaptation of the classic "BLT"? Remember that?  Remember when the slices of rustic rye, topped with gruyere or gouda or swiss came out of the toaster oven so thoughtfully and calculated as to just melt the cheese and crisp the bread and contrast the freshness and coolness of the lettuce and tomato.  And the touchdown on the last play of the game?  The fried egg added at the very end and cooked just right and just runny enough so when he squeezed the sandwich and cut it into two, the yolk broke open like a sauce and actively brought all the ingredients together in a blissful harmony of texture and flavour?  Remember that?  Remember that sandwich? Mmmm....
Food porn indeed. 
And leave it to Thomas Keller (culinary consultant to the movie), owner of the French Laundry, and perhaps one of the most highly regarded chefs on the planet, to transform the mundane into a masterpiece.  Visual splendor.  Leaving the viewer imagining and fantasizing about a great tasting sandwich. 
I love GOOD sandwiches.  So I made my own Spanglish Sandwich.  No regrets.  "Oooh, Baby".

With Love,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Secret Sauce

Hi Foodies,

I'm talking about tzatziki, really.  And there's nothing secret about it.  In fact it's kind of boring and basic.  However, it is healthy and very easy to make and it's a great accompaniment to many cooked meats.  Actually, now that I think about it, you could probably eat it with the entire Greek Cookbook from A to Z and not get punched in the mouth by two jabs and hook.
The only white sauce that's a mystery to me is the sauce found oozing and dripping out of every donair sold in every donair shop across the nation after 2AM and consumed by every drooling, drunk, uni-student who didn't "pick up" at the bar.  We'll talk about the donair meat itself another day.  For now, it's a don't ask, don't tell policy.
Whoa... way off topic. 
I'm throwing down  a recipe for Tzaztiki.


- 750 gr. container of Balkan Yogurt
- 750 gr container of fat free Yogurt
- 1 long english cucumber shredded and then squeezed through a mesh strainer to rid of water
- 3 Tbsp. of pureed garlic in olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. of dried mint
- 2 Tbsp. of dried dill
- 1 Tsp. of sea salt
- 1/4 Tsp. of ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and it's done.  Eat it right away or leave it in the fridge.  It has a long shelf life.  At least as long as the best before date on the yogurt.

With Love,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy New Year with a Spanakopita Recipe

Hey Foodies!

Things got a little busy this year over the holidays so I had to take a hiatus and lay my blog down for a long winter's nap.
I know it's still January, but the days are getting longer and I'm getting bored with my quasi post-Christmas cleanse.  So let's be bad and make some tasty food!

Spanakopita Recipe

Makes approx.  24 regular sized pies or 48 little appy sized pies


- 2 large yellow onions diced
- 3-4 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 large bag of cleaned spinach (1.13kg)
- 1 kg of feta drained and crumbled
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp of dry dill
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp of dry mint
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 bunch of green onions finely chopped
- 1 cup of butter melted
- 2 packages of filo pastry

Directions for the mixture:

Start by caramelizing the yellow onion with the olive oil in a large pot on high heat, stirring frequently.  Once the onions are well browned and aromatic, add the spinach one handful at a time stirring each time so that each handful of spinach wilts into the onions before adding the next one.  Once all the spinach has been added, remove from heat and pour the spinach and onions into a strainer and let the water drain for about 15 minutes.  Give a couple of turns with a spoon throughout to speed up the cooling.  When it has stopped steaming, add the feta, dill, mint, salt, and mix thoroughly.  Then add the eggs and green onions and mix again.  This mixture can be made beforehand and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Folding the Pie: 

Set the oven to 400'F if you want to bake right away

Have everything at the ready before you begin.  Filo pastry has a tight window of workability.
- Butter with pastry brush
- Large baking sheet
- Lots of counter space

Unroll and lay out the filo pastry.  Peel off one sheet and lay it on the counter with the longest part of the sheet running 12 to 6.  Brush it lightly and with a dinner spoon, place about 4 spoonfuls of filling an inch from the top of the sheet  and in the center.  Fold the top over.  Then fold the sides over meeting at the middle of the filling.  Brush again and fold the filling part over and over towards you to form a rectangle shaped pie.
Repeat this until you run out of filling or filo. 

Place each one on a baking sheet and bake for 25 min. or store in the refrigerator covered in plastic and cook them to order.  Or wrap them individually in a container and freeze them.

To make little ones, cut the filo with a sharp knife through the middle from 9 to 3.  This will give you small versions of a full sheet of filo keeping the same shape.  And use half the amout of filling.  The folding process is the same.

With Love,