Roast sea bream with fennel, sourdough and preserved lemons

Roast sea bream with fennel, sourdough and preserved lemons

SERVES  2                    HANDS-ON TIME 10 MIN, OVEN TIME 35 MIN

 

Enjoy the classic fresh flavours of this quick and easy sea bream recipe for two with a crisp glass of white wine – it’s a great dish for Friday night as there’s minimal washing up involved.

Alternatively, this Friday fish supper for two will bring the restaurant experience to your dinner table and is indulgent and sophisticated enough for date night.

 

NUTRITION: PER SERVING

             CALORIES    788KCALS
                         FAT    40.5G (4.1G SATURATED)
                PROTEIN    74.5G
CARBOHYDRATES   16G (5G SUGARS)
                      FIBRE   6.7G
                       SALT    3.8G

 

Ingredients:

1 large fennel bulb, sliced (fronds reserved)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 x 450g sustainable sea bream or other round fish such as sea bass, gutted and scaled (see tip)
6 bay leaves
1 large slice sourdough bread, cut into chunks
2 preserved lemons (see Know-how), pith discarded, peel finely sliced, plus 1 tbsp brine
100ml Noilly Prat or other white vermouth
Handful chopped fresh parsley
½ bunch fresh dill, chopped
100g pitted large green olives, roughly sliced (such as halkidiki)
Juice ½ lemon

 

Method

1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Arrange the fennel slices in a shallow roasting tin or dish big enough to hold the fish. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of the oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast for 15 minutes until starting to soften.

2. Slash one side of each fish 3 times with a sharp knife, then tuck a bay leaf into each slash. Remove the fennel from the oven and scatter the sourdough over it. Sit the fish on top, slashed-side up, then sprinkle with the sliced preserved lemons. Drizzle the fish with the brine, 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the vermouth, then season with black pepper only (the brine and lemons are salty).Return the dish/tin to the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the flesh is opaque and comes away easily from the bones when you test the fish with the point of a knife.

3. Meanwhile, mix the reserved fennel fronds, parsley and dill with the sliced olives, remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Spoon the herb/olive mix over the fish and serve with buttered potatoes or more sourdough.

 

delicious. tips

Use the best fish available from your fishmonger on the day. Currently the Marine Conservation Society suggests good quality farmed sea bream are the most sustainable choice.

Preserved lemons have been pickled in brine and add a citrussy boost to dishes. You’ll find them in delis and large supermarkets.

 

 

Roast sea bream with fennel, sourdough and preserved lemons
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Meat Filled Piroshki

Meat Filled Piroshki

For years now I usually write about travel on my Wednesday articles.  Lately due to the worldwide Pandemic travel has become difficult and many times ill advised.

Many of us have chosen to stay home this summer perhaps planning our next trip whenever we feel safe enough to venture further away from home.  In our case I’m not really sure when that will be, specially since cruising is one of our favorite vacation travel.  Sadly the cruising industry has canceled cruises thru September and will likely cancel cruises thru fall and possibly the rest of the year.

Yes we’re sad and even restless.  We haven’t been able to visit our daughter and her family in Italy since last fall.  And yes we miss traveling.  That’s why I’ve been trying to bring a little bit of our travels in to our home.  What better way to “re-live” some of our favorite vacation spots than thru food.  I’ve decided to share some of our favorite cuisine which we discovered during our travels.  Because isn’t food a big part of traveling anyway?

So for the next little while on my Wednesday post I’ll share a recipe for a favorite food we discovered during our travels.  I hope it will inspire you to try something different and maybe make plans to visit one of the countries!

Today I’ll share this Piroshki recipe.  Piroshkis are very similar to American meat pies, British Pasties, Middle Eastern Fatayer,  and even Empanadas from Mexico, Spain, and other Latin countries.

Piroshkis are a popular street or comfort food in Russia and the Ukraine.  They’re fried or baked oblong buns (I prefer the fried) filled with a variety of fillings including beef, chicken, pork, mushrooms, and cheese.  In Russia they’re considered a main course when eaten with a soup or salad.  It’s often served with sour cream.

Today I’ll share a recipe for Beef or Chicken filled Piroshkis.  They’re not too difficult to make and if you’re not used to working with yeast breads this is a fine recipe to start with as it’s fairly simple.

Meat Filled Piroshkis

Ingredients for the dough:

4 cups flour

1 Tsp. Active dry yeast

1/4 Cup warm water

1 Cup Milk

3 Eggs

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Tbs. Sugar

1 Tsp. Salt

Filling Ingredients:

1 Lb. Ground Beef, Turkey, or Chicken

1 Large Onion very finely chopped

1/2 Cup Mushrooms very finely chopped

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Pepper

2 Tbs. Fresh Dill

1 Tsp. Dried Dill

1 Tbs. Fresh Garlic – minced

Oil for frying

Directions:

First prepare dough as follows:

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and place in a warm place until it’s frothy – about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan on low heat pour in milk and let warm up.

Whisk in the eggs, oil, sugar, and salt.  This mixture will be warm and lumpy.

Remove from heat.

Place 1/2 of flour in bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl if mixing by hand).  Using the dough hook gradually stir in the milk mixture until fully combined.

Alternately add yeast mixture and rest of the flour, be sure you mix well between additions.

Mix well.

Knead until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to sides of bowl.  You may have to add some more flour (1 Tbs. spoon at a time) to get the dough to the proper consistency.

Cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. About 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

When dough has doubled in size place the ball into a lightly floured surface.

Pinch of pieces of dough to form a ball about 2″.

Flatten dough and using a rolling pin roll each ball into disks about 4″ in diameter.

Place a heaping Tbs. of filling in the center of dough.  Form filling into a line across the diameter.  Fold dough over meat and pinch both ends to seal.

Place filled piroshki on to a sheet with the seam side down and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat enough oil in a pan deep enough so that the piroshkis will be at least halfway immersed in oil.

Place piroshki in hot oil seam side down.  Fry until golden brown.

Gently flip over and fry other side.

Drain cooked piroshki on paper towels before serving.

Meat Filled Piroshki
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Meat Filled Piroshkis
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Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Gyros seem to be getting trendy, even the fast food chains are putting them on their menus.  Makes sense I guess since Gyro (pronounced YEE-roh) can be considered fast food meaning you can grab a sandwich and eat it on the go.  Gyro meat can be either beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or a combination of these meats.  The meat is usually ground up and cooked on a vertical spit then thin slices are shaved off as needed to make plates or sandwiches.  Having grown up in New York City gyros have always been a familiar food, I remember seeing the big hunks of meat rotating behind a window at the corner deli or diner.  Anyway trendy or not we love Gyros, specially beef gyros!

We always grab a gyro or two when we’re in Greece and sometimes in NYC, I mean it’s not like we’re going to set up a huge vertical spit and roast meat for hours.  That’s why the  Instant Pot is a great addition to my kitchen!  I can make Beef Gyros anytime I have a yen for them.  The beef gyros made in my Instant Pot tastes pretty authentic and can be made in about half an hour!  Doesn’t beat a trip to Athens or Santorini, but it hits the spot!

The Beef Gyros I make in the Instant Pot are tender, juicy, and tasty; in short perfect!  We slather the pita with homemade Tzatziki, a creamy cucumber yogurt sauce, then fill it with meat and veggies, delicious!

Here’s the recipe for Instant Pot Beef Gyros and Tzatziki Sauce, hope you love it as much as we do!

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The Beef

Ingredients:

2 Lbs. Chuck roast sliced into thin strips about 1/4″ long – cut meat against the grain

1 Large White Onion thinly sliced

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Oregano

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Beef Broth

Shredded Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce

Sliced Tomatoes

Sliced Purple Onion

Sliced Cucumbers

1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

Fresh Pita Bread or Naan

Directions:

Place all the ingredients except the Pita, Lettuce, and Tomato in the Instant Pot

Cover and make sure the valve is in the “Sealing” position

Turn pot on to Manual – high pressure

Set timer to 30 minutes

Once timer goes off allow the pot to sit for 15 minutes.  Then switch the valve to “venting” and allow the pot to depressurize.

Remove cover and stir.

While you’re waiting for the meet to cook make your Tzatziki Sauce and prepare your veggies

Place shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions on a dish and sprikle with Apple Cider Vinegar then set aside until ready to use

Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Cup Finely chopped cucumbers – remove seeds before chopping

1 Cup plain whole milk yogurt

2 Tbs Fresh Dill chopped

1 Tsp Garlic finely minced

1/4  Tsp Salt

Directions:

Take the cucumbers and squeeze out the liquid.  Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

Place cucumber in bowl and add in rest of the ingredients and mix very well.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sandwich assembly:

Cover pita bread with a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds

Place one pita bread flat on a piece of aluminum foil

Spread bread with Tzatziki Sauce

Place a layer of shredded lettuce over sauce

Remove desired amount of meat from pot and drain liquid then place over lettuce

Add cucumber, onion, and tomato slices on top then add more tzatziki sauce if desired

Roll sandwich and foil, use the foil to hold the sandwich together.  Peel off foil as you eat.

You can also make a plate or bowl instead of a sandwich.  Any left over tzatziki can be used a dip, just place in a dish or bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Dip pita chips in the sauce for a great snack or appetizer!


Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
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Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
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Ingredients
Tzatziki Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
Beef
  1. Place all the ingredients except the Pita, Lettuce, and Tomato in the Instant Pot
  2. Cover and make sure the valve is in the "Sealing" position
  3. Turn pot on to Manual - high pressure Set timer to 30 minutes
  4. Once timer goes off allow the pot to sit for 15 minutes. Then switch the valve to "venting" and allow the pot to depressurize.
  5. Remove cover and stir.
  6. While you're waiting for the meet to cook make your Tzatziki Sauce and prepare your veggies
  7. Place shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions on a dish and sprikle with Apple Cider Vinegar then set aside until ready to use
Tzatziki Sauce
  1. Take the cucumbers and squeeze out the liquid.  Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  2. Place cucumber in bowl and add in rest of the ingredients and mix very well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembly
  1. Cover pita bread with a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds Place one pita bread flat on a piece of aluminum foil Spread bread with Tzatziki Sauce Place a layer of shredded lettuce over sauce Remove desired amount of meat from pot and drain liquid then place over lettuce Add cucumber, onion, and tomato slices on top then add more tzatziki sauce if desired Roll sandwich and foil, use the foil to hold the sandwich together.  Peel off foil as you eat. 
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Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

One of our family traditions are Sunday night barbecues when family and friends drop by for dinner and a visit.  Everyone looks forward to this weekly event.

Sometimes coming up with a different menu for the barbecues can be a challenge.  Last week we decided it would be Greek night so my daughter-in-law and I  made Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Dip.

We love Greece and Greek food.  We’ve been trying different recipes to  replicate the souvlaki and tzatziki we enjoy whenever we’re in Greece.

This weekend we made Tzatziki exactly how the owner of The Music Cafe in Myknos, one of our favorite cafes in Greece, taught us.  It was delicious.

I decided to try my hand at creating a new recipe for the souvlaki.  I marinated the chicken overnight in yogurt and spices, it turned out tender, juicy, and delicious!  The yogurt keeps the chicken tender and juicy and fresh dill gives them the extra yum!

Tzatziki is a yogurt dip or sauce.  It can be served with fresh crusty baguettes for dipping, and used as a sauce over the chicken.  Either way it’s delicious.

Both the Tzatziki and Souvlaki are easy to make.  The chicken should be marinated over night or for at least 3 hours, the longer it marinates in the fridge the tastier and tender it will be when grilled.  The Tzatziki can be make ahead of time and chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

Both dishes will now be permanent additions to our Sunday night barbecues.  Here are the recipes, perhaps you can try them out this coming Memorial Day.  Both recipes can be doubled or tripled for larger gatherings.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Chicken Souvlaki

Makes 9-10 kebobs

Ingredients:

2 lbs. thawed chicken tenderloins – if the pieces are too large you may have to cut them in half lengthwise to make strips no larger than 2″ wide.

1 cup WHOLE milk plain Greek yogurt.  Be sure it’s whole milk, the fat free or 2% won’t work.

1 tbls. minced garlic

2 tbls. olive oil

1 tsp. dried or fresh oregano – crushed or minced

1/2 tsp dried or fresh rosemary – crushed or minced

1 tbls. fresh dill – finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Add chicken strips; mix well making sure the chicken is well coated in the yogurt mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge.  It’s a good idea to stir the chicken several time while it’s marinating to ensure all pieces are coated with the yogurt mixture.

Place the marinated chicken on skewers – two pieces fit nicely on 12″ skewers.

Grill on medium heat until chicken is well cooked.  About 5-6 minutes on each side.  Don’t over cook the chicken, it will become dry and hard.

Serve immediately with Tzatziki, and whatever side dishes you prefer.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Tzatziki

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

2 medium cucumbers

2 cups WHOLE milk yogurt

1 tbls. olive oil

1 tbls. minced garlic

2 tbls. fresh minced dill

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt to taste

Directions:

1.  Peal cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the middle part including the seeds.

2.  Finely grate cucumber in to a mixing bowl.

3.  Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated cucumber, discard liquid and keep the grated cucumber.

4.  Add yogurt to cucumber and mix well.

5.  Add olive oil, garlic, and dill to the mixture and mix well.

6.  Remove lemon seeds and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture and mix well.

7.  Add salt to taste.

Chill until ready to serve.  Can be served as sauce for the Chicken Tzatziki or as a dip with crusty fresh bread or pita chips.  If serving as a dip portion into small bowls and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 3 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
Souvlaki
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add chicken strips; mix well making sure the chicken is well coated in the yogurt mixture.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 3 hours or overnight in the fridge. It's a good idea to stir the chicken several time while it's marinating to ensure all pieces are coated with the yogurt mixture.
  4. Place the marinated chicken on skewers - two pieces fit nicely on 12" skewers.
  5. Grill on medium heat until chicken is well cooked. About 5-6 minutes on each side. Don't over cook the chicken, it will become dry and hard.
  6. Serve immediately with Tzatziki, and whatever side dishes you prefer.
Tzatziki
  1. Peal cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the middle part including the seeds.
  2. Finely grate cucumber in to a mixing bowl.
  3. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated cucumber, discard liquid and keep the grated cucumber.
  4. Add yogurt to cucumber and mix well.
  5. Add olive oil, garlic, and dill to the mixture and mix well.
  6. Remove lemon seeds and squeeze lemon juice into the mixture and mix well.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

Tzatziki can be served as sauce for the Chicken Souvlaki or as a dip with crusty fresh bread or pita chips. If serving as a dip portion into small bowls and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

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Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper

Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper

Salmon & Dill I think you all know by now that we own a very spoiled and finicky Siberian Husky named Cannoli.  Let me repharse, Cannoli, a spoiled and finicky Husky owns us.  I guess like most pet owners and animal lovers we tend to spoil our fur balls who bring so much joy to our lives.

My husband recently asked me who I spoil more, the grandkids or the dog, LOL!  As if!  The question should be who does HE spoil more. I categorically deny spoiling anyone, people or pets!  After all it was under his watch that Cannoli decided she preferred expensive pouches of Blue Wilderness dog food toppers over the dry food it was supposed to top.  So what does brilliant husband do while sensible wife is away?  Why of course he was feeding  spoiled mutt 4 pouches a day at a cost of almost $2 a pouch on top of her Blue Wilderness dry food (which I’m told she picked out and only ate when absolutely starving).  Ouch!  To be fair she did gain some needed pounds, which my hubby explained was the main goal to begin with.

Well when I got home I had to whip both mutt and husband back into shape!  It wasn’t easy because Cannoli had a very vocal advocate on her side, aka dear husband who called from work several times a day  to ask if Cannoli was eating.  For the first few days Cannoli absolutely refused to eat the dry food, she left it for the wild birds who now due to free food like to hang out in our yard!  I on the other hand was not going to relent, well not at $8 a day anyway.

We tried mixing in canned food instead of the topper.  That had mixed reviews from the miserable mutt!  She didn’t like the pate style, not that I can really blame her, that’s the pureed stuff that really looks unappealing.  She somewhat preferred the grills and stews which were chunks of meats and veggies.  But she definitely didn’t like the dry.  I was baffled, she was originally on Merrick dry food, a very good grain free high protein food that our Doberman Portia thrived on.  I had switched her to Blue Wilderness that other Husky owners were gushing about.  She had liked it!  Of course I had to keep various flavors, she likes variety.  But then for whatever reason she decided she didn’t like it after all.

In the end I switched her dry food to Solid Gold, a holistic and natural brand which my vet assistant recommended and is highly recommended by Pet Food Talk’s review.  But I wasn’t going to keep a variety of flavors this time, she would have to eat the High Protein Barking at the Moon flavor.  I did decide that toppers were a must but they would be homemade, it would be healthier, provide the variety the finicky pup seems to need, and be cheaper.  So I’ve been making homemade dog food toppers for the last couple of months.

(I feel that I must say this for new pet owners.  If you’re going to switch dog food BRANDS do so slowly by mixing small amounts of the new food with the old.  You do this over a week or so increasing the amount of new food mixed in daily.  I usually wait until I’m low on the old food and buy a small bag of the new one to mix until I’m sure that it works for her.)

Anyway toppers are very easy to make and can be frozen until you need them.  I usually cook up a batch, store them in small freezer safe containers (I reuse the round plastic containers from KFC, the red topped ones that the sides come in when you buy individual meals – I’ve been saving them for years and have build up quite a stash.)

I’ve shared my recipes for Beef and Chicken toppers in previous posts.  Today I’ll be sharing a Salmon & Dill topper which is very healthy for dogs.  Salmon is good for dogs, it’s a good source of the fatty acid Omega 3 which keeps her coat shiny and healthy, it also helps boost her immune system.  Dill is also good for dogs, it helps calm their stomach and is rich in vitamins and minerals.  The other ingredients in this topper are 2 types of  squash which also have health benefits for your dog.  They are in potassium which may help in reducing heart failure and Vitamin A and Calcium which help keep a dog’s kidneys healthy.

Now remember this is a dog food topper.  It’s designed to make dry food more appealing.  It is not meant to replace commercial dog food.  I use only about a 1/4 to top her Solid Gold dry food.  If you’re looking to eliminate commercial dog food from your dog’s diet that’s fine, but you must use a balanced recipe to ensure your dog gets the proper nutrients.  Commercial dog foods are balanced to provide your pet with the nutrition they need, homemade food may lack some essential vitamins or minerals your pup needs.  You may have to give your dog supplements to meet her needs.  Before you switch to homemade dog food consult your vet and find a good well balanced recipe.

Having said all that here’s the recipe for Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper!

Ingredients:

Salmon & Dill

1 Lb. Fresh Salmon with skin, cut into chunks

1 small Long green squash (also called Opo, bottle squash, or Calabash found in Asian Markets), peeled, seeds removed, and cut into chunks

1/2 Yellow Winter Squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into chunks

1 Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth

4-6 sprigs of fresh dill, chopped

1 Tbls. Olive Oil

Directions:

Heat oil in frying pan.

Add Salmon and cook until it’s no longer opaque.  It should turn somewhat white in color.

Add squashes and cook about 2-3 minutes.

Add broth and simmer until squash is tender.  No more than 10 minutes.

Stir in dill.

Cool then portion out in freezer safe containers.

Toppers should keep in the freezer about a month.  Thaw them out as needed.  I’m not sure if it keeps more than a month because we use it all within a month.  The containers I use hold about 1/2 cup of topper which is good for 2 feedings.  I thaw one out a day and store in the fridge until I’m ready to use it.

 



Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper
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Salmon & Dill Dog Food Topper
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in frying pan.
  2. Add Salmon and cook until it's no longer opaque. It should turn somewhat white in color.
  3. Add squashes and cook about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add broth and simmer until squash is tender. No more than 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in dill.
  6. Cool then portion out in freezer safe containers.
Recipe Notes

Toppers should keep in the freezer about a month. Thaw them out as needed. I'm not sure if it keeps more than a month because we use it all within a month. The containers I use hold about 1/2 cup of topper which is good for 2 feedings. I thaw one out a day and store in the fridge until I'm ready to use it.

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