…..Ha, ha….made you look, made you stare, made the barber cut your hair…
Or rather, two Cypriot dishes.
It’s a beautiful Spring day today, sunny with a light breeze, the sun is streaming in through the open window, perfect for clearing away those Wintery cobwebs.
I’ve told you before I know how overly excited I get when I see Cypriot potatoes at the supermarket.
Not that I’m biased or anything you understand.
but they are, just perfect for so many things- fry them, boil them, roast them.
Waxy, sturdy little spuds they are, capable of being cooked in liquid, without collapsing hysterically in a mushy mess (albeit an appetizing one!)
And what better way to honour these jewels of the Mediterranean, than a traditional Cypriot dish?
Tava is traditionally cooked in a clay pot, with a tight fitting lid, which is where it’s name originated.
Lamb, potatoes, onions and tomatoes are cooked for hours and hours until the meat is mouth-wateringly falling off the bone, the potatoes are meltingly tender and imbued with the cinnamony, meaty, tomatoey juices and the onions will have become sticky, caramelised and sweet as will the fat of the lamb, think crispy and crunchy.
Serves 4 hungry Greeks!
about 8-10 small lamb chops
about 8 small Cyprus potatoes
2 onions, halved, then sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (or fresh sliced tomatoes if it’s summertime and you can lay your hands on beautiful ones)
1 tsp-1 tbsp ground cinnamon (depending on how cinnamony you like your food, I use 1 tbsp)
1 tsp ground cumin (Entirely optional, many households use it in tava, but mine don’t)
salt and pepper
a little vegetable oil to drizzle over to help with the cooking process.
A small glassful of water or white wine.
Peel and slice the potatoes in half lengthways, place in an ovenproof dish along with the chops and the rest of the ingredients.
Cover, either with a lid or foil.
Bake for 3 hours at 170 deg. C. (Gas mark 3, or 150 deg. C, if you have a fan oven, as I do)
You will probably need to uncover it for the last 15-20 mins and maybe turn the oven up too, to make sure everything becomes dark and caramelised.
The whole kitchen smells homely and warm, like it’s just been transported from Cyprus in some kind of Dr. Who/Tardis kind of way and the sun colludes in the illusion, fooling me for a split second.
Can I see the blue sky and hear the waves lapping at my feet?
I’m here in my kitchen in Great Barr.
About as far away as one can get. Sigh.
Anyway, we’ve started as we mean to go on. What better cake to make today, than my Mum’s Cypriot semolina cake?
Still warm, syrupy, fragrant and fresh from the oven.
ah heavenly food… I love the semolina cake too… I have a cypriot friends who's mum makes this and I know how good it tastes… great to get a recipe for it!x
Semolina cake, sounds good!Have a nice week end Anna
It's always good to see dishes from other countries, this looks great as I love lamb! A nice simple cake too, I'm sure it is delicious.
Dom, Manu and Janice, thank you!
yum, the flavours sound delicious! i like that you are so excited by cypriot potatoes!
The tava looks delicious. The only problem is I'm not so keen on lamb. Would it be criminal to make it with beef?
Muppy- I am, lol. Corina- Hi, I sometimes make it with chicken joints, soooo, don't see why it wouldn't work with beef or even pork.
I have never heard of cypriot potatoes. I feel that my grocer has neglected me somehow. Such lovely recipes you have here!
I think slow cooked lamb is hard to beat – what a lovely dish.The cake looks a gorgeous crumbly texture too. I don't think you cheated with the title – I think both these dishes are stunners!
Thanks for visiting my blog and giving me the chance to find yours. I was born in Scotland and can remember the excitement of my mum when the Cyprus Potatoes arrived in the shops. Won't say how long ago that was! This recipe will give me the chance to use them another way and to remember my mum. Enjoying reading your blog and look forward to many more great recipes.
Ooh semolina cake, will have to check that recipe out – it looks really light and delicious.
What an amazing blog you have! I must try this semolina cake. Can you substitute the mastic with anything? It's not something I can get here. Or do I just leave it out? Thanks!
Hehe I loved the note "Feeds four hungry Greeks" 😛 I think hubby would adore this!
I'm on my way now!! Both sound lovely to me, yum.
Marcelina, leave the mastic out if you can't find it or get any. It won't make too much difference. The cake may be slightly more crumbly. Thanks all for your nice comments!
ohhh, this all looks great! I am really interested in experiementing with Greek cooking.. I have not tried much before! xx
Anna, those Cypriot dishes look so delish, especially the semolina cake!Mariax
Wow that Tava looks delicious. I've never heard of it – as I read through the list of ingredients my tummy rumbled. Thanks for sharing.I write a food blog too – drop by if you get a mo – http://feelingfoodblog.blogspot.com;-)
Oh my..you had me at potatoes and rice "together"! I read over the ingredients but I was thinking if it would be alright to use pork chops instead of lamb?? What do think Anna? I know lamb has such a sweet taste but my husband doesnt like it that much. Regardless Im making this dish..thanks for sharing it!!