Loosely translated as ‘thieves lamb’, one of our much loved Cypriot family dishes.
You know there are dishes so ingrained in Cypriot culture, that upon checking today, I couldn’t quite believe that I’ve never blogged it before.
I’m positive one of my kids will one day come searching for this recipe.
This is a very forgiving recipe. I use lamb shoulder (one per large baking dish) and I asked the butcher to chop it into thick steaks, maybe an inch or so in thickness.
Place the lamb shoulder steaks in the baking dish, with one or two potatoes per person, which you slice in half lengthways.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on Cyprus potatoes, from the afore mentioned butcher!
Cypriot potatoes are waxy and sweet and hold together really well when cooked. I’m always absolutely thrilled when I find them, because they’re not that easy to come by unless you’ve got a friendly green grocer who can source them for you.
Anyway, back to the recipe.
Season the lamb and potatoes with salt and pepper and sprinkle liberally with ground cinnamon and about 3/4 bay leaves.
Pour over either a half bottle of white wine or a small bottle of lager and a few tablespoons of cooking oil.
Get your hands in the dish and mix it all up. Cover with foil and bake at 150 deg C for 3 hours. Remove the foil and turn it up to 200 deg C for the final 15/20 minutes to brown everything.
Serve with a fresh Greek salad and a nice glass of something chilled 😉
These are highly traditional Cypriot cheese breads which are always made around Easter time. Most people love them, some make them with lots of raisins, some with none. Some like them sweet, some don’t. Do as you see fit.
You can make them with a mixture of cheeses, I chose Edam, cheddar and haloumi. In Cyprus they use a cheese which is specially made for flaounes, but that’s really hard to come by in the UK, unless you are lucky enough to live by a Cypriot grocer and talk very nicely to them 😉
Makes approximately 10.
(For the pastry)
250g strong bread flour
110g plain flour
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
25g fine semolina
1tsp. Baking powder
5 stoned mehlepi & 4 mastic tears ground to a powder with a little sugar (put two thirds of the ground mixture into the dough and a third into the filling)
1tsp ground cinnamon
4tbsp vegetable oil
150ml warm milk (approximately)
(For the cheese filling:)
450g mixed cheeses, grated
1tbsp dried mint
1tsp baking powder
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
4tbsp sugar (or, to taste)
1tsp. Ground cinnamon
2tsp vanilla extract
50g fine semolina
60-100g raisins (or to taste)
2 large eggs
(For the glaze:)
1 egg beaten
50g sesame seeds.
Place all the ingredients for the filling into a bowl and mix well. The filling should be firm, not wet. Cover and set to one side.
Place the pastry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook attachment, knead for 7 minutes. You should be left with a non sticky, firm dough. If not, add a little more milk or flour. Place to one side to prove, ideally in a nice, warm spot in your kitchen, until doubled in size. This should take 1-2 hours.
Punch down the dough, divide into an equal 10 pieces.
Roll into very thin, almost see through circles, about 12 centimetres in diameter. Save any scraps of leftover dough for later (cook’s treat 😉)
Place a gold ball sized amount of filling into the centre and fold the sides of the pastry in, leaving the centre exposed. You can shape them into triangles or squares. Don’t flatten the filling down, you want it high and raised.
Crimp the sides where they join each other with a fork.
Brush the pastries with beaten egg and sprinkle liberally with the sesame seeds, patting them in.
Place them on a non stick baking tray and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Bake at 180 deg C for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
* The flaounes freeze very well. Place them individually into sandwich bags and freeze. Use within one month.
* Make koulouria (breadsticks) with any left over dough. Cook alongside the flaounes
Flaounes are definitely a labour of love 💕But try making them and see how smug and satisfied you feel afterwards.
These gorgeous bread rolls are typically Cypriot, slightly sweet, fragrant with the smell of aniseed, cinnamon, vanilla and mastic. Perfect eaten warm, straight from the oven, with a cup of tea or coffee.
You can form them into rings, pretzel shapes or any shape that takes your fancy, really! Some form them into braids or breadsticks.
This recipe makes 10-12.
You will need 1 sachet (7g) of dried fast action yeast, 3 tbsp sugar, 500g strong white flour, 1tsp salt, 100g sesame seeds mixed with a pinch or two of aniseeds (optional) 2-3 mastic tears ground to a powder with a little sugar, 1tbsp ground cinnamon and 1 sachet of vanilla sugar or 1tsp vanilla extract.
In a mixer with a dough attachment, place in the bowl the flour, at the one side open the sachet of yeast and sprinkle it in.
At the other side of the bowl place the sugar, salt, mastic, cinnamon and vanilla.
Pour in 350ml of lukewarm water and knead, starting off at a low speed for 5-7 minutes.
The dough will be smooth and elastic.
Pick the dough up, shape into a rough ball, oil the bowl with a little cooking oil, place the dough back in and place in a warmish place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Cut the dough into 10-12 equal sized pieces and form into shapes, bearing in mind that they expand a lot during the second prove and in the oven. Make them thinner than you eventually want them.
Place them one by one on to your hand and swiftly turn them over and back again into the sesame seeds which are on a plate.
Place on two non stick baking sheets.
Leave them for 30 minutes to prove a little more.
Cook at 180 deg C for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and the house is smelling delicious ❤️
These are perfect for a spot of lockdown baking. Husband is redecorating, so I have no wallpaper on the walls 😩 and I seem to be doing a lot of cooking and baking!
This is such a delicious meal, perfect for those cold Autumnal evenings and meat-free meals!
I started this off last night in my Instant Pot, which I find is the best way to get perfectly cooked dried beans and pulses. What you want to do here is to part-cook the butter beans, so we can bake them to perfection later, in the oven.
250g dried butter beans is sufficient for 3-4 meals.
I soaked them for a few hours in water, to start the re-hydrating and plumping process.
At least 4 hours, or overnight.
Then I covered them with water and cooked them for 30 minutes in the instant pot, and let the pressure release naturally when the time was up.
What I was left with was partly-cooked butter beans, cooked (only just!) throughout, but not yet tender and yielding.
Of course, if you don’t have an instant pot, you can just simmer the butter beans for 1-2 hours, until partly-cooked.
Next I fried one chopped onion in one tbsp of vegetable oil until golden brown, add one, 400g tin of finely chopped tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes are thickened and there’s no watery liquid left in the pan. Season with salt and LOTS of freshly ground black pepper (if you think you’ve used enough, no, add more ☺️) the juice of half a lemon and about a cupful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.
Drain the butter beans until they are left with maybe a cupful of liquid and pour the tomato mixture over them.
Place into an oven proof dish and cook for one hour at gas mark 3.
Serve with lots of bread for mopping up the sauce and as is traditional with the Cypriots, pickled green chillies! Yum yum yum.
Yesterday began the Orthodox Nativity Fast for Christmas. It lasts for 40 days and between now and then we will be ‘vegan plus fish’. Apart from Wednesdays and Fridays when we will be ‘vegan plus seafood’ (prawns, scallops etc)
During the run up to Christmas it becomes stricter and we drop fish completely too and oil on Christmas Eve.
Faith aside, it’s beneficial I feel to eat more plant-based meals, so my thinking cap is constantly on for ‘what shall we eat today’.
And here it is:
Fasolia Isia-isia (which loosely translated means beans straight-straight or even more loosely translated- neck and neck!)
This is because any vegetables are added to the pan to boil with the beans as opposed to being sautéed beforehand like Fasolia Yiahni. Isia-Isia.
I guess now is the time to admit that I don’t eat this dish. I can be a bit funny with beans and pulses, not loving them, but trying to get through a bowlful because I know they’re good for me.
My husband however, loves them and they really couldn’t be easier to make.
I start by soaking 250g dried cannelini beans in water overnight.
If you are using an Instant Pot, put them in, having drained them, cover them with 3 cups of fresh water and set the IP to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Once time is up allow to pressure release naturally.
Roughly chop a couple of carrots and 3 stalks of celery into small bite-size pieces and add to the pot.
Set for a further 5 minutes.
Once you have allowed another natural pressure release, you should have perfectly cooked beans and veggies.
If you don’t have an instant pot, boil the beans until almost tender but not quite. Add the chopped veg and keep simmering until the carrots, celery and beans are cooked.
Drain and serve with freshly chopped parsley, tomatoes and raw onions and lots of olive oil.
Oh and pickled green chillies the absolute best! And maybe some tuna with chopped onion mixed in with it. Absolutely delicious ❤️
Let me know if you try this recipe 😀
Oh and apologies for the phone shadow on the pic, in my defence, I didn’t take it! 😂😂
This is such an easy peasy, tummy filling, cosy, family recipe. Perfect for Autumn nights.
Start off by sautéing 800g lamb cubes (you shouldn’t need any oil, as lamb does tend to be slightly fatty) Once the meat is browning well, add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 small sliced leek, a handful of mushrooms, quartered, 1 chopped red pepper and fry them off with the meat, until everything is coloured well.
This recipe is very forgiving- use any chopped vegetables you have- sometimes I only use onion, sometimes I use chicken thighs, do as you wish and whatever your little heart desires ❤️
Add 1, 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp dried oregano, half a tsp of garlic granules (or 1 clove of garlic crushed) 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 1 lamb stock pot (or a stock cube)
Stir in 500g orzo and 3 large mugs of water.
Salt and Pepper.
Simmer until the orzo is cooked.
* If you are using an instant pot to cook. 7 minutes on manual, with a quick pressure release *
Top with crumbled fetta or grated halloumi.
And just because I mentioned Autumn, here’s a photo I took at Birmingham Botanical Gardens a couple of weeks ago. I love Autumn. ❤️
My Bethera, my Mother-in-law has long gone, but this recipe reminds me of her so much. As is the way with many beloved recipes that others have taught to us, it’s the giving of their time and knowledge and ultimately, their love 💕
My Mother-in-law had ten children, yes….10! My husband being the baby of the family, so the house was always full of children, grandchildren and towards the end of her life, great grandchildren. My bethera fed us all, never grudgingly, always enquiring ‘Pinate?’ ‘Are you hungry?’
From a bowl of her homemade boiled chicken (with a chicken from her yard) with homemade macaroni and grated halloumi, to trapezia ‘dinners’ outside with all of us gathered together. Even in her last few years, in her 80’s, she kept feeding us.
Anyway, back to the dish… I’ve never liked plain, boiled louvi (black eyed beans) in fact I’d say it’s my least favourite bean/pea ever. Many, many people love it though, so…
My mother-in-law, frugally feeding a large family taught me to make good use of the leftovers….
First of all, drain the leftover black eyed beans and veg.
Fry 2 chopped onions until golden, add the leftovers, ‘fry’ until piping hot, then add 1-2 tbsp (to your taste) of red wine vinegar.
It turns it into something completely delicious. Much more than the sum of its parts.
So, Thankyou to my Mother-in-law, for the recipes, the food, the chats and especially for all her help when the children were small and she used to look after them when we used to go over to Cyprus on holiday.
I remember her fondly, looking after my second son when he was small and we returned home to find him happy as Larry in an unused wooden box, stuffing his face with biscuits ❤️
It’s grey and drizzly here today, perfect weather to make yiouvarlakia.
These are real comfort food for me, taking me straight back to childhood. To my Mother’s kitchen ❤️
500g minced pork
1 cup short grain or pudding rice
1 onion, puréed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tsp dried mint (dill is more traditional, so use that if you prefer)
Simply get stuck in! Mix all the meatball ingredients together and shape into 16 golf ball sized meatballs.
Bring 2 litres (approximately!) of chicken stock to a boil, throw in one finely chopped carrot, then turn down to a simmer.
Place the meatballs carefully into the stock and cook for 20 mins.
Slake a tbsp of cornflour with a little water, then slowly add a ladleful of the simmering stock, pour this mixture into the pot of meatballs, stirring carefully so as not to break them up.
Beat 4 eggs in a bowl, with the juice of two lemons, then as is traditional, while beating the egg and lemon mixture, carefully add 2-3 ladlefuls of the hot stock, before adding it all back into the pot.
One of my earliest cooking memories is of my mom making avgolemoni soup, carefully drizzling ladles of the hot stock into the egg and lemon ❤️
And there you have them, yiouvarlakia in egg and lemon soup. Proper comfort food for the soul.
Another dish which I made recently in my Instant Pot. I can’t help it. It’s my latest Greeklish Kitchen obsession! 😜
On Wednesdays and Fridays we don’t eat meat due to Religious reasons, as well as for these reasons, I believe it’s good health wise to make some meals meat-free, so this dish is perfect for those days.
First of all I soaked 250g of dried chickpeas in water, overnight.
The next day, I drained them and put in the IP, covering them with fresh water. The water should cover the chickpeas by maybe an inch…
Remember that water doesn’t evaporate much in an instant pot, and any left over water will be the basis of the sauce in this dish.
I cooked them on pressure cook setting for 30 mins. I let them pressure release naturally while I lightly browned in a little oil, 2 chopped carrots, 1 finely chopped onion, 3 sliced celery stalks and 2 potatoes cubed into 1inch pieces.
I poured over the veg a 400g tin of finely chopped tomatoes and 1 vegetable stock cube.
Pour the veg and tomatoes over the chickpeas in the IP and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Pressure release naturally.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, simmer the chickpeas until just cooked, then add the veg and tomatoes and keep simmering until everything is beautifully tender.
This could take a considerable amount of time, depending on how old your chickpeas are, obviously the older they are the longer they take to cook.
Delicious and healthy vegan food.
Welcome to my blog…
“I still believe the kitchen is not a place you escape from, but the place you escape to.”
Hi, I’m Anna and this is my BBC (BRITISH BORN CYPRIOT) Kitchen.