Irene’s Pourgouri with Greek Salad (Bulgur wheat in a rich tomato sauce)

 

This is a fantastic greek cypriot recipe I was given by my beautiful friend Irene. Her wonderful family invited me to stay with them in Paphos in Summer 2015 and her mum, Aunty Athena made this dish for us one night as a light dinner. Since then I was craving it and asked her for the recipe, and its amazing how something so delicious can be so quick and easy to cook! Irene usually serves this with a cypriot hard cheese called anari but its very difficult to find in the UK, so I cheated and used parmigiano reggiano instead. My flatmate, Emma has gone vegan for lent and I’m trying to think of things we can eat together without having to commit to veganism myself… So a great feature of this dish is that you could actually skip the cheese completely and make it vegan, and the same goes for the salad part by skipping the feta. Irene’s original recipe doesn’t have spinach but I fancied something green so threw it in at the last minute.

The Pourgouri

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white onion chopped finely
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 g passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 225 g (1 cup) Bulgur Wheat
  • 1 vegetable stock pot made up in 500 ml (2 cups) of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cubes frozen spinach (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  2. Add the onion and sauté until golden
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute
  4. Add the bulgur wheat and stir for another minute
  5.  Add the passata, salt and pepper and about half of vegetable stock. (Side note – if you are using tinned tomatoes and sieving them yourself or prefer a less sour tomato taste just add 1/2 tsp of sugar)
  6. Add the spinach if you’re adding it.
  7. Let it reduce for a while and add the rest of the stock.
  8. Set on medium to low heat and stir occasionally until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is cooked – about 15 minutes.
  9. Once all the water is absorbed taste a little of the bulgur, if it still has some crunch, you may need to add a little more hot water (about 1/2 cup) and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Sneaky addition! – I added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper at the last minute to give it some kick

Simple Greek Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cup of olives (I use mixed green and black)
  • 200 g of feta
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Chop the onion into medium size cubes
  2. Steep the onions in the olive oil, salt, sugar and oregano while you prepare the rest of the ingredients – I do this step to reduce the sharpness of the onions
  3. Chop the cucumber into small cubes and add to the onion mix
  4. Repeat this with the tomatoes (you can remove the seeds if you like but it’s also fine to leave them in)
  5. Chop the feta into small cubes and add to the mix
  6. Add the olives
  7. Add black pepper and toss gently – be careful not to break up the feta too much

Spoon the pourgouri onto a plate, top with hard cheese and serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

 

Creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle/Linguine (with Quorn Fillets)

 

This pasta and sauce has always been a big favourite with my family, it is super easy, and very rich! I’ve recently been experimenting with it and found that this is so versatile, if you don’t like onions swap them out for any vegetable you like, same goes for the spinach and even the mushrooms. You can even switch-up the pasta, I prefer to use tagliatelle or linguine (this is what’s in the photo) but spaghetti or bucatini would probably work too. I usually make this without Quorn and serve it with garlic bread, but recently I’ve been trying to increase the amount of protein I eat so the Quorn fillets were a nice addition. If you try it out please post on here or on Facebook and let me know how it turns out!

Serves 4

The Pasta and Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 large mushrooms, sliced thick (I like baby portabella but chestnut work well too)
  • 1/2 bag of ready-to-eat baby leaf spinach
  • 50g butter
  • 600 ml double cream
  • 150 g grated Parmesan
  • Handful of fresh Thyme (dried will work fine, but you might need to add quite a lot to get the flavour to come through)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 10 “knots” of tagliatelle (comes dry in a bag in the pasta isle) or 500 g linguine

Method:

  1. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil
  2. Add the the onions and allow them cook until slightly golden
  3. Add the garlic and toss the onions
  4. Add the mushrooms and allow them to cook until soft and brown, take off the heat
  5. In a saucepan melt the butter on low heat
  6. Add the cream and cover, allow to simmer for 10 minutes
  7. Add the Parmesan and garlic salt
  8. Put the frying pan back on the heat and add the thyme and the spinach. Toss until spinach softens and take off the heat
  9. Add the mushroom, spinach, onion mix to the sauce in the saucepan, cover and leave on low heat for 10 minutes
  10. At this point you can add salt/pepper to taste
  11. Cook the tagliatelle according to the instructions on the packet (salt and oil the water to prevent it getting sticky)
  12. Add a spoonful of pasta to a deep plate and spoon the sauce on top

The Quorn

Quorn is so easy to work with, I usually buy the Quorn fillets from the frozen section in the supermarket in a packet of 6 (http://www.quorn.co.uk/food/cook-from-scratch/chicken-style-fillets/). Usually one fillet per person is enough due to the richness of the pasta but as you can see, sometimes I have 2! Cook as follows:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil (I make this myself by add the scraps of garlic left from crushing to a jar of oil and leaving it about a week, but this is easy to find in supermarkets too)
  • Quorn meat-free chicken fillets
  • 300 ml vegetable stock

Methods:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan
  2. Place the fillets curved-side up and heat for 8 minutes
  3. Turn the fillets and cook for a further 8 minutes
  4. Add the stock and simmer, open, on low heat for 10 minutes. If the top of the fillets are still exposed just ladle the stock over the top every few minutes.
  5. Place on top of the pasta, add some more parmesan, serve and enjoy!