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Beer roasted pork knuckles / Hasselback potatoes

Pork knuckle is the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot of a pig, where the foot was attached to the hog’s leg. It is the portion of the leg that is neither part of the ham proper nor the foot or ankle, but rather the extreme shank end of the leg bone.  This cut of meat can be cooked with potatoes, greens or in sauces. Beer roasted knuckle is easy, super tasty and juicy/ fork tender dish with a very crispy and flavory skin. Serve it hot with some delicious golden Hasselback potatoes. 1-Snapseed8

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Ingredients: 1 knuckle/person (about 1 kg) – 2bottles dark beer

salt -pepper (optional) – thym (optional) – grated garlic (2 cloves/knuckle) – 2 onions/knuckle,  salt, black pepper (optional)

Method: 1. Peel and slice into rounds 2 onions, lay them in a roasting pan

2. Season knuckles with salt , black pepper, grated garlic, thym. Sit the knuckles on top of the onions. Add a cup of beer (300 ml). Cook in the oven for 30 min (220°C)

[Meanwhile prepare the hasselback potatoes as you desire (empty or with bacon/cheese)]

4. After 30 min pour another cup of beer (300ml).  Place the potatoes around pork knuckle. Roast an additional 1h and lower the temperature to 180°C. After the skin has started to crisp, baste with beer about every 30 minutes or so

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Hasselback potatoes

Ingredients:

 For the empty version: Potatoes, olive oil or melted butter (2 tbsp/ potato) , 2 tbs/potato grated pecorino or parmesan, 2 tbsp/potato dry bread crumbs (optional)

In a bowl mix together grated pecorino romano or parmesan or another grated cheese of your choice,  seasoned dry bread crumbs (optional),  salt , black pepper (optional) , thym (optional)

With cheesy bacon filling: Potatoes, olive oil or melted butter (2 tbsp/potato), bacon,

cheese, grated pecorino or parmesan, salt, pepper (optional), thym (optional)

Method: see below the gallery step by step

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Saragli’

Saragli’ is a traditional Christmas Greek sweet with plenty of grated walnuts and crispy phyllo drizzled  with sweet and spicy syrup.

It is basically  “baklava”  that is rolled instead of layered. Phyllo sheets are brushed with butter, covered in a seasoned walnut mixture, and rolled up. 

If you like crispy pastries, dried fruits, an intense scent of cinnamon and cloves in your home, this is the right recipe for you! Merry Christmas!

This recipe has been adapted by Akis Petretzikis saragli recipe

 

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Ingredients:

For syrup

  • 500 g granulated sugar – 300 ml water – 4 cloves – 1 cinnamon stick – Rind from 1 orange – juice of half orange

For saragli

  • 400 g butter
  • 100 g walnuts
  • 100 g almonds
  • 100 g pistachio nuts
  • 2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 packages phyllo dough (900 g)
  • pistachio nuts, ground, for serving

Syrup:

  • In a pot, add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange rind.
  • Place pot over medium heat.
  • In about 2-3 minutes, as soon as the sugar melts, remove pot from heat.
  • Add the orange juice, stir and set aside to cool.

Saragli’:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  • In a food processor  grind the walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and cloves together. You don’t want to finely grind them but you don’t want to have large pieces because they will rip through the phyllo dough.
  • Transfer the filling to a bowl and transfer the melted butter to a separate bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 160° C (320° F)
  • Spread out the phyllo dough on a clean working surface.
  • Lay one sheet of phyllo dough separately on your working surface. Drizzle with melted butter, making sure not to let the brush directly touch the phyllo.
  • Cover with another sheet of phyllo and drizzle with butter.
  • Spread the filling over the entire surface.
  • Place two wooden sticks in the middle of the phyllo and roll the smaller side towards the middle, leaving an empty space at the edge.
  • Do not roll too tight and gently press the ends together towards the middle with your hands, creating folds in the phyllo and remove the sticks.
  • Brush a 30×40 cm baking pan with butter and add the sargli.
  • Drizzle with butter immediately and repeat the same process until the baking pan is full of saragli rolls.
  • When the pan is full, drizzle any leftover butter over the sargli rolls.
  • Bake for 70 minutes.
  • When ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cool syrup over the scorching hot saragli rolls.The temperature of the pastry must be always opposite than the syrup. This is the key for a successful baklava /saragli’
  • Allow them to soak up the syrup for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with ground pistachio nuts and serve

Two simply ways to cook Brussels sprouts

 

Brussels sprouts contains significant amount of vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and dietary fiber. Here are some of the major nutrients in a cup (150 gr) of cooked Brussels sprouts Calories: 56 , Protein: 4 gr , Carbs: 12 gr, Fiber: 4 gr,Vitamin K: 274% of the RDI, Vitamin C: 162% of the RDI, Vitamin A: 24% of the RDI, Folate: 24% of the RDI, Manganese: 18% of the RDI. But the most impressive is their antioxidant content (especially high in kaempferol).  Kaempferol may reduce cancer cell growth, ease inflammation and improve heart health.

Enjoy them “au gratin” with crunchy bacon and creamy cheesy bechamel or simply oven roasted with bacon and olive oil.  A healthy side dish for the Christmas table.

 

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Brussel sprouts au gratin

Ingredients: 200 gr bacon, chopped – 400gr  brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed – 1 cup grated cheddar cheese – 1 teaspoon salt – 500 ml bechamel

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 180°C (256°F)

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until fork tender (10 minutes). Drain.

3. In a skillet fry the chopped bacon over medium heat until is golden & crispy

4. Tranfer the Brussels sprouts in a large baking dish and add the half of chopped bacon. Season with salt.

5. Pour bechamel over sprouts, sprinkle with cheddar and the remaining bacon

6. Bake the sprouts  in a preheated oven at 256°F (180°C) for 20min or until the top is golden. Serve warm.

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Oven roasted brussels sprouts with bacon & balsamic

Ingredients: 400 gr Brussels sprouts – 300 gr chopped bacon – 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar – 3 tbsp olive oil – salt

Method: 1. Preheat oven to 200°C (392°F)

2. Wash and slice sprouts in half

3. Put them on a sheet pan with the rest of the ingredients (except balsamic vinegar) and toss to coat with your hands

4. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes,  until crispy , and bacon is golden brown. (Stirring halfway through)

5. Remove from the oven. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and salt

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Caprese (Flourless chocolate/almond cake from Capri)

There are several apocryphal stories about the cake’s origin. A legend told that an Austrian princess married to the king of Naples wanted the Sacher cake (Austrian chocolate cake), but Neapolitan chefs didn’t know this recipe, so they improvised by using a typical Neopolitan ingredient: almonds.

One is of a baker fulfilling an order for an almond cake by a few tourists at his bakery in the 1920s. The baker forgot to add flour to the mix, but the tourists liked the resulting cake and considered it a delicacy. Another account ascribes the invention to two heirs of Austrian painter August Weber, who created it at the Strandpension Weber in the 1930s. 

Although its origins are unknown, several aspects of its creation are known. The cake was first created by the hospitality industry of the island of Capri and it was created primarily for tourists to the island. At first, it was likely served in tea rooms. As it became more popular, restaurants incorporated it into their menu.1-IMG-20171212-WA0000-01-01

1-Snapseed4Ingredients:

  • 200g  dark chocolate, minimum 70% (melted and cooled)
  • 200gr unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 200g sugar
  • 5  eggs, ‎separated
  • 200gr ground almonds (blanched)
  • 1 small glass Strega liqueur (optional)

Method:

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Beat the sugar and butter until creamy, add 1 egg yolk at time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add the melted butter, ground almonds , the liqueur and the melted chocolate. Mix well.
  • Beat stiff the egg whites with a pinch of salt and add to the mixture, folding gently.
  • Line a cake tin with wet greaseproof paper, pour the cake mixture in it and cook for 40 minutes.
  • When cooked cool 20 min then remove from the tin
  • Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust the top with powdered sugar
  • If you prepare Caprese for Christmas you can decorate it with ice cream cones Christmas trees (Hold each cone and coat it  in melted chocolate or nutella. Then cover with ground coconut , groung almonds, colored sprinkles ecc)

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Roast beef with mushrooms & white wine sauce

Roast beef . Great for a Sunday lunch and why not for a Christmas menu’. Enjoy a juicy and tender roast without feeling guilty.  Low in fat , rich in proteins, vit B12 & iron.  The secret is in the time cooked. 30 min at 200°C / 392°F

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        Ingredients for the beef:   

  • 1.2kg prime beef fillet
  • Sea salt
  •  A handful of rosemary leaves
  • 10-15 garlic cloves
  • olive oil – salt
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp mustard
  • 500 gr mushrooms of your choice

Ingredients for the sauce: 

1 glass white wine – 500 ml heavy cream – 1 tbsp butter – 200gr grated parmesan

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/392°F/  Take the beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it and allow it to come up to room temperature. Salt generously

1.Mix together chopped rosemary leaves and garlic witha tbs of olive oil. Stir to combine and reserve

2.Heat a non-stick frying pan with extra virgin olive oil. add mushrooms , salt , pepper and saute’ for 4-5 min or until tender

3.Remove mushrooms from the skillet.

4.Heat the same skillet and when is hot add the beef. Sear for 2-3 min on each side until browned all over

5. Brush roast with mustard , then spread herb-garlic mixture all over

5 Transfer the beef to the skillet over mushrooms, add the butter on the top of the beef and place it in the oven. Roast for 30 min for medium rare

Transfer the fillet to a warm platter. Cover with a double layer of tin foil  . Leave to rest for 10 min. Serve it warm or at room temperature with the mushrooms and some wine sauce. Slice it thickly and overlap the slices on a serving platter

WHITE WINE SAUCE : In the same skillet used to roast the beef and the mushrooms, add the wine and simmer for about 4minutes until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter & the cream .Bring to a boil .add the parmesan or  another cheese of your choice such blue cheese, grana etc. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened.

 

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Fruits & white wine slushie

A slushie is a frozen treat perfect  for hot summer days. Fruits & wine slushie  is made with only two ingredients: Frozen fruits of your choice and your favorite white wine. The quickest way to make a slushy is by using a blender, but if you have an ice cream maker your slushies will have a smoother texture.

In this recipe i use peach & bluebberies but feel free to use any fruit combo you desire. Just put all the ingredients in a blender and you ‘ve got a delicious, perfumed and colorfull glass of slushie

 

Peach & bluebbery

Ingredients for 1 person: Peach & bluebbery

  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches (Cut 1  peach into slices and put in the freezer until frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh white wine 
  • 1tsp sugar (optional)

 

Method: Put all ingredients together in a blender. Pulse until homogeneous. If slushie appears too thick, add more wine. Serve immediately

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Paella de Marisco

Spanish polycromatic symphony that your eyes enjoy before your stomach.

Paella is a Spanish rice dish. It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia in eastern Spain but variations exist in the different Spanish provinces.A colorful mixture of saffron-flavored rice, various meats , vegetables or seafood. Paella’s name comes from the paellera, the flat, round pan in which it is cooked.

There is a wide variety of paella, such:  1.Paella Valenciana – The original paella was born in Valencia. Besides rice, this includes chicken and pork.   2. Paella de Marisco (Seafood paella) – This paella does not contain meat. It usually contains prawns, mussels, calamares, clams, and other seafood.  3. Paella Mixta – This paella is a mixture of the paella Valenciana and the paella de marisco. It contains both meat and seafood. Sometimes this paella is called Paella Andaluz. 4. Paella Vegetariana – This paella contains a variety of vegetables like artichokes, lima beans, red and green peppers, and rice and does not include any meat or seafood.  5. Paella Negra – This paella is cooked with squid ink and looks black. It may have very small squid.

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  • Ingredients for 4 serves:
  • 10-14 raw shell-on king prawns
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g cuttlefish, cut into chunks
  • 8 shrimp tails
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (optional)
  • 250g paella rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • pinch of saffron
  •  1/4 x 200g can chopped tomatoes (save the rest for the stock, below)
  • 300g mussels cleaned
  • 100g frozen peas
  • handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped

For the stock

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • ½ x 200g can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Shrimp heads
  • Prawn shells

Method:

  1. Peel and de-vein the prawns (remove the dark dorsal vein), reserving the heads and shells. Return the prawns to the fridge.
  2. To make the stock, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and reserved prawn shells and shrimp heads. Cook for 3-4 mins, then pour 2 litres of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Leave to cool slightly, then whizz in batches in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine sieve.
  3. Heat the oil in a large paella pan or an extra-large frying pan. Add chopped cuttlefish . shrimp tails and sautè for a few mins each side, then remove and set aside. Add the onion and fry for 4-5 mins until softened.
  4. Stir in the rice and cook for 30 secs to toast. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne (if using) and saffron, cook for another 30 secs, then stir in the tomatoes and 1.5 litres of the fish stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring, for about 10 mins (the rice should still be al dente). Return the cuttelfish & shrimp tails to the pan with the prawns, mussels, peas (and if you desire the red pepper cut in stripes)
  5. Cover the pan with a large baking tray, or foil, and cook on a low heat for another 10-15 mins until the mussels are open and the prawns are cooked through. Scatter over the parsley before serving. 

    Enjoy with white wine made from  the Alvarinho ( a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia ),   Verdejo ( a variety of wine grape that has long been grown in the Rueda region of Spain)  or sauvignon blanc grapes. These wines should also be served well chilled, between 5 and 8ºC

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Instant cherry ice cream

This 2 ingredients instant ice cream will be ready quicker than it takes to eat it. It comes out of the food processor like soft-serve ice cream. You only need a very ripe banana and cherries. Experiment by adding other frozen fruits such frozen strawberries, peaches, apricots, berries but you can add also nutella, peanut or pistachio butter. All you need is a freezer and a blender. Enjoy!

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1-DRINKS Ice creams2Ingredients for 1 person :

  • 1 ripe or overripe banana, sliced and frozen (Freeze for at least 2 hours)
  • 10 pitted and frozen cherries (Freeze for at least 2 hours)
  • Maple or agave syrup 1 tbs (optional)

Method:

  1. Add bananas and cherries to the food processor and blend.
  2. At first the banana pieces will look crumbled or smashed. Scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times to make sure everything gets blitzed and continue to blend until smooth, approximately 4 -5 minutes.
  3. Scoop ice-cream into bowls or cones and serve immediately with chocolate chips or chopped cherries

If the fruits are frozen rock-hard,  leave it to thaw for about 10 minutes before blitzing, this will make it easier on the food processor

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