Elafonissi Beach Southeast Creta…with ElafonISI Island

Stormy outside…I miss the sunny, lazy, exciting days last September in Crete. One of the most beautiful beaches on the island is Elafonissi Beach. Fortunately, we stayed close to it, so we did either go before or after the crowds from the north visited. I think, in summer it is overcrowded, we were lucky, it was ok as it was.

The beauty is that you can walk in the shallow water over to Elafonisi Island, feels a bit like being Moses. The colours of the water are like the ones you find in tropical places, absolutely amazing to find this in Europe. I enjoyed wandering along the beach, or over to Elafonisi. Swimming, sunbathing, being lazy and forget about real life for a while!

There are some snack bars and a nice taverna where you can get all you need when hungry or thirsty and you can rent sunchairs and umbrellas for as little as 6€ a day for two. Funny enough, the Italians found that a rip off…scusi? In Forte dei Marmi I paid over 20€… For half a day!

What most tourists will never see because they drive back before it happens is the romantic sunset. It is definitely worth staying and watching it. And if you want to stay close, I can only highly recommend Villa Amygdalia…we stayed there for a week and I would return tomorrow if I could!

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Brasato al Barol”isi”

Brasato al Barolo alla isi

I still dream of the wonderful time we had in Piedmont and one of my favorite recipes from the region is the brasato al Barolo. I prepare it with enough wine, in order to have a surplus of sauce which I refrigerate and use as pasta sauce later on, adding minced veal, or some pelati, with some more vegetables or roasted salsiccia.

Ingredients for 4 persons, preparation time: 12-24 hrs in the marinade, 3 hrs cooking

1-1,5 kg beef, either rump roast or a similar cut, not too lean or it will be dry
2 bottles of Barolo. I used the one we bought from Angelo Germano from La Morra
1 onion, or 4-5 small onions
3 medium carrots
4 stalks of celery
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leafs
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Salt, pepper
Olive oil
Butter

12-24 hrs before you want to cook the brasato, marinate the beef.
Cut the veggies in small bits including the onion, peel the garlic, cut in half.
In a large bowl, put the beef and veggies, onion, garlic, bay leafs, cinnamon and rosemary. Cover with 11/2 bottles of Barolo ( the rest is for your drinking pleasure).
Cover and put into a cool place for 12-24 hrs.

The next day, or 12 hrs later, remove the meet from the bowl and pat it dry.
Remove all the veggies etc. too, keep the wine in the bowl.
In a cast iron pan large enough to hold the meet, veggies and wine, heat olive oil and butter. Make sure it is very very hot. Now add the beef and brown it on all sides for about 10 minutes. Then add the veggies and let them cook for about 5 mins at highest flame.
Then add the barolo and some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to the lowest flame and cover the pan. Let it simmer for at least 2,5 hrs, the meet should so tender that it can be carved with a spoon.
Once the cooking time is over, remove the beef and cover it to keep it warm.
Remove the rosemary, the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves from the pan and blend the remaining veggies and the barolo. Put the beef back into the pan and cook for another 10 minutes.
Now it is ready to be served. It can be accompanied by mashed potatoes, polenta, risotto or, my favorite: just a piece of bread.
Like many other dishes that are cooked like this, they are even tastier the day after, when reheated.

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Brown the beef and the veggies in the pan at very high flame

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Add the barolo, reduce the heat to low flame, cover….enjoy the taste that comes from your kitchen during the next few hours

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Ready! enjoy!….

Quiche isi

Cold and wet outside? Here’s my perfect dinner for winter evenings.

Ingredients:

for the lazy like me: buy the dough, 32cm diameter

400 g grated cheese, I bought a mix for Fondue with Gruyeres, Appenzeller and Vacherin Fribourgeois

if you buy a mix, make sure it only contains the cheese, not also the wine etc. (like from Gerber).

Else, all full fat cheeses will work, but definitely not the ugly Emmentaler, nor gouda or any other artificial cheese.

3 eggs

4dl milk

50 g bacon cut in small cubes (me: used ham to save some calories)

Herbs: Oregano, Thym, dried Chili, Salt, Pepper and if you happen to have it too, Montreal Spices

Preheat oven to 220c. Place dough in a baking pan of 30cm diameter, punch the base with a fork in order to allow the dough to become crispy while baking.

In a pan, fry the onions and bacon or ham, do not add butter or oil, the meat has enough fat. Let the mix cool down a bit, then add it to the cheese and mix it. Add some pepper and Montreal Spice and Chili to your liking. Now spread this mix evenly on the dough.

In a bowl, beat the eggs, pour in the milk, stir  and add Oregano, Thym, Salt, Pepper, Montreal Spices, Chili or any other herbs you fancy. Pour the mix evenly on the cheese. Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 220c, then lower the temperature to 180c and bake for another 20 minutes. Take the tart out and let it cool for 10 minutes. Cut and enjoy together with a salad.

The Quiche is quite nourrishing, it is a rich dinner for 2 or a small one for 4, or if cut in 8 pieces a nice starter for 8.

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