The cuisine of Cyprus is described as a mixture of Greek, Italian, Turkish and Middle Eastern. Greek Cypriots observe many fasting times throughout the year shunning all animal based products and eating simple vegetable and legume based meals instead. These were the types of dishes I sought out when deciding what to make.
I haven't cooked much with black eyed beans and the recipes I've tried them in so far weren't fantastic so I was happy to try them a different way when I found a black eye bean with chard dish called Louvi me Lahana. I didn't change much about this recipe although I did reduce the amount of oil and water considerably and as mint was stated to be an important Cypriot herb, I used this is place of dill. Although I didn't have the highest hopes for this dish it was actually pretty good, the lemon juice was perfect in this and provided a subtle tang.
Okra is another thing I've cooked with rarely and I simply loved the idea of baking them whole when I discovered that's the way they are served in Cyprus. The recipe I referred to seemed a bit too involved in some parts so I bypassed a couple of steps, substituted mint for parsley and used a minimal amount of oil again. This was so delicious and had a nice kick from the chilli flakes, I was pleasantly surprised that we all loved this and will keep it in mind for future.
It seemed like a perfect opportunity to cook up a batch of pita bread to accompany our other dishes. This is my favourite type of bread to make and I knew it would come in handy to have with meals of some other countries that are featuring this week too.
Bamies me Domata sto Fourno (Baked okra in tomato sauce)
Adapted from a recipe on gourmed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 100C.
Carefully trim the rough ends of the okra ensuring that you don't slice into the insides. Place the okra in a large baking tray, pour the red wine vinegar over the top and sprinkle with salt. Toss to combine all ingredients then spread the okra out in the single layer. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for 5 minutes or until soft then stir through the garlic for a minute. Add the tomatoes, chilli flakes, mint, sugar and pepper and fry for another 5 minutes.
After the okra has cooked for 20 minutes, remove the baking dish from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 200C. Scrape the contents of the frying pan into the baking dish with the okra and stir well. Bake for a further 30 minutes or until the okra is tender.
Did you know?
The Cypriot mouflon is a rare type of wild sheep which is native to Cyprus and exists nowhere else in the world. They were almost wiped out during the 20th century due to habitat loss, hunting and interbreeding with domestic sheep and still remain as an endangered species today. The mouflon features on the symbol for Cyprus Airways as well as the 1, 2 and 5 cent Cypriot euro coins.
Do you want to know where else I've been this month? Click here for the round up.