19 August 2011


This one's more of a review than a recipe sheet. First time for me, so please be kind!

After being in Cyprus for a week, I felt it was time to write a little something on the cuisine of the place. Of course, being a part of both the Commonwealth and the EU, the island has pretty much all the major fast food joints, as well as your Irish and British themed bars/pubs which serve a selection of predominantly pub-style foods, but it's by taking a trip down to the harbour in Kato Paphos that you start to discover the reality of Cypriot food.

That reality lies quite heavily in fish. As an island, the country has an obviously thriving fisherman's culture, with the Mediterranean virtually pregnant with all kinds of sealife. Taking a stroll down the promenade of the harbour ensures a virtual slideshow of freshly caught fish, ready for your delectation. One restaurant even had the choice of fresh lobsters, cooked at your request! Can't say fairer than that if you're a fish lover!

Personally, however, fish isn't my favourite, so I tend to opt for the meatier end of the scale (fishy pun unintended). If fish is where the Cypriots excel though, salad and vegetablea are their chosen accompniments. Due to the climate, the island has a fantastic range of fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads. The tomatoes are especially lovely, and compliment the local feta cheese perfectly: so if you find yourself in Cyprus, I would certainly recommend (though the same, I'm sure, can be said for any of the Greek Islands, and of course the mainland).

In terms of meat, there is an array of beef, lamb, pork and chicken dishes, as you would expect. But a personal favourite of mine is Moussaka. If you've never tried it, I recommend it highly! Essentially it is similar to a lasagna, but swap the pasta for aubergine. Being so closely related to Greece, obviously this is the predominantly served version, but there are various alternates served around Turkey and the Balkans (though all with the same basic ingredients). As soon as I can, I'll post a recipe for this truly wonderful meal, which serves ideally with a salad containing those wonderfully ripe and red tomatoes mentioned earlier.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't put in a little word for the hotel in which I stayed. Called the Mayfair, it's located a 2 minute busride from Paphos harbour one way, and the town Agora (or marketplace) the other. The beer was lovely (Carlsberg on draught for those playing safe, or the local Keo and Kappa which were equally tasty and went down a treat), the food was excellent, especially in the evenings when throughout the week a different buffet was held including a Cypriot night, as well as international cuisine, and a grill night on Saturdays.

On the entertainment team: they were thoroughly...well...entertaining. Friendly, approachable, and bloody talented. The dancing was top-notch, the singing brilliant, and all-in-all a good night was to be had pretty much always. There was a couple of quiz-nights in the week for those less inclined to the productions, and they put on bingo for most nights, with a cash prize of up to 1000€!!!

Overall, my time in Cyprus has been fantastic, and there's only one thing missing...

9 August 2011

Eton Mess

This was one of the first things I made for my lovely girlfriend, Lizzie, and one of the first desserts I've ever made. She inspired me to create this blog, and helps me tremendously with advice and by being my personal taste guinea pig/photographer :D

She was the one who requested I make an Eton mess, and I duly met the challenge with aplomb! Having never made one before, she told me how to go about it, and so really and truthfully this is her meal, not mine.

Eton messes are very simple, very tasty desserts that require essentially no cooking whatsoever. (Unless you want to bake your own meringues, which I did not). They're very tasty, and provide a wonderfully refreshing treat on a summer's evening, perhaps after a barbeque!

2 meringue cases
300ml double cream
Packet each of strawberries, black currents and raspberries
1 tsp of lemon juice
About 3 tbsp worth of sugar

1. The first thing you want to do, is whip the cream. So pour this into a bowl and start whisking briskly, until the cream is thick in consistency and has about doubled in size.
2. Simply break apart the meringue cases into large chunks, and fold them gently into the cream mixture, along with half of the fruit.
3. To create the berry coulis, halve the strawberries, and put them, the black currents, the raspberries, the lemon juice and the sugar in a blender until a vibrant and aromatic sauce is created.
4. Using a sieve, separate the juice from the left over seeds etc., and finally place the cream mixture in a bowl to serve, and drizzle the coulis over the top to finish.

For a more 'mature' version, a tasty addition is a small amount of port or even a berry flavoured liqueur such as Chambourd for added kick.

If you are interested in making your own meringues, then the BBC Food site has various recipes for you to peruse at leisure.

Hope you give this a go, and good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Thanks, Tom!

8 August 2011


Right so this is my first recipe post on here, and I thought I'd start with something simple, which anyone can do and be creative with.

As the name suggests, this dish uses tortilla wraps as a perfect base for pizzas, made in a flash! All you need is two tortilla wraps, some tomatoes, some cheese, and a few herbs and you can make a simple but tasty snack that can be adapted according to your own tastes. All made in less time than it takes to call a pizza place and have it delivered!

Ingredients for the pizza:
2 tortilla wraps
2 tomatoes - chopped (preferably skinned as well)
1 tbsp tomato puree
Half a small onion - chopped
Handful of grated cheddar cheese, or a few slices of mozzarella
Garlic clove (crushed)
Basil (dried or fresh)

You don't need me to tell you what toppings to put on a pizza, but some ideas...
Ham, mushroom, bacon, chicken, sausage etc etc.

1. First things first, in order to skin the tomatoes, make a couple of cuts on the top to create an X, and put them in a bowl of boiling water. This will loosen the skin from the flesh, and you can then peel the skins off after about 20 seconds.
2. Heat a small amount (1 tbsp) of oil in a pan, and chop the onion, and fry this and the garlic off until softened.
3. Chop the tomatoes and add these to the pan along with the puree, and allow this to simmer on a medium heat.
4. To finish the sauce, chop some fresh basil and add this (or the dried variety) to the pan.
(At this point, I then put the sauce in a blender to produce a thinner sauce, however this is not necessary and is merely a personal preference).
5. With the sauce complete, place the two tortillas together and cover the top with the sauce, leaving about a centimetre around the edge. Add whatever toppings you like, and sprinkle the cheese over the pizza.
6. Finally, put the pizza-tortillas in a pre-heated oven (200C/392F/Gas Mark 6) for about 5-10 minutes, until the edges of the bread have become crispy.

This snack is great for kids and as a quick treat for anyone, and is much more healthy than the usual take out pizza! Why not experiment with a BBQ sauce base, or for those more adventurous, why not take a look at Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae Sauce to jazz up this treat with a Caribbean-style twist.


Eton Mess with a berry coulis
Basically, I've decided to have a whole different outlook on what I'm going to blog about, and ultimately it comes down to one thing: food!

What I mean to say is, I'm going to post on here my thoughts on various recipes I've tried out myself, as well as short reviews of restaurants and, perhaps, even some critiques of shop-bought deals, such as the Dine in for Two for £10 by Marks and Spencer. Mostly, though, it will be a place for me to share with you all my culinary exploits.

I'm not a prodigious blogger by any means, but if you happen to come across this, and are interested by the idea, then don't hesitate to follow me, and hopefully I can inspire people, young people especially, to cook a bit more. I say this because it seems to me that young people (16 - 25) are a bit reluctant sometimes to cook, or cook anything they're not used to. But I'm here to show that cooking is an experiment, and that it's all about trial and error: the only way you can learn is by making a few mistakes and perfecting your recipes as you go. The key thing to remember is that cooking should be enjoyable. It should be something that you want to do, and something that you come back to doing time and again.

So watch this space, and hopefully I'll be ready to post some of my better creations on here in a short time!