Saturday, November 6, 2010

GAStronomy: a campstove cooking tour - Cyprus

From GAStronomy Cyprus

When it comes to nurturing, one of the fundamental elements of my grandma’s armory is food. Generous servings of lemon-soaked potatoes, fried eggplant and dolmades (rice wrapped with vine leaves) are a mandatory part of my visits. Not quite as frequent, but equally as delicious is yemista, vegetables stuffed with rice and mince. When we visited my grandma’s cousin in Nicosia we were greeted with Cypriot (Turkish) coffee and homemade orange short-bread biscuits. It was a style I was well acquainted with. For lunch we ate yemista accompanied with fresh white bread, olives and a simple salad of tomatoes and lettuce. The meal brought be right back to my grandma’s kitchen and when I was impored to pile more Greek Cypriot goodness onto my plate, my reminisce was capped off.

For this episode of GAStronomy, we cooked yemista and we’ve shared the recipe below. First though, let me deliciously digress for an entrée of halloumi.

It’s the traditional cheese of Cyprus. It tastes amazing when fried and we felt it would be at the very least sacrilegious not to have some of this campside Cypriot delight. Halloumi usually contains simply goats and sheep milk, but commercially a bit of cows milk finds its way in as well. It is layered, like mozzarella and owing to its high melting point can be fried until a tasty brown. Traditionally it is served with mint and lemon, but we substituted parsely.

Fried Cypriot Halloumi

• Halloumi – 0.5cm thick slices
• Parsely
• Lemon
• Olive oil

Sourcing ingredients
Supermarket for halloumi, parsely and oil. You can swiftly acquire a lemon in almost all parts of Cyprus from the roadside.

1. Oil in pan, fry halloumi until golden brown on both sides
2. Serve with parsely a squeeze of lemon


Sourcing ingredients: As above

Due to a lack of supplies on the road, we were unable to cook this dish in the field. Instead we cooked it inside, on a stove top. However, with this exception, we used only our camping cooking equipment. The fact that we cooked in my grandma’s home village hopefully makes up for the gas stove replacing the MSR whisperlite.
• Onion, 1, diced
• Garlic, 2 cloves
• Olive oil
• Salt, pepper
• Tomatoes, 4
• Capsicum, 2
• Zucchini, 2
• Beef mince, 300g
• Bunch of coriander (can use other herbs instead or as well – mint, parsley)
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup rice
Rice-Mince stuffing
1. Prepare vegetables
a. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides of 3 tomatoes, zucchinis and capsicums. Put the tomato and zucchini pulp aside.
2. Brown the beef mince in a pan and then put aside
3. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, with salt and pepper (use the same unwashed pan)
4. Add the tomato and zucchini pulp, add an additional diced tomato
5. Add the browned mince with a generous handful of fresh herbs (mint, parsley, coriander) – we just had coriander
6. Add 2 cups of water and one cup of rice
7. Bring to the boil and then simmer until rice has cooked and water has absorbed
8. Let the rice-mince mix cool a little before stuffing it into the scooped vegetables

Traditionally you would sprinkle some breadcrumbs and cheese over the vegetables before baking them in the oven until tender. We don’t have an oven, but you can make do with two cooking pots.
1. Arrange the stuffed vegetables in the smaller cooking pot
2. Place the larger pot on the stovetop/camp stove with a small about of water
3. Put the smaller pot inside the larger pot so it is kept afloat by the water
4. Apply heat so the water boils/simmers and conducts heat to the smaller pot
5. Cover with a lid and cook until the vegetables are tender (vegetables like tomato and zucchini will cook a quicker and are probably better suited to this camping approach)
6. You may have to add additional water during the ‘baking’

From GAStronomy Cyprus


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