Suvlaki Moussaka

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Suvlaki Moussaka

 Suvlaki, a Greek restaurant in Soho that is working with Michelin-starred chef Alfred Prasad, has created a bestselling moussaka using courgette, black quinoa, Mastelo cheese and slices of aubergine, served with rich tomato & garlic moussaka sauce
Easy Aubergine Recipes

§ Ingredients
(serves four)
4 large aubergines
200g Mastelo cheese
1 courgette
50g black quinoa
2 tbsp olive oil
Few sprigs of parsley

(for the sauce:)
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp capers
400 g chopped tomato (tins)
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp paprika powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
1⁄2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp wild oregano (reserve some as garnish)

§ Method
For the easy Moussaka sauce: In a saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté the chopped garlic and bay leaves, saute over low heat for a couple of minutes; add the chilli flakes and paprika, sauté for 30 seconds. Throw in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and wild oregano and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, add the capers and salt. Check seasoning and set aside.

For the aubergine rolls: Pre-heat a BBQ/ grill. In a saucepan; add the quinoa and 2 parts of water, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 15-20 mins (until most of the water has evaporated). Transfer to a shallow bowl and leave aside.

Trim the top and bottom of the aubergines and cut lengthwise into 5mm thick slabs; trim the ends of the courgette and cut into 5mm thick slices (again discarding the skin on both ends). Grill the slices without oil, for a couple of minutes on each side and set aside.

To prepare the rolls: trim the cheese into 5mm thick slices and then again into 5mm thick batons. Drizzle olive oil on a sheet of baking paper over a flat surface, place the slices of aubergine on it and spread a thin layer of the moussaka sauce on the slices (discard any bay leaves). Sprinkle the cooked quinoa over the sauce and place a slice of courgette topped with a baton of mastelo cheese at one end of the aubergine slices, sprinkle with salt and roll. Stack the rolls with the loose end underneath to hold in shape.

Double over sheets of kitchen foil into approximately 8”x10” rectangles. Place a spoonful of moussaka sauce on the foil sheets and arrange 4-5 rolls per portion. Fold over and seal the ends into individual parcels and re-heat on the BBQ/Grill for about 8 minutes or until heated through.

§ To serve
Pierce the parcels away from you to release any steam, carefully open the parcels and lift the rolls onto a serving plate. Top-up with any remaining moussaka sauce and serve garnished with wild oregano and a few sprigs of parsley.

Click HERE for more cookery ideas

Food Adventure South Wales

Last Word: Adventure!

Food Adventure South WalesThe Taster publishes a regular final interview with a character in the foodie world; in our last issue, this was Carol Adams, founder of Food Adventure South Wales. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Carol spent many years traversing the globe before finally settling in the UK — but, never one to put her feet up, she soon got busy setting up her foodie experiences company: it now attracts visitors from the USA and Europe as well as the rest of the UK. Here’s her story:

“Food has always been a passion  in my life but never a career until now. I grew up in the Bronx, New York, but my original career (in finance and social regeneration) brought me to live and travel in many countries, from the US to France, Israel, West Africa and South America. I’ve always had hobbies around food: in the Bahamas, I was director of a wine & food society; in New Orleans, I organised culinary tours; and over here (earlier this year) I cooked gumbo on ITV’s cookery show Mel and Sue.

I always tried to get to know a country through its food. I loved going to markets; whenever I saw someone buying an ingredient I was curious about, I asked them how they cooked with it. This often led to invitations to come home and cook along with the family! — In this way, I developed extensive knowledge of various cuisines.

When I moved to Wales 10 years ago, I was astounded by the quality of the local food — but also by how little known it was. My husband, Mark, started a food blog (Corpulent Capers) about local restaurants, and persuaded me to start writing about food producers. If I discovered something I loved, I’d go to the producer’s farm or site to learn what made their produce so special.

The blogs were great successes. Mark and I became part of a virtual ‘food community’ and often, my readers would say ‘Oh, I’d love to go with you the next time you visit a producer’.  Thus the idea for Food Adventure was born.

Once I had the idea, I met with food producers, devised tours and set up the website.  In 2014, the first tour for paying guests was ‘A Wonderful Welsh Wine Adventure’. This was a full-day minibus tour of two vineyards in Monmouthshire with a five-course lunch. Up until this point I had no idea if any one would buy a ticket or not! You have no idea how much I celebrated when I sold the first ticket! People came from all over Wales, and also from Bristol. It was a success!

I invited the press and key partners to my official launch. We learnt about dairy farming and ethical rose veal at a Welsh dairy farm followed by a cooking demo and lunch at an award-winning tapas restaurant.

I’ve now used my knowledge of food in Wales to create many unique outings, and I have guests from as far away as London and the US. I offer ‘Tipple Adventures’ for those interested in drinks; or dining adventures for those who want to discover a great restaurant. People can learn skills, such as making bacon or preserves, from award-winning artisan producers; or more general cooking with top chefs, cooks — and myself! In our foraging adventures, farm visits and walks, people can discover beautiful scenery and historical places as well as great food. It has all been a great Adventure!”

To book a tour or class, see foodadventure.co.uk or, if you would like a more bespoke experience, ring Carol on 07542 689608.

Food Adventure South WalesCarol recently also started contributing ideas to The Taster’s seasonal notes (ideas for cooking using seasonal ingredients). To read the full seasonal notes in our printed magazine, subscribe here.

Pure Sauce 4.12.14

The other day I mentioned that food at a feast can become merely a garnish, or sauce, to its more important social side. This morning, I have mostly been  considering sauciness.

The word sauce (and salsa) comes from Latin, sal, meaning salt. Sauce, salt, pepper and spice can all mean piquancy in things other than food (eg “a peppery old man;” “spice things up;” “a salty sense of humour” etc). But saucy has a complicated past. It dates back to 1530 and the idea of sauce-malapert. A Life of Sir Thomas More contains this quote: “He fell to scoffing and saucy jesting . . . using nothing throughout the said answer, but the fourth figure of rhetorick called sauce-malapert.” Saucy and scoffing (which itself has the double meaning of jeering or eating) are also in there; but both seem to indicate impudence, rather than merely being cheeky; while a malapert person was simply insolent. (Two centuries later, Jane Austen wrote frostily of “a pert young lawyer.”)

Around 1600, Shakespeare got as much out of the word sauce as he possibly could (we expect nothing less). One of the murderous conspirators in Julius Caesar has a rude, abrasive manner, which the ringleader Cassius describes as “a sauce to his good wit, which gives men stomach to digest his words with better appetite.” Shakespeare uses saucy in the same play, incidentally, which some of the nobler characters use to admonish their inferiors. It’s a little difficult to tell, in this day and age, whether the saucy cobbler’s terrible jokes are actually supposed to be funny; but when Brutus shouts, ‘Get thee hence! Thou saucy fellow, hence!’ he is clearly not amused but seriously annoyed.

For most of its history, saucy has held a note of disapproval at people not knowing their place in life. But gradually it has become associated less with obnoxious men and class distinctions, and more with flirty women. Not so long ago, the admonishment, ‘Pure sauce!’ or ‘Saucy!’ was still regularly applied to cheeky maids or girls, and famously appeared on picture postcards. But by the time of the Carry On films, saucy could mean any attractive woman, rather than a serving wench — and indeed, women could exclaim ‘Saucy!’ with their own undertone of disapproval (or, alternatively, welcome) at pursuing men.

Saucy crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the USA, but suffered a sea change on the way to become “sassy.” Sassy lost its sexy connotations and is often applied to cheeky children (‘Don’t you give me none of your sass!'”; it has also become a verb (‘He’s really sassing her!’)

This post has turned into a bit of an essay. Feel free to comment and contradict! – Pass the sauce.