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Greek Tomato and Feta Bread (65p)

Another Greek recipe from Giota Nikolau at faghta-giagias.blogspot.com, this one a more-or-less direct copy. It is a simple bread recipe with olive oil added, plus sun-dried tomato and feta cheese. Using the tomato and feta did ramp the price up a bit, but cheaper alternatives could be found. The dough had to rise three times, so adding cooking time to this, it is not a quick one to prepare, but the results are very satisfying.

Ingredients:

001

  • 250g plain wholemeal flour.
  • 250g plain white flour.
  • 1 heaped teaspoon dried yeast.
  • 1 flat desert spoon sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (normal or extra-virgin).
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 100ml luke warm milk.
  • 200ml (teacup) warm water.
  • Handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine.
  • 80g feta cheese crumbled into small pieces.

How to make it:

Into a one bowl I put the yeast, half the luke warm water, the sugar and about 3 tablespoons of flour, mixing it to the consistency of porridge. Covered with a dry cloth and left aside of 15 minutes. The purpose of this is to wake the yeast up (‘activating’ the yeast).

001A

I put the rest of the flour and salt into another bowl and mixed it all together, then added the olive oil and yeast ‘porridge’ – I found using a simple metal desert spoon best to mix things together. Kept adding splashes of the warm water until it was a firm dough. (If it gets too sticky, sprinkle in more flour.) Kneaded this for 10 minutes, then left it in an olive-oil-greased bowl (stops it sticking to the sides) in a warm spot for 60 minutes to rise.

bowl

Divided into 4 pieces and rolled these into mini-baguette shapes each with a groove into which I dropped the tomato and feta filling, pressing it into the dough. Pinch the tops together and kneaded each roll for a couple of minutes.

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After this, set them aside for a further 60 minutes to re-rise, then baked in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes.

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Cost:

Something like 50p a roll. Toasted, buttered, and with a sliced tomato or cheese on top (and not forgetting electricity and washing-up costs), a meal for around 65p.

As a Greek-style bread recipe (i.e. with the olive oil, but no tomato/feta filling), would be 15p a roll.

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Traditional Greek Pizza (41p)

Kimolos mapPizza Ladeniaίτσα λαδένια, pronounced something like “PEET-sa la-THEN-ee-a”) has been produced on the island of Kimolos in the western Aegean Sea since medieval times. It is claimed to be the origin of the modern pizza, later developed, of course, by the Italians and which is now consumed the world over.

Whether Italian cooks really got the idea from Greece or were just developing traditions found throughout the Mediterranean is open to debate, but the Greeks are very proud of their own, more ancient version.

The main difference between traditional Greek and modern Italian-style pizzas is that the former is rich in olive-oil and baked slowly in a high-sided tray or pan, while the latter is a less oily creation rapidly roasted on a dry hot plate or oven shelf and which first appeared in Naples about the year 1800. The origin of the name, ‘pizza‘ is lost in time, but probably originally simply meant ‘bread’ or ‘bite of food’, while ‘ladenia‘ is derived from the Greek words for oil (‘lathi‘) and olive (‘elia‘).

Acknowledgments to Giota Nikolau at faghta-giagias.blogspot.com for this. In the photo below there are three tomatoes and two onions, but when I came to chop them up I found I needed one less of each.

2018-03-19A Pizza ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • Cup of warm water
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A dozen chopped olives
  • Dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Method

In a bowl add half the warm water, yeast, sugar, two tablespoons of flour and mix it all together. Cover and leave to rise for 15 minutes. Doesn’t need to be anywhere especially warm – mine rose very happily in a coldish kitchen. Stir in thoroughly the remaining flour and water to make a firm dough and knead this for 10 minutes.

2018-03-19C Kneading

If it came out right it shouldn’t be sticking to your hands of fingers while you’re doing this. If it is too sticky, add pinches of flour until it is right. After kneading, put it back in the bowl, cover and leave for a further ½ hour to rise again.

2018-03-19D Bases

Flatten and stretch out the dough moderately thinly into one large or two small pizza base shapes. Press the sliced tomato, onion and olives on top and drizzle olive oil over them – traditionally this was quite an oily creation! Sprinkle on some dried oregano with some salt and ground pepper. I’m normally anti-salt, but this definitely benefits from it.

2018-03-19E Drizzled

Bake in a lipped dish or tray, lined with a generous smear of olive oil, for 20-30 minutes at 180C (all depends on how efficient your oven is, might need a little longer). Important to used a lipped dish or tray because otherwise the olive oil will run off and burn on the bottom of the oven. The pizza is cooked when it is browning all over and not flexible when lifted.

2018-03-19F Cooked.jpg

Cost: This made two pizzas, each quite filling, and could happily have been shared between four people. The price per meal was therefore (assuming 4 people each with a mug of tea, and including electricity and washing up costs) … 41p.

I found I’d made mine a bit too thick – would have been better flattened to under 1cm height when making the pizza bases. Also might add a sprinkle of bacon bits or shreds of ham next time, but important to remember that originally this was everyday, filling food, not a fancy treat like modern pizza.

Pheasant (or any meat) Tortilla Wrap (78p)

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Simple, quick and tasty. This is my fourth ‘101 things to do with a dead pheasant‘ dish, but would work with any suitable meat – chicken, pulled pork or lean, thin-cut beef for example.

  • 1 tortilla wrap.
  • 75 g meat.
  • Salad.
  • Horseradish (or ‘creamed horseradish’)
  • Mayonnaise.
  • All-purpose seasoning.

First the sauce – a generous desert-spoonful each of horseradish and mayonnaise, well-mixed together. Got this simple idea from an episode of Man v. Food. Not a recipe for the waistline, this one.

Broke/cut the meat into thin pieces and fried in olive oil with a generous sprinkle of all-purpose seasoning. I’d already prepared the salad – a ‘peppery leaf salad’ picked up for a few pence from the Tesco end-of-the-day shelf – broken up into bite-size pieces.

Microwaved the tortilla for 10 seconds and smothered one half with the sauce, adding salad, meat and rest of the sauce.

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Keeping it all contained when rolling up is a bit of a trick. A flat spatula is a big help. Have to do this reasonably quickly while the tortilla is still warm as it goes more rigid, keeping the filling secure, once cooler.

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A pleasing, tasty and very filling result which can also be eaten cold. Price depends on where one gets the ingredients. This as a meal (pricing for chicken rather than pheasant), including electricity, cup of tea, etc., cost me 78p, but with careful buying of ingredients could be closer to 50p.

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Cheese on toast (22p)

The next few posts are ones originally posted on my Facebook page, which I’m going to copy to Cooking for Nothing so it’s easier for me (and others) to find them. This means there’ll be several posts in rapid succession – apologies if this temporarily floods anyone’s email inbox or blog reader with my recipes, but it’ll only happen this once.


Two slices of homemade bread (click here for recipe) with a sprinkle of grated cheese and cup of tea – a meal for 22p.

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Savoury mushroom pancakes (23p)

The meal

The ingredients:

  • 120 g plain flour
  • 2 eggs (small or medium)
  • 210 ml milk
  • 90 ml water
  • 1 tbs cooking oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 300 g mushrooms
  • Small red onion (or half a big one!)
  • salt and pepper – grated peppercorns, not the fine powdery stuff.

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Mix the flour and salt, mix in the eggs, add the milk and water, kept mixing until it is smooth. Then leave it for half-an-hour while you cook the other bits.

Fine-chop the onion and fry until it is soft and put it on one side. Thin-slice the mushrooms and pile them into the pan.

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Cook on a medium heat (i.e., if your dials read the typical 1-6, cook on 3). The moisture comes out of them and they cook in their own juices until they’ve shrunk to about one-third of the original volume. When the pan starts to dry and some of the mushrooms start browning they’re done. Mix the onion back in.

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Now for the pancakes! Stir the tablespoon of oil into the pancake mix. You don’t need any oil in the pan, just get it really hot, add a small ladle-full of the mixture (about 70 ml to be pedantic) and off you go. Have a go at tossing the things to turn them over. The occasional one does end up on the deck or concertinas itself up in the pan, but that’s all part of the fun. I find each pancake takes about three minutes. Makes six, less casualties.

tossing

The frying pan’s the important thing – got to be in good condition. Don’t put up with one that’s losing its non-stickiness, bin it and get a new one.

Spoon the mushroom-onion mix along one side of each pancake and roll the things up. Eat immediately or reheat in the frying pan – I like them best this way, browned on either side and slightly crispy – and with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I’ve even eaten them cold.

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Two with a cup of tea and a wedge of good bread makes a meal for 23p.

There’s always variations: could add some bacon bits, or alternatively cook the mushrooms with a good shake of all-purpose seasoning, although this takes away the essence of the dish – that you can taste the mushrooms.

Zapiekanka (76p)

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For each serving:

  • Half a baguette
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 50g grated cheese

Zapiekanka (plural zapiekanki) is the archetypical street food sold all over Poland. Simple, filling (with good quality bread) and tasty. A small bread stick halved and buttered, with a layer of cooked mushrooms, some grated cheese on top and then grilled.

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I fried the mushrooms well, reducing them down on a medium heat until all the water had bubbled off. Don’t worry about the pan looking too full, the volume shrinks down like magic, leaving them with a rich flavour compared to the British habit of only half-cooking mushrooms. Sprinkled with cheese and grilled until it started browning. Zapiekanki are typically topped with ketchup, but I prefer a pinch of seasoning.

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This is the most basic version. One could elaborate at will, say with onion, bacon bits or capers, though this might upset purists – the food originated during the lean years of Communist rule. Mushrooms were always cheap or free, with people scouring the woodlands for them each autumn, just as they do today in this much afforested country.

I used Tesco ‘Everyday Value’ cheese, loose mushrooms and the cheapest baguettes. The cost of the meal, including electricity and cup of tea: 76p …  a little more than I’d expected, but at least under my £1 target.


Footnote: Looking out of the window while cooking, could see a rather impressive 22⁰ degree halo round the moon this night.

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