Cypriot Lentil dish with side salad
Pasteli (honey and sesame bars)
Cypriot lentil dish – Fakes
500g brown lentils (17–18 ounces)
5 cups of water
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste (optional)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
To prepare this Greek lentil soup recipe, start by washing the lentils thoroughly and let them soak in water for about 2 hours. If you like, you can skip this process by adding them into a deep pan along with some water and place over high heat. As soon as they come to the boil, drain them into a colander.
Place a pan over medium-low heat and add the lentils, the water (warmed), the chopped onions, the chopped garlic and the bay leaves. Simmer with the lid on for about 25 minutes.
Pour in the olive oil and the red wine vinegar, and season well with salt and pepper. If you prefer your Greek lentil soup to be ‘reddened’, then add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
Boil the lentil soup for another 15 minutes, until it thickens and check out if they are done; keep in my mind that different kinds of lentils cook at different times.
Serve this delicious Greek lentil soup with a splash of red wine vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil. Top with some crumbled feta cheese and enjoy!
220g honey (7.5 oz.)
220g sesame seeds (7.5 oz.)
a pinch of salt
zest of 1 medium sized lemon
To prepare this Greek honey sesame bars (Pasteli) recipe start by toasting the sesame seeds. Place a frying pan over high heat and add the sesame seeds. Toast them for 2-3 minutes until golden (not too brown). Remove the sesame seeds from the pan and set aside. Continue with the rest of the recipe quickly, so that the sesame seeds remain hot. Alternatively you can spread the sesame seeds in a pan and toast them in the oven at 180-190C (375F).
In the same pan add the honey and bring to a boil, until it starts to foam. Remove the foam using a spatula, turn down the heat to medium and let it simmer until its temperature has reached 125C/260F. If you don’t have a thermometer, take a bowl of cold water and drip in a teaspoon of the honey syrup. Let it cool down for a few seconds then shape it into a small ball using your fingers. Take it out of the water and drop it on your work surface. If it sounds like it is solid, the honey syrup is done.
Its now time to add the remaining ingredients for your pasteli. Add a pinch of salt and the toasted sesame seeds and stir for about 10 minutes over medium heat, using a wooden spatula. The mixture should thicken considerably and stick to the spatula.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon zest and stir.
Line a round pan (22cm/ 8.5 inch. diameter) with parchment paper and pour in the mixture. Be careful not to touch it, as it is very hot. Spread the mixture very well using a spoon.
Let the pasteli cool down for about 20 minutes and them cut into portions. If you let it cool completely then it would be harder to cut into pieces.
500g pumpkins or squashes deseeded and cut into chunks
flavourless vegetable oil or sunflower oil, for tossing
plain flour, for dusting
350g sweet shortcrust pastry (we used Jus-Rol, which is vegan)
50ml maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
3 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Toss the pumpkin (or squash) in a little oil on a baking tray. Roast until soft enough to squash with the back of a fork – this can take between 40 mins and 1 hr, depending on the type of pumpkin or squash you use. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Drape it over your rolling pin and lift into a 23cm fluted tart tin. Push the pastry into the corners of the tin using a scrap of excess pastry (you’re less likely to pierce the pastry this way than using a finger). Trim the excess pastry, leaving about 1cm hanging over the edge of the tin; it will shrink as it cooks. Chill for 20 mins.
Increase the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line the tart case with a sheet of baking parchment (scrunch it up first to make it more pliable), then fill with baking beans or dry rice. Bake for 15 mins until the sides look golden, then remove the parchment and filling. Bake for another 5-10 mins until the base looks biscuity and dry. Trim the edges with a small, serrated knife.
Tip the roasted pumpkin (or squash), maple syrup, salt, spices, cornflour and milk into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a small pan and cook for 5 mins, stirring continuously, until thickened.
Fill the tart case with the pumpkin filling, then return to the oven and lower the heat to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Bake for 30 mins until the filling is set when you wobble the tart tin. Cool for 20-25 mins. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm, or chill and serve within two days.