Highlights From the Summer of ’17
Kalliopi Kitchen 78 written by Karen Watts
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It has been a while since I contributed to the VLK & Kalliopi Kitchen Blog. This summer I have been too busy eating!!
During 2017’s summer we have experienced some fabulous food, drink and restaurants.
A restaurant in the Old Town that I cannot recommend highly enough is Marco Polo. It is necessary to book in advance but, trust me, it is an experience not to be missed. On the beautiful cobbled alleyway of Faniourou the restaurant is situated in the courtyard of a traditional medieval house which is now Marco Polo “Mansion”. All of the original features of the house have been lovingly restored, the Italian tile floors are worth a visit alone, but the courtyard is the feature, with a small water feature and tables tucked away underneath vines, this is an oasis from the bustle of the outside world. I chose the Lamb Chops and Chris had the Tagliatelle of Beef. Both perfectly cooked, stunningly simple but special and reasonably priced given the service and environment. The Chocolate Cake dessert was to die for! Even Chris, who never eats dessert, partook and enjoyed.
Another restaurant you will need to book in advance for is Valantina’s in Lardos. Situated just to the side of the main square, Valantina’s is always busy and rightly so as they have been producing modern Greek cuisine for nearly two generations at a standard that is higher than most. I can totally recommend the slow cooked Pancetta, braised in Honey – melt in the mouth gorgeous and of course the steaks and ribs which regulars have adored for years.
This summer’s favourite cocktails have been the Mexican Border at Flaws in Rhodes New Town – Flaws is owned by Andreas from Tamam, which we have written about before, and is in my opinion one of the most fabulous bars in town. When your hosts, Pete & Phil, are in town we never miss the opportunity to partake in a few very naughty libations. In Phil’s case this is generally something very pink with marshmallows on the side. With their Mojitos, which taste like no other Mojito on the island, they serve dried Kiwifruits – it may sound crazy but it works. The Mexican Border, a favourite of both mine and Pete is a stunning concoction of Tequila and Passionfruit. This is definitely a bar to work your way through the entire cocktail menu.
And speaking of Mojitos, Lee Beach in Pefkos have a gorgeous new bar person this year. Watching Nikos, a true professional, work is a joy, but drinking his cocktails is even more fabulous. Apparently what makes his Mojitos better than most is the fact that he squeezes extra lime juice into the mix (rather than just a few slices thrown into the glass) which gives a whole new dimension to my favourite cocktail.
It’s also been a great summer here on Rodos for fruit. This season’s apricots were the sweetest and most delicious yet. A new variety of grape has been on the markets – it appears to be a hybrid of green and red grapes but has a flavour that hints of blackberries beneath the grape taste. Yummy!
As many of you know, the streets of Rhodes New Town are lined with orange trees, this year I noticed a phenomenon I have not seen before – Tomatoes growing in the earth around the Orange trees. The ones closest to our house I have tended throughout the summer and we have had a wonderful crop of “wild” tomatoes.
Amongst other things, I have made three fabulous but simple discoveries this summer.
The first courtesy of Michele Patalas, formerly of Bonito’s Restaurant & Gallery, Lime Yogurt. So? you may say, what’s so special about that? Try it – 500gr Greek Yogurt with the zest and juice of two limes. It is lush – it works on it’s own, it works with fruit, meat, fish, in fact just about anything benefits from the addition of lime yogurt. Thanks Mikki.
The second – Nirvana’s Waves Of Pleasure Ice Cream. I can’t get enough!
And finally, Goggakez on the main Rodos – Lindos Road. Although it opened in 2016 I had not visited. It is literally one giant freezer inside a large hangar containing all the fabulous things, that occasionally, foodie ex-pats crave: New Zealand Lamb, English Duck, Suckling Pig – wear a jacket and check it out.
To finish off here are a few recipes utilising some of the fabulous food we have been lucky enough to consume over this hottest of summers.
As many of you know the only good time to purchase Rodian lamb is in the Spring. While I was craving for a taste of my homeland, Chris was desperate for a curry. So we trooped off to Goggakez and purchased two boneless legs of New Zealand lamb.
Karen’s Lamb Curry
1 tbsp Nut Oil
1 tbsp Prashad’s Garam Masala ( http://www.prashad.co.uk/ )
4 Cardomom Pods
4 Allspice Berries
2 Bay Leaves
A small handful each of Coriander & Mustard Seeds
1/2 a Boneless Leg of Lamb, cubed
1 Large Potato, peeled and cubed
2 cm Piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 Large Onion, peeled and sliced
3 Radishes, quartered
700 ml Garlic Broth (recipe below)
1 tsp Flour mixed with a little water
Heat the oil in a large pot or pan and add the spices, taking care with the coriander and mustard seeds as they “pop”. When the spice aroma hits you, about 2 -3 minutes, add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the potato, radishes and garlic broth and simmer for 35 minutes. Add the flour and water and cook over a high heat till the sauce thickens and reduces slightly. Serve with wild rice and salad.
1 Head of Garlic
56 gr Miso
675 ml Vegetable Stock (preferably home made)
675 ml Water
Preheat your oven to 200℃.
Cut off the stem end of the garlic head, break into cloves and peel. Bake the garlic on an unoiled plate or roasting dish for 15 minutes – they should be golden but not browned. In a blender purée the roasted garlic, miso and water. Gently heat the vegetable stock and add the garlic and miso mixture. Stir to blend.
Home Country Summer Lamb
2 tbsp Sunflower Oil
2 Lamb Steaks, taken from a boneless Leg of Lamb
3 Leeks, sliced
1 tbsp Plain Flour
150 ml Rosé wine
300 ml Chicken Stock, preferably home made
1 tbsp Tomato Purée
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Fresh Mint, chopped plus 1 Large Handful of Fresh Mint
4 Apricots, stoned and quartered
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until soft. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Stir in the tomato purée, sugar and chopped mint and season to taste.
Cover and simmer gently while you boil potatoes and fry or grill the lamb chops to your taste.
Serve the lamb with the boiled potatoes covered in butter, the leek and mint mixture and garnish with the quartered apricots and sprigs of fresh mint.
Stuffed Pork Loin
350 gr Steamed Rice
3 – 5 Cherry Tomatoes, finely chopped
400 – 500 gr Piece of Boned Pork Loin
2 tsp Ground Ginger
A Little Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3 tbsp Flour
600 ml Meat Stock, preferably home made
100 ml Cream
1 dsp Honey
100 ml White Wine
Preheat your oven to 190℃.
In a bowl mix the cooked rice and tomatoes until well combined.
Lay the pork loin on a flat surface, cover with baking paper and bash it flat with a rolling pin. In a small bowl combine the olive oil with the salt, pepper and 1 tsp of ground ginger. Brush the pork loin with the oil mix and rub into the flesh. Lay the rice and tomato mixture down the centre of the loin. Roll the meat around the mixture and tie with string. Roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
When the meat is cooked place on a heated serving dish and keep warm.
Over a direct heat add the wine to the roasting dish, bring to the boil and scrape all the goodness up, add the flour, stir and cook gently until slightly browned. Simmer until the gravy is reduced by about a third, then whisk in the cream, honey and another teaspoon of ground ginger. When the sauce is smooth and thick, pour over the pork. Serve with crunchy roasted potatoes.
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Karen Watts 14/10/2017
Photography by Chris Watts – https://galleryfoodphotography.net/
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