Whilst on holiday in Greece, I was fortunate enough to assist a cooking lesson by the local chef, Vassilis. During the lesson he showed us how to make five traditional Cretan dishes, including the famous rice-stuffed tomatoes, known as 'Gemista'.
20 large tomatoes
2 potatoes (peeled)
1 large onion
2 small aubergines
3 handfuls of parboiled rice
1 bunch of mint
1. Wash the tomatoes and cut the top off almost completely, so it forms a lid. Using a spoon remove the tomato pulp and place it in a large bowl. Repeat for all 20 tomatoes.
2. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the tomato pulp, leaving it in the bowl.
3. Grate the potatoes, courgettes, carrots and aubergines in the same way, all in the bowl.
4. Grate the onion and add it to the mix.
5. Add salt, pepper and olive oil and mix, using your hands. Add the mint, roughly chopped.
6. Add the rice to the bowl and mix everything well, the mix should appear quite liquid. Cover and place to rest for 30 mins.
7. Fill each tomato to the top with the mix and close them. Place them in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and cover with tin foil.
8. Roast in the over for 40 minutes.
These mouth-watering bruschette were just one of the many Portuguese delicacies I had the pleasure of discovering during my recent road trip through Porto, Coimbra and Lisbon. They're quick and easy to make, and trust me, everyone loves them.
1 can of sardines
3 garlic cloves
1 handful of parsley
2 sun dried tomatoes
3 cherry tomatoes
3 slices of large bread
1. Cut the slices of large bread into 2 or 3 (depending on the size of the bread) and place onto a baking tray. Turn the oven onto 180 degrees and add the bread. Remove from the oven after 3 minutes and rub each slice with a peeled garlic clove. Flip the bread and place back in the oven for 3 more minutes.
2. Turn off the oven and rub the garlic over the remaining side of the bread. Set aside.
3. Chop the parsley finely and place it in a bowl, add two tablespoons of olive oil.
4. Cut the sun dried tomatoes finely and do the same with the fresh tomatoes. Add them to the bowl with the parsley.
5. Peel the two remaining garlic cloves and dice them very finely, alternatively you can puree them. Add to the bowl.
6. Add a pinch of salt and mix all the ingredients together, making sure they are well combined, adding more olive oil if necessary.
7. Open the can of sardines, and start removing the scales and the head.
8. Place a teaspoon of mixture on each slice of bread, top with one or two chunks of sardine on each. Add a drop of olive oil on each slice and serve.