The weekend's a time when I sometimes get the opportunity to cook something different or fun, a change from the quick and easy routine of weeknights. Come and see what I've been up to this weekend...
When I was pregnant with our middle child (little girl) I had a fad on making dolmades. I remember rolling up a batch around her due date and commenting to my mum that this may be the last lot I'd make for quite a while, as they are so time consuming to roll and life would be busier soon...
Three years later, and I finally made them again yesterday. In the heatwave we'd been experiencing (finally over now!) we'd all been lying around the house lethargically, but I was dying to do something a little creative while the baby was napping and the girls were watching a movie. Also, there was a big tub of my thick natural yoghurt sitting in the fridge waiting to be used. It would make a great yoghurt garlic sauce to go with dolmades... I couldn't resist.
If you're not familiar with these strange looking little parcels of goodness, they are basically a rice mixture rolled in cured vine leaves and cooked. They are often served as part of a banquet or feast, as finger finger food, or as an entree. As with many foods, different countries and regions of those countries have their own versions. I think the vegetable version is perfect vegetarian food - fresh, interesting flavours, nourishing and tasty. I'm no expert, but this recipe is to my taste: it includes pine nuts, fresh herbs and lemon. It's got it all.
I used the last of the lovely little home grown shallots given to us by family (a vegetable previously underrated by me).
And after all the preparation of stuffing and rolling, here is my saucepan of goodies. Mmmm. Now the challenge is to not eat them all too quickly!
* If you are looking for vine leaves, I generally buy mine in a glass jar - they are rolled and preserved in brine. They also sometimes come vaccuum sealed in plastic packs and are available from delicatessans or specialty greek or middle eastern shops.