Cyprus

Okay world, I have gotten enough requests to keep this blog going that I am going to make one more attempt to catch up.  It has been seven (!) months since my last post on here, and I am 32 (!!!) countries behind.

Waaay back in November, we excitedly made it to Cyprus.  It is always exciting to get to a European country…  different enough from American food to be interesting, fairly accessible ingredients, and a lot of good recipes and options.

Pourgouri (recipe)

This was a great twist on the startchy side dish and was somewhat reminiscent of (but better than) the Uncle Ben’s, Rice-a-roni, etc. rice mixes that Tyler and I have both eaten many times.  Sautéed some onion in oil, add bulgur (a new grain to us!) and vermicilli (or in this case, angel hair pasta…although we have since found the “nests” of vermicelli at our grocery store), add water and seasonings, and let it do its thing for 40 minutes.  At this point, I have no recollection of what “seasonings” we used, although in re-making/re-imagining this dish since the first time we made it, we have thrown in whatever herbs/spices sound good or are on hand.

The next step is to remove the pan from the heat, cover with a towel, and let it stand for 10 minutes to cook to perfection.  We have not yet mastered this step, and usually end up spending more time with it on the heat.

Before cooking:

pourgouri_uncooked

After cooking:

pourgouri

Afelia (recipe)

This one was pretty easy–brown some pork, then slow cook it with red wine and crushed coriander seeds.  Lots of color, lots of flavor.

Here it is before the long simmer:

afelia_1

And again after cooking, served with the pourgouri:

Cypriot_meal

Pink Pomegranate Pavlova (recipe)

I suppose the one good thing about getting so far behind on the blog is that I get to rediscover some of the things I forgot we made, like this one!  This dessert was really interesting and new to us… beat together ingredients like egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar, corn starch, etc. to get a thick batter (is that the right word?).

pavlova_batter

This was glopped out into for circles on parchment paper:

pavlolva_before_cooking

Then baked:

pavlova_after_cooking

I haven’t made or eaten meringue before, but I think this was a pretty similar idea?

Meanwhile, we made the pomegranate syrup.  Pomegranates were in season, we procured the juice by running a bunch of pomegranate seeds through the food mill.  It was a messy and time-consuming endeavor.  In the end, the syrup, homemade whipped cream, and a few pomegranate seeds were artistically drizzled on top of the pavlovas.

pink_pomegranate_pavlova

The verdict?

Delicious. The afelia and pourgouri were delicious, and as I alluded to above, the pourgouri has had several repeat performances.  We’ve made the second variant on the linked recipe, which adds tomatoes, and I think we added beans a different time for a vegetarian meal.  This has become one of our favorites… it has such a thick, rich consistency and flavor to it.

If I remember correctly, my only complaint with this meal was that the cut of pork was fairly fatty–I think I would use a pork tenderloin cut into medallions if I made it again.

The pink pomegranate pavlova was also great, although it was extremely sweet!  I would say it bordered on too-sweet-to-handle territory for me, so I would probably make smaller portions if I made it again.