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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Cypriot Soutzoukos or Sucuk Recipe

Soutzoukos or Sucuk is a traditional Cypriot sweet which has been  made in villages for generations. This grape must roll is usually made between August and October when local white grapes are at their best.

There are numerous recipes and some include rosewater or other flavourings but the following is a basic village recipe using locally grown almonds and grapes which will makes 10 lengths of  sucuk which are 1.5 meters in length. (these measurements can never be totally accurate as they depend on the thickness of your mixture and the thickness of each sucuk sausage) If you want to make a smaller batch just simply reduce the ingredients to the level required.

To make sucuk you will need a large pan (a preserving pan used for jam making is ideal); 20-30 meters of doubled or crochet cotton and a strong needle.

You will need the following ingredients:

500 grams of almonds
5 kg of white (preferably seedless) grapes which are washed and pressed to obtain about 4.5 liters of juice
20-25 grams of calcium hydroxide (can be purchased at 500 grams for about £4)
2.25 cups of flour

Step 1 - Soak in almonds in water for 60-90 minutes. Thread the almonds lengthwise onto a 1.5 meter cotton leaving about 1 cm between each almond. You will need about 50 almonds per 1.5 meter length. Once threaded hang in a warm and airy room to dry.

Step 2 - Add the calcium hydroxide to 4.5 liters of grape juice in a large pan and stir till dissolved, gradually bring to the boil whilst stirring occasionally. The calcium hydroxide acts to release impurities as a froth which can be skimmed off the surface.

Step 3 - Allow the mixture to cool slightly before gradually mixing in the flour until it is fully dissolved. The mixture is then cooked, whilst stirring frequently to stop it burning on the bottom of the pan, for about an hour until it starts to thicken.

Step 4 - Once cooled slightly, fold each 1.5 meter length of threaded almonds in half (into a U shape to make dipping easier) and dip into the mixture a few times until coated. Hang to dry on hooks attached to a broom handle over some newspaper to catch drips for about 20 minutes. Repeat until all 10 lengths have been dipped.

Step 5 - After at least 20 minutes re-heat the mixture whilst stirring and repeat the process to thicken each length. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes and repeat the process once more. Any mixture left over can be poured into a shallow pan, cut into squares and cooled to enjoy as a snack.

Step 6 - Allow the sucuk to thoroughly dry for 5-7 days after which it is ready to enjoy. Keep in an airtight container for 3-4 months in the fridge or freeze and remove for thawing as needed

Monday, 6 July 2015

Fried aubergine with yoghurt dressing

A lovely dish to cook when aubergines are in season.

Ingredients: 4 medium sized aubergines, olive oil. For the yogurt dressing: 500 grams of yoghurt and 2 crushed garlic cloves.

Cut off the stems of the aubergines and peel. Cut into 1 cm thick slices and sprinkle with salt. Leave for about an hour, covered with netting, in the sun to drain off bitter juices. Rinse off the salt and dry.

Heat enough oil in a frying pan to fry until browning. Once browned on all sides, remove and drain off any excess oil.

Beat the yoghurt with the crushed garlic until creamy.

Serve the fried aubergine cold with the yoghurt dressing, Delicious with some crusty bread.