Olive Tapenade and Muhumarra


Two lovely, zingy Mediterranean dips…. superb with hot Pitta or a fresh Baguette, as a snack or with some salad a light meal.  With the three other “dips” of my June 10th Post (Hommous, Moutabal (smoky aubergine dip) and Skordalia (Garlic Sauce), you have a delectable quintet of buffet or party openers.

Houmos, salad, bread, wine

Tapenade of Black Olives and Garlic

This is a Provençale dip that is ideal for summer, as the basis for a light lunch or part of a buffet table. The only part that bugs me, with my clumsy fingers, is shelling the lightly-boiled eggs!


100 g of pitted black olives (preferably Kalamata)
50 g unsalted almonds, skins on, chopped
2 soft boiled eggs (2 minutes), cooled and shelled
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp wine vinegar (Balsamic for preference)
1 tbsp of thick chicken stock (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of tarragon
Salt and pepper


  • Put everything except the olive oil, tarragon and seasoning into your food processor and whizz until you have a paste.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil little by little, and whizz until you have a nice spoonable blend. Season.
  • Put into a small bowl, sprinkle over the tarragon.
  • Serve with crispy heart-of-lettuce leaves, sliced, tomatoes, slivers of carrot, green pepper and cucumber and fresh bread.


Makes one cup/small shallow bowlful

2 medium sweet (“Bell”) peppers
cup of Walnuts
¼ cup toasted bread crumbs
1 small clove garlic or to taste, crushed with a pinch of salt to make a smooth paste
1 coffee spoon of seeded and finely chopped hot red chilli pepper or to taste.
1 des-spoon Pomegranate Syrup or bottled pomegranate molasses
2 tsp freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice or to taste
2 pinches of salt or to taste and ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Chopped fresh mint leaves or parsley
Small Mediterranean black olives or toasted pine nuts


  • Open sweet peppers and discard seeds and stalk.
  • Heat grill to very hot.
  • Grill peppers until skin is blackened and bubbly.
  • Cool peppers and then scrape or otherwise remove blackened skin. Cut them into slices.
  • In your food processor place the walnuts, bread crumbs, garlic, chilli pepper, pomegranate syrup, and lemon juice and whiz until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the bell peppers and salt and blend until the peppers are puréed.
  • Drizzle in a quarter cup of the olive oil and whizz. The mixture should be quite creamy, but still with some slightly grainy texture.
  • Remove into a small bowl, cover and chill for a few hours.
  • Before serving, drizzle a little olive oil around the edge of the bowl(s) and garnish with chopped mint and a sprinkling of the olives.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Lentils


Would you know what a lentil looked like when it was growing? Although they are grown in France, Italy, Egypt, North Africa, India, Canada and the United States, I confess have never seen one growing.Lentil Stew with wine. 2 In fact the term “lentil” covers quite a wide variety of plant. A lentil is a bean-like seed; a cousin of the bean. It is a member of the legume family, which is the generic word to describe seeds that grow in pods. There are small, medium and large lentils; red, green, yellow, brown and green ones. They can be purchased and used whole, split, or ground to flour.

Lentils are high in complex carbohydrates, protein, minerals and soluble fibre. They are low in fat, cholesterol and calories. They are a good source of iron and folic acid.

Folic acid is important for us all, but especially for women in child-bearing years. Soluble fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and especially beneficial to diabetics. It decreases the amount of glucose in the blood, thereby decreasing insulin requirements.

So, THE LENTIL IS GOOD FOR YOU. There is a good supply of lentils available in Cyprus, on both normal supermarket shelves as well as health products. They are quite easy to over-cook, and generally do not have to be soaked before boiling. They can be a substitute for meat in this very pleasant pasta sauce, for example.

Ingredients for 4 servings

1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 large stalk of celery, thinly chopped
A good handful of button mushrooms, sliced
5 medium ripe tomatoes, skins removed, and chopped
1 x 375 ml carton of concentrated tomato juice
160 gr dried green lentils

Some pinches of dried oregano and, if you have it, a few leaves of basil, finely chopped


*Heat the oil and stir-fry the carrot, onions, garlic and celery until softened.

*Add the tomatoes, tomato juice, the mushrooms, herbs and lentils to the mixture and stir well. Simmer of a very low heat for about 45-50 minutes. Add some water, if necessary, to keep the mixture from becoming too thick.

*Salt and pepper as you go. I think adding a vegetable stock cube to the mixture would be a good idea.

This sauce makes an excellent alternative to Bolognese (Ragout) and you can serve it with spaghetti or any other pasta. It is also very nice with green tagliatelle.

Lentils, Cyprus Style


They say the simplest dishes are often the best. And in many countries the food of the peasants is the best: fresh ingredients grown near the dwelling, easy preparation and speedy cooking. What could be better? Within the walls of Nicosia, not in the tourist section, you can still find little cafés where Mama cooks […]

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