Ellie Burns - March 2022
GREEK ISLAND STYLE MEETS CYPRIOT COOKING
With our handcrafted styles inspired by the Greek Islands, it’s no surprise that we’re also huge lovers of Mediterranean cooking.
We recently sat down with food writer and cook Georgina Hayden who’s incredible third book 'Nistisima' has just been released full of vegan dishes inspired by food eaten during Lent.
Full of fresh recipes with Georgina's personal touch plus plenty of delicious salad ideas, Nistisima will leave you feeling inspired and, no doubt, your mouth watering.
Find below Georgina's kitchen essentials, her top tips for buying locally and what you'll always find in her bag.
Having grown up in North London (quite close to us!), what are your go-to Cypriot restaurants?
That's always such a hard one because I don't really eat Cypriot food in restaurants - my yiayia (grandma) still cooks a lot for us so I am spoiled at home. The rare occasion that I do eat out, I do like the authenticity of Vrisaki, it is super traditional.
Vrisaki 73 Myddleton Rd, N22 8LZ
Is there one fail-safe essential ingredient that you always have in your kitchen?
Lemons! I always have bags and bags of lemons, we put them in all of our food. Sweet, savoury, drinks... everything is better with citrus.
One cooking tool in your kitchen that you think everyone should have?
Pestle and mortar. From crushing your own spices to making pastes and dips, there is nothing else like it. A texture you just don't get from machines... also it's a really satisfying stress reliever.
Where do you buy your fresh ingredients? Do you have any tips on buying locally?
I try to buy from various shops and not to rely on supermarkets. I have a few fantastic Greek deli's locally that are amazing. In particular Deli on the Green is great for essentials (and homecooked food!) and Despinas have amazing fresh produce and the harder to find seasonal items.
Deli on the Green, 251 Hoppers Rd, N21 3NP
Despinas, 456-458 Bowes Rd, Arnos Grove, N11 1NL
Most areas have an international supermarket of sorts and I can guarantee you the produce will be far tastier than what you get in the supermarket.
With this book you have drawn on the history and culture surrounding Nistisima cooking. You must have spoken to some fascinating people along the way - is there a story that stands out to you?
So many. I was particularly honoured to speak to Sharice Babakhani, as her Armenian grandmother Azadouhi Utudjian always fasted. Her family fled Turkey for Cyprus when she was young, then after the war in '74 they came to the UK.
Sharice shared some of Azadouhi's recipes with me, and even then came on one of the shoots - we have a photograph of her making her gran's recipe and using her crockery! Azadouhi lived to 100 years old and passed away just after the book was finished, so whilst she never saw a finished copy, she knew her story and recipes would live on.
Do you have a favourite recipe from the book?
The one I probably cook the most is called Rishta. It's a great week night recipe that is simple consisting of slow cooked lentils and broken up tagliatelle. It's flavoured with lots of cumin, ground and fresh coriander and, of course, lemon. It's hearty, punchy, nutricious and very very moreish.
Is there one essential food item you always carry in your bag?
Water! It's not very exciting I'm afraid. However, if I'm out of the house the chances are I'm going somewhere exciting for food and I don't want it to ruin my appetite.
Wherever it is I'm heading, I'll find somewhere I have to visit or something I have to eat... whether it's a new bakery, restaurant or street food. A bottle of water is always necessary.