Monday Meal Review: Cyprus

Sick babies are the worst.

Poor miss Ava came down with croup not long after we cooked Cyprus (purely coincidental, mind you). But… croup… gah! If you don’t know, croup is a nightmare of epic proportions. Here’s how it works: in the still of the night, babies who seem a little sick, suddenly wake up really, really sick. With violent coughing fits.

And I don’t mean just any cough. You’ll think a nasty poltergeist – or a barking seal – has taken over your sweet baby.

You will not be able to believe such a sound could come from your child. Your heart will break into a million pieces, with each cough… over and over again.

And, – as if the coughing isn’t bad enough – nature adds in a desperate wheezing, gasping sound with each breath.

Eventually (after surrounding them with steam, or taking them outside into the cold night air, or rubbing Eucalyptus oil on their chests), the baby falls back asleep.

Then, you – the frantic parent – spend the night standing over your baby’s crib, watching every breath with bleary eyes.

Why is it that, every time little Ava gets sick, I can’t decide whether to cry or put on my wonder woman cape?

Sick babies are the worst.

That being said, Miss Ava somehow managed to enjoyed the Briam – essentially roast veggies – from our Cyprus meal. I think the warm, soft veggies were soothing on her raw throat.

Roast Lamb from Cyprus (Ofto Kleftiko) [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

For a busy parent, there’s nothing so blissfully simple as sprinkling a few magic dashes of spice on a roast and popping it in the oven for a couple of hours. Quick and simple. This recipe is also incredibly tender thanks to the regional technique of wrapping lamb in foil and then roasting in a covered casserole.

What I like least about this dish:

Not much. If you have kids, watch out. For a child, there’s nothing quite like watching the hours crawl by while wonderful aromas escape from the kitchen. You’ll be hounded with “Is it ready yet? …. What about now?”

As far as flavor goes – I loved it. The only trick is getting the seasoning how you like it – without being able to “taste as you go.” The amount of spice that I provided with this recipe is subtle and yummy. The recipe is so easy, I suggest making it several times and playing with the proportions.

Red Wine Potatoes (Potatoes “Afelia”) [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

Rich and flavorful – I enjoy how the wine cooks down into almost a glaze. In other news, from fantasy land … I’m pretty sure if I ever had a daughter I would name her Afelia.  Not because she would be wine and oil soaked, but because the name is absolutely gorgeous. Perhaps it is for the best we’re done with having kiddos.

What I like least about this dish:

This dish is heavy on the olive oil – on purpose. It is a bit much for me, but Mr Picky quite liked it. Also – make sure you slit the potatoes. I forgot until near the end and, while the crust was flavorful – the insides just tasted of … baked potato. (Note – the more slits, the more oil and wine soak into the potatoes!)

Roasted Veggies (Briam) [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

While neither crusty or cheesy, this dish is less fussy than eggplant parmesan – and healthier, too.

What I like least about this dish:

The veggies do get very soft, so be prepared. You might take the lid off half way through to get things to dry out, but I rather liked the texture (as did Miss Ava).

Whole Apples Simmered in Syrup (Firikia Glyko) [Recipe]

What I like most about this dish:

This sweet treat tastes exactly like apple pie, without the crust. Unless you add the brandy – then it tastes like… tipsy apple pie. Pretty much awesome either way.

What I like least about this dish:

Be very cautious in picking your apples. One bad one can spoil the bunch…

Seriously – you have to choose apples that can hold up to long simmering. Many recipes cook the apples for 1.5 hours, but mine were getting too soft for that. Any firm, sweet apple should do.

Ava’s Corner



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