Step 1 In a large pot, add the extra virgin olive oil, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and saute for 10-12 minutes on a medium-high heat, stirring often.
Step 2 Once your vegetables have softened, add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Mix well and cook for about 3 minutes until the tomato paste has darkened in colour. Add the tinned tomatoes, stir and cook for 5-7 minutes.
Step 3 Pop the beans in, stir well and pour in the water.
Step 4 Place the lid on, simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes, add a little more water if required then remove the lid and simmer for another 30-40 minutes until the vegetables have been cooked through and the juices have thickened.
Step 5 Serve with bread, a squeeze of lemon, or yoghurt or feta.
Step 1 Sift the flour into a large bowl and create a well in the centre. Pour in the EVOO and rub with your hands to create a breadcrumb-like texture; this part is called “ρυζιάζετε” (rizazete), which means to rub.
Step 2 Add the salt first and give it a quick mix with your hand. Next, add the yeast, sugar, ground fennel, aniseed, mastic, mahlapi and mix.
Step 3 Add the lukewarm milk and water gradually, about 1 cup at a time and turn the mixture with your fingers. Continue to add the milk and water a little at a time until you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl.
Step 4 Transfer the dough on to a surface dusted with flour and knead well for about 20-25 minutes (or use a standing mixer with a dough hook on a low setting) until you’ve formed a soft, elasticated dough. Your dough should be soft and well combined, not soggy. Use a little extra flour while you knead if required.
Step 5 In the same bowl you used to bring the dough together, rub a couple of teaspoons of EVOO on the bottom and sides, place your smooth ball of dough inside and add a couple of extra drops of EVOO on to the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean tea-towel and let it rest and proof in a warm area for at least an hour until it has doubled in size.
Step 6 After your first proof, remove the dough from the bowl onto a surface and knock the air out by folding it in on itself until the dough is smooth and all the air is knocked out.
Step 7 Shape into a long loaf, around 12-inches, the length of a ruler. Add the sesame, aniseed and fennel seeds into a large tray or plate. Brush your dough with milk and roll it in the tray so the loaf is covered in seeds. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper (not greaseproof as it sticks – learn from my mistake). With a knife, slit the dough into parts, leaving around 4-5cm apart. Gently push or tuck the dough so it’s neat and aligned on your tray. There shouldn’t be any gaps where you’ve made the slits.
Step 8 Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and a clean tea-towel and let it rest for another hour until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 210C, fan-forced.
Step 9 Once your loaf has had its second proof, add a tray at the bottom of the oven and pour a cup of water to create a gentle steam. If you prefer a crusty loaf, leave this part out. Bake for 30-35 minutes until tanned. Leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing or tearing into.
Who is Nikoletta?
Nikoletta is a passionate home cook, who shops weekly at Paddy’s Markets turning her fresh purchases into delicious dishes inspired by her Cypriot heritage!
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