Theo A. Michaels' new book, Orexi!, is a gorgeous collection of classic and modern recipes inspired by the flavours of Greece and Cyrpus. Here's a simple dish for you to try ahead of the book's release that perfectly reflects those classic sunshine flavours and colours. It works as a light lunch with a few dressed green leaves on the side, or you could just pop it on the table for all to share.
350g/12oz. ready-made puff pastry
½ red Romano pepper, deseeded
¼ red onion
a generous pinch of Greek dried oregano
a generous pinch of ground cumin
12 baby plum tomatoes
50g/1¾ oz. halloumi cheese (Theo recommends Dodoni, available at Odysea)
2 tablespoons pine nut kernels
1 tablespoon Greek honey
125g/½ cup Greek yogurt (Theo recommends Mevgal Authentic, available at Odysea)
70 g/2½ oz. feta cheese (Theo recommends Odysea Organic)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for drizzling (Theo recommends Odysea Chania Extra Virgin)
a few sprigs of basil, to garnish (Greek basil if available)
25 x 38-cm/10 x 15-inch baking sheet, lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
Roll out the puff pastry (if necessary) so that it ﬁts snugly on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, lightly score all the way round about 2.5cm/1inch inside the edge of the puff pastry and bake in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed up and started to turn golden. Once the puff pastry is cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool slightly, before gently pushing down the centre of the pastry, leaving you with a little ‘collar’ around the edge.
To prepare the ﬁlling, dice the courgette, aubergine and pepper into about 2.5-cm/1-inch cubes and thinly slice the red onion. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season generously with the oregano, cumin and salt and pepper, and roast in the oven on a separate baking sheet for 10 minutes.
Quarter the baby plum tomatoes, grate the halloumi cheese and add both to the roasted vegetables, along with the pine nuts and honey.
When you are ready to assemble, dot the puff pastry base with a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt and then distribute the mixed vegetables over the top, including on top of the yogurt. Try to keep the vegetables in one layer; if they are overloaded it will go a little soggy. Finally, crumble the feta in chunks on top, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes just to help all the ingredients snuggle up together.
Once cooked, let it cool slightly and then garnish with a scattering of basil leaves and a good turn of black pepper.
For more recipes inspired by traditional Greek and Cypriot cooking, check out Orexi! by Theo A. Michaels. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here!