I find it fascinating that in some parts of the world the winter days can be as short as a few hours, and in summer the sun can shine for almost 24 hours. Here in Melbourne the earliest that we will reach darkness on a winter's evening is 5.30pm. It's way too early for my liking but I shudder to think how it must be for those living in midday darkness in the far northern parts of the world.
Perhaps we take for granted our relatively even days and nights here in Australia, but I always feel just a little bit happier once we get past our shortest day of the year.
It's hard to venture outside when it's so cold, but when it's colder inside your house than it is outside there's no excuse. So I layered up with a long-sleeved t-shirt, two jumpers and a puffy quilted jacket today and stepped out into the sunshine to take a walk down to our local grocery store. All I needed was some eggs but as usual, left the store with two bags of shopping. I just can't help myself. What can I say? I love grocery shopping :)
I've been wanting to make a Greek-style baked ricotta dish for ages. All the recipes I'd seen used chillies and basil to flavour the cheese. I needed to Greekify this one and I knew that the marinated green olives that some how found their way into one of my shopping bags today would do the trick. Along with some grated lemon rind, oregano and sharp cheese, I couldn't wait to see how this combination of flavours would come together in a fluffy little mound of golden baked ricotta.
Another dish I've been meaning to feature here on the blog is Fasolakia, or Green Bean Stew, which is one of my favourite Greek vegetable dishes. Usually served alongside meat, these beautifully tender beans make the perfect accompaniment to a protein rich serving of baked ricotta.
But you're going to have to wait for my next post to see the recipe for Fasolakia. Today it's the baked ricotta's turn to shine, especially since it came out so beautifully golden and delicious. Just like the sunshine today :)
Greek Baked Ricotta with Green Olives, Lemon and Oregano
The recipe for Fasolakia (Green Bean Stew) can be found here.
- 600g firm ricotta cheese, roughly chopped
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Grated rind of one lemon
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 20 pitted green olives
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Grease 6 small ramekins (around 8cm diameter) and line with baking paper, buttering baking paper as well. Make sure the baking paper comes up around 2cm above the rim of the ramekins.
- Blend ricotta, eggs, lemon rind, sharp cheese, oregano, olives, salt and pepper in a food processor.
- Spoon mixture into ramekins and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until ricotta has risen like a souffle and tops are golden.
- Remove from oven and allow baked ricotta to sink before removing from ramekins.
- Once cool enough to handle, turn ramekins out onto the palm of your hand – the ricotta mound should fall out easily.
- Carefully remove baking paper and serve with Fasolakia (green bean stew).