Friday, 5 October 2012

Married fava (Φάβα παντρεμένη)

I know I'm bragging when I tell you that I'm up to date with every single one of my tax, utilities and other bills, because put together, these days, they make hefty amounts, and my guess is that most honest people are still wondering how to make all those unfair payments. It's still hot in Hania and it still hasn't really rained here save a few drops of drizzle, so I can be thankful that we don't have to turn on the wood fire heater yet, and many of my colleagues are praying for this weather to continue so that they can save on heating costs too.

One way I have managed to continue to be up to date with all those bills is to cook really cheap food jazzed up with very tasty garden vegetables. My cheap food always gets noshed up really quickly because it's very tasty, even though it may not look like a feast to begin with. But the smells emanating from my kitchen don't give any hint of cheapness or low quality - it makes my family even more impatient to eat.

Take last Sunday when I was cooking fava to have ready for Monday's main meal. The aroma in the peas' sweetness wanted through the house; instead of having the tsigariasto meat dish that I had prepared for the Sunday lunch, the family ended up eating half of Monday's lunch instead.

"But it's Sunday," I complained. "Sunday is meat day, you can't eat that fava!"

"We'll just have that meat tomorrow instead," they all insisted. So fava it was, even though bean dishes are usually Never Never on a Sunday for us. And since it didn't feel right to serve such a cheap and frugal humble dish on a Sunday, I jazzed it up with a sivrasi medley of onions, foraged capers and garden peppers, which turned my simple fava dish into fava pantremeni ('married' split yellow peas - φάβα παντρεμένη), a popular way to serve fava in the Cyclades. The married effect comes from combining capers and yellow split peas, which make a very compatible pair.

Apart from some crusty bread, you also need some extra virgin olive oil - as much as you like - which is usually used as a dressing over fava. Luckily, that remains cheap and Greek and frugal where I am.

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