I had wanted to call the blog Kopiaste, after my grandmother’s Cypriot recipe book, but unfortunately the name was already taken. So in my yiayia’s (Amaranthe Sitas) honour, the first blog post will be one of our favourite Cypriot recipes and a deliciousness we grew up with.
When we visited my grandmother in Cyprus (before she died), we (generally the women) would shell the fresh beans in the 40 degree summer heat. Shelling beans and peas is still one of my favourite things.
Many places in the world, where pulses form a major part of the diet, have a version of this kind of easy, cheap and healthy dish. I have yet to find fresh beans here, so the dried ones will have to suffice (you can get them dried in a packet from Everfresh).
Ingredients (for 4 people)
- 500g packet of black-eyed beans
- Half a bunch of spinach
- 2-3 lemons
- 1 onion
- Olive oil
- Oven chips (optional)
Soak the beans in cold water overnight or from the morning. In the evening put them on to boil. The longer they are in to soak, the quicker they boil (+/- 30mins). When they are soft they are done. While the beans are boiling, roughly chop the spinach, dice the onion, and squeeze the lemon juice. When the beans are soft, chuck in the spinach until it has wilted. If the spinach is in for too long then it gets too soggy, so watch out that it keeps its greenness.
To serve, spoon the beans onto a plate or into a bowl and season with the raw onion, olive oil, lemon and salt to taste. Everyone has their balance and will swear by their ratios. Dean likes a lot of the water that the beans have boiled in. I prefer a lot more lemon. The chips are a bit of a bastardisation of the recipe and are not necessary (but Dean cannot do without them). The point is to have something to soak up all the delicious juices. Bread works well too.