About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

My Complete Profile

Recent Posts
Hashed Potato Pancakes
Easy Tomato Soup
A Matter of Opinion
Ruby Blood Navel Oranges
Chicken Cacciatora
Goulash Soup
Fennel, Guanciale & Fontina Quiche
Soup aux Bernard Salt
Polenta with Cavalo Nero & Borlotti Beans
Sorrel Sauce

Links
1001 Dinners 1001 Nights
A Few of My Favourite Things
Abstract Gourmet
Apellation Australia
Becks and Posh
BurgerMary ATX
Cook (almost) Anything at least once
Cooking Down Under
Cook sister!
Cooked And Bottled In Brunswick
David Lebovitz
Deep Dish Dreams
Chef Paz
Chubby Hubby
Eating Melbourne
Eating With Jack
essjay eats
Food Lover's Journey
Gosstronomy
Grab Your Fork
I Am Obsessed With Food
I Eat Therefore I Am
Iron Chef Shellie
Just Desserts
Kalyn's Kitchen
Kitchen Wench
Lobstersquad
Matt Bites
Melbourne Gastronome
My Kitchen in Half Cups
Nola Cuisine
Not Quite Nigella
Nourish Me
Seriously Good
Souvlaki For The Soul
Stone Soup
Sunnybrae
Syrup and Tang
Steve Don't Eat It!
That Jess Ho
The Elegant Sufficiency
The Perfect Pantry
The View From My Porch
Thyme for Cooking
Tomato
Tumeric & Saffron
tummy rumbles
What I Cooked Last Night
where's the beef
WhiteTrashBBQ
Vicious Ange

Food Blog Resources
Food Blog S'cool
I Eat I Drink I Work
Kiplog Food Links

Food for Thought
Autism Victoria
Autism Vox
forget me now
Lotus Martinis
MOM - Not Otherwise Specified
St Kilda Today

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Vine Leaves


Without a doubt, the grape vine is one of mankinds most important plants and is grown on every habitable continent around the world. It's one of our little quirks that the reason we grow grapes so widely is that they provide us so much pleaure in the form of wine as well as being an important fruit.

But that's not the whole story either. From the Levant countries of the Mediterranean to as far west as Greece, grape vines have been providing a leaf wrapping for savoury rice fillings, either completely vegetarian or with a little meat, for millenia.

Known as dolmades in Greece and simply as vine leaves elsewhere, it's probably no accident that leaves of the grape vine are used in this manner in a region not noted for the quality of its wines; quality sometimes so poor that the Greeks came to add pine resin to certain wines (retsina) and thought it an improvement!

There is no doubt though, that vine leaves are extremely tasty and not a little addictive. The version I like best are those made with brined vine leaves and containing a little meat - fresh, unsalted leaves seem better suited to subtle vegetarian fillings.

Brining the leaves seems to turbocharge their flavour, adding a salty, slightly sour note and seems to be the preferred version in many countries, perhaps because the leaves can also be stored, unrefrigerated, for extended periods.

By all means, use fresh leaves when you can get them, but make sure they come from unsprayed plants. It is also a cooking job best suited to at least two people, one to unfold the leaves as the other stuffs and rolls them.

Vine Leaves
(adapted from A Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden)

500g preserved (salted) vine leaves
250g long grain rice
500g lamb or beef, minced
2 tomatoes, skinned and finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
small bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
handful of finely chopped celery leaves
salt and fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons tomato concentrate
4 cloves garlic, slivered
juice of 2 lemons

Place the preserved vine leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for at least 30 minutes, teasing the leaves apart as best you can. Drain and soak in cold water for another 30 minutes, again teasing the leaves apart, then drain.

Rinse the rice and add it to a large bowl with the meat, tomato, onion, parsley, celery leaves, tomato concentrate, season with salt and pepper and mix well

Take a vine leaf and place it on a work surface, veined side uppermost and place a teaspoon of filling at the base and start to roll. As you do, fold over the side leaves and continue to roll until you have a neat cylinder. Even if it isn't neat, declare it so and move onto the next one, you'll soon get the hang of it.

Preserved vine leaves are a little delicate and you will rip the occasional leaf; this is a good thing as torn leaves are used to line the bottom of the cooking pot. When you have used up all the mixture, line the bottom of a pot large enough to take all the rolled vine leaves with any torn and leftover leaves. If there is any mixture left, use it to stuff another vegetable like a capsicum.

Arrange the vine leaves in the pot, seam side down and as close together as possible, along with any extra vegeables you may have stuffed, placing slivers of garlic amongst them. When they are all in the pot, add the lemon juice and enough water to come to the bottom of the top layer. Find a plate that will fit snugly in the pot, this will help to keep the leaves from unravelling. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours or until tender. Serve them hot and if you like, with some Greek yoghurt flavoured with chopped mint.
 
  posted at 4:59 pm
  14 comments



Search


Recipe Categories
Soups
Salads
Vegetables
Poultry
Pork
Beef
Cakes & Desserts
Miscellaneous

Archives
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
May 2009
June 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
July 2012

Miscellaneous
AUSTRALIAN FOOD BLOGGERS
Prev ~ List ~ Random ~ Join ~ Next
Site Ring from Bravenet


Site Feed

counter easy hit

Credits
Blog Design by:


Image created by:
Ximena Maier

Powered by:


Photos, Original Recipes, and Text - (C) Copyright: 2005-2010
At My Table by Neil Murray, all rights reserved.
You may re-post a recipe, please give credit and post a link to this site.

Contact Me
Neil Murray

Follow messytable on Twitter