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Prawns & Tomato-Ouzo Spaghetti

Hello again. Thank you for being patient with me as it’s been awhile since I wrote here, or posted on social media at all. It’s been busy and I should really be promoting things that are about to happen out there, but I haven’t really felt like doing so as of late. I’ve caught a cause of social media shyness for which I have no explanation. Plus the world seems to be imploding which makes posting recipes feel sort of trivial. Don’t get me wrong, I am still going to post pictures of my food – at least if the world is imploding, there should be something pleasant to occasionally distract me.  A little update: it’s now the height of summer, and I have just arrived back in Cyprus after a 24 hour journey from the most western part of Canada.  I am filled with excitement: fragrant jasmine smells, the crystal blue waters, smell of barbecued corn on the walkways, and even the humidity, all surround me. Everything I love about summer in Cyprus.  I have longed to be back in my kitchen in Cyprus, in my studio photographing food and visiting all the markets, especially after this challenging year, and I am so happy that I am back.  While I was in Canada during the winter, I often imagined myself eating all the foods I love to indulge in while in Cyprus.  This dish is perhaps more Greek than Cypriot, and it is something I do like to order when I see it on menus at restaurants in Cyprus and Greece. A rich tomato-ouzo sauce. Fresh fennel flavours. Tasty prawns. Sauce-soaked spaghetti.  Yes, it’s hearty. But it’s still great for the summer. Perfect when eating near the beach after a swim. What I also love about this recipe, is that it still tastes good without the “ouzo” – because of the fresh fennel. I added caraway seeds because they are easier to buy in Cyprus than anise seeds, and they give the pasta a more complex flavour. It passed my “Auntie Evri” test — my traditional Cypriot aunt who truly doesn’t care to compliment me for the sake of being nice and only eats what I make if she genuinely likes it. And here are some matter of fact updates, which I would like to share with you too:

Cookbook I have been wanting to share the news with you for a while now, and since it has finally been officially OKed by my publishers literally this week to share the news: I am writing a cookbook that will be published (as of now) in Germany and Italy. It will come out next June 2017, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I love the fact that the first two languages are German and Italian — two of my favourite countries in Europe and I hope I get the chance to travel there when the book is released.  Writing a book was always a dream of mine when I started this blog, and I will be sharing more about the process of how this came about for any of those interested, and behind the scenes of the writing and shooting (which is currently underway) soon on my Instagram and Snapchat. ( … am I too old for Snapchat?!?!)

Andrew Zimmern & Bizarre Foods In May of this year, I had the opportunity to be part of the filming of Andrew Zimmern’s episode on Cypriot food. The show is called Bizarre Foods, but it’s not as “bizarre” as it sounds, in this case, it was more a feature about classic Cypriot food, since – I guess – not that many people in the US know about Cypriot food. I am ecstatic that there is a major TV show showcasing Cypriot food – I always say this, but I really think Cypriot food is unique and deserves its own platform – even if it is small. I acted as Andrew’s guide around some of the mountain villages, we saw how a family made halloumi, ate a huge traditional meal, saw how they made pastelli and also how hiromeri was made. I have to say, this is the most fun I had in ages. Andrew and Bizarre Foods crew were tons of fun and also so talented at what they do, but extremely humble at the same time. The show will be airing in the US on the travel channel on August 9th. I haven’t seen it, and I don’t know how I will come across since I have never been on TV before and am petrified I will look silly, but I have to say I loved every second of this experience!

Anyway enough from me, enjoy this recipe and hope your summers are all going well. Happy Cyprus Cooking!

Level of Difficulty: 2/5
Makes: 3  servings
Time: 30 minutes

500 grams whole prawns with heads on, (about 10 to 12 prawns)
250 grams Mitsides Spaghetti
400 grams Mitsides Chopped Tomatoes
70 grams Mitsides Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Mitsides Passata
1 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves
1 medium sized tomato, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel (1 cup chopped fresh fennel if fasting)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 cup Ouzo (omit if fasting)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste
juice from 1/2 a lemon
grated anari for garnish


Mitsides Ouzo Spaghetti Mitsides - Prawn Ouzo Spaghetti11411. Boil a pot of salted water. Add spaghetti and begin to cook the same.

2. Season the prawns. Sprinkle salt and pepper and lemon juice on top.

3. In a large saucepan, add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and put on high heat. Add the prawns. Cook for about 30 seconds, turning them over, remove and set to the side.

4. Add the onion, garlic, anise seeds, chili flakes, fresh fennel, prawns, grated tomato, tomato paste, passata, and chopped tomatoes.  Cook until it reduces.

4. Add the prawns and the Ouzo and cook until the alcohol has evaporated (about 3 minutes). (If making a fasting version, simply omit the Ouzo).

Mitsides Ouzo Spaghetti Mitsides - Prawn Ouzo Spaghetti11245. By this stage, the pasta should be al dente. Strain the pasta and add it to the saucepan to soak up all of the prawn and ouzo-tomato sauce flavours. Serve with grated anari on top!

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