Month: May 2016

cheese pie

Another Cheese Pie

When it comes to cheese pie recipes there is no absolute optimum. It depends on your aspirations on the pie. To be honest ours were bland lately since we wanted our toddler to have some too, so no spicy or very salted cheeses. Starting from this healthy baseline and after a series of exhaustive experiments involving wine, dinners with friends and demanding family members we ended up to this version, which became our favourite. For the cheese pie 8 fillo pastry sheets olive oil, enough to brush the tin and each one of the fillo sheets 400g feta, crumbled 200g fresh anthotiro cheese (or fresh ricotta), crumbled 100g gruyere cheese, grated 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, finely grated freshly ground black pepper 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup buttermilk Serves 8-10 Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan) For this recipe you will need a large rectangular baking tin. Ours is 30cm x 40cm. Keep the fillo pastry covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel during the preparation of the recipe so that it will not dry out. Brush the bottom and inner sides …

Zante beef, Sunday’s lunch.

The recipe comes from a lady called Rubina (Ruby). She was an old family acquaintance and lived in a house with echoing acoustics and a garden full of roses. She was from Zante and spent her married life in Athens. Her family was the best-off in the street and she was respected by the neighbours because of her charities during the war. She passed this recipe to my grandmother who passed it to my mother and found its place in the Sunday lunch repertoire when I was a kid. It still is cooked when we visit the grandparents in their house with a garden full of hydrangeas and jasmines. For the Zante Beef Serves 6 1 cup olive oil 1,5kg good-quality stewing beef, cut into 3cm cubes 150ml mavrodaphne, a sweet dark red wine from Patras 75ml red wine vinegar 3 allspice berries 10 black peppercorns 1 cinnamon stick 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 800g very ripe fresh tomatoes (or canned if not in season), peeled 1 tsp brown sugar 1/2kg pecorino cheese, cut into 2cm cubes …

watermelon salad with feta

Eat Watermelon Salad with Feta

Not only is this easy to make summer salad very refreshing, but it contains 80% more light than other food, because of the watermelon. If it was not for the feta, it  would contain even more light. If you eat it you help release trapped light back to the cosmos –  at least this is what a now extinct gnostic religion of the Late Antiquity, the followers of Mani,believed! It sounds even more bizarre than the Jedi Church, but it is almost true. The last standing temple of the religion is in the southeast coast of China, transformed to a buddhist shrine now, and surrounded by watermelon plants I suppose. Serves 2-4 400g chilled watermelon, rind removed, desseeded  and cubed 150g cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped 100g feta, cubed 1 Tbsp mint, finely chopped 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar freshly ground black pepper Place the watermelon, cucumber, feta cheese and mint in a large bowl. Combine the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, pour over the watermelon mixture and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with freshly ground …

blood orange salmon

Blood Orange salmon

Fast, simple, light and delicious. This recipe makes a weekday dinner without much hassle. Serves 2 2 salmon steaks 2 Tbsp soy sauce zest of 1 blood orange 3 Tbsp mirin 3/4 cup blood orange juice 1 clove garlic, minced 1 Tbsp very finely grated fresh ginger root freshly ground black pepper Combine orange juice, zest, mirin, garlic and ginger in a large food container. Rinse and pat dry the salmon with a a paper towel. Place the salmon steaks in the marinade and allow to coat for 10 minutes each side. Preheat a large heavy  nonstick skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Remove the salmon from the marinade, place it on skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, turn the steaks over, pour the marinade over the steaks, dicrease the heat to low-medium and let simmer for about 8 minutes. Turn the steaks once more, increase the heat to medium-high and let simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Serve over steamed rice or mashed potatoes or/and a green salad.

Stereotypes and tyrokafteri

What can I say.. there is truth in the stereotypes. Lunch in the countryside, with friends and children running around. We spent the weekend in a house with garden, and had visitors for lunch on Saturday. To be honest they brought most of the food. We just prepared the tyrokafteri (a spicy feta cheese spread) with feta from Stratoula, a local producer, originally from Epirus who ended up in Anavyssos (both very good credentials for a feta producer!), and small chillies from the garden. We had every good intention to prepare also a horiatiki salad with watermelon (the first of the season that we bought in the local open market), but we skipped it and had it the following day for dinner. (Stay tunned, the recipe will follow soon…) On Sunday we strolled in Lavrio, a small port with a very long mining history. We had ouzo and the typical mezes’ that go with it: octapus, marinated anchovies (gavros), fried red mullets (koutsomoures),grilled sardines and some delicious boiled greens (almyra). We gave the establishment an 8 out of …

semolina and strawberry tart

Semolina and Strawberry Tart

We deviated from our standard strawberry tart recipe and baked this for our easter lunch. It is an interesting hybrid  between the classic tart and the greek galaktoboureko and great when eaten same day. We kept some in the fridge for the next day, but the baked filling turned too solid. The moral of the story is, bake it for same day consumption. (Based on a recipe from Ottolenghi “The Cookbook”) For the sweet pastry 330g plain flour 100g icing sugar zest of 1 lemon, finely grated 1/4 tsp salt 180g cold unsalted butter 1 egg yolk 2 Tbsp cold water For the filling 345ml milk 180ml whipping cream 60g caster sugar 80g butter 1/2 vanilla pod, split lengthwise and seeds scrapped out 60g semolina 1 egg 200g strawberries icing sugar, to garnish For the sweet pastry, combine flour, sugar, salt,lemon zest and the butter in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Change to the hook attachment and add the egg yolk and the cold water. Continue mixing  until dough comes together …