All posts tagged: συνταγή

sesame breadrings

Greek Sesame Bread Rings

The greek name for the sesame bread ring is ‘Koulouri’. It is still the most commonly available street food in Greece – even more than souvlaki and is sold everywhere, in bakeries or in small stands on the streets. It is usually in a simple ring form but you may also find it twisted or braided. Our son likes them a lot, so we decided to start exploring recipes, different shapes and coatings. We ended up in the following variant, which is simple and very tasty.  500g all purpose flour 2Tbsp sugar 1tsp sea salt 16g dry yeast  dissolved in 4 Tbsp of lukewarm water 1,5 cups water (or more if necessary) To coat 1,5 cups sesame seeds (you can also use black sesame seeds or poppy seeds or mix them together) 2 Tbsp of grape molasses (or 2 Tbsp sugar) 1 cup of water Add the sugar to the dissolved yeast and stir. Set aside for about 10 minutes until frothy. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour with the salt. Make a …

eggplants with tomato sauce and feta

‘Mad apples’ with tomato sauce and feta

Eggplants are a staple food of the Mediterranean summer. At the same time they never got rid of an air of mystery. First, the name. The Greeks call them ‘melintzana’, which is a strange sounding word for such a familiar crop. It is a byzantine combination of the Arab ‘bāḏinjān’ and the Greek ‘melas’ – black. The Italians call it melanzana , which sounds close to  mela insana – ‘mad apple’, echoing the origin of the crop from the toxic nightshade species. Then, the origin of the cultivated specie: is it India, China or SE Asia? Perhaps it was domesticated more than once, reminding us of the debate of origin of the homo sapiens. Did we play for eggplants the role nature played on us on our way out of Africa, combining different evolutionary trails, still not fully understood? Then it is the colour of the black variety, unlikely to anything other fruit: black and shiny, ready for interpretation by an oracle – or like a missed opportunity to inspire an Italian art nouveau movement in the early …

asparagus quiche

Wild Asparagus and Manouri Quiche

For this quiche we use wild asparagus or, if we can get hold of, ovries. Ovries or Avronies (in greek) are the shoots of tamus communis, a plant that is native and grows in the wild in the Mediterranean. They are supposed to be slightly toxic before cooking and the French call them ‘herbe aux femmes battues’ – obviously they were used to treat bruises. Ovries look and taste a bit like wild asparagus, they are however more bitter – the bitterness goes away if cooked in boiling water. They are considered a delicacy, and, like asparagus, go very well with eggs. Manouri is a greek semi-soft, fresh white cheese made from goat or sheep milk. If you can not get hold of manouri you can substitute it with ricotta. Manouri has a delicate taste (or according to my husband-the food interpreter, bland taste). For a more intense result substitute half of the manouri or ricotta quantity with crumbled feta. For the pastry 230g all purpose flour 1/2 tsp sea salt 100g cold unsalted butter, cubed 25g egg, …

Small Shoes, an Eggplant Recipe

Small shoes (papoutsakia) is a somehow weird name for a food. There are many variations of aubergines-topped-with-something. The greek standard is with traditional béchamel, but we prefer this topping, according to the recipe of Aglaia Kremezi’s greek yogurt béchamel.  The rest is our family’s interpretation. Serves 8-10 The eggplants 5 eggplants (about 1,5kg) olive oil, for brushing sea salt freshly ground black pepper The meat sauce 1/2 cup olive oil 500g minced beef 200g onion, very finely chopped 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped 1/2 cup dry red wine 1 cup freshly grated tomatoes (or chopped canned tomatoes) 1/2 tsp sugar (optional, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes) 1 pinch ground allspice berries 2 Tbsp black raisins (optional) sea salt freshly ground black pepper The greek yogurt “béchamel” 4 Tbsp olive oil 4 Tbsp cornflour 2 cups full fat cold milk 1 cup full fat greek yogurt 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste 1 cup grated gruyère cheese sea salt, to taste Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan)  and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut the eggplants …

greek salad on pitas

Oven Baked Greek Salad on Pita Bread

Pita bread topped with cheese and some vegetables and then grilled must have been one of the most ancient snacks. It is so tasty and obvious, that one wonders why food preparation evolved beyond it! We love this variant, with greek salad on top. The tension of the ingredients is kept, it is super light and very easy to prepare. The reward is disproportional to the effort or calories though! The only constraint is that you must serve it immediately, hot from the oven! Serves 2-3 6 small sized and thin pitas 6 -8 cherry tomatoes, sliced 1 medium onion (120g), finely sliced 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced 2 Tbsp capers 150g feta cheese, crumbled 1 Tbsp Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced 1 pinch dried oregano freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan). Place the pitas on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. In a bowl combine the onions with the olive oil and the salt. Let the onions in the marinade for 15 minutes, then …

beef and pistachio kebab

Beef Kebabs, a Pistachio Sauce and a Salad

End of summer is pistachio harvesting time in and around Attica. Pistachio trees are  ideally suited to the dry climate of the area and, although introduced relatively recently  – since the late 19th century-  thrive. There are not a lot of savoury dishes you can do with pistachios, but this kebab worked very well. Serves 4 For the Kebabs 800g ground beef 30g rusk crumbs 120g shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely ground 130g onion, very finely chopped 1 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 2 tsp ground cumin 1/2tsp ground allspice 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional) 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp sea salt 1 Tbsp olive oil (plus some more for brushing the kebabs) For the Pistachio sauce 100g shelled unsalted pistachios 30g  white bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed (1 or 2 days old sourdough bread works better for this recipe) 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 Tbsp lemon juice 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil sea salt freshly ground black pepper 6 Tbsp tap water To serve 2 tomatoes, cut in half and finely sliced 1 …

fanouropita

Lost and found: vegan olive oil cake

Did you loose your car keys or partner? Did your boss fire you? Are you a shadow puppeteer and business is not going well? No worries – just prepare this cake with seven or nine ingredients, take it to church, divide it to forty pieces and give it away. It is a ‘Fanouropita’, in honour of Saint Fanourios, a martyr that was rediscovered in the 14th century, when an ikon was dug up while fortifying the walls of Rhodes. The local bishop Nilos (Nile) interpreted the icon and concluded that it depicted the passions of a forgotten martyr. So the cult of Saint Fanourios started. The Saint’s name sounds like ‘reveal’, and people started praying to him to ‘reveal’ lost items, persons or jobs. As to why he became the patron saint of the shadow puppeteers, no one knows. Perhaps it has something to do with the odd number ( 7, 9 or 11)  of ingredients required to prepare the cake – or the words that have to be spoken while baking it. In any case it …

langoustine and shrimp giouvetsi

Shrimp and Langoustine Giouvetsi

Giouvetsi is a typical Sunday dish. It is usually  beef cooked with orzo in a clay pot, and one of the horrors of my childhood. I could not stand the slippery texture of it, or the suspicious sense of ‘comfort’ it was supposed to convey. As a famous greek dish, giouvetsi is of course appreciated by many, but I, as a grown up never looked back or tried to compromise! So I was reluctant to try this ‘seafood’ giouvetsi, in one of our favourite seafood restaurants. It turned out however that this is a giouvetsi only by name; it tastes more like a risotto. We have tried to reverse- engineer the recipe and this is the variant we use. (Adapted from a recipe by Argiro Barbarigou) Serves 3-4 For the giouvetsi 500g langoustines or shrimps (or both), shelled and deveined 1/2 cup olive oil 1 carrot (80g), cut into small cubes 1 courgette (80g),cut into small cubes 1 onion (100g), cut into small cubes 1 garlic clove, finely sliced 1/2 cup dry white wine 2 tomatoes (200g), blanched, peeled …

Gemista (Stuffed Vegetables)

Gemista in greek means ‘stuffed’, and the most common vegetables to stuff are tomatoes and green peppers. We can however argue that Gemista was a popular dish, with the same name, before tomatoes and peppers were introduced to Europe after the discovery of America. They probably stuffed eggplants, that were introduced by the Arabs in the middle ages, and vine leaves. Rice was available in Greece ever since the soldiers of Alexander brought it home from Asia, so it could be used in the stuffing. We can deduce that Gemista have existed at least since the 15th century, because poor Gemistos, a byzantine scholar and teacher had to change his name to the more archaic “Pletho’. How can you keep your academic dignity, if you are named after stuffed vegetables? Serves 8 The vegetables 5 tomatoes, ripe but firm 8 green bell peppers 3 sweet red long peppers 20 vine leaves 3 large onions (make about 10 stuffed onions) 2 medium potatoes, cut into thin wedges The rice filling 500g white middle-grain rice (risotto rice), …

Grilled Sardines Greek Style

Full of Omega 3,  without the mercury and very affordable. That is the power of sardines. Of course, you have to like them – and not everybody does. In any case the smell of grilled sardines is inexorable connected to the Mediterranean summer. We like them slightly “overgrilled”. Do not let the blackness of the grilled fish put you off, it adds extra flavour. Serves 2 250g sardines, cleaned,gutted, scales and heads removed 160g onion, finely sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced 200g potatoes very finely sliced 1 cup parsley, finely chopped 225g tomatoes, peeled and deseeded 1/4 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional) 10 cherry tomatoes, halved 2 Tbsp capers 2 pinches dried oregano 1/2 cup olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup water (or more if needed) Preheat your oven grill to high temperature. Wash and drain the sardines on paper towels. Blend the peeled and deseeded tomatoes with the sugar in a mini food processor until smooth. Arrange the onions, garlic, potatoes and sardines in a baking dish large …