All posts tagged: brunch

French Toast… à la grecque

The Tsoureki is the typical Easter Sweet Bread of Greeks. It contains mahaleb, a spice made from the seeds of the Prunus mahaleb tree, grown in the Middle East. Prunus mahaleb is mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Its’ wood is hard enough for use in carpentry. We learn that the goddess Ishtar herself had planted a tree in order to make a bed and chair from its’ wood.The problem was that, after ten years and when the tree was fully frown and ready to be lodged, it was infested with nasties. Untypical for her notorious fame, Ishtar had to call for help, and it was Gilgamesh who killed the immune-to-spells snake, expelled the storm bird and drived away the succubus demon. Besides the tree’s qualities that made it suitable for carpentry, its’ fruit was also esteemed. The seeds of the tree occur in Mesopotamian incantations from the 22nd century BC, in lists to be used for the mixing of potions and medicine. What a long journey for the mahleb, from the haze of of …

Canapé Gaudi

Nothing prepares you for the sight of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. You have seen pictures and documentaries about this unfinished cathedral, but the scale of its surreality hits you in the face, no matter the sheer number of tourists flocking to take their selfies. It is surreal in the sense of Salvador Dali, but on a giant scale, an extravaganza of architectural components, not unlike exotic fruits, that somehow fit together to something bigger than the parts. And what a great introduction to the Spanish cuisine. At its best is it not a combination of heterogeneous ingredients exploding in the palate? Inspired from tapas based on tinned seafood served in Quimet & Quimet, here is a not so obvious canapé. Greek strained yogurt and thinly sliced smoked salmon on top of your preferred crackers, drizzled with truffled honey and glazed balsamic vinegar. Enjoy with a glass of sauvignon blanc!  

Scones in the Summertime

We returned to our house by the sea in Naxos after several years – this time with an extra member. We had to come up with a new eating-and-cooking routine, given also the fact that we entertained friends almost daily (or nightly). It had to be easy, fast and secure: cheese pies, scones, chocolate cakes, tzatziki, salads and of course lots  of local cheese, figs and watermelons. For drinks Greek white wines (asyrtiko for the French friends who value terroire) and gin with tonic and lots of ice cubes. Whenever we ran out of cucumbers for the mix, because we put them all in the salad, we used watermelon – they both belong to the cucurbitaceae family. We unpacked kitchenware and put the old stove into use, so we had to adjust cooking and baking times and temperatures. Scones were a success for breakfast, and we had them -unconventionally-  with some local cheese (graviera and xinotyri) or with our homemade apricot jam.  Here is our standard scone recipe, adapted from the cookbook of Rose Carrarini, …