All posts tagged: vegetarian

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 …

Eggplant, Green Peppers and Feta Mille-feuille

Eggplants might be common in the Mediterranean kitchen, but can become bland if not deep fried or combined with something intense, like feta. At least this is what one of us believes-the other one doesn’t. In any case, this mille-feuille applies to hard-core eggplant aficionados and the ones that need something extra to go with them. As an extra challenge for this recipe, we sourced all ingredients from a range of 3km. We bought the tomatoes, the eggplants and the peppers from a local farmer and the feta from Stratoula, the best dairy producer in the area, according to Popi, whose olive oil we used. Serves 6 Base ingredients 1,5 kg eggplants,peeled in stripes and cut into 1cm thick slices 3 medium potatoes (350g), cut into thin slices olive oil, for brushing the eggplant and potato slices salt and freshly ground black pepper For the tomato sauce (4 cups) 1,5kg ripe tomatoes 1,5-2 tsp sugar (depending on the acidity of the tomatoes) 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup olive oil To assemble the mille-feuille 200g green bell peppers, …

tomato and watermelon gazpacho

Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

When we are staying in our summerhouse in Anavyssos, (about 50kms from Athens, on the Saronic Gulf) we almost feel compelled to use local products. In the summer the population doubles in Anavyssos and the beaches get packed with  day trippers from Athens. Nevertheless stubbornly and somehow out of context we navigate through the Touristenströmung to local  farmers and cheese producers to source our daily ingredients. The last time we visited one of the producers for vegetables, he offered us a watermelon. Here is the result: tomato and watermelon gazpacho. Serves 8 For the Gazpacho 2kg ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled and roughly chopped 400g watermelon flesh, deseeded and roughly chopped 3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped 150g onion, roughly chopped 50g celery, leaves and stalks roughly chopped 150ml tomato juice 10g basil leaves 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 200ml extra virgin olive oil 3/4 tsp sea salt freshly ground black pepper To serve croutons or bread in small cubes cucumber, cut into small cubes feta cheese, cut into small cubes watermelon flesh, deseeded and cut …

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), …

Greek Mess, in a good sense

This is not Eton Mess – it is Greek Mess in a good sense. Eton Mess is probably more relevant right now, but a Greek Mess is always possible. It is the Mediterranean summer now, and it is hotter than usual. This means that it is a good idea to have something light and cold for lunch. Our favourite is greek low fat (2%) yogurt with fruit. You can combine any fruit you want, but our combination for this summer is peach and blueberries. They have to be very cold and of the best quality, of course. Serves 1 200g low fat (2%) strained greek yogurt 1 peach, cubed 10 blueberries Place all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!

kourou cheese pies

Mini “Kourou” Cheese Pies

In terms of taxonomy ‘tyropita’ (cheese pie) is a family. It has two genera, depending on the type of surrounding dough – kourou or filo. Filo is the thin pastry you can buy, or, if you feel more courageous, prepare by yourself. Kourou dough by default contains yogurt or milk, is thicker, and more straightforward to make. The kourou variety is a common snack that children have in school and overprotective mothers pack for adolescents to have when traveling with boats to summer holidays. Here is our version: Makes about 20 mini cheese pies 300ml extra virgin olive oil 300ml buttermilk, lukewarm 8g dry yeast 580g all purpose flour 1 pinch of salt 250g feta cheese, crumbled 150g anthotiro cheese (or ricotta), crumbled 70g gruyère cheese, grated 1 egg 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg freshly ground black pepper 2 Tbsp milk and 2 Tbsp olive oil for glazing sesame or nigella seeds (optional) In a bowl combine the sifted flour and the salt. In another large bowl dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm buttermilk, add the olive …

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 …