Psomotyri

The economic crisis in Greece is making us find new ways to save some money and one of it is  finding creative ways to make good use of our leftovers.

Psomotyri (ψωμοτύρι) in Greek means bread and cheese and Tyropita (τυρόπιτα) is a pie made with cheese.  Psomotyri, used to be a staple food decades ago, as at the time it was food for the poor and in rural Greece, they would take some bread and cheese, some olives and tomatoes when going to the fields to work, so that they could fill their tummies, until it was time to return back home late in the evening and have their dinner.  When the children came back from school and were hungry, cheese and bread was the easiest snack as there was always homemade bread, which the women made once a week and there was cheese or feta, which was preserved in barrels with brine.

Nowadays feta has become very expensive, even for us Greeks as it ranges between 10 – 15 Euros a kilo.  Back then people did not have refrigerators and those who had live stock had to use the milk to make cheese, yoghurt, hilopites (homemade pasta), trahanas, which is fermented milk with wheat, which is dried and then cooked to make soup, desserts such as galaktoboureko or galotopita etc.

Psomotyri bread and feta pie

The other day when I found barreled feta from Tripoli sold in our supermarket for only 6 Euros a kilo, I bought enough, for us to eat during the week, to use some in recipes and leftover was stored in zip lock bags in the deep freezer.  I do not recommend that this frozen feta be thawed and eaten raw, as it crumbles easily but it can be stored for a long time and is perfectly good when thawed and used in recipes.

I made this Tyropita, which is quite unique as I used leftover bread, instead of using phyllo or flour to bind the ingredients together.  I already had some breadcrumbs in the freezer, so this cheese cake or bread can be made in no time.  It is not only frugal and easy to make but really delicious and your guests will hardly understand that the main ingredient is leftover bread.

Collage psomotyri

Note:

– In this recipe I used evaporated milk, as I was making another recipe and had some leftover, so instead of evaporated milk and water you can use 200 ml of other milk of your choice.

– The ratio of feta and anthotyros (which is a whey cheese, similar to ricotta) can vary or you can even use a combination of other cheeses like graviera or halloumi as well.  Since the above cheeses are salty, anthotyros which is not salty at all, balances the saltiness and makes the cheese bread less salty.

– I have used fresh mint as I have some growing in my garden but dried mint can also be used.

– I did not add any fat (butter or olive oil) in the mixture as feta itself has its own fat.  However, I recommend that you generously grease the pan with butter as this will help to get a lovely, crispy crust on the outside.

– This savoury cheese and bread cake can be served as a snack or as a side dish.

Psomotyri and black eyed peas patties

How to make Panko Bread Crumbs:

I used to see Panko bread crumbs used in many American recipes but I did not know what exactly it was until I started working in a restaurant and saw it used.

The difference between Panko bread crumbs and standard bread crumbs is that the bread used is without the crust.  It is slightly toasted (for about 6 – 7 minutes) and then deep freezed to be used in Japanese or other Asian recipes.

As now we are just the two of us, we always have some leftover bread the next day, so I use it either to make toasted bread for breakfast or brunch or shred it in a food processor and put it in the deep freezer.   I then use it as a binding agent when making meatballs (either with minced meat, legumes or vegetables), burgers, to coat meat, such as schnitzel etc., and I also use it even to make desserts, such as bread puddings.

Collage bread crumbs

Psomotyri: The easiest Tyropita (bread and cheese cake)

Preparation time: 20 -25 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 10 to 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups bread crumbs, preferably from rustic bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 ml milk evaporated milk
  • 100 ml water
  • 230 grams anthotyros (similar to ricotta)
  • 270 grams feta
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter to grease the pan

Directions:

  1. Remove the crust from the bread, cut it into small pieces and shred it in a food processor to make coarse breadcrumbs.
  2. Beat the eggs with a fork or a hand mixer, add milk and water and add the bread to soak for 10 minutes. Add the pepper and mint.
  3. Crumble the cheeses and add to the mixture and stir.
  4. Grease a (30 x 12 cm) bread pan generously with butter and pour in the mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 165 – 170 degrees C in a fan forced oven or 180 degrees C in a conventional oven, for about 55-60 minutes or until golden brown on top.

 

Cheese and bread Cake

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Cypriot Tyropita (Savoury Cheese Cake)

Tyropita

Tyropita with Kourou Phyllo

Tyropitakia

Patsavouropita, the easiest Greek Tyropita

Tyropita me Maratho and Watermelon Halloumi Salad

Green Olives and Feta Pull-aparts

Halloumi and Graviera Pull-aparts

Badjina, the naked pie

Tiganopsomo (Fried Bread

Say Cheese (How to make Halloumi)

Kopiaste

 

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on July 15th, 2015

Creplan unmoulded
Creplan is a recipe I created combining two recipes:  Crêpes and Flan.  All the ingredients of a flan are combined with flour to make this very thin batter, like crêpes, which is then baked in the oven.  I baked it in a 12 inch by 7.75 inch loaf cake pan in a cathedral shape sent to me by Silikomart, whom I wish to thank.

Bread pudding with caramel

I received the loaf cake pan in June and it happened that a few days later I made a bread which was a total failure.  The recipe had too much olive oil in it and it turned out having the texture of a cake rather than a bread.  We ate some of this “bread” the first time, while it was fresh and the next day I proceeded and used some of the leftover to make this bread pudding.   The bread was a failure but the pudding I made was delicious.   You can find that recipe, which I have added  into an older post with bread puddings.

creplan

I love the taste of lemon and recently when I found some lemon essence in our supermarket, I could not resist buying it.  Additionally, I added some lemon juice and lemon zest as well.  Of course, it’s up to you to add the flavour your prefer.  If you like to make a chocolate creplan, you can replace 50 grams of flour with 50 grams of good quality cocoa powder and make it chocolaty.
lemon essence
The result was something between a light cake and a flan, which also reminded me of the cream in galaktoboureko  with a crust around it instead of phyllo.  It is so delicious that if you try it, you will surely want more than just one piece.

collage Creplan

Lemon Creplan 

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Baking time:  50 – 60 minutes

Serves:  10

Ingredients:

  • 4 big eggs, separated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (400 g)
  • 125 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 115 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • A pinch of salt
  • 500 ml water
  • Powdered sugar for dusting cake on top

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170o C fan forced or 180 C if using a conventional oven.
  2. Grease a 30 x 20 cm / 12 x 7.75 inch loaf cake pan (or a 20 x 20  cm / 8  x 8 inch baking dish).
  3. Sift the flour and mix in the salt and lemon zest.
  4. Separate the eggs in two bowls.
  5. Add the lemon juice in the egg whites and with a hand mixer mix until egg whites are stiff.  (We know that the meringue is ready when we flip the bowl over and the meringue does not fall off the bowl).
  6. In a second bowl add the egg yolks, butter, lemon essence and condensed milk and beat until the ingredients are incorporated. Add the water and mix.
  7. Add the flour mixture and mix it in until it is fully incorporated.
  8. Finally add the meringue, gradually and using a spatula gently incorporate it in the remaining batter.
  9. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  (In case it browns earlier than the time indicated, just cover the top with aluminium foil and continue baking).
  10. Set aside to cool, unmold and refrigerate.
  11. Serve with icing sugar on top.

Creplan with icing sugar

 

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Crêpes

Galaktoboureko

Ivy’s Lemony Galaktoboureko

Tsoureki and Persimon Bread Pudding

Galaktoboureko in Kataifi Nests

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Brunch with Bread and Eggs

 

These slices of rustic village bread with an egg fried in the center are so simple to prepare but yet so delicious for breakfast or brunch.

 

Fetes me psomi bruschetta

The  addition of the egg is something I saw on the internet but slices of bread with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano, baked over charcoal is an old Greek tradition and is served in many Greek restaurants, either alone to accompany other dishes or with some ingredients on top, similar to an Italian bruschetta.

Fetes me psomi olives and tomato

If you want to make this easy snack just toast the bread, then add the olive oil and the spices and add your favourite breakfast ingredients on top.

Let me introduce you to something similar we have in Greece, called “Peinirli” which is yeasted dough, shaped like a flat-bread boat with cheese on top and an egg is then baked on top.  (Photo from my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”).

Peinirli with Eggs2

Although we stay up late in the evening watching T.V., here in the village some of the people do not respect the obligatory hours for rest, during which they are not allowed to make any disturbing noise.  However, as this is a rural area some of them begin using their chain saws and weed cutters at the crack of dawn, when it is not too hot. It is so frustrating to be awaken by such irritating noises but because it is summer and so hot we can understand why they do it!

 

Dias enjoying his bone

Let me also introduce you to Dias, which in Greek is also called Zeus and the genitive case becomes Dias.  Dias, is our dog and has been with us since late March this year.  I do not remember mentioning him before here on my blog but I guess my friends on Facebook are probably fed up, seeing me posting pictures and videos all the time.  Well, he also wakes us up at around 7 – 7:30 a.m. in order to take him outside to pee.

Since we get up early, we usually have breakfast around 8 o’clock and lunch around 4 p.m.  If it’s not the day we go to the farmers’ market, where we spend almost all the morning in Nafplion doing other shopping as well, the remaining days my husband usually is occupied either in the garden or trying to finish a few chores in the house, which were left unfinished due to lack of money.  The interior of the house has not been painted at all and our basement is a mess due to flooding during winter and spring.  I am usually occupied cleaning and cooking and when we are not too tired we go to the beach.  That means that we end having lunch around 4 p.m.

Around 11 a.m. it’s time for our coffee break and I prepare something for brunch since we will be eating much later.

 

Collage fetes me avgo

These slices of rustic bread are amazing and a good way to use leftover bread.  I drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle some salt, freshly grated pepper and oregano.  I then fry them and when the second side is almost done, I remove the bread which is around the crust and add an egg in the centre.  When it’s almost cooked I season them with salt and pepper and put them in the oven so that the egg whites on top are cooked.  That’s when I prepare our coffee as it just needs a few minutes in the oven and they are ready.  In case that you do not have a frying pan which can go in the oven, just transfer them using a spatula in a baking pan.

The crust becomes crunchy and the taste of bread with the best olive oil in the world, salt, pepper and oregano  is just amazing!  The bread which has been removed is just perfect to dip into the egg yolk!

Fetes me Psomi

Fetes me Psomi kai Avgo (Greek Style Egg in a Nest)

Serves:  2

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices village style bread
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 F.
  2. Wet the slices of bread with half of the olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and freshly grated black pepper on the one side, as well as some oregano.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a non-stick frying pan or a griddle and add the slices, the spices facing up.
  4. Once browned underneath turn them on the other side until slightly browned.
  5. Transfer them on a cutting board and remove a sizable part of the bread.  Put them back in the frying pan on the same side and divide the other tablespoon of olive oil inside the two slices. Break the eggs into the hole and season with salt and pepper on top.
  6. Let them cook underneath for a few minutes and transfer them in the oven.
  7. Bake for a few more minutes or until the egg whites are firm.
  8. Serve with a few olives, some feta and slices of tomato.

Brunch bread eggs tomatos olives feta

 

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Tiganopsomo (Fried filled cheese bread)

Halloumi – graviera Pull-aparts

Savoury Kaikanas with Zucchini and Feta

Cypriot Tyropita (Cheese Cake)

Patsavouropita (the easiest Greek cheese pie)

Sweet or Savoury Pizza Rolls or Pizza Bread

Buns with Tangzhong Starter

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on July 6th, 2015

 

black-eyed peas greek salad1

 

The Greek referendum finished last night with a loud “NO” against the bullying by the European Union.   Austerity hasn’t worked. Five years is enough! Europe’s self-styled technocrats were like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and instead of healing the wounds, they kept putting salt on them.
We are now only hoping for the best of our country!

Some people have rushed to the supermarkets to make provisions for hard days ahead but personally I have not.  We don’t eat meat that often so I always have a packet of dried legumes in my pantry, mostly because I live in a small village and have supplies until the next week when we go back to the supermarket.

I made this recipe last summer but I made it again today with a few minor changes.  Last year I added tuna instead of feta, as that time I did not have any marinated anchovies.

This black eyed peas salad is not only frugal but also filling and healthy as it is packed with vitamins and protein, not to mention how delicious it is!

A different Greek Salad with Black Eyed Peas

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 – 55 minutes
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams black eyed peas, cooked

Greek Salad ingredients:

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 small onion
  • Various chopped bell peppers (about ½ cup, various colors)
  • 4 – 6 olives
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • ½ cup purslane leaves
  • 50 grams feta cheese
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, pepper and oregano, at will
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Boil black eyed peas according to package instructions. After boiling them for 15 minutes, drain them and add fresh water. Put them back on the heat, bring to a boil and add salt. Cook until soft but holding their shape. Drain them and rinse them with tap water so as to cool. Let them drain for a few minutes.
  2. Add the Greek salad ingredients, the purslane, capers, parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice and mix.
  3. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  4. Crumble the feta on top and serve.

 

Black eyed peas Greek Salad5

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Aromatic Blackeyed Peas with Wild Greens and Quinoa

Louvi – and (Black eyed Peas) with Chard and Black Eyed Peas Salad with Avocado

Mavrommatika (Black Eyed Peas) in Tomato Sauce

Keftedes me Mavrommatika (black eyed peas patties)

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ice pops

Silikomart is a company which offers a wide range of refined and innovative 100% food safe silicone products and were kind enough to send me some of their products to try.  They sent me a cathedral shaped loaf cake pan and a kit composed of 12 moulds shaped as butterfly, heart, star and flower to make ice pops. 

I wish to thank them very much.  I will post about the loaf cake pan in another post with a recipe I have already made so today the post will be about the ice pops.

There are 12 moulds in the kit as well as 50 sticks and a recipe leaflet with recipes.    You can make ice pops with ice cream , sorbet, granita or smoothies mixtures.

 

Silikomart molds

 

I make 90% of my recipes by improvising with ingredients I already have at home.  Last Wednesday, we bought lots of fruit from the farmers’ market:  watermelon, melon, peaches, nectarines, apricots and cherries.   However, how many fruit can two persons eat?  The watermelon was cut in a 1/4th slice (around 2 kilos) and was the first to be consumed.  We kept the melon to be eaten last and the remaining fruit were eaten on a daily basis.   The cherries are the most perishable so after 2 – 3 days if non consumed they start to spoil so if there are any leftover I usually cook them before they do.  They were about to spoil when I decided to make the ice pops so I decided to make a light cherry compote, which I flavoured with lavender.  I used a little bit of honey for the flavour and added stevia so that they had less calories.

cherries with honey

We have some lavender in our garden(everything is organic) and this year I picked some to dry a couple of weeks ago.

Lavender flowers

After asking my friends on Facebook, if they wash the lavender before drying it, most of them said they do not wash it.  As this year we had a lot of rain and some times it was raining dust from Africa, I decided to wash it.  I left it in a colander overnight to drain and the next day I wrapped it in a tulle because I don’t want flies or other insects to touch it, and hang it in doors (never in the sun) to dry.  I believe it’s going to take a while until it dries as a week later when I tested it to see if it crumbled, when I tested it with my two fingers, it was not dry yet.  This of course always depends on the climate conditions.  The climate here in Assini, is rather humid, especially during the mornings, so in other places it may take less time to dry.

drying lavender

Since my lavender had not dried, I used some of the fresh lavender I left on the plant.  I used three flowers which I inserted in disposable tea bags.  Although they are disposable, if you wash them you can use them multiple times as they are quite durable.

I used this lavender to flavour the cherry compote I was making.  I wanted this cherry compote to be low in calories, so I just added some honey, for the taste and flavour and sweetened the syrup with stevia.  If you are diabetic it is advisable not to add any honey, unless you consult your doctor first.

collage making lavender greek yoghurt ice pops

What I made was something between an ice cream and frozen yoghurt.

While the compote was cooling, I whipped the heavy cream which I stored in the fridge and all I did was to add the yoghurt to the cream and mix in part of the compote.

The quantity I made was enough for over 24 ice pops.  I made 12 and in the leftover cream I mixed more compote in (about 1 cup) and made an easy dessert.  If you want to make more ice pops, you can leave the cream in the fridge until the next day and make more.  When the first batch is ready, after removing them from the molds, you can wrap each one in cling film and put them all in a freezer bag.

Whenever you crave for something sweet, one of these ice pops is refreshing, delicious, healthy, with no preservatives or additives, without any artificial colour or aroma and with only 64 calories each.

Yoghurt Cherry lavender cream

 

Greek Yoghurt Ice Pops with Cherries and Lavender

Makes: more than 24

Calories:  64 per ice pop* (see calorie breakdown)

Ingredients:

For the Cherry compote:

  • 800 grams cherries
  • 50 grams Greek honey
  • 1 – 2 stevia discs
  • 3 fresh lavender flowers

For the Cream:

  • 200 grams Greek yoghurt 2%
  • 200 grams heavy cream

*Breakdown of ingredients:

200 ml heavy cream =  690 calories

200 ml Greek yoghurt 2% = 186 calories

50 grams honey =  152 calories

800 grams cherries =  508 calories

Stevia = 0 calories

Total:   1536 calories divided by 24 =  64 calories ( with at least 1 cup leftover cherries)

Directions:

  1. Remove the stalks and pits from the cherries.  Put the lavender flowers in a disposable tea bag filter
  2. Put the cherries in a deep frying pan or pot, add the honey and the tea bag  and cook for five minutes from the time it starts boiling.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Whip the cream until peaks form and mix in the yoghurt.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Add 1 cup of cherries and mix.
  5. Fill the ice pops with cream and cherries and then add the stick, at least 3 – 4 cm inside the cream.  Add more cherries on top.
  6. Refrigerate for a few hours until they set.

 

Lavender tea

What better than an ice tea to quench your thirst during the hot summer months!

So, when I finished with the cherry compote, I used the leftover lavender tea bag which was soaked with cherry syrup to make ice tea, combining it with raspberry tea leaves.

Collage lavender tea
*If you want the iced tea to be sweet you can add 1 stevia disc in the hot water or if you don’t mind the calories you can add more syrup, honey or sugar.

Lavender, Raspberry and Cherry Ice Tea

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • Leftover lavender (or use 1 tbsp dried lavender)
  • 1 tbsp raspberry tea leaves (or other flavour you prefer)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp raspberry tea leaves
  • 4 tbsp cherry syrup from the compote we made*
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 lemon slices

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil to 100ο C and put the raspberry tea leaves in another disposable tea bag or in a tea infuser in the hot water.  Add the used lavender tea bag and let them infuse for five minutes.  Remove the tea bag and infuser.
  2. Add the syrup and lemon juice, stir and let it cool.
  3. Serve with ice some cubes and a lemon slice.

ABC-logo

Today’s even is hosted by Simona Carini, of Briciole, who will be our host for the letter M as in Minneapolis (United States).

Ice pops both sides
You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Cherry Compote

No machine Vanilla Sandwiched Ice Cream

No machine Ice Cream with Dulce de Leche

Milk Shake with 3 Fruit, Ice Cream and Whipped Cream

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on June 19th, 2015

Victoria sponge cake with salted caramel

 

Last week it was my husband’s birthday and I made this cake for him.

Instead of making the usual sponge cake, this time I decided to make it with a pound cake.

I think everyone knows what a pound cake is but for those who don’t, it’s a traditional American type of cake, with Northern European origin, which is quite popular in the cuisine of Southern United States.  It is called a pound cake because its four main ingredients sugar, eggs, butter and flour are used in equal amounts, in this case 1 pound (1 lb = 453.592 grams).  In Britain, the same cake is more commonly known as Victoria Sponge.

I have made pound cakes many times, each time with several minor changes, which I doubt if I will ever find time to post each one separately, so here they are.

collage cakes

If you don’t want to add a filling, you can make it as a classic coffee cake, with or without a glazing on top.  Based on this recipe, if you are an experienced baker you can make your own adjustments by adding milk, yoghurt, sour cream, brown sugar, honey, chocolate and of course different flavours.

To start with I had a packet of butter at home but I used a little bit for another recipe so the sponge was made according to the amount of the leftover butter I had.  I reduced the amount of sugar as I would add some syrup to wet the sponges.

I wanted to make two small sponges but unfortunately I only have one, rather big, spring-form baking tin, so I improvised by using two aluminium disposable baking tins.  After baking the sponges, I then cut the base of one of them and used it to hold the filling while it set. However, the base and the top are not of the same dimensions so it did not fit perfectly, as a result the some cream fell to the sides.  That was not really a problem as when I unmolded it, it look pretty good, as the cream covered half of the sponge.

dimensions2

I don’t know if this idea of mine is original but I wanted to add a layer or salted caramel on top. I have made caramel hundreds of times and while I was making it, I was thinking to warn people trying it for the first time to be cautious not to burn themselves, as the hot caramel sticks on the skin making a horrible burn.  When adding the cream I wore a kitchen mitt just in case it splattered but all went well, until the following morning ..

Salted caramel

As salted caramel is fluid, my idea was to use gelatine to help it set and stay on top.

The first layer was practically absorbed by the sponge. As the baking tins I used did not fit perfectly to the cake, when adding the caramel it dripped to the sides, which was not what I wanted.  So, I decided to add it gradually in order to get a good layer on top.  If you use two spring form baking tins, then you can add all the caramel at once and let it set.   I suggest that you make the cake from the previous day as it needs a few hours to set.  The amount of salt added to the caramel is a matter of taste and I didn’t want mine to be too salty, so you can adjust it to your own taste.

The following morning we were planning to go to Nafplion right after breakfast, as it was farmers’ market day and I also needed to do some shopping.  Before leaving,  I wanted to take a picture to post on Facebook and wish my husband a happy birthday, not that I did not wish him in person but you know how it is!

However, maybe because I hadn’t quite woke up yet, a few things went wrong and I almost ruined the cake!

I had the cake on the top shelf of my fridge but as my fridge is small I put it on top of some Tupperware containers and while taking it out it accidentally touched the top of the fridge and, of course, the caramel stuck to it, removing a piece of sponge as well.

I wanted to cry as the cake was damaged and not at all suitable to take a picture.  After a while and thinking of ways to salvage the cake, when I removed the baking tin, I saw the caramel which had dripped to the sides of the platter.  I fixed the piece of sponge back on the cake and  I gathered as much caramel as I could, which I which I would melt in the microwave, to make it fluid again and add it on top.

Lemon poppy cake

However, as I was taking the hot caramel out of the microwave, I accidentally dropped a little on the floor and it fell right on the side of my foot.  Thank God I did not heat the caramel too much but just enough to make it runny again so it was not very hot. Although it hurt and should have reacted quickly and put some olive oil or butter or margarine on my foot (it has been tried and tested by me many times and it does work), I did not want the caramel to harden again.  It only took a few seconds to finish and by the time I added some margarine, it hurt and a blister appeared.  It was not severe as shortly after the pain was gone, leaving a small reddish scar but at the time it hurt and was not in a mood to add the whipped cream carefully.

Well, the surface was not as pretty and shiny as it was originally but it was much better than before and too good not to share.   I can assure you though that it is one of the best cakes I have made.   A moist, buttery and subtly flavoured lemon sponge, with pastry cream between the layers and topped with salted caramel and whipped cream.  What’s not to like!

Collage making salted caramel cake

Salted Caramel Lemon Poppy Pound Cake

Ingredients:

Sponge Cake:

  • 200 grams sugar
  • 4 large eggs (65 grams each with shell), room temperature
  • 235 grams butter, room temperature
  • 200 grams all purpose flour
  • 40 grams corn flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 sachet lemon scented vanilla sugar (10 g)
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

Pastry cream:

  • 1 cup milk, heated reserving about ¼ cup cold
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40 grams (about 2 heaped tbsp) corn flour
  • 50 grams (about 2 heaped tbsp) sugar
  • 1 packet lemon scented vanilla sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp butter

Salted Caramel Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 – 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp (or more if you like) coarse sea salt
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 3 sheets gelatine
  • 1 cup water

Whipped Cream:

  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp honey (or more if you prefer it sweet)
  • 1 packet lemon scented vanilla sugar

Additional ingredients:

  • 4 tsp citrus syrup to wet the sponges

Directions:

To prepare the sponge:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Whisk the eggs with sugar until white and frothy.  Add the butter and flour mixture gradually, alternating each ingredient.
  3. Line two baking tins (22 x 15 x 7 cm) with parchment paper and divide the batter.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven to 170o C fan forced for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Pastry cream:

  1. Heat the milk reserving some cold milk.
  2. Put all the remaining ingredients, except the butter, in a pot, add the cold milk and whisk to combine all the ingredients.  Add the hot milk, turn on the heat and whisk until the cream sets.  Add the butter and mix.  Cover with cling film and set aside until almost lukewarm.

Salted Caramel:

  1. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with water.  Let them soak for ten minutes until soft.
  2. Put the sugar, lemon juice, water and butter in a skillet or preferably a non-stick frying pan.
  3. Mix until sugar dissolves.
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium and using a wooden spoon mix until the sugar caramelizes.  Keep mixing until it turns brown.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream carefully as it may splatter.  Mix again and put back on the heat.  Add the gelatine leaves (without the water) and mix until the gelatine dissolves.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Whipped Cream:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until peaks form.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembling the Cake:

  1. Place the first sponge on a platter and wet with half the syrup.
  2. Cut the bottom of the aluminium baking tin and put it around the cake.
  3. Add the pastry cream.
  4. Put the second sponge on top and wet it with the remaining syrup.
  5. Add a layer of salted caramel (about 1/4th) to cover the surface.  Set aside and wait for the remaining caramel to cool.  Pour the remaining gradually (two or three times) with a spoon to cover the surface and wait for a while before adding the remaining layers.
  6. Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight until it sets.
  7. Remove the aluminium tin and decorate with whipped cream.

Cake with salted Caramel

I am linking this recipe to the ‘Abbecedario Culinario Mondiale an event organized by Trattoria MuVarA where we will be visiting 27 countries around the globe, going alphabetically.

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Today’s even is hosted by Simona Carini, of Briciole, who will be our host for the letter M as in Minneapolis (United States).

 

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Basic Sponge Cake

Lemon Vassilopita Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake

Three Tiered Lemon and Raspberry Mini Wedding Cakes

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Eggplants and potatoe casserole gratin with feta and mozarella
Eggplants (aubergines) are now seasonal and combined with potatoes and cheese makes this a delicious summer meal.  The secret of this dish is the addition of potatoes which suck up all the deliciousness of the sauce, which make it irresistible.

This dish was inspired by my Cypriot recipe Vazania (melitzanes) Giahni (stewed eggplants) which is a stove top stew.

We usually serve our “ladera” dishes accompanied by feta, so I thought why not add it in the dish.  It happened that I had some mozzarella to add on top but you can use any other cheeses which melt, such as kasseri or graviera.   The crust created on top will remind you of pizza.

Table with Eggplant casserole and greek salad

Tip:

Eggplants are like sponges which absorb fluid, so if you are going to fry them in a lot of oil, they will absorb at least twice the quantity mentioned in the recipe.  Potatoes do not absorb oil, especially if fried on high heat, so after finishing with the potatoes, I removed whatever oil remained in the frying pan and added it gradually to the eggplants.

Another way to cook them is to brush them with olive oil and roast them in the oven but that would take more of your time and end up with another cooking utensil to clean in the end.

collage eggplants gratin

 

Eggplant – Potato Casserole with Feta and Mozzarella

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time:  25 minutes

Baking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into ½ cm slices (4 – 5 slices, depending on the size of the potato)
  • 4 tsakonikes (Japanese type) eggplants, partly peeled and cut into three slices
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 red onions, one finely chopped and the other cut into slices
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    500 grams fresh tomatoes, peeled and pureed or 500 grams tomato passata
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 organic vegetable bouillon
  • 4 large basil leaves, finely chopped
    Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of oregano
    1 cup water
  • 150 grams feta cheese, crumbled
  • 200 grams mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Grate the tomatoes or score them with an X on the bottom and put them in boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes.  Put them in cold water, peel and purée them.
  2. Heat 1/3 of the olive in a non-stick frying pan and fry the potatoes on both sides, in batches.
  3. Remove on kitchen paper.
  4. There will be some leftover olive oil so remove it in a metallic bowl and leave just about 1 tbsp olive oil in the frying pan.
  5. Fry the eggplants on one side, brush them on top with a little bit more olive oil and fry on the other side as well.  Continue with remaining eggplants adding a tablespoon olive oil each time and brushing them before turning them over.
  6. Preheat over to 180o C / 350o F.
  7. Add the remaining olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes, to soften but not brown.
  8. Add the grated tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, vegetable bouillon and basil.  Clean your food processor with 1 cup water, which add to the sauce and cook for 10 – 15 minutes.
  9. Layer the potatoes in a 32 x 23 x 6 cm baking dish and sprinkle some salt and pepper.  (Be cautious with salt as feta is salty).  Crumble the feta on top of the potatoes.
  10. Add a layer of eggplants and lightly season with salt and pepper.  If you have leftover potatoes and eggplants, you can add them in another layer, on top.
  11. Pour the tomato sauce on top to cover the eggplants and potatoes.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes or until a fork inserted into a potato is pricked easily.
  13. Remove from the oven, sprinkle mozzarella on top to cover the sauce and bake for 10 more minutes or until the cheese melts.
  14. Turn on the grill for a few minutes, until the cheese forms a brown crust.
  15. Serve warm or cold.

Eggplants and potatoe casserole gratin

 

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Melitzanes Giahni

Melitzanes Papoutsakia (stuffed eggplants)

Melitzanes me Tyria (Eggplants with cheese)

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Birewegge - Swiss Fruit Tart

“Härzlech willkomme in Lozärn” and welcome to the World Culinary ABC event.  We have enjoyed seeing bloggers hosting  and participating in this event where food bloggers virtually travel around the globe in search of recipes to cook for the country or town they are hosting.

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Today, the town I am featuring and hosting is Lucerne, in Switzerland.

 

map of lucerne

According to Wikipedia, Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of the country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name. With a population of about 80,501  (60.000 people, according to the official site of Lucerne), it is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of transportation, telecommunications, and government of this region. The city’s urban area consists of 17 cities and towns located in three different cantons with an overall population of about 250,000 people.

I had the pleasure to visit Switzerland in 2009 but we only got to visit Geneva.  Unfortunately I don’t know much about Lucerne and google searching I found their official site.  Since there was a live chat, I asked for permission to use text and pictures from their site and I would like to thank them for giving me permission to post the following information, together with the pictures.

 

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What you can do in Lucerne:


Mountain- and lake experiences

Just as fascinating as the charming city of Lucerne is the surrounding area. The Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region with its unique mountain and lake landscape offers countless options for excursions. Excursion to the Alps in the region is, in fact, an age-old tradition. Traces of this tradition can be tracked while taking a ride on Europe’s oldest mountain railway, as it winds its way up Mt. Rigi or on the world’s steepest cogwheel train to the top of Mt. Pilatus. Those seeking fun and games on a glacier have to take a ride on the first revolving aerial cable car – the Rotair – to the top of Mt. Titlis: at 3000 meters, it is the highest accessible peak in the Lucerne – Lake Lucerne. Since 2012 the world’s first CabriO® cable car (a double-deck aerial cable car) connects the middle station Kälti with the Stanserhorn. A boat ride on Lake Lucerne, which has the most extensive inland navigation system in Europe, is simply a must. The panorama boat, the five paddle steamers or the elegant catamaran are certain to render your stay extraordinary.
vierwaldstaettersee
Touring, hiking, cycling, and mountain biking experiences

Explore the hiking trails of the Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region. For Example the varied “Swiss Path” which makes a loop around the Urnersee or the new “Waldstätter–Trail” around Lake Lucerne: a lake scenery in the heart of Switzerland with historical and religious places. The Lucerne-Lake Lucerne Region offers pure nature and a wide network of hiking, cycling, and mountain biking routes. All routes are bookable including luggage transport. Or follow the new “Grand Tour of Switzerland” by car or by public transport and visit its highlights in the heart of Switzerland.
1000x370_stadt_luzern_vom_dach
Wellness at the “Lucerne Riviera”

The picturesque lakeside villages of Weggis and Vitznau are located on the shores of Lake Lucerne and the sunny southern flank of Mt. Rigi. This beautiful resort region has established itself as one of the best addresses for spa and wellness. With its official label as a “Wellness Destination”, Weggis Vitznau Rigi – The Oasis of Wellbeing guarantees a professional health and wellness range in the fields of relaxation, exercise and nutrition and a highly capable, personal service. Six leading wellness hotels, first-class cuisine, the Rigi-Kaltbad Mineral Baths & Spa, and the ideal location by Lake Lucerne and at the bottom of the famous excursion mountain Rigi, offer everything for the recovery of body and mind. Revitalise yourself in the middle of the beautiful mountain and lake scenery and immerse yourself in the mild, Mediterranean feel-good climate of our wellness region. At the same time you can take advantage of the closeness to the city of Lucerne with its world-famous sights and large range of cultural activities. It is therefore not surprising, that the region is often referred to as the “Lucerne Riviera” and of which even Goethe, Queen Victoria, Mark Twain became enthusiastic.
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I must say that it was very difficult to find many recipes from Lucerne.  My google searching did not reveal any results, so I created a thread on Chowhound.  I was fortunate enough to get some suggestions and my first choice was to make  either”Chügelipastete” and “Birewegge“.  I rejected “Chügelipastete” because that demiglace sauce was too much trouble to make from scratch :)

I decided to go with “Birewegge”, which is a Pear Bread.  Although the recipe’s name is “bread”,  puff pastry is used.  In the picture it didn’t look as if they used puff pastry, so I decided to make Pâte Brisée which is the basic tart shell and make the filling as suggested.  However, I could not find dried pears so I used fresh pears and a combination of dried plums, dried apricots and raisins  which were plumped and cooked.  Adding fresh pears and my own homemade fig preserve, makes this tart a sweet sensation .  Instead of using walnuts I roasted some almonds which I pulverized in order to absorb some of the moisture and also added some corn flour (starch) for the same reason.  The spice mixture mentioned was very vague, so I decided to use cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ground ginger.

I don’t know how the original recipe tastes but I must say that we were very pleased with the result.

An amazing crunchy crust filled with the above delicious, spicy fruit jam is perfect to accompany your coffee or tea any time of the day.

pasta frolla

Note:

The amount of the fruit I made was too much so I used half of it and the remaining was stored in the fridge.  A week later I made the same tart shell and added the fruit on top to make Pasta Frolla.

Pasta frolla with dried fruit

Birewegge – Pear and Dried Fruit Tart (Pâte Brisée),

Adapted from Hans R. Amrein’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • Icing sugar to sprinkle on top

Tart shell:

  • 425 grams all purpose flour (about three cups)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 285 grams cold butter, grated
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2+ tbsp cold water

Filling:

  • 250 grams dried apricots
  • 250 grams dried plums
  • 4 fig preserves
  • 150 grams sultana raisins
  • 250 grams (2) fresh pears
  • 60 grams  cane sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (equal amount of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 50 ml homemade cherry liqueur
  • 40 ml boiled fruit water
  • 20 ml fig syrup (or add honey)
  • 100 grams roasted almonds, skin on
  • 2 tbsp corn flour

Directions:

  1. Prepare the tart shell. (See step by step instructions here).
  2. Remove stems and stones (if any) from dried fruit and put them in a bowl with enough water to cover them. Let them soak them for an hour.
  3. Strain them, reserve the water and finely chop them.
  4. Peel and core the pears and cut them into small pieces.
  5. Cut the fig preserves into small pieces and discard the clove inside.
  6.  Put the fruit in a pot and add the sugar, syrup, reserved water, cherry liqueur and spices and cook for five minutes.  Add the corn flour and almonds and mix.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  7. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  8. Roll out the tart shell on parchment paper, to make a rectangle 26 cm x 45 cm dough. Spread out half of the filling onto the large side of the pastry and roll up. Transfer the roll with the parchment paper on the baking tray. Brush the roll with egg yolk and lightly score into serving portions and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.
  9. Bake the roll in the middle of oven to 180 °C for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden.
  10. Sprinkle with icing sugar on top and serve preferably with a scoop of “kaimaki” ice cream.

Birewegge with ice cream

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Apple Pie and Apple Tart

Chocolate and Quince Tart

Spinach & Mushroom Tart with Buffalo Butter & Cheese

Bacon Quiche or Quiche Lorraine

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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Vegan ryzogalo2

Τhis vegan Ryzogalo (Greek rice pudding) is creamy, aromatic and  so delicious that it competes with the original classic “ryzogalo”, which is  amazing!

We all love the rich “ryzogalo” our mum used to make but there are many people who are lactose or gluten intolerant and of course there are many people who follow a vegan diet, or during Lent when we fast, so this one is suitable for all the above.

I made this Ryzogalo when some friends visited us during Lent.  My friend is sensitive to gluten, so I used rice flour to thicken it.

You may think that corn flour (starch) is gluten free but,  if you are aiming to avoid wheat, then check on the package that it is labelled “gluten-free” as many brands add wheat flour as well.

coconut milk

I flavoured it with citrus blossom water and served it with ground cinnamon on top.

 

coconut milk ryzogalo

Vegan, Lactose Free and Gluten Free Ryzogalo (rice pudding)

Preparation time:  5 minutes

Cooking time:  about 25 minutes

Serves:  5

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup carolina rice or any other starchy rice, suitable for rice pudding
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut cream / milk
  • ½ can water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp citrus blossom water
  • 1 tbsp citrus blossom water to wet the bowls
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top

Directions:

  1. Put the rice with water in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer until all water is absorbed.
  2. Add the coconut milk, sugar and half can of water and bring to a boil again.
  3. Meantime, dissolve the rice flour in ¼ cup water and mix in the 2 tbsp blossom water.
  4. Add to the rice and mix until it thickens.
  5. Distribute the citrus water to wet 5 bowls by pouring it from one to the other.
  6. When the rice pudding has set distribute it into the bowls.
  7. Serve lukewarm or cold, with cinnamon on top.

Nistisimo ryzogalo
You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Classic Greek Ryzogalo and Dulce de Leche Ryzogalo

Lemon Posset Ryzogalo and Winter Poached Fruit

Ryzogalo with Krokos Kozanis (Greek Saffron)

Rozotto (vegan rice pudding with rose cordial)

Kheer (an Indian rice pudding)

Ryzogalo me Kydoni (Quince)

Caramel Rice Pudding

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Kolokytholoukoumades

The word “kolokytholoukoumades” may seem long and complicated to pronounce but it is a blend of two words, from kolokythia (courgettes/zucchini) and loukoumades (Greek doughnuts).

I bought some courgettes (zucchini) from the farmers’ market a few days ago, to make briam.   The courgettes were really fresh with their blossoms still on.  I usually add the blossoms, along with the other vegetables to the briam, but the blossoms were so fresh and inviting that I kept them to fill them with cheese.

I used feta, graviera (similar to gruyere) and halloumi but you can put anthotyro as well (a Greek whey cheese, similar to ricotta). Usually, I make a batter with eggs and milk, but while I was preparing them, I decided to try them with the batter I make Greek loukoumades.

 

hot kolokytholoukoumades

Hot Kolokytholoukoumades

I prepared a dose of loukoumades and kept as much as I needed to dip the courgette blossoms and with the leftover I made dessert (loukoumades) as well!

Cold kolokytholoukoumades

Cold Kolokytholoukoumades

While they are still hot, the outer layer is crunchy and the melting cheese explodes with minty flavour!  They are irresistible!  When they cool the outer layer becomes softer, like dough, and the cheese sets but warm or cold, they are delicious!

collage kolokytholoukoumades

Kolokytholoukoumades (Battered Courgette Flowers filled with Cheese)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Makes: 12 to 15

Ingredients:

  • 12-15 large courgette/zucchini blossoms
  • Olive oil (preferably with light flavour) or vegetable oil for frying (or mixed olive oil with vegetable oil)

For the filling:

  • 200 grams feta
  • 50 grams grated halloumi
  • 50 grams grated graviera
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped (or 3-4 tablespoons dried mint, crumbled)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • (If adding anthotyro, you should also add some salt)

Loukoumades batter:

  • 1/2 cube of fresh yeast (17 grams) or 1 packet (8 grams dry yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • About 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Directions:

  1. Prepare the batter for the donuts and let it rise.  See detailed instructions here.
  2. Wash the courgette flowers and remove the stamens from inside as well as the green leaves on the back side.  Let them strain in a colander.
  3. Break the eggs in a bowl and lightly beat them with a fork.  Add the mint and cheese. Add enough cheese so as to absorb the eggs and become a firm mass.
  4. Fill the blossoms.
  5. Dip the flowers in the batter.
  6. In a deep skillet or saucepan heat about 1 inch olive oil and fry the stuffed blossoms on both sides.
  7. Remove them on kitchen paper before serving.

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.

 

Other related Recipes:

Kolokythoanthoi Gemistoi (Batter fried courgette flowers)

Loukoumades

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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