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.

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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).

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.

 

Free for Media. For commercials ask info@aura.ch Frei fuer Medien in Bezug auf Luzern. Werbung oder andere Verwendungen sind kostenpflichtig info@aura.ch.
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

Kopiaste

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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Green Salad with Strawberries and Feta

A wonderful, refreshing, green salad with a variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fresh strawberries.

This salad is a wonderful combination of peppery rocket, baby spinach and mild lettuce together with salty feta, which are well balanced with the sweet and sour vinaigrette, made with strawberry sauce (I used some of the strawberry sauce I made for the Strawberry Cake – but you can make it in no time), extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with a hint of garlic.  Combined with fresh strawberries, aromatic mint and crunchy roasted almonds, this salad will intrigue even the most demanding palettes.

Spring Green Salad with Strawberries and Feta

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup tender lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup wild or cultivated rocket (arugula)
  • 1 cup red lollo lettuce
  • 50 grams feta, crumbled
  • 6 strawberries, quartered
  • 1 sprig fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp roasted almonds, cut into smaller pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Strawberry Vinaigrette:

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp strawberry sauce
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and drain all the vegetables.
  2. Coarsely cut by hand, the lettuce, red lolla lettuce, baby spinach, rocket and mint.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper and mix.
  4. In a food processor add all the salad dressing ingredients and mix with until the garlic is mashed.
  5. Before serving, add the salad dressing and mix.

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:

 

Salad Bar (a post with many salads)

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Kyriacos Birthday cake

I made this cake for my son’s birthday a couple of days ago.  It’s a white, vanilla flavoured sponge with cream cheese filling, topped with chocolate ganache and decorated with strawberries.

The cheese cream filling with strawberries combined with the vanilla sponge and chocolate, create an aromatic and refreshing dessert, rich in taste and aroma.

The instructions to make this cake have already been given in previous recipes which you will find in the links given and I have adjusted the amounts of ingredients to be used.
Strawberry Chocolate Cake

Birthday Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese and Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients:

  • Vanilla Flavoured Sponge
  • Strawberry Sauce
  • Whipped Cream (330 ml heavy cream)
  • Chocolate Ganache (170 grams milk chocolate)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling:

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams anthotyro (unsalted whey cheese) or ricotta
  • 1/2 cup strawberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 gelatine leaves

For decoration:

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Chocolate shavings

Directions:

  1. Prepare ahead the sponge cake from the previous day.
  2. Prepare the strawberry sauce and set aside to cool.  You can also prepare it the previous day.  You should let it cool before using it and any leftover must be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week.
  3. Soak the gelatine leaves with water for ten minutes.  Heat the milk and add the gelatine leaves.  Mix until they dissolve and set aside to cool.
  4. Prepare the Whipped Cream.  Whip the heavy cream with icing sugar and vanilla essence and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Cut the sponge cake in the middle.  Place the top piece upside down, as your base, in a platter and wet the sponge with 3 – 4 tbsp strawberry sauce.  Place the ring of your baking tin around the sponge and secure it.
  6. Whisk the cream cheese, milk with gelatine and  anthotyro (whey cheese) until there are no lumps.  Add the strawberry sauce and whipped cream and mix to incorporate.  Pour the cream over the sponge and cover with the second piece of sponge cake, leaving the parchment paper on top.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the cream sets.
  7. Prepare the chocolate ganache.  See basic recipe here.  Melt the chocolate over a water bath and add 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp of your favourite liqueur (I used mandarin liqueur) and mix until the chocolate melts.  Remove from the heat and mix for a few minutes for the temperature to drop and mix in 2 – 3 tbsp whipped cream to make it soft.  Keep mixing until it cools.  Add 1 cup more whipped cream and incorporate it in the chocolate ganache.
  8. Remove the parchment paper from the cake and pour the chocolate ganache in the middle of your cake.  You can either leave it drop to the sides of the cake or spread it with a spatula to cover the cake.  Use some of the whipped cream to cover the sides of the cake.
  9. Put some leftover whipped cream in a piping bag using  a plain nozzle and make six horizontal lines.  Take a skewer or a toothpick and draw vertical lines across the cream lines, in opposite directions.  Sprinkle some chocolate shavings at the edge of the cake and decorate with strawberry halves.
  10. Take a fork and draw lines on the sides of the cake.
  11. Store in the refrigerator.

Strawberry 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:

White Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Cake

Strawberry and Chocolate Cake

Torta Fragole (Strawberry Cake)

Strawberry Red Velvet Cake

Strawberry Mud Cake

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on April 20th, 2015

temple of Zeus2

 On Saturday 18th April, 2015 it was National Museum day so we decided to visit the archaeological site of Nemea, which is about 45 km north-west to Assini.
Assini Nemea
The site of ancient Nemea lies in a small upland valley.  Its name derives from the Greek word “nemos”, which means meadow, pasture.  Its location, which was in neutral ground, on the borders of Achaia, Arkadia, Argolis and Corinthia, was ideal for the creation of a panhellenic religious centre and the conduct of the fourth panhellenic games, the Nemean Games.
sanctuary of zeus
The sanctuary only came to life during the summer, when the Nemean Games took place. Therefore, it was always controlled by the nearby city-states, originally by Kleonae, with Argos becoming dominant in the 5th century BC.
The first building activity dates back to the early 6th century BC, when the early Temple of Zeus (Naos tou Dios) and the Heroon of Opheltes were constructed.  Towards the end of the 5th century BC, the sanctuary was destroyed and, as a result, in the following years the games were held in Argos.
In 330 BC, the games returned to Neamea;  this was probably connected with the panhellenic politics of the Macedonians.  At the same time, the Temple of Zeus was reconstructed, on of the first buildings to combine all three ancient Greek architectural orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian);  several buildings were also constructed in order to serve more practical needs:  the “Xenon” (guest-house), the “Oikoi” (houses), the Baths and the Dining Area.
In 271 BC the games were transferred yet again to Argos and after that, the Nemean sanctuary was gradually abandoned.
In the early-Christian era (late 4th-5th century AD) a large agricultural settlement was created on the site.  In 453 AD, the emperor Theodosius banned all pagan activities and so began the systematic destruction of the Temple of Zeus;  its architectural members were used for the construction of a Basilica with a central nave and one aisle at each side.  The settlement was abandoned around 580 AD.
stadium
The Nemea Stadium lies 450 m South-East of the Temple of Zeus. It was closely connected with it, since it constituted the main locale of the Nemean Games, one of the four ancient Greek festivals to be elevated to a panbhellenic status.
According to one myth, the games were instituted to commemorate the death of Opheltes, the son of Lycurgus, King – pries of Nemea.  A second myth though, points to the panhellenic status of the festival, attributing to Hercules the institution of the Games, to offer thanks to Zeus for helping him accomplish his first labour, killing the lion of Nemea.  The Games took place every two years and included musical, theatrical and mainly athletic events.
Around 415 BC, the majority of the sanctuary of Zeus was destroyed and, as a result,, in the following years the Games were held in Argos.  In 330 BC, the Argives decided to undertake a building programme in Nemea and proceed to re-establish the Games there.  Nevertheless, the Games returned to Argos in 271 BC, until AD 393, when the Emperor Theodosius banned them.
stadium seats
The Stadium was constructed in 330 – 320 BC as part of the Argive building programme and remained in use until 271 BC.  Its track was 600 ancient feet long (about 178 m) was bordered by a stone water-channel with stone basins at intervals for drinking water.
Water tank
The starting line, the “Balbis”, consisted of a line of stones, while it also included the “hysplex”, a starting mechanism allowing the athletes to have consistently fair starts to races.
stadium 2
The majority of the spectators sat on the sloping ground, since only a few stone seats were discovered on the west side of the stadium.  The judges, called “Hellanodikae”, had a special platform on the east side of the Stadium, from where they could oversee the Games.
In a natural depression east of the Stadium lie the remains of a rectangular building with a central portico, the “Apodyteirion” (changing room) of the Stadium.  This is where the athletes prepared for the upcoming competitions.
entrance of stadium
In order to enter the Stadium the athletes had to pass through the “Krypte Eisodos” (hidden entrance), a 36 metres long barrel vaulted tunnel,
Nemea stadium
Nemea tunnel
The bath, circa 320 BC, consists of a large square room on the east with four bases for columns to support the roof and a room on the west with two rows of five columns also to support the roof.
baths
The area south of the southern row of five columns is a sunken bathing chamber with two side rooms with tubs or basins and a central pool for plunge baths.
Water Reservoir
South of this area is a system of reservoirs for feeding the proper amount of water to tubs and pool.  The water was brought by a terracotta aqueduct from a spring on the slopes of the eastern side of the valley which marked today by a grove of cypress trees beyond the contemporary cemetery.
Archaeological site of Nemea

The museum was founded by the University of California, thanks to a donation of Rudolph A. Peterson. Destined initially to serve the research and educational purposes of the University’s excavation project at the sanctuary of Zeus, the museum was subsequently donated to the Greek state and in 1984 opened to the public, as Archaeological Museum of Nemea.

pine tree

 

Besides the exhibits from the Zeus’ sanctuary, the museum collections include finds from various archaeological sites in the Nemea region, which span from the Early Neolithic to the Byzantine times.

Museum

 

For more information continue reading here.

Artifacts in Museum

In the region there are many wineries, so it is worth combining your visit to Nemea by visiting one of the many wineries.

vinesPalivou Estate:

Address: Nemea 20500, Greece
Phone Number: +30 2746 0 24190
Lafkiotis Winery:
Address: Nemea 20500, Greece
Phone Number: +30 2746 0 31000
Lafazanis Winery
Kefalari, Ancient Kleones, Nemea 20500, Greece
Phone Number: +30 2746 031450
Co-operative Winery of Nemea
130, Papakonstantinou Av.
Nemea 20500, Greece
Phone Number:  +30 27460 22210

 

If you are visiting Nafplion and would like to combine a visit to the wineries and learn Greek Cuisine, please contact me at ivyliacopoulou AT gmail DOT com

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on April 9th, 2015

Tsourekia 2015

Tsoureki is a type of Greek style sweet brioche bread.   What makes it different is the kind of butter used and its flavour as mahleb and mastic resins are used, which gives it a unique taste.

This year I decided to make something different, so I made some changes to my recipe.  What makes this Tsoureki special is its lovely shape.  You will make everybody thinking that you have made something very complicated.

Tsoureki 2015
You can find the links to my other tsourekia at the end of the post.

You can also find instructions on how to make this bread in another recent post of mine.

Note:  *If you do not have ewe’s and goat butter you can use any other type of butter or margarine.

Tsourekia with Praline Filling

Preparation time: 1 hour

Baking time: 30 – 40 minutes

Waiting time:  about 2 hours for the dough to rise twice

Makes: 1 large tsoureki 24 cm diametre and 1 normal braided tsoureki

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 kilo strong bread flour (might need a little bit more)
  • 25 grams fresh yeast (you can use dry yeast if you prefer)
  • 225 grams sugar
  • 100 grams ewe’s and goat butter*
  • 100 grams margarine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs (60 grams each)
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) ground mahleb
  • 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) ground mastic resin
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the filling:

  • 300 grams praline (nutella or Greek merenda)

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg yolk mixed with a spoonful of milk for glazing

For decoration:

  • Blanched almonds (about 50)

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast with some of the lukewarm milk.
  2. Melt the butter and mix in the sugar.
  3. Adjust the hook on your mixer.
  4. Put the flour with the salt, the mastic, the mahleb and orange zest in the mixer bowl and mix on low speed to combine.
  5. Add the yeast mixture as well as the remaining milk and mix.
  6. Add the melted butter with sugar and continue mixing on low speed.
  7. Beat the eggs with a fork and add to the mixer.  Mix until well combined increasing the speed until the dough forms into a ball around the mixer hook.  (If sticky add a little bit more flour).
  8. Cover the dough with a napkin and leave it for about an hour (depending on the room temperature) to rise and double in volume.
  9. Knead the dough and divide the dough into four pieces of 300 grams each.  Shape each piece into a round ball.  The remaining will be braided separately to form a classic tsoureki or you can use it as a fifth layer, adding more praline.
  10. Roll out the first ball into a disc around 24 cm diametre or a little bit bigger. It is important that all the discs are made the same size.
  11. Cut a piece of parchment paper 30 x 30 cm and put the rolled dough in the centre.
  12. Spread 1/3 of the praline on it leaving a margin of 2 – 3 cm uncovered. Lay the second one on top spreading praline and continue with the third and fourth.
  13. Use the base of your spring form pan to shape your bread and cut excess dough. (Leftover dough will be used to make the other tsoureki).
  14. Slide the base under the parchment paper.
  15. Place a small round object in the middle and using a sharp knife make 4 cuts.  Divide each quarter into 4 equal pieces so that you have 16 sections.  While making the first two sections twist each piece twice in opposite directions and join the ends.  The right will be twisted to the right and the left to the left.  Continue with all the remaining sections.
  16. Decorate with the almonds.
  17. When done add the ring of the form on the base and secure.
  18. Cover with cling film and a kitchen towel and let it rest and rise for another hour.
  19. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon milk. With a pastry brush, evenly brush the egg mixture over the risen dough.
  20. Preheat your oven to 180o C /  350o F and bake for about 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven or until a nice brown colour is achieved.

Wishing you all A Happy Easter!

Easter eggs 2015
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:

Tsourekia with Chestnut Filling

Tsourekia with Lemon Marmalade Filling

Vassilopita Tsoureki

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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© 2007 - 2014 - All Rights Reserved. All recipes, text and photographs on this site are the original creations and property of the author. Do not post or publish anything from this site without full credit and a direct link to the original post. E-mail me using the contact page with any requests or questions.

 
© 2007 - 2014 All Rights Reserved. All recipes, text and photographs on this site are the original creations and property of the author. Do not post or publish anything from this site without full credit and a direct link to the original post. E-mail me with any requests or questions.
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