Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 21st, 2014

Spinach and Mushroom Tart with Buffalo cheese and butter

A savoury tart is always perfect for parties, enjoyed with friends for dinner, to take at picnics, to enjoy with a glass of wine or drinking a cup of coffee.

The secret of making a good  tart shell is the quality of the butter used and following some basic techniques.  Up to now I have been using only regular butter, which although it makes a tasty crust but not very flaky.


collage spinach and mushroom tart

The buffalo milk butter is sold in 125 grams packs.   That amount would have made a smaller tart shell so in order to fit my tart pan I had to add some cow’s milk butter as well.  The result was amazing.   It came out flaky, tender, and flavourful.

Mushroom and spinach tart

Spinach and Mushroom Tart with Buffalo Butter and Cheese

Preparation time:  1 hour

Baking time:  50 minutes

Serves:  8

Ingredients for a 28 cm (11 inch)Tart shell :


  • 300 grams flour (2 and 1/3 cups)
  • 200 grams butter (150 buffalo and 50 grams cows butter) at room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cold water


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 400 grams spinach
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup chives, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 90 grams graviera, grated
  • 150 grams buffalo feta
  • 1/3 cup chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dill finely chopped
  • 130 grams (about 10 small) button mushrooms


Prepare the tart shell:

  1. Put the flour, salt and butter in a big bowl.  Rub it with your fingers until the flour absorbs the butter and resembles like crumbs.  Add the cold water and gently mix until the crumbs hold together.
  2. Grease a 28 cm (11 inch)  tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom) and sprinkle some flour on it.  Discard excess flour.
  3. Transfer the dough on a piece of parchment paper and form it into a ball, without kneading it.
  4. Flatten the dough into a disc and cover it with cling film.  Roll out the dough, making it at least one inch bigger than your tart pan.
  5. Invert it in your tart pan.  Remove the parchment paper. Using the cling film, cover it and shape it with your hands to fit into your pan. Cover it with the cling film and refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Put the spinach in a colander and sprinkle some salt.   After ten minutes squeeze the spinach to remove as much water as possible.
  2.  Heat the olive oil and sauté the spring onions, until translucent.  Add the mashed garlic and spinach and cook for about five minutes until all the juices have evaporated.  Chop all the amount of the chives.  Add half of it and mix.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Put the eggs, milk, flour, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add the grated graviera, reserving 3 tablespoons, the crumbled buffalo cheese, the dill and the chives (reserving a tablespoon), the cooked spinach and mix.
  4. Preheat oven (fan forced) to 170o C.
  5. Remove the cling film from the tart shell and pour the mixture inside.  Spread the mixture evenly and add the mushrooms on top.
  6. Sprinkle the reserved graviera and chives on top.
  7. Bake for about 50 minutes or until golden on top.
  8. Serve warm or cold.


Spinach and mushroom Tart


For all Greeks of Diaspora or friends of Greece, reading my blog, this recipe as well as 99 other selected Greek recipes are included in a Greek Cookbook called «Mageirevontas gia ton Allo Anthropo» (cooking for the other person).  Many of my readers do not know Greek but surely some of you have some Greek friends.  You can send them this cookbook as a gift.  By buying it you are donating $10 to the people who are cooking in the streets of Athens, feeding those who are in need.

thumbnail μαγειρευοντας για τον αλλο ανθρωπο3

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», or in the shorter version «More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook» and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores.


Other relevant recipes:

Chocolate Tart with Quince

Fig and Peach Tart with Anthotyro Cheese

Sausage & Onion Tart with Easy Cornmeal Crust

Peaches and Grape Tart



Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 18th, 2014

Marmelada kydoni quince jam


When I made this Quince Jam I wanted to make it to be somewhat like a cross between a fruit preserve and a jam.

If you want it to have more jelly, when you cook the fruit do not discard the seeds and some of its peel but fold it into a tulle and put it in the pot as most of the pectin is found in the seeds and peels.  See the picture from a previous time I had made it.

quince prepared


The reason I made this jam like this was that I want to be able to serve it on top of creamy desserts but also use it in my recipes, the way I used it in my Chocolate & Quince Tart but also to be able to spread it on toasted bread or served together with cheese, such as anthotyro, graviera, halloumi or other Greek cheeses.


Breakfast with quince and anthotyros

Have you ever wondered how this hard, tasteless and astringent fruit is transformed to the most delicious, red fruit when it is cooked?

Quince jam

The tannin concentration in quinces varies depending on where it is grown and determines its color when cooked. The heat causes the tannins to release a red pigment called anthocyanin. The quinces, which are rich in tannins give a reddish color while those that contain fewer tannins remain in a cream or pale pink. When in past years quince was cooked in aluminum cookware the reaction with tannic acid produced even deepest red results.

Collage quince jam


As you may see from the above pictures, which were taken just after the jam was ready, there was some syrup in the jam.  After a few days however that syrup became into a jelly and the jam was thicker.  Maybe another myth is busted and you don’t need to add the peels and the seeds.  However, if you do add them, I would suggest that you add more water, so that it will set into a jelly.

quince jam set

Marmelada Kydoni (Quince Jam)

Preparation time:  1 hour

Cooking time:   2 hours and 30 minutes 

Makes:  10 jars of 450 grams


  • 2.200 grams of peeled, cored and grated quince (3,5 kilos or about 7 medium quinces)
  • 2 kilos sugar
  • 6 cups  water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 fragrant geranium leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Juice from 1 lemon


  1. Prepare a big bowl with water and the juice of one lemon. Peel the quinces and remove core and put them in the water.
  2. When they are all ready, add 6 cups of the quince and lemon water in a big pot.
  3. Grate the quince, adding each grated piece directly in the pot.
  4. Add the sugar and mix until it dissolves.
  5. Add the fragrant geraniums and cinnamon and put on the heat.
  6. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium high and cook, mixing regularly until the temperature reaches 105oC (220oF), for about 2 hours and thirty minutes.
  7. Place in clean sterilized jars.

quince jam marmelada kydoni


Another way to preserve quince is to make it into Kydonopasto (Quince Jelly Paste).  After cooking the quince until all the moisture has evaporated, it is sun-dried and preserved for a very long time.
Quince paste kydonopasto

The above recipe can easily be made into Kydonopasto but if you want more instructions, you can find the recipe in Volume 2 of my e-cookbook «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!


You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», or in the shorter version «More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook» and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores.


Other relevant recipes:

Banana, Fig, Grape and Peach Jam

Lemon Marmalade

Fig Jam

Tomato & Fruit Jam (chutney)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 14th, 2014

μαγειρευοντας για τον αλλο ανθρωπο3

To all Greeks of Diaspora or friends of Greece, 18 food bloggers and 7 Chefs have joined forces to publish this e-book in Greek, to help «O Allos Anthropos» (the other person), which gives free food on a daily basis to people in need.

Free food for everyone2

All the proceeds of this cookbook will go to this cause.

You can download the book directly from Smashwords.

Even if you don’t understand Greek, you can send it as a gift to your Greek friends and help by donating this small amount of $10 for such a good cause.

If you can read Greek, there is a detailed post on My Greek Blog so that you can find more about this cause.

You can also buy the cookbook in pdf format for only 5 Euros, via Paypal.

Thank you for your support,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 12th, 2014

Chocolate and Quince Tart

Happy Anniversary to us.  Today is our 34th Wedding anniversary.  I am not going to write much this year, as I have already written in previous anniversaries.  I  will leave it until next year since my wedding album is in Athens and I’ll have to remember to scan and post pictures of our wedding next year!

I invited over some friends over to celebrate with us and made this Chocolate Mousse Tart with homemade quince jam.  The recipe for the jam will be posted soon.

Tart with Chocolate

After making the tart and looking for last year’s post to link it, I discovered that last year’s post also involved quince.  Quince is in season and as I made the jam a couple of days ago, it’s no wonder why I have added it in my tart.  The other reason is that quince and chocolate is a wonderful combination.  If you don’t have quince, try it with Bergamot or other citrus jam or fruit preserve.

Chocolate Tart with Bergamot
The filling came out more than I needed but if you skip the jam, I think it will be just enough.

Chocolate mousse2

Since the eggs in the leftover chocolate were not pasteurized, I put the chocolate back in the bain mari and put it back on the heat again for a few minutes.  I mixed in some of last year’s quince fruit preserve and we enjoyed it after lunch.

collage tart shell

Chocolate and Quince Tart

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  30 minutes

Serves:  8 – 10


Tart Shell Pastry:

  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, cold and grated or cut into small chunks
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed


  • 125 grams milk chocolate
  • 300 grams dark chocolate 70% cocoa
  • 400 grams heavy cream 36%
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Additional ingredients:

  • Extra butter to grease the pan
  • 450 grams quince jam (reserve 1 tablespoon)
  • Chocolate shavings


  1. To make the pastry: combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with a your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs Add the ice water and work it to bind the dough until it holds together without over working it. Form the dough into a ball and place on parchment paper.  Cover with cling film and roll it one inch bigger than the size of the tart pan in order to cover the sides.
  2. Grease your tart pan with butter and invert the rolled out dough into the tart pan.
  3. Cut off the excess dough with your hand. Put it back in the tart shell, cover with cling film and distribute it evenly with your hand.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the butter to firm up again.
  4. Add some parchment paper on top and cover it with weight so that it does not rise (I used beans).
  5. Preheat the oven to 170° C  fan forced.  Place the rack in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Simultaneously prepare the filling.
  7. Put the eggs in a big bowl but reserve separately about ½ an egg white.  Beat the egg white lightly and set aside.
  8. Whisk the eggs with sugar and set aside.
  9. Heat the heavy cream in a bain marie (water bath) and add the chocolate , salt and pepper and mix until it melts.
  10. Remove the tart shell from the oven and brush the egg white on its surface, just enough to wet it.  Bake the tart again for 5 – 6 more minutes.  If you have any leftover egg white after brushing the tart, add it to the other eggs.
  11. Empty the quince jam on top of the tart shell and spread it evenly.
  12. Pour the chocolate gradually into the eggs and with a hand mixer whisk to incorporate.
  13. Empty the chocolate mixture over the quince.
  14. Bake for about 30 minutes.  If you see the chocolate beginning to crack, remove it from the oven.
  15. Set aside to cool and refrigerate a few hours before cutting.
  16. Sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top for decoration and a spoonful of quince jam.


Chocolate and Quince Tart cut

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», or in the shorter version «More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook» and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores.


Other relevant recipes:

Fig and Peach Tart with Anthotyro Cheese

Sausage & Onion Tart with Easy Cornmeal Crust

Peaches and Grape Tart


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 9th, 2014

Dolmades salad and veggie burgers


Dolmades is a Greek traditional dish using vine leaves to enclose a filling with minced meat and rice, with a lot of variations.  However, the recipe I made is not traditional at all.

There is a another Greek dish where sardines are wrapped in vine leaves and cooked with olive oil, lemon juice, spices and water but my recipe has nothing to do with that recipe apart from the sardines being wrapped in vine leaves is the only thing they have in common.

Couscous with cuttlefish ink

When I was given this black couscous, by the Mediterranean Diet Grocery Store, (Sophocleous 1 and Aristidou 11  Street, in Athens), to review , I  had no clue what to make with it.

Although at first glance it even looked a bit repulsive but believe me, after I cooked it, we loved it!

chicken couscous and peas
I did not want to make the usual side dish, which I have made many times but never published.  As I wanted to use it in a creative way,  I kept thinking for days, ways to cook it.

Filleted sardines

When the other day, I bought these lovely, fresh sardines from the farmers” market the idea of pairing them together clicked into my head.  This handmade couscous, is made with cuttlefish ink, so these two ingredients  sounded like a perfect match.


Collage Dolmades with sardines

It’s always risky to make new recipes, and believe me there are many recipes I have made which will never be posted, but this time my instinct was right and the result was amazing!

It was so delicious that you will be seeing more recipes with this black beauty!

Dolmas with sardines opened


Dolmades with Sardines and Black Couscous

Preparation time:  1 hour

Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves:  4


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove (about 1 tsp) mashed roasted garlic
  • 1 vegetable organic bouillon
  • 200 grams black couscous
  • ¼ cup red dry wine
  • 1 can (400 grams) tomato concasse, blended
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • A handful dried mint
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 40 filleted sardines
  • 40 vine leaves


  1. Blanch the vine leaves, add cold water and drain.
  2. Heat half of the olive oil in a non stick frying pan and sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and bouillon and mix for a few seconds.
  3. Add the couscous and mix until it is wet.
  4. Add the wine and mix until the alcohol evaporates.
  5. Add half of the tomato juice.  Fill the can with water and add half of it.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, add the dried mint, mix, lower heat and simmer until the couscous has absorbed the fluid.
  7. Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley.  Set aside until it cools.
  8. Fillet the sardines.  Pull the head and the guts which will come out with it.
  9. Cut through the belly ending at its tail.  Remove the bone and cut off the tail.  Wash and drain.
  10. Season the sardines with salt and pepper.
  11. Place one of the leaves, vein side facing up, on a plate and put a sardine horizontally near the stem.  Add a spoonful of the couscous mixture on top. Fold the vine leaf, left edge over the filling and then right edge.   Then roll from the top, all the way, wrapping the vine leaf, to make a cigar shape.
  12. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling and place them in a baking tin.
  13. Put the remaining olive oil and water in the remaining tomato juice, mix them and pour on top of the wrapped sardines.
  14. Cover the baking tin with aluminum foil.
  15. Preheat over to 180C and bake for 1 hour.
  16. Serve with a Greek Salad or make some Veggie Burgers, as well


Veggie burgers - dolmades and Greek salad


You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», or in the shorter version «More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook» and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores.


Other relevant recipes:

Dolmadakia Bakaliarou (Dolmades with Cod fillets)

 Vegetarian Dolmades with Mushrooms and Leeks


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 4th, 2014

Veggie burgers with Greek Salad

These burgers can be made with almost all vegetables you have in your fridge. The only thing you have to be cautious about is the drain well the those vegetables which have a lot of water content, such as the courgettes or the tomatoes.

I used eggplants which I had in the deep freezer.  When they were cheap I bought some from the farmers” market in Nafplion and after eating what we needed, I fried the remaining and stored them, four in each zip lock bag and stored them in the freezer. This way they can be preserved for a very long time and  can be used in many recipes.  All you need to do is to thaw them.  However, in this case, it’s not even necessary to thaw them as you can easily chop them while they are frozen.

Instead of making burgers, if you want them smaller you can make smaller fritters by shaping them or just dropping a spoonful of the mixture directly into the frying pan.  If you want to avoid frying them, you can line a baking tin with parchment paper, shape as you like and bake them until golden.

Greek salad with Coriander and buffalo feta

They can be served as an appetizer, a side dish or a main dish with a salad.

Koroneikes olives

I served them with a Greek Salad, in which I added a different variety of small olives called Koroneiki, which are very delicious, different colours of bell peppers and coriander.  Instead of the usual feta, I added buffalo cheese, which is similar to feta but made with buffalo milk.  You can find the olives and buffalo cheese in the Mediterranean Diet Store, on 1 Sophocleous Street, Athens, Telephone  210 3234512.

Collage veggie burgers

Greek Veggie Burgers

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:   30 minutes

Makes:  16 – 20


  • 4 «tsakonikes» eggplants  (Japanese type) cut in half , fried and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped and drained (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup grated and well drained (about 7 small) courgettes
  • Salt (about ½ tsp)
  • 4 grated carrots (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup different colours (about ½ of each of 3 bell peppers) , coarsely chopped
  • 4 green onions, white and part of green leaves, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove (about 1 tsp) mashed roasted garlic
  • ¼ cup dill, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 110 grams finely semolina
  • 185 grams all purpose flour
  • 130 grams feta
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Olive oil, for frying


  1. Cut the eggplants lengthwise and fry on both sides.  Drain on kitchen paper and then cut them into smaller pieces.
  2. Grate the courgettes, put them in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  After ten minutes squeeze all the water out.
  3. Finely chop the tomato and drain.
  4. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and using your hand mix well.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before frying.  They can be left in the fridge for at least one day.
  6. Heat the olive oil on high heat.  Form the vegetable burgers.  Fry on first side until golden and then turn them over.  Remove them on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

Veggie burgers

You can serve these Burgers as an appetizer with the Cream Cheese Dip, or as a side dish or as a main dish with a Greek Salad.  We had leftovers and ate them the next day and they were even more delicious!

Cream cheese Dip for eggplant fritters

Preparation time:  5 minutes Ingredients:

  • 100 ml Greek yoghurt
  • 100 ml mayonnaise
  • 200 ml cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cucumber, grated and water squeezed out
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Salt ½ tsp hot chili pepper flakes (or add red sweet chili flakes) Directions:

  1. Put the first three ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a balloon whisk until incorporated.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Taste and adjust to your liking.

Veggie burgers with cheese dip

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», or in the shorter version «More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook» and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores.

Other relevant recipes:

Ntomatokeftedes (Tomato Patties)

Kolokythokeftedes (Zucchini / Courgette burgers)

Fakokeftedes (lentil burgers)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 2nd, 2014

«Viral» is a fashionable word these days. Something goes «viral» because everybody knows it, talks about it, wants it. Well, the European Community ABC didn’t go viral, but in reading again its announcement post from December 2012, I see that it talked about 16 blogs that were announcing together a virtual culinary tour of the European Community countries. This year, however, we are ready to go: the calendar has been finalized and 29 bloggers (some of them ambassadors for a country, others travelers) plus the one and only Aiuolik make up a happy caravan.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to announce:


You got it: this time we will virtually travel around the world and put it on the table one letter at a time.

This tour will feature an ambassador for each letter and we hope that again there will be many of you traveling with us — for just one leg or for the whole tour or whenever your luggage is ready and you want to join the fun.

Each letter of the alphabet is associated with a city that represents a country and the ambassador will start the festivities with a dish s/he chooses from that country’s culinary tradition. During the three weeks following the opening post, anyone can publish a recipe from the same country. It’s that easy.

In brief, if you’d like to participate, remember the 4W rule:

  1. WHEN: every three weeks we change letter and country;
  2. WHAT: you can publish any recipe (or more than one) from the country represented by the letter (the initial of the recipe name does not matter);
  3. WHERE: publish the recipe on your blog and then leave a comment on the initial post (on the ambassador’s blog) containing the URL of your post;
  4. WHO: anyone who has a blog can participate; the more the merrier. It would be great to travel together for as many stops as possible, but, as I said above, you can choose when to participate.

The post(s) you publish must include a reference to the event and to the ambassador’s blog. Use of the logo (the image above) is optional but welcome. You can also contribute a recipe from your archive: add the reference to the event and to the ambassador’s blog and then submit the URL as described above. Let me know if you have any questions or doubts on the process.

Here’s the calendar. Each line includes the letter, the name of the representative city, then in parentheses the name of the country and continent in which the city is located, the start and end date of our stay in the country and finally the hosting blog (ambassador).

  • A – APIA (Samoa, Oceania) – October 6 through October 26, 2014 – Mangiare è un po” come viaggiare
  • B – BALARAMPUR (India, Asia) – October 27 through November 16, 2014 – Cindystar
  • C – CANBERRA (Australia, Oceania) – November 17 through December 7, 2014 – Cook (almost) anything
  • D – DAKAR (Senegal, Africa) – December 8 through December 28, 2014 – Cafe Lynnylu
  • E – EDMONTON (Canada, America) – December 29, 2014 through January 18, 2015 – Zibaldone culinario
  • F – FORTALEZA (Brasil, America) – January 19 through February 8, 2015 – Torte e dintorni 
  • G – GUADALAJARA (Mexico, America) – February 9 through March 1, 2015 – Torta di rose
  • H – HANOI (Vietnam, Asia) – March 2 through March 22, 2015 – Les madeleines di Proust
  • I – CAIRO (Egypt, Africa) [In Italian, the city is called IL CAIRO] – March 23 through April 12, 2015 – Crumpets & Co.
  • J – JUAN CARLOS BASE (Shetland Islands, Antarctica) – April 13 through May 3, 2015 – Briggis” home
  • K – KYOTO (Japan, Asia) – May 4 through May 24, 2015 – Nato sotto il cavolo
  • L – LUCERNA (Switzerland, Europe) – May 25 through June 14, 2015 – Kopiaste
  • M – MINNEAPOLIS (USA, America) – June 15 through July 5, 2015 – Briciole
  • N – NAIROBI (Kenya, Africa) – July 6 throuh July 26, 2015 – La cucina di qb 
  • O – ODESSA (Ukraine, Europe) – July 27 through August 16, 2015 – BigShade
  • P – PORT MORESBY (Papua New Guinea, Oceania) – August 17 through September 6, 1015 – Kitchen in the city
  • Q – QUITO (Ecuador, America) – September 7 through September 27, 2015 – Ricette di cultura
  • R – RABAT (Morocco, Africa) – September 28 through October 18, 2015 – La melagranata
  • S – SUVA (Fiji, Oceania) – October 19 through November 8, 2015 – Santa Parmigiana
  • T – TUNISI (Tunisia, Africa) – November 9 through November 29, 2015 – Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
  • U – ULAN BATOR (Mongolia, Asia) – November 30 through December 20, 2015 – Un Uomo dal Bagno alla Cucina 
  • V – VOLGOGRAD (Russia, Europa) – December 21, 2015 through January 10, 2016 – Un pezzo della mia Maremma
  • W – WELLINGTON (New Zealand, Oceania) – January 11 through January 31, 2016 – Gata da plar
  • X – XIAN (China, Asia) – February 1 through February 21, 2016 – Un’arbanella di basilico
  • Y – YEREVAN (Armenia, Europa) – February 22 through March 13, 2016 – La cucina di Cristina
  • Z – ZAGABRIA (Croatia, Europa) – March 14 through April 3, 2016 – Burro e zucchero

Traveling with us is free, you learn a lot and you’ll always find someone smiling next to you. What are you waiting for? Get that luggage ready.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Σεπτεμβρίου 29th, 2014

Layered dessert with spartan orangade

This dessert is easy to make and so light and refreshing, which will please everyone.  Instead of making a pastry cream with heavy cream, butter and eggs, I made this light cream using evaporated milk and Greek yoghurt, which add a wonderful taste but with far less calories.

collage spartan products My relatives in Sparta have started their new business, with some of the products they produce.   They are called Spartan Products, and they gave me some of their products to try.    Needless to say that the concentrated juice is 100% pure orange juice with no preservatives or other additives.  It can be diluted in iced water for a refreshing drink or used in cocktails.  The spoon sweet is again of course 100% fruit with syrup, with no preservatives or additives, and can be served as it is or used in desserts. We all know that chocolate and orange is a killer combination, so I have used both these products, combining them to make this layered dessert. collage chocolate orange desserrt I have used a good quality chocolate which gave taste and colour to the cream but as it set, it surfaced making a layer of chocolate between the cream and the jelly, which I made with the concentrated juice.

choco layer

Chocolate Orange Layered Cream Dessert

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Waiting time: a few hours

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves:  10


  • 12 (½  packet) Savoyard biscuits with chocolate
  • ½ cup orange liqueur
  • 2 tbsp chocolate shavings

Chocolate Pudding:

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 12 gelatin sheets
  • 1 can (410 grams) evaporated milk
  • ½ cup orange spoon sweet syrup
  • Add sugar to you taste (I added half a cup)
  • 200 ml strained Greek yoghurt 2%
  • 12 drops orange (or vanilla) essence
  • 100 grams couverture chocolate
  • Add cold water until it reaches 1000 ml

Orange Jelly:

  • ½ cup concentrated orange juice
  • 6 gelatine leaves
  • Water to reach 500 ml
  • 3 slices orange preserve


  1. Dissolve gelatin sheets with tap water until soft.
  2. In a pot heat the water, remove from the heat and add the gelatin and mix until it dissolves.  Add the chocolate and mix until it melts.
  3. In a measuring bowl add the evaporated milk, the orange preserve syrup as well as the dissolved gelatine with chocolate.  Add the orange essence.  Add the yoghurt and using a hand mixer, mix to combine.  Add more cold water until it measures 1 litre. Add sugar gradually, mix and taste and adjust if you want it sweeter.
  4. Set aside until it cools and then refrigerate until it begins to thicken (if it sets just fluff it up using a hand mixer).
  5. Dip each biscuit into the liqueur and layer in a 18 x 26 cm (7 x 10 inch) dish.
  6. Gently pour the cream on top of the biscuits and sprinkle the chocolate shavings.
  7. Refrigerate for a few hours until it sets.

For the Orange jelly:

  1. Put the gelatine sheets in a bowl with tap water until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 cup water and add the softened gelatine.  Mix until it dissolves.
  3. Put the orange juice in a measuring cup, add the gelatin and add more tap water until it reaches 500 ml.
  4. Set aside until it cools.
  5. With a spoon add the jelly slowly over the set cream.  Arrange the orange preserve on top. (You can cut it into smaller pieces, if you prefer).
  6. Refrigerate for a couple of hours again until it sets.

Choco Orange dessert


You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», or in the shorter version «More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook» and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores.

Other relevant recipes:

Goat Cheese and White Chocolate Panna Cotta

Paris on Ice Yoghurt Masticha Dessert

Panna Cotta with Masticha (Mastic Resin)



  Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Σεπτεμβρίου 24th, 2014

Spaghetti with sausages and buffalo cheese


Last week we visited our children here in Athens for a few days and on Saturday I visited the centre of Athens where I could find some ingredients which are not available in Nafplion.

Collage Athens September 2014

Dinkel pasta, black handmade cous-cous with cuttlefish ink, prune jam, tangerine jam, village bread flour, koroneiki variety of olives and chives from the Varvakeios market, are only a few.  You will certainly see some of these products in my future recipes.

Collage products

Some deli cookies, filled with pear for our morning coffee.


pear cookies

I visited my favourite Greek Grocery Store where I know I can find selected Greek products, which are only available in this and a few other stores, I visited Varvakeios, a Coffee shop to buy freshly ground Greek coffee, a Middle Eastern shop, Cleopatra, which however was being renovated, spice shops, charcuterie shops, cheese shops and a shop selling various types of flour, especially Zea flour (triticum dicoccum).
The Mediterranean Diet Grocery Store

We also visited  The Festival of Taste – Art and Fun where our relatives from Sparta are also participating with a booth (Spartan Products) with their products.  They are now producing 100% pure concentrated orange juice with no preservatives or other additives as well as an amazing orange sliced fruit preserve.

collage spartan products

Really, can a spaghetti recipe be gourmet?  My answer of course is yes, if you cook it properly and have selected top notch ingredients.

Let’s see some of the products I used:

Buffalo milk white cheese

First product:  Greek White Artisan Cheese in brine, made with Water Buffalo Milk by Beka Family.

You like feta, right?  Well, actually it is feta but it cannot be named as feta because it is a Protected of Origin Product (PDO) and can only be named feta if it is made of sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat milk and is produced in certain parts of Greece (mainland and Lesvos island ONLY).

If you like feta you will love  this cheese as it has a sub-acidic and piquant taste which leaves a lovely tickle on your taste buds and has a more creamy texture.  Before using it in the recipe I tried a bit to see how it tasted and I wanted more and more.

In my recipe I added some mozzarella but I only used it as I had bought it a couple of weeks ago and took it to Athens with me as it was about to expire.  However, you can definitely add more of this cheese instead.   I am saving this cheese as I have other plans for this delicious «feta» cheese!!


Second product:  Greek Tempi sausages.  These unique patented Greek sausages are made with smoked beef and pork mince and inside there are cubes of kefalotyri cheese.  An unusual combination but the result was amazing.

red pepper sauce

Third product:  Red Sweet Pepper Sauce made by Dolopia.  A lovely sauce made with roasted red sweet peppers with a lovely aftertaste of smoked paprika.

These three wonderful ingredients were combined to make a gourmet dish.  It did not take more than fifteen minutes to put the dish together and what is more I did not add any spices or salt in this dish because I wanted the spices in the sausages and pepper sauce to do the job for me.  Nothing more or nothing less was needed as the dish turned out perfect.

collage spaghetti with sausage and buffalo feta

The easiest Gourmet Spaghetti Recipe:

Spaghetti with Sausages, Red Pepper Sauce and Buffalo Cheese

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves:  5


  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sausages with kefalotyri, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 250 ml tomato juice
  • ¼ cup red pepper dip
  • 250 grams mozzarella, cut into smaller pieces
  • ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
  • Buffalo cheese to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the sausages for a few minutes.
  2. Add the tomato juice and red pepper sauce and cook five more minutes. (No salt or spices are necessary).
  3. Turn off the heat and mix in the chives and mozzarella.
  4. Meantime heat the water in a separate pot and when it comes to a boil add salt and cook pasta according to the package instructions, about 7 – 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pasta directly into the frying pan and mix to combine.
  6. Serve with grated buffalo cheese and more chives on top.

spaghetti with buffalo cheese and sausages

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», or in the shorter version «More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook» and «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores.

Other relevant recipes:

Greek Style Spaghetti Chicken Alfredo

Spaghetti with Wild Asparagus Pesto

Summer Pasta with Mint and Parsley Pesto


  Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Σεπτεμβρίου 16th, 2014

Banana, fig peach and grape jam1

A sudden trip popped up, unexpectedly and since I had some fruit in the fridge (the peaches were from last week), the bananas started to have spots, so since I already had dessert in the fridge, what better way to use them and make some jam.

Fig trees

Our neighbour who has the citrus grove next door has two fig trees and he has told us to harvest any fruit from his grove, as he never comes to pick them.


So we were lucky to find and pick about 600 grams of figs as well.  I remembered there were also some grapes in the fridge after I took the picture.

Bananas, figs and peaches for jam

I have made several combinations using figs but pairing them with bananas was the first time.  I was a bit reluctant at first when I decided to add the bananas in the jam but  I love to experiment and try new flavours.  Most of my jams are flavoured with rose geraniums but this time I wanted something different so my choice was cinnamon.  Try the combination and you will not regret it.

My directions are simple.  Although I have weighed the products and used a thermometre, you can easily make the jam using basic equipment.  General instructions about jam making will tell you that for each kilo of fruit, you usually use 1 kilo of sugar.  However, those are instructions for dummies and sometimes we have to use some common sense.  Figs, bananas and grapes are fruit with high sugar levels, so for the quantity of fruit I used, I reduced the sugar to just enough to preserve it and not make it overly sweet.  If you want it on the sweeter side, you can add more sugar if you like.  I love leaving some chunks of fruit in the jam, so that I can serve them on top of ice cream, on puddings, or even with Greek yoghurt, it’s delicious.

Four fruit jam

Since I have a thermometre, I used it during the second stage of boiling but simultaneously I also checked the time and it took about half an hour to set.  However, the time also depends on what equipment you are using.  A shallow pot will help the juices evaporate much quicker.  In this case, if you are not sure, you will have to do the testing by putting a small amount of jam in a cold saucer.  However if you still have any doubts that the jam has not properly set, you can preserve it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Mashing the fruit

Until recently I would peel the figs but when I made some halloumi and fig appetizers and made them with the skin on, they tasted just perfect, so they went in the jam with the skin on, as well as the other fruit, except of course the bananas.

Ivy in the kitchen holding halloumi platter

When the jam was cooked, there was nothing to remind you that the fruit were with the skin on.

adding the cinnamon

Banana Jam with Figs, Peaches and Grapes

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour 30 minutes

Makes: about 2.5 kilos


  • 825 grams banana (6 bananas)
  • 725 grams peaches  (4 peaches)
  • 600 grams figs  (14 figs)
  • 175 grams seedless sultana grapes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 kilo sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  •  2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Wash the fruit and cut them into big chunks.
  2. Put them in a large pot together with sugar.  Let the juices of the fruit come out to wet the sugar.  You can speed up the process, by pressing the fruit with a potato masher (I used the wooden spoon).
  3. When there is no visible sugar, add the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat (I bring the temperature from 12 to 10) and cook the jam, mixing regularly for one hour.  (While the jam is boiling you may see some froth forming on top.  Just ignore it and continue mixing as this will not affect the jam.  While cooking the jam, press the fruit with the wooden spoon to make smaller pieces.  If they slip away, especially the grapes, put them in the wooden spoon and use a fork to press them).
  4. Cook the jam for one hour and turn off the heat.  (I cooked it on the ceramic stove, so I left it  on the stove, which adds a few more minutes of cooking). When it cools, cover the pot with the lid.
  5. Next morning check the jam.  If it has set and is thick enough put it back on the heat, add the lemon juice and when it comes to a boil turn it off.
  6. However, if it has not set, more boiling is necessary.
  7. When it starts boiling bring the stove button down to number ten again.  Add the lemon juice and keep mixing until the temperature of the thermometre shows 105o C / 220o F.
  8. Remove from the heat and when it cools store in sterilized jars.

Banana, fig peach and grape jam

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

Other relevant recipes:

More Fig Jams

 How can we tell if the syrup is ready?

How to sterilize Jars for preserving fruit and vegetables


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,



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