Ivy on Σεπτεμβρίου 11th, 2014

Lemon cheesecake with yoghurt and honey Today I am posting two different cheesecakes I made recently.  One of the them was baked and the other was not. The crust is the same for both cheesecakes.  Each one is different in taste and texture but both delicious. You can see below in the video how I shaped the crust. Two different Chocolate Mousse Cheesecakes Preparation time:  30 minutes Baking time:  15 minutes + 1 hour for the baked one Waiting time:  a few hours Ingredients: For the Crust:

  • 2 packets (500 grams) Digestive biscuit crumbs
  • 90 grams butter, melted
  • 50 grams ground almonds, skin on
  • 1 tbsp brown cane sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

 Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a frying pan until it starts melting and turn off the heat.
  3. Put all the crumb ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  4. Transfer it to a 28 cm spring form pan, and press it with a spoon into the bottom and sides of the pan. (see video).
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is slightly toasted.  Set aside until it cools.
  6. If making the baked cheeseckae, lower heat in order to keep your oven warm.

In one of them  I made an easy mousse with whipped cream and in the other I made the classic chocolate mousse with eggs.  However, due to fear of salmonella I have stopped using raw eggs, so you can see how you can still make mousse with eggs by pasteurizing them.   Eggless Chocolate Mousse:

  • 500 grams heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 4 drops vanilla essence
  • 125 grams couverture chocolate
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of freshly grated black pepper

Directions:

  1. Whip the cream with a hand mixer.  Add sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until peak forms.  Refrigerate.
  2.  In a double boiler melt the chocolate and mix in the salt and pepper.  Remove from the water bath and mix with a spoon until it chills but it should still be runny.
  3. Whip the cream again on low speed, adding spoonfuls of melted chocolate, until all incorporated.
  4. Keep the cream refrigerated.

What makes the difference in each one of the cheesecakes, is of course the filling but I can assure you that both taste amazing.  One of them is made with vanilla essence and the other one with bitter almond oil which makes an amazing combination with chocolate. Regarding the baked cheesecake, when I removed the aluminium foil after 50 minutes, there was some steam concentrated in the middle of the cake.  I took some kitchen paper and gently let it absorb some of the water.  I reduced the temperature to 120°C and continued baking it uncovered, until all the moisture evaporated, for 10 more minutes. Lemon Filling with Greek Yoghurt and Honey: Ingredients:

  • 800 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 200 grams Greek Yoghurt (2% or full fat)
  • 1 cup light brown cane sugar
  • 2 heaped spoonfuls Greek honey
  • 10 drops of vanilla essence
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

For serving:

  • 450 ml sour cherries fruit preserve

 Directions:

  1. Prepare and bake the crust.
  2. Prepare the eggless chocolate mousse and refrigerate.
  3. Beat cream cheese  with a hand mixer to soften.  Add Greek yoghurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  4. Add sugar and honey and mix well.
  5. Sprinkle the corn flour while the mixer is still working.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.
  7. Cut two pieces of aluminium foil and join together.  Wrap the baking tin around, to cover the baking tin from outside.
  8. Increase the temperature to 170°C.
  9. Pour the batter evenly over baked crust and use a spatula to spread it.
  10. Cover the top of pan with aluminium foil.
  11. Put the baking tin in a larger roasting pan and add hot water (about 1 1/2 litres).
  12. Bake in the water bath 45 to 60 minutes or until set.   (It will still be wobbly but it will set in the fridge).
  13. Set aside to cool.
  14. Fill a piping bag with the chocolate mousse and decorate the cheesecake, leaving some space in the middle to add the sour cherries.
  15.  Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
  16. Serve with extra sour cherries on top.
  17. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Collage baked chocolate mousse cheesecake Sorry for the bad picture which follows.  I prepared this cheesecake for a friend who invited us for dinner.  It was dark but I managed to take this picture on my mobile phone. cheesecake cut   The second cheesecake is for those who love chocolate! It’s much easier to make but equally delicious.  The combination of bitter almond and chocolate is  amazing so long as you like bitter almond. If not, you can still add vanilla but even better, orange essence. chocolate cheesecake The desserts I make are not overly sweet so that I can serve them with the fruit preserves, jams or fruit sauces I make.  I have served this spicific one with orange preserve, with watermelon rind preserve (refrigerated) and with fig and peach sauce/jam.  All three different combinations were amazing! Collage No bake chocolate mousse cheesecake No Bake Bitter Almond Chocolate Cheesecake with Honey Preparation time:  45 minutes Baking time:  15 minutes Ingredients: Crust:

  • Same as previous cheesecake

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 600 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 80 grams light brown sugar
  • 200 grams (a little bit more than half a cup) Greek honey
  • 1/4 tsp bitter almond vanillin

Chocolate Mousse with eggs:

  • 200 grams baking chocolate
  • 40 grams white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs

For Decoration:

  • 30 grams chocolate shavings

Directions:

  1. Prepare and bake the crust as above.
  2. Melt the chocolate over a hot water bath and empty it in another bowl to cool. Keep your water hot.
  3. When the metallic bowl is cool (no need to wash it) add the eggs and sugar and beat with a hand mixer over the water bath until frothy.  Lower speed and add the melted chocolate and mix to combine.
  4. Beat the cream cheese with heavy cream, as well as sugar and honey.  Add the melted chocolate and the bitter almond oil and mix to combine.  Refrigerate until the crust cools.
  5. Poor the cream on top of the crust and sprinkle the chocolate shavings on top.
  6. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

chocolate cheesecake with fig 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:

New York Cheesecake with Mars Chocolate and Fig Preserve

Strawberry Cheesecake with Greek Yoghurt

Agriovyssiono (wild cherries) Cheesecake

No guilt Apricot Cheesecake

Orange Chocolate Cheesecake

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Σεπτεμβρίου 5th, 2014

Whole wheat penne with chutney

 

I mentioned this recipe in my post for the Tomato and Fruit Chutney.  You can use the chutney as a sauce to dress your pasta dishes and you will have an easy pasta dish prepared in no time, which is not only easy to make but also delicious.

Purslane

This time of the year I have purslane in our garden, which I have used.  If you don’t have any you can used picked purslane or just leave out this ingredient.

Whenever I make pesto, I store it in the deep freezer.  You do not need to thaw it and it goes without saying that you can, of course, use any other kind of fresh or store bought pesto.  Mint pesto, would be my other choice.

Collage Whole wheat penne with chutney

Whole Wheat Penne with Courgettes, Tomato Chutney & Feta

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Serves:  3

Ingredients;:

 

  • 250 grams whole wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 small courgettes, cut into round slices
  • 1 handful of tender purslane, finely chopped
  • 15 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon roasted garlic, mashed
  • 1/3 cup coriander, parsley and kafkalithres pesto with almonds (no cheese)
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 100 grams crumbled feta
  • Tomato and fruit chutney

 

Directions:

  1. Boil water, add salt and cook penne according to package instructions, for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the courgettes on both sides.
  3. Add the purslane and sauté until it wilts.
  4. Add the fresh mint leaves and mashed garlic and mix for a few seconds.
  5. Transfer penne to the frying pan and add the (frozen) pesto and mix (until it melts).
  6. Add a little freshly grated black pepper (no salt is added).
  7. Serve with crumbled feta and tomato chutney on top, which are mixed in the plate.

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:

Penne with Seafood Medley

Penne with Chickpeas and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

How to Roast Garlic

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

   

 

 


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Ivy on Σεπτεμβρίου 3rd, 2014

 

Tomato and fruit chutney dip

In my previous recipe for Spicy Cornmeal Breadsticks with Graviera and Tomato Chutney, I had used some of this Tomato Chutney I had recently made.

I” ve been hearing about Tomato Chutneys for many years now, so it was about time to make some and see if it was as amazing as I had heard.

Chutneys originate in India and is a thick sauce that is made from fruits, vinegar, sugar, and spices.  The most appropriate English translation for it would be a relish but it also is a savoury kind of jam.  It is usually served as a condiment but it is so versatile that it can be used in many other recipes as well.

lentils with chutney

I have already served it as a dip with breadsticks, on top of lentils, with pasta (a recipe to follow),  with lamb souvlakia, on pizza, with fish and corn patties and I can think of many more ways to use it in the future.

Tomato and fruit chutney

By the time I got to post the recipe, we already ate the first batch and needless to say how much we loved it as last Saturday I made a second batch using 5 kilos of beautiful, ripe tomatoes, keeping the summer flavours for the winter to come.

Before making it, I read a few recipes to get the whole idea of what a chutney is and from there on I proceeded to make my own chutney .

Tomato, Peach, Nectarine and Pear Chutney

I am very proud that I made a unique umami chutney combined with the reaming flavours of  sweet, sour, salty and bitter but also spicy.

To make my tomato chutney I used ripe tomatoes, a peach, a nectarine and a pear, which were the fruit I had at the time.  I did not make it too sweet as suggested in many recipes, but used some light brown sugar and honey, I used dried hot chilies and added bitter orange juice.  This time of the year is not really the time to find bitter oranges but my house is surrounded  by them, so I did find some on the trees, to get enough juice.  I also used an amazing prized aged nectar of vinegar made of fruit, which all combined together made this delicious chutney.

Isis vinegar

My husband is not fond of spicy food but the fact that he loved it, is proof enough for me that it was delicious.

Collage2 Tomato Chutney

Tomato and Fruit Chutney

Preparation time:  1 hour

Cooking time: about 2 hours

Makes: about 1 kilo chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1750 grams tomatoes, diced
  • 1 peach, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1 nectarine, pitted peeled and diced
  • 1 pear, pitted and diced (skin on)
  • 3 small to medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic, mashed
  • 10 hot, dried mini chili peppers, cut into smaller pieces
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup bitter orange juice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp elixir of vinegar nectar

Directions:

  1. Wash and dice the tomatoes.  Put them in a colander with the sea salt for 10 minutes to drain some of the water.  Mix with the fruit.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent.
  3. Add the mashed garlic, the hot peppers and the remaining spices and mix.
  4. Add the tomatoes and fruit.
  5. Add sugar, honey, bitter orange juice, Worcestershire sauce and both vinegars and mix.
  6. Bring to a boil covered.
  7. You will see that a lot of juices have been released.
  8. Lower the heat to medium, keep the lid ajar and continue simmering, keeping an eye on it and mixing every now and then, until the juices have been reduced considerably and the sauce thickens.
  9. Turn off the heat and wait until the next morning. (I keep it on the ceramic stove, so it continues cooking until it cools).
  10. Next morning if there are still juices in the tomato chutney, bring to a boil again, without the lid this time, lower the heat and let it simmer until the sauce thickens, mixing regularly this time, as it may stick to the bottom of the pot.
  11. Remove from the heat and wait until it cools before storing in sterilized jars.

Chutney with tomatoes and fruit

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:

Spicy Tomato Sauce

Marinara Sauce

Tomato Pesto alla Trapanese

How to sterilize jars

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,  

     

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Ivy on Αυγούστου 29th, 2014

Spicy breadsticks

When Zorra of Kocktopf, invited  me on Facebook, to participate to the  Bread Baking event,  I wasn’t sure what to make but I decided to take the challenge.  This month’s theme is breadsticks and according to our host,  Marion  it doesn’t matter if they are thick, thin, long, short, straight or crooked, as long as the bread or rolls are shaped as a stick. Thanks for hosting the event Marion and for the lovely idea.

Bread Baking Day #70 - Brotstangen / Breadsticks (last day of submission Sept 1, 2014)

I like to improvise with ingredients I already have at home and at the time I had cornmeal and all purpose flour, Greek cheese graviera and I had recently made an amazing tomato and fruit chutney (sorry recipe not posted yet but you can use store bought chutney).  Tomato and cheese are lovely combined together, so why not make spicy and hot cheese and tomato chutney breadsticks?

I have made breadsticks, or grissini  (bâtons salés) in the past and I loved the spicy glystarkes I had made. The addition of cheese, spicy chutney but also the whole peppers,  made them extra hot and spicy and very delicious and addictive. The length of each stick is up to you. I made18 cm (7 inch) strips and after putting them in the sesame, I put them in the baking tray and made some long and others I cut them in the middle.

spicy cornmeal bread sticks with graviera cheese and tomato chutney

I also tried twisting them as well but it took more time so I decided to continue with the more simple ones.

Twisting breadsticks

When they are baked they are still a little bit soft inside.  I like the breadsticks to be crunchy, wo what I did was to put them on a tray and cover it with tulle, so that no flies or other insects would sit on them and let them in the sun for a couple of hours to dry out.

 

drying in the sun

 During August, with the temperatures ranging from 35 – 40oC in Greece, that is easily done.  However, if when making them the temperature does not allow that, you can easily do this in the oven.    Let them cool and give them a second time baking in a low temperature at around 120oC / 250oF, for half an hour.

 collage how to make breadsticks

Unfortunately, as I said they are so additive, you cannot eat just one.  We love to munch them with dips as an accompaniment to a glass of beer or wine or as a snack with a cup of Greek coffee.  During winter you can even eat them with soups.

Spicy, Cheesy Cornmeal Breadsticks with Graviera and Tomato Chutney

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Resting time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  15 minutes  

Ingredients:  

Yeast starter:

  • 16 grams dried or 50 grams fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water

Bread sticks:

  • 500 grams corn meal
  • 500 grams bread flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, coarsley crushed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • All above yeast starter
  • 1/3 cup tomato chutney
  • 125 grams graviera cheese
  • 1 ¾ cups lukewarm water (35o C /95oF)

For topping:

  • 100 grams sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Add yeast, flour, sugar and water in a bowl.  Cover with a napkin and let it rise in a warm environment until it bubbles.
  2. Put the flour, salt and olive oil in the bowl of your stand mixer and using the hook mix at low speed until they are well combined.  Add the remaining ingredients and keep mixing on low speed.  Add water gradually and continue mixing until the dough becomes soft but does not stick to the bowl sides.
  3. Cover and set aside until it rises.
  4. Knead it a few times to deflate.
  5. Take a piece of dough, about the size of a fist and using a rolling pin, form into a flat piece of dough about 1/4th inch thick or ½ cm.
  6. Cut ½ inch stripes and dip them in the sesame seeds.
  7. Put them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  It is not necessary to space them apart.
  8. Preheat oven to 170oC / 338oF and bake for fifteen minutes or until golden.
  9. Let them cool and dry them either in the sun or in the oven.

spicy cornmeal bread sticks

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:

Glystarkes

Koulouria Thessalonikis

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

 

 

 

 


Kopiaste


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Ivy on Αυγούστου 25th, 2014

Kataifi Galaktoboureko

When I started blogging seven years ago, I never believed that it would last so long.  It is characteristic of those born under the Aries zodiac sign that we get very enthusiastic when we start a new project but we tend to lose interest and give up easily. Personally, I am surprised that I am still blogging but the fact that I am creating something different every times it what is keeping me interested.   There are times that I want to give up and start another project, which I do occationally, but have not given up on my blog yet.  For example, I am  now working on a Greek charity book whilst blogging in a slower pace.  It may not be as often as I did during the first years, mainly because the social media are now taking a lot of our time, but I try hard to keep the blog alive by posting at least two or three times a month. 

Kantaifi galaktoboureko nests

At the beginning of the month my daughter visited us and I tried to make all her favourite food.  One of them was a «Tyropita with Kataifi» which I made with feta and mozarella.  I did not want to make all the kataifi into one huge tyropita as I was also making Dolmades, Koupes and grilled Corn on the Cob as well as grilled halloumi, so I made a smaller one, using half the packet.

dolmades koupes corn on the cob grilled halloumi

Kataifi is sold frozen, so once thawed it has to be used during the next few days.   If I had nuts, I would have made the classic kataifi recipe, filled with nuts and cinnamon, which  I have not made for a very long time and just realized that I have never posted that recipe yet!  Since I did not have any nuts, I decided to improvise and use some semolina to make the galaktoboureko filling.

Kataifi nests with syrup

 

Many of you may not know what «kataifi» sometimes written as «kantaifi» is.

Pronounced ka-ta-I-fee (without the n) it is a kind of  phyllo made of strands.  The dough which is in the form of batter,  passes from a machine with fine holes and while the batter comes out of the holes on a heated rotating plate it is cooked and dried at the same time and the batter takes the form of long strands.

kataifi strands

 

Watch this video to see how it made.

The strands of kataifi are pressed to each other, when packed,  so before making the dessert, you have to fluff it up by just pulling the strands.  Like other kinds of phyllo, if exposed to air for a long time, it will dry out, so when preparing it keep it covered with a napkin or cling film.

Collage Kantaifi galaktoboureko Instead of making some syrup from scratch, I had some leftover syrup from watermelong rind preserve which was already infused in cinnamon, cloves and fragrant geranium and that alone added an amazing flavour to the dessert.  However, you can make the syrup as per recipe. View of Koronissi We had a lot of fun during her stay.  We spent one day visiting Bourdji, which is the landmark of Nafplion and another climbing up the hill which is the landmark of our village, Profitis Elias.  You can see more pictures and many historical facts about Bourdji as well as the amazing view from the top of  Profitis Elias of Assini, in my other blog. Bourdji 2 from the five brothers Galaktoboureko in Kataifi Nests Preparation time:  30 minutes Baking time:  30 minutes Serves:  12 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 packet (250 grams) kataifi (shredded phyllo)
  • 50 grams butter
  • I cup leftover watermelon spoon sweet syrup or make your own simple syrup

Semolina Pudding:

  • 2 cups milk (500 ml) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine semolina
  • 10 drops vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp butter

Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 stick cinnamon, 3- 4 cloves, 1 lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • A few leaves of rose geranium (optional)

Directions:

  1. Begin by preparing the syrup first so that it is not too hot when galaktompoureko nests are baked. Put the sugar, water, lemon peel, rose geranium leaves and spices in a small pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Mix in lemon juice and remove from the heat.
  2. In a small pot heat the milk with half the sugar and lemon zest.  Turn off the heat and add the vanila essence.
  3. In a larger pot put the eggs with remaining sugar and lemon zest and whisk the eggs until the mixture is creamy.
  4. Add the hot milk and continue whisking so that the eggs do not curdle.  Add the semolina and continue whisking until the cream sets.
  5. Mix in butter and set the cream aside to cool.
  6. While it is cooling, butter the muffin tins well with the remaining butter.
  7. Fluff the kataifi and put some in the muffin tins, reserving a small amount (about ¼) to use on top. Make sure to cover the base and sides with the kataifi.
  8. Press it with something, such as a glass, which fits in the muffin tin, so as to give it some shape.
  9. Fill the kataifi nests with the galaktoboureko cream and add some kataifi on top.
  10. Melt some butter and drizzle a teaspoon on top of each.
  11. Preheat the oven to 180o C and bake them at until golden (about half an hour).
  12. Using a spoon, pour spoonfuls of syrup on each nest so as to wet them well.
  13. When they cool remove them from the muffin tins and store in the refrigerator.

As an extra treat, serve it with kaimaki (or other) icecream and watermelon rind preserve on top! Kataifi nests showing galaktoboureko cream

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:

Kataifi Orange Pudding

Galaktoboureko

Ivy’s Lemony Galaktoboureko

Tyropita with Kantaifi

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Αυγούστου 13th, 2014

 

Pickled purslane

I’ve written about purslane (portulaca oleracea) in many other posts.

Purslane in garden

Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant. The stems, the leaves and the flowers are all edible.   Ms. Simopoulos states that Purslane has .01 mg/g of EPA. This is an extraordinary amount of EPA for land based vegetable sources. EPA is an Omega-3 fatty acid normally found mostly in fish and some algae. It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin C, and some vitamin B and carotenoids), as well as dietary minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Also present are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves).

Washed purslane

Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies.

We did not plant any purslane but it suddenly appeared in our garden this year. I guess that the birds may have dropped some in the garden .  All purslane needs to grow is part to full sun and clear ground. They are not picky about soil type or nutrition. But, purslane does tend to grow better in drier soil.

It grew in abundance and we have been eating a lot but it’s impossible to eat it all.  So, what better way to keep the bounty of the season’s harvest for the winter, than pickling it.

tender purslane tops

This year I made this pickle twice.  The first time I added more water (ratio: 2 vinegar – 1 water) which made the vinegar less strong.  I wanted more acidity so this year I reduced the amount of water.  I also added some elixir of vinegar’s nectar, which is an aged vinegar (5 years) mixed with fruit and herbal extracts of peppers, cardamom, ginger etc.  which adds extra taste and aroma to the pickles.

Elixir vinegars nectar

 

I have already made some new recipes, which I will be posting in the future.  Until then you can use the picled purslane in your salads or serve as it is to accompany fish or meat dishes.

jars with pickled purslane

Pickled Purslane

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes: 3 kilo jars

Ingredients:

  • 650 grams tender purslane with stems
  • 1000 ml red wine vinegar, 6% acidity
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) honey
  • 20 hot chilli peppers
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp crashed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp sweet chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup elixir of vinegar’s nectar (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry purslane and set aside to dry.  Cut only the tender stems.
  2. Fill the sterilized  jars with purslane.
  3. Put the remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for five minutes.
  4. Set aside until lukewarm and mix in the elixir of vinegar’s nectar.
  5. Divide the vinegar mixture in the sterilized jars, adding the spices as well.
  6. If the pickles are not sufficiently covered with the vinegar, add enough olive oil, until covered.
  7. Store in a closet.

 

 

jar with pickled purslane and spices

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:

How to sterilize jars

Minty, Avocado and Purslane Tzatziki

Purslane Salad, Purslane Tzatziki and Carrot Tzatziki (in one post)

Greek style Purslane Pesto

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Αυγούστου 5th, 2014

Beefburger and Avocado Tzatziki

 

As August is the vacation month in Greece, no one wants to stay at home, although we are not going on vacation.  However, living near the seaside, we do enjoy going to the beach almost everyday.  We go early in the morning and by the time we get back to have breakfast, shower, wash towels and bathing suits, cook and ea,t it’s almost afternoon.  A siesta is a must here in Greece because it’s very hot, especially during July and August and only some free time late in the afternoon.

For this reason, instead of going on a hiatus, I will be posting a few easy recipes.

Purslane for pickling

If you have a garden and see these weeds, do not pluck and throw them away.  It’s purslane, which is a herb packed with vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids.

We have a lot growing in our garden so I will be sharing a few recipes, in other posts, showing you how you can use it.

Well, the easiest way is to incorporate it is in your other salads, espcially Greek salad as it pairs well with it.
avocado
Avocado is such a healthy fruit as well, so why not add it in tzatziki and get advantage of the valuable nutrients and fibre.  Instead of adding mayonnaise in your sandwiches, add a tablespoon or two of this avocado tzatziki, which will transform your food into something much tastier and healthy.  It is essential that the avocado is ripe before using (excerpt and picture from a different avocado recipe, in my Cookbook «More than a Greek Salad«).

avocado tzatziki

 

This  dip is another twist of mine on the classic Greek Tzatziki dip but with a milder taste, as I used roasted garlic.  Instead of cucumber, I used purslane and of course avocado, which is also a rich sorce of Omega-3.  Since avocado has its own healthy fat, I skipped the olive oil.  I used pink Himalayan salt, which also has a lot of health benefits, but if you don’t have any, you can substitute it with coarse sea salt.

This dip is excellent with any kind of grilled or roasted meat but also in salads.  This time, I served it with Greek Mpiftekia and Mushroom Sauce (recipes not posted yet) and healthier Greek roasted potatoes, in parchment paper.

The taste of this avocado dip is just amazing and trust me, you will be making it over and over again!

Collage Avocado Purslane Tzatziki

Minty, Avocado and Purslane Tzatziki

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

  •  200 ml Greek Yoghurt 2%
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic, mashed
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt (or use coarse sea salt)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup purslane leaves, finely chopped
  • Fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1 tbsp)

Directions:

  1. Mash the garlic with the salt.
  2. In a bowl add the avocado, garlic and lemon juice and mix to combine.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.

Minty, Avocado Purslane Tzatziki

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:

Purslane Salad, Purslane Tzatziki and Carrot Tzatziki (in one post)

Greek style Purslane Pesto

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Αυγούστου 1st, 2014

Kagianas with poached egg

When Patrick Keeley contacted me by e-mail to be the featured chef of their T.V. show «All the best» with Zita Keeley, I was really excited.  The cruise ship they partnered with, the «NOORDAM» would be visiting Nafplion in a couple of weeks and they would have six hours, for me to cook and show them around on a culinary tour around Nafplion.

Zita and Ivy

I started looking for interesting places to show them around.  Some I already knew and the I google searched to find more.  I visited all the places I had chosen and spoke with the managers, to get their permission for the filming.  My husband and I walked accross the places we chose, to see how long it would take to visit each place.  However, some of these places were finally marked out as the six hours became five.

As my house is 7 km from Nafplion and some precious time would be lost to and from my house, I asked a couple of restaurants if I could cook there and «Kipos» restaurant was kind enough to provide a gas stove for me to cook outside.  You can read more about the tour and the places we visited here.

I was a little bit nervous to appear on T.V. but everybody was so friendly that I soon forgot all about the camera. Most of the preparation was done at home.  I had all the ingredients in raw form, then I had all the ingredients again, washed and cut.  The tomato was well drained.  Then I had the tomato cooked, which only needed heating and the eggs cooked.

Table with ingredients

Even with all that preparation, we still spent about two hours at the retaurant because after cooking we sat down to eat and chat.

bell peppers

We visited the farmers” market where we bought some of the ingredients needed for the recipe.

eggs and tomatoes

You can find the traditional recipe of Kagianas in a link below.  However, I made it adding more ingredients such as sauteing an onion, garlic and bell peppers.  I made it hot by adding some boukovo, which is hot Greek chili flakes.  I added half a teaspoon which makes it mildly hot but if you prefer it really hot, just add some more. My husband was there helping me with whatever I needed, he drove us to the distillery and took a lot of photos and videos for me.

I am posting a small part of the cooking procedure.  I hope that one day we can see the whole episode :)

While filming, Zita asked me if we could put a lid on top in order to cook the eggs.  I had never thought about it before but I knew that they would cook with the steam which would be created.

I tried it at home the next day with the leftover sauce and they came out wonderful!

Kagianas with lid on

Hot Kagianas with Bell Peppers, Feta and Poached Eggs

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 2 (as a main dish)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ of 3 different kinds of bell peppers (red, yellow, orange)
  • 5 tomatoes (about 1 kilo), peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp (or more) boukovo (Greek chili flakes)
  • Salt (not too much as we added salt on the tomatoes and feta is also salty)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup feta (about 80 grams)

Directions:

  1. Score tomatoes with an X and put them in boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. Drain and peel tomatoes.
  3. Cut them into cubes and remove seeds (optional).  Put them in a colander, sprinkle with salt and let it drain for five minutes.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or non-stick pan and sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and mix for a few seconds.
  5. Add the bell peppers and sauté until soft.
  6. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  7. Add boukovo, oregano and pepper. Keep mixing until all juices have evaporated and the mixture becomes a dense sauce.
  8. At this point, when it cools, it can be kept in the fridge for a day or freezed for a long time.  (Just thaw, heat and add the eggs).
  9. Add the eggs to the tomato mixture.  Add some sauce on the egg whites until they are cooked.
  10. Add some pepper on the yolks.
  11. Crumble feta on tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes.
  12. Serve with crusty bread to sop up every bit of the delicious sauce.

Or put a lid on top, turn the heat down to low (or if cooking on a ceramic stove top, turn off the heat), cover with the lid and wait until the eggs are cooked with the steam, about five minutes.

Kagianas with poached eggs

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:

Kagianas or Strapatsada

Kagianas with Kafkalithres and Pesto

Kagianas with Syglino Lakonias

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Ιουλίου 23rd, 2014

Chickpea salad2

When it comes to creating a new recipe, I just follow my instict, which fortunate enough for me, it always works. I’ve made many chickpea salads over the years and today I wanted to make something totally new.

 

Bulgur pasta and quinoa

I knew the recipe would work just as well with pasta, rice or quinoa as I have used it in the past but never used bulgur with chickpeas and never combined bulgur with pesto. However, if you choose to substitute with any one of these, each one would require a different way of cooking.

Coriander pesto

Another dilemma I had was what kind of pesto to use.  I had two kinds in the deep freezer:  mint pesto and coriander (cilantro) pesto with kafkalithres and myronia.  Although I knew that mint would work very well with feta, I decided to go with the coriander pesto.   I know that there are a lot of people who hate coriander, especially here in Greece, but as I grew up eating coriander in salads in Cyprus and I love it.  I also love the other herbs I used in the pesto such as kafkalithres, myronia and parsley.  In this pesto I had added almonds but, as a rule, I never add cheese when I deep freeze it.  See a similar pesto recipe where I explain what kafkalithres and myronia are.

If the pesto is frozen, you do not have to thaw it, provided the rest of the meal is still hot and  it will melt in no time.  If you do not have this particular pesto, try it with something different such as parsley pesto for example, to make a tabbouleh chickpea salad :)

Feta is a staple in all Greek households and although I had graviera, kefalotyri and halloumi, I preferred to use the feta, which practically melted in the dish, and together with the pesto, it was absorbed by the bulgur, adding so much flavour to the dish.

Although I have never used canned chickpeas, I am sure you can still make the recipe if you want to use canned chickpeas.  I don’t know how much fluid there is in a can but surely it will be less than a cup, so add some water, until you have 1 cup, which heat in order to dissolve the bouillon.  If you use homemade broth, that would even be better, so just heat a cup and add to the bulgur.

Chickpea salad with Bulgur

Chickpea Salad with Bulgur, Feta and Pesto

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour

Serves:  5

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams uncooked chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 organic vegetable bouillon
  • 1 cup broth from the cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup bulgur wheat, coarsely ground
  • 80 grams feta
  • ½ cup coriander pesto

Directions:

  1. Soak chickpeas overnight.
  2. Next day drain, add fresh water and boil.   Skim off any foam forming on top with a slotted ladle, until no more is produced.
  3. Cook until they are almost soft.
  4. Drain them and put them back in the pot with tap water.  Rub them with your two hands in order to remove some of the chickpea peels.  By adding water to the pot the peels float, so put a colander in the sink and drain whatever floats.
  5. Put more water to cover them and bring to a boil.  Add salt and vegetable bouillon and cook until the chickpeas are soft.
  6. Drain the chickpeas in a bowl and reserve 1 cup of broth.
  7. Put the chickpeas back in the pot, add the bulgur wheat as well as the broth, mix and when it comes to a boil turn off the heat.  Cover the pot with a lid.
  8. In 10 – 15 minutes the bulgur will absorb all the broth.
  9. Add the pesto and mix.  Crumble the feta and mix again.
  10. Set aside to cool before serving.

I love serving them with fresh, marinated anchovies!

chickpeas with anchovies

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:

Penne with Chickpeas and Roasted Tomatoes

Revithosoupa (Chickpea Soup)

Revithia sti Gastra (stewed chickpeas)

Revithokeftedes (chickpea patties)

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Ιουλίου 22nd, 2014

Cherry Liqueur2

Making liqueurs is very easy and you will find a few links of previous liqueurs I have made at the end of this post.  It can get even easier and cheaper if you preserve fruit and I will explain why.

Years ago I used to discard the leftover syrups of the fruit preserves I made.  I would save some to wet the sponge cakes I made and most of it was wasted.  However, experimenting I started using them in my recipes by substituting sugar with the leftover syrups.  Many of the Greek desserts are drenched in syrup so instead of making one from scratch, I substituted that syrup with the  fruit preserves syrup, adding the flavour of the fruit to the recipe as well.

I then experimented with the Cherry Espresso Liqueur back in 2009 and since then I do it all the time.  I don’t just use any syrup but try and use the same or a combination which will match.  Some other recipes I remember using leftover syrup is in Mahalebi, Halvas (see chocolate halvas), Panna Cotta, Baklavas (recipe in my cookbook), Cheesecake etc.

 

Cherry Pit Liqueur

I would like to recap in this post a few things about making liqueurs:
a) You can either use rectified spirit (95 – 97 %  alcohol by volume) or if that is difficult to find you can use vodka.  Don’t use any cheap vodka because that will surely affect its taste.  You can also make liqueurs using gin, tequilla, rum, brandy, whiskey and here in Greece we also use ouzo, tsikoudia, tsipouro, raki, zivania, which are similar to Italian grappa.   Each one gives its distinct flavour.  If you use brandy that will also affect the colour as well.
b) You can use whole fruit or pieces of fruit, pits from cherries or apricots, or the rind or zest of citrus fruit.  Let them macerate in the alcohol for 20 – 30 days or more, until their flavour is released.  The longer you leave them the better flavour you get.  In some recipes the alcohol should be stored somewhere dark such as a closet and other recipes in the sun.  The second technique is widely used in Greece but I am not sure if it is used in other countries as well.
c)  Anything that gives flavour can be made into a liqueur so we can also make liqueurs using flowers, herbs, certain vegetables and of course spices.
d) Liqeurs are usually very sweet.  In order to do this you need to make a syrup which you will mix with the alcohol.  In some recipes the sugar is added together with the alcohol and in others we make the syrup and mix it later on.
e) If we want to combine our liqueurs with spices, we can use cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper etc. (not ground but whole and not too much).
f)  We then remove the fruit, the peels, the pits or spices or herbs etc and drain the liqueur using a coffee filter.
g)  Liqueurs do not need to age but the taste will improve if you leave it to rest for about a month.

Pitting cherries

When I was in Athens last month I made 2 kilos of cherry fruit preserve for my children, who love it.

There was also some leftover «tsipouro» (similar to grappa) in the fridge and since the only one who drinks some alcohol, every now and then, is my son who is now living in Cyprus,  the idea of making liqueur with the pits was a good way to use it.

The tsipouro was about 250 ml.  All I did was to put the the liquor in a jar and add as many pits, covered by the alcohol and let it steep in the fridge for a few weeks.  At the beginning the liquid looked very pale in colour but as time passed  it got darker.

 

steeping cherry pits

Since the liquor was already in the fridge and the quantity I made was not much, I decided to leave it in the fridge.

By the time the macerating time was over we had already eaten and used some of the fruit preserve in desserts, so I was lucky to have leftover cherry syrup to make the liqueur.

Easy Cherry Pit Liqueur with Cherry Syrup 

Ingredients:

  • Cherry or sour cherry pits
  • 250 ml  tsipouro or other alcohol
  • 2 – 3 rose geranium leaves
  • 5 – 6 whole cherries (optional)
  • 250 ml homemade cherry syrup

Directions:

  1. Put the cherry pits and the rose geranium leaves in a jar and add enough alcohol to cover the pits. (You can also add a few whole cherries which break so as to release some juice).
  2. Let it macerate in a dark place for about one month.
  3. Drain the liquor as well as the syrup and mix.

The amount of syrup you add is a matter of taste and it depends on how sweet you want the liqueur to be.  What I do, I add, mix and taste until the desired sweetness.  Don” t over do it as you might end up drunk :)

However, as you may have leftover cherry pits after making a Cherry Cake, etc., you can still make the liqueur making a simple syrup.

The ratio of the syrup should be 2 sugar 1 water.

Put the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 3 – 5 minutes.

Set aside until it cools.

Pour the syrup gradually in the liqueur, taste and adjust.

There! Apart from the steeping time, the liqueur is ready in five minutes with full flavour of cherries and the only thing you buy is the alcohol.

Bottle it in lovely bottles and you have wonderful, homemade gifts for friends and family!

Cheers!

 

Cherry Pit Liqueur2

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:

Espresso Coffee Liqueur

Strawberry Liqueur

Citrus Liqueur

Limoncello

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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