Ivy on Μαΐου 24th, 2014

carbonara four cheeses and bacon

When it comes to a busy day I always resort to making a pasta dish which can be made in minimum time and still have a delicious meal.

It was not a planned meal so I used the ingredients I had at hand.  I always have grated cheese in the deep freezer and had a low fat cream and when I saw the Greek yoghurt in the fridge I decided to go for it.

The outcome was amazing.  A light meal with so much flavour.  The bacon was just enough to give its flavour and the Greek yoghurt combined with the cheeses gave a slightly sour but delicious cream.

The chevril also added a wonderful aroma to the dish.

I had some leftover spanakopita from the previous day which matched perfectly with our meal.

Four cheese, Carbonara with Bacon and Greek Yoghurt

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves 5


  • 500 grams penne rigate
  • 1 tbsp salt
  •  5 slices bacon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 grams cheese, mozzarella, kerrygold light, milner light, gouda
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 grams Greek yoghurt
  • 200 ml light cream
  • 50 ml light milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup pasta water
  • Finely chopped myronia (chervil) or parsley (optional)



  1. Cook pasta in salted hot water, al dente, according to package instructions, about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté the bacon on both sides until crispy and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg and add the yoghurt, cream, cheeses, salt and pepper and mix.  If the cream is too thick, dilute it to a runny consistency with some milk.
  4. Withaslottedladletransferthecookedpastaintothesautéingpanlettingsomepastawaterfallaswell.
  5. Finally add the cheese mixture and mix until the cheeses melt and the sauce begins to thicken.
  6. Serve with more freshly grated black pepper and some myronia or parsley on top.

Four Cheese Carbonara with yoghurt

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 make your own Greek Yoghourt


Greek Strawberry Cheesecake with Yoghurt

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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tutti frutti in a bowl

I based this dessert on an older recipe of mine which I make with Greek yoghourt, whipping cream, sugar and canned tutti frutti.  These four ingredients make an easy and delicious dessert called Yiaourtoglyko (yoghourt dessert) which you can have ready in five minutes.

Orange fruit preserve

I love making fruit preserves, which I love using  in my recipes.    This time, instead of  the canned tutti frutti, I used an orange fruit preserve and instead of adding sugar I added some of its syrup.   In order to hold together I used a sheet of gelatine.  This way you can flip it over in a plate and serve it with cinnamon and fruit preserve on top or just serve it as it is in a bowl.

Greek yoghurt Tutti frutti

The one sheet of gelatine I used is enough just to hold it together.  If you like it firm, like a pannacotta for example, you can add two gelatine leaves.

The amount of syrup used makes the dessert slighly sweet.  If you like you can drizzle more syrup or honey on top or you can increase the amount of syrup in the recipe.   If you don’t make fruit preserves you can use any canned compote with its syrup.


tutti frutti

You can use full fat yoghurt and cream but I opted for a healthier version using cream with 25% fat, which is enough to make it form peaks and a low fat Greek yoghurt with 2% fat, which is equally delicious.


Giaourtoglyko me Portokali (Greek Yoghurt Tutti Frutti with Orange)


Preparation time:  15 minutes

Setting time:  2 – 3 hours

Serves: 8


  • 500 grams Greek yoghurt (2%)
  • 500 ml heavy cream (25%)
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserve syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 gelatine leaf
  • 1 cup orange fruit preserve cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp orange essence (or vanilla)


  1. Put the gelatine leaf in a bowl with water and soak it for five minutes.
  2. Put the syrup and water in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Add the gelatine leaf and mix to dissolve.  Remove from the heat and set aside until it cools.
  3. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks are formed.  Add the yoghurt and orange essence and whip for another second.
  4. Add the syrup and fruit and mix in with a spoon.
  5. Divide the mixture into molds or small bowls.
  6. Serve with cinnamon on top and a slice of fruit preserve.
  7. Depending on how sweet you prefer it, you can add more syrup or honey on top.

Orange yoghurt tutti frutti
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 make your own Greek Yoghourt


Greek Strawberry Cheesecake with Yoghurt

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Cauliflower Kapamas Did you know that in the Middle Ages the British used to call the cauliflower «Cyprus Colewort»?   It is believed that the cauliflower originated in Cyprus, where the oldest record dates from the 6th century b.C.    Cauliflower,  arrived in Europe from Cyprus by the Venetians. It was then introduced to mainland Europe through Italy in the mid-16th century and only when King of France, Louis IIV tried it and liked it, it became very popular.  Since then they began to cultivate it, especially in the region of Brittany. Cauliflower You won’t find many cauliflower recipes on my blog as my children hate it.  When I was in Athens I used to say to myself that once we moved to Nafplio, we΄” ll be eating cauliflower much more often and we have. Kounoupidi Kapamas Cauliflower This is one of the recipes my mother used to make quite often.  While I was cooking it the wonderful aroma of cinnamon filled the house and evoked so many beautiful memories.  My mother did not add any wine or garlic to this dish but we love garlic so I added a clove but  for some unexplained reason, the last time I started making it, I felt as if the cauliflower was shouting to me in my head:  «add some wine, add some wine, add some wine».  I trusted my instinct and the stew turned out much richer as it contributed a refreshing fruitiness that mingled well with the other ingredients and complimented their flavors. If you don’t want potatoes, you can still serve it as a main dish (or side if you prefer) but adding the potatoes makes the dish more filling and if you accompany it with some feta and crusty bread to mop up those delicious juices, you will feast like a king :)Collage Cauliflower Kapamas   Kounoupidi me Patates Kapamas (Stewed Cauliflower with Potatoes) Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Servings: 4 Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 ½ kilos cauliflower
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1tin tomato passata
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black Pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 organic vegetable bouillon
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Water to cover


  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick frying pan.
  2. Fry the potatoes on both sides.  Remove them in a pot and do the same with the cauliflower. If necessary add more olive oil.
  3. After removing the cauliflower sauté the onion until soft and add garlic. Add the wine and wait a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper and cinnamon as well as the vegetable bouillon.
  4. Mix and when it comes to a boil transfer it into the pot. Add water to cover it and cover the pot with the lid.
  5. Lower heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about half an hour to 45 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and simmer until sauce thickens without overcooking it.
  7. Serve with freshly grated black pepper on top (optional).

Stewed cauliflower 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: Moungra (pickled cauliflower) Kounoupidi me Hylo (fried battered cauliflower) Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 29th, 2014

Karydopita with chocolate

Karydopita (walnut cake) is one of the most delicious, traditional Greek cakes.  I have already posted two «Karydopita» recipes (see links below) but this new twist of mine is my all times favourite.  This time I made it with semolina flour, olive oil, orange syrup and added a chocolate ganache made with orange fruit preserve syrup.  I decorated it with orange fruit preserve, which of course paired with chocolate is a killer combination.

Orange fruit preserve

I did not make it overly sweet but if you like yours on the sweet side, you just double the amount of the syrup.  Also, if you want it more spicy you can add more cinnamon and cloves and if you want it darker you can remove a couple tablespoons of flour and replace them with cocoa.  Unfortunately, I was out of cocoa powder.

Karydopita before baking

The chocolate glazing is optional but it’s an amazing addition.  If you do not add the orange preserves on top, you can add the walnuts as part of the decoration.


Olive Oil Karydopita with Chocolate and Orange

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  45 minutes

Serves: 16


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 125 grams (about 3/4 cup) sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 450 grams fine semolina
  • 150 grams walnuts, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 25 grams halved walnuts, for decoration
  • Butter to grease the baking dish


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Chocolate glazing:

  • 125 grams couverture chocolate
  • 1/2 cup leftover orange spoon sweet syrup

For decoration:

  • 4 slices orange spoon sweet


  1. Prepare the syrup.  Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
  2. Beat the olive oil with sugar on high speed for about 10 minutes.  Add the eggs and beat until creamy and smooth.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients.
  4. Lower mixer speed to minimum and add all the dry ingredients.
  5. Grease a 25 x 18 cm (10 x 7 inches) baking dish with butter.
  6. Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F.
  7. Pour in the batter and decorate with the walnuts.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot cake and wait until it is absorbed.
  10. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a double boiler and mix in the orange syrup.
  11. Spread it over the cake and decorate with the orange spoon sweet.

Note:  If your mixer is not very powerful, whisk the egg whites separately with a pinch of salt until peak form and then gently fold into the batter.

Today is my second son’s Birthday.  Unfortunately I am not in Athens to make a cake for him.  Happy 29th birthday Kyriacos, with continued health and happiness for a long time to come!  Enjoy this virtual sweet today until I come to Athens next week! We Love you!

Happy Birthday Karydopita

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:

Karydopita (Walnut Cake)

Olive oil, Beetroot and Chocolate Karydopita

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 28th, 2014

Fussili with sausage and feta2

This is a very easy pasta dish you can pull together in less than half an hour.  I always keep some sausages in the deep freezer and had some leftover leeks from the last time we went to the farmers” market.  Of course, it’s impossible that a Greek household is without feta, so with a few ingredients I made this delicious and easy dish.  I did not add any salt or spices to the sauce and let the taste of the sausages do the trick.  The spice that prevailed the most from the sausages was cumin.

I had some leftover «Paphitiko» cheese which you can easily replace with halloumi or more feta, if you can’t find any.

I grated both cheeses and mixed them in the tomato sauce.  It melted making a creamy sauce which was absorbed by the pasta.

collage sausage pasta

Sausages in Tomato, Leek and Feta Sauce with Fussili

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  about 20

Serves: 4


  • 300 grams fussili
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sausages (around 300 grams)
  • 1 cup white dry wine
  • 400 grams chopped, peeled tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 60 grams feta
  • 40 grams Paphitiko cheese
  • Black pepper (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a 30 cm (12”) skillet or wok and sauté the leeks and onions, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes, until translucent.  Add the garlic and mix a couple of times.
  2. Meantime, remove the casings of the sausages and grate the cheese.
  3. Add the sausages and sauté for a few minutes, pressing them with a spatula to cut it into smaller pieces.  Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates.  Add the tomatoes, mix and cover with the lid.  Lower heat and cook for ten minutes, mixing regularly.
  4. At this point cook the pasta in salted, hot water for 10 – 15 minutes but at least five minutes less than the instructions on the package.
  5. Remove the lid from the skillet and cook the sausages until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add the grated cheese and mix for a couple of minutes.
  7. Drain pasta and mix it with the sausages and cook for five more minutes.
  8. No salt and pepper is added because the cheese are salty and the sausages have their own spices, but feel free to add pepper or other spices.
  9. Serve with freshly grated black pepper on top.

Fussili with sausage and feta

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:

Spetzofai (spicy sausage stew)

Sausage and Onion Tart with Cornmeal Crust

How to make your own Spartan Sausages

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 24th, 2014

Lentils with carrot and orzo Christos Anesti (Christ has risen) to all my Christian readers.

Hope you had a joyful Easter! This recipe is one of those I cooked at the restaurant, at the beginning on Lent, when I was in Cyprus, for the staff.

I love dried legumes, especially lentils and if I were to chose between a meat dish or a legume dish, I would definitely choose the latter.  This is one of the reasons I have made so many twists to the classic Cypriot dish «Fakhes Moutjentra».

caramelized onions

In this recipe I have added grated carrots and tomotoes and instead of adding rice I substituted it with orzo.  I served it with caramelized onions on top which together with the carrots add a lovely sweetness to the dish. You can prepare the dish ahead but it is advisable to add the orzo just before serving as like any other pasta, orzo will continue cooking and absorbing the juices from the food and will become dry.

Fakes me karoto

I took this picture of the leftovers on my mobile, many hours after serving the food to the staff.  It’s an awful picture but I just wanted you to see the result.  You can still eat it when cold and it still tastes delicious but when it is warm it is even better. 

Lentils with orzo and carrot

Brown Lentils with Carrots, Orzo and Caramelized Onions

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  about 30 – 40 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 200 grams brown lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Water to cover them
  • 3 small carrots coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 600 ml water
  • 400 grams fresh tomatoes grated or the same amount of tinned tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 cup medium orzo (195 grams)

Caramelized onions: Ingredients:

  • 4 red onions, cut into slices
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon petimezi (grape syrup or molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat the olive oil in a  skillet and sauté the onions, stirring regularly for about 15 minutes.  When they lightly start to brown remove half of them and set aside.
  2. Season the remaining with salt and pepper.  Add the balsamic vinegar and petimezi (grape syrup) and stir until the juices are absorbed and the onions become caramelized (total time about 30 – 40 minutes).
  3. Simultaneously put the lentils and bay leaf in a pot and add water to cover them.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.  Strain and discard the bay leaf.
  4. Put them back in the pot, together with the grated tomato and grated carrots and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until lentils are almost cooked (about 30 minutes).  Add the lightly browned onion and continue cooking for fifteen more minutes.  (If we started cooking early, at this point we can stop cooking until it is lunch time.  All we have to do is to bring it back to a boil again).
  5. Add orzo and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring regularly until all juices are absorbed.
  6. Serve with the caramelized onions on top.

Lentils with carrot and orzo and caramelized onions

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:

Lentils with Orzo and Pasto

Coconut, Red Lentils Soup

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 16th, 2014

Almond and strawberry halvas

Easter is just a few days away and this will probably be my last post before Easter.  The fasting period is almost over but there are some days during Lent when not only animal products are not allowed for the Orthodox fasting period but also any kind of fat, be it animal or vegetable fat.  Good Friday is one of them as well as Holy Saturday.

This wonderful vegan dessert is perfect for these two days.  The recipe was given to me by my nephew’s wife in Cyprus.  It’s a very easy dessert and very healthy considering that it is eggless, milkless and without a trace of fat.   It’s main ingredient is almond in the form of a cordial, which is a syrup made from almonds and raw almonds.  It is then thickened with semolina.  The amount of sugar depends  on how sweet you like this pudding.  The amount used may seem a lot but believe me it is not sweet at all.  Now if you can’t find almond cordial you can experiment and make it with almond milk or rose cordial, vyssinada, which is a sour cherry cordial or just make some syrup with water, sugar and blossom water, or use fresh orange  or mandarin juice and why not pomegranate to make the syrup?  My twist to the recipe was the addition of the strawberry sauce.

Vegan Almond and Strawberry Halvas

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  10 minutes


Strawberry Sauce:

  • 300 grams strawberries, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Halva Pudding:

  • 1 1/2 cups soumada (almond cordial)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4  cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup blanched and finely chopped almonds


  1. Put the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a non stick frying pan and cook for about five minutes.  Press the strawberries to release some juice and mix until the syrup thickens.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Put the water, sugar and soumada on the heat and when it begins boiling add the semolina.  Stir with a balloon whisk unit it sets.  Add the almonds, mix and remove from the heat.
  3. Wet the bottom of a mold or a bundt form with a few tablespoons of strawberry syrup.  Add half the pudding which spread evenly using a spoon.  Add half the strawberry sauce on top and cover with the remaining pudding.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hour and then unmold.
  5. Serve the pudding with more strawberry sauce on top.

Halvas me Soumada


You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», available on all Amazon stores.

You can find more Lenten or Vegan Recipes here. Wishing you all a Happy Easter.


Kalo Pascha


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Vegan samali

This Lenten or vegan dessert is a twist to a recipe I used to make in the restaurant called Samali or Kalon Prama in Cyprus, which we offered to our clients after their meal free of charge.  The traditional recipe is a semolina cake flavoured with mastic and drenched in syrup.  Some blanched almonds are used to decorate the cake on top.

Kalon prama

This time of the year we have a lot of mandarins in our yard so I made the syrup using mandarin juice.  If you like you can substitute it with orange juice.  The mastic powder is what gives this dessert its distinct flavour.  I used some of the mastic I ground over 8 months ago and although mastic crystalizes, the method I used to store it keeps it perfect for months.   In this dessert apart from the mastic you can also sense the flavour of coconut.

Greasing the baking tin with tahini or tahini with carob syrup is optional but it adds additional flavour to the cake.

In order to make the dessert richer I decided to add some vegan whipped cream on top.  I used coconut cream and I was surprised to see how well it holds together and if you like the taste of coconut, it is superb.  If you want to skip the whipped cream, you can decorate the cake with blanched almonds before baking it, as in the traditional recipe.

The strawberry sauce is also optional but if you do add the whipped cream it goes well with the dessert.

Nistisimo Samali

Vegan Coconut Mandarin Samali (Semolina Cake) and How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream

Preparation time : 15 minutes

Baking time : 1 hour

Ingredients :

For the syrup:

  • 500 grams sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup mandarin juice

For the Semolina Cake:

  • 1/2 kilo fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup  blanched and ground almonds
  • 40 grams grated dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp mandarin zest
  • 3 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mastic powder with sugar
  • 1/2 cup mandarin juice
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup water

To grease the baking tin ( optional ):

  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tsp carob syrup

Vegan Whppped Cream:

1 can (400 ml) coconut cream which leave in the fridge over night
2 tsp icing sugar
1 packet vanillin powder


  1. Put the coconut cream in the fridge the night before .
  2. Put all the syrup ingredients in a small pot and boil for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool .
  3. Mix the semolina together with the sugar , baking powder, the zest and mastic powder.
  4. Add all the liquid ingredients and mix well .
  5. Allow the mixture to sit for 2-3 hours covered .
  6. Mix the tahini with the carob syrup and coat a baking pan measuring 32 x 23cm (12 1/2 x 9 inches).
  7. Spread the cake in the pan and bake in a preheated , moderate oven to ( 160 ° C) until golden brown , about one hour .
  8. Pour the syrup on the hot cake and leave it to cool and absorb the syrup .

How to make Vegan Whipped Cream :

  1. Leave the coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Open the can carefully without shaking it.  When refrigerating, the cream stays on top of the can and the water will stay below. Use a spoon and collect all the cream which is on top.  Put the remaining in a strainer and collect the remaining cream.
  3. (Do not discard the coconut water left.  It can be used in desserts or savory recipes instead of water).
  4. Beat the cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it is thick .

Decorate the cake as you like.

Store the cake in the refrigerator upto one week.

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», available on all Amazon stores.

You can find more Lenten or Vegan Recipes here.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 15th, 2014

Mavromatika black eyed peas with wild greens

My last post about my trip to Cyprus was quite difficult and it took me about 15 days to finish it.  Now that I am done with this post, I can start blogging again, hopefully on a more regular basis and start posting recipes and visiting my favourite blogs again.

After coming back, we spent a week in Athens with our children and then came back to the village.  We found the basement flooded and the garden full of weeds, higher than us.  The basement is still flooded although we have emptied it three times.  The problem is not only ours as our neighbour has the same problems as well.  When we saw the weeds at first we were disappointed as we thought all our plants were destroyed.  We started removing the weeds manually and thankfully we found most of our plants hidden under the weed, better than they were before.

Collage return to Assini April 2014

One of the first things I did was to forage some wild greens such as mustard greens and dandelions, which were growing in the garden.  I cooked them and we ate them as a salad but they were a lot and had some leftover.  I had also cooked quinoa for another recipe and had some leftover of that as well.  I had lots of aromatic herbs I had bought from the farmers” market last week so I combined all of them to make this delicious, Lenten recipe which is vegan and very healthy.  It is perfect for those on a vegan diet or fasting, as quinoa is a good source of protein, so are dried legumes.

collage Aromatic Mavrommatica with wild greens

Aromatic Blackeyed Peas with Wild Greens and Quinoa

Serves:  4 – 5


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked wild greens ( mustard greens, dandelions, etc. )
  • 250 gr. black-eyed peas
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 leek, white part only , finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion , finely chopped (including green leaves)
  • 1 fresh  garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup various aromatic herbs such kafkalithres (hartwort),  Myronia (Chervil – Anthriscus cerefolium), another Greek aromatic herb, parsley and dill
  • 1 juicy lemon juice
  • Water to cover (about 3 cups)
  • Extra virgin olive and more lemon juice (optional)


  1. Cook the blackeyed peas in plenty of water for about 20 minutes or according to instructions on the package.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook quinoa.  See how to cook it in this recipe.
  3. Wash the wild greens and boil them.  Drain and set aside.  If you cannot find any wild greens you can substitute with spinach or chard.  See a similar recipe here.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pot and saute the leek and white part of the onion until translucent.  Add the fresh garlic as well as green part of the onion and saute for a few minutes.
  5. Add the blackeyed peas as well as the wild greens and saute for a few minutes.  Add water to cover them, lower heat and simmer until the blackeyed peas are cooked and until almost all the water is absorbed. Add more water if necessary.
  6. Add salt and pepper, the lemon juice, all the aromatic herbs and the cooked quinoa. Stir and turn off the heat.
  7. Serve with extra virgin olive oil and more lemon juice, if necessary.

Similar recipes are included in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», available on all Amazon stores.

You can find more Lenten or Vegan Recipes here.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 15th, 2014

Hello my friends, Limassol and Akrotiri from above

It’s been three months since the last time I wrote a blog post.  As most of you know my husband and I were away in Cyprus the past three months working in a restaurant.  It was a lovely experience working in a professional kitchen.

Castle of Limassol

To Hani

I won’t be sharing food photos as it was impossible to have a camera with me while working, apart from a couple of times when I took a few shots on my mobile. Platter Today’s post is mostly a photographic travelogue to Cyprus to show you a few of the places we visited.  On most of our days off, my husband’s day off would not coincide with mine, so we could not go anywhere.  I spent most of my days off doing house chores. We decided to stop working a week before leaving in order to spend some time with our son and visit some places, mostly near Limassol. On one of my days off, my husband was working on that day, so my son drove me to Governor’s Beach, which is 26 km from Limassol, near the boundaries of Limassol and Larnaca. governors beach It was very cold on that day and there was not a soul in the nearby restaurants situated on the the beach but we enjoyed the lovely view, walked on the beach and after drinking a cup of coffee we headed back to the town. governors beach2   On another day we visited Pissouri.  Pissouri is a lovely village, 30 km from Limassol, towards Paphos. The village is situated on the side of a lovely mountain hill, near the seaside. visit to Pissouri2 On another day trip, we went to Paphos, 50 km west of Limassol. Before arriving to Paphos we passed from Kolossi.  My maternal grandmother was from Kolossi and her property was just behind  the 15th century castle which stands today and which was built on the site of an earlier castle.    In the 13th century it belonged to the knights of St. John of Jerusalem – Knights Hospitaller.  Control later passed to the Knights Templar.  The surrounding lands were highly cultivated with sugar cane and vineyards, from which the the famous ancient Cypriot wine was produced.  The name Commandaria was given to this wine much later, during the end of the 12th century A.D., when Richard the Lionheart sold the island to the Knight Templars, who then sold it to Guy de Lusignan. However, they kept a large feudal estate close to Limassol, where they would cultivate local vines. This estate was referred to as “La Grande Commanderie”.  This wine has the distinction of being the world’s oldest named wine still in production. commandaria On our way to Paphos we visited the ancient site at Kourion, also know as Curias or Curium.  Ancient Greek historians Herodotus and Stravon mention that it was founded by Argive settlers, being one of the richest and most powerful Kingdoms of Cyprus.  It is also cited by Esarhadon, King of Assyria (673-672 b.C) whose reports on Prism refers to it as being among other kingdoms of Cyprus, such as  Idalion, Kition, Salamina, Hytra, Tamassos, Ledra and Soloi. theatre The second century ancient Greco-Roman amphitheatre at Kourion (Curium), which has been completely restored is impressive and hosts open air musical and theatrical performances. kourion theatre Apart from the ancient Agora  you can visit, other important monuments, such as their many houses.  One of the most impressive house is that of Efstolios.  You can walk through its many rooms, which are around two courtyards as well as the baths of the house.  In antiquity it served as a royal house.   Efstolios house   Mosaic in the house of Efstolios:  a young woman wearing an armlet and holding a measure of the Roman foot.  The Greek Inscription «KTICIC» symbolizes the Founding Spirit of the Creation. mosaic at kourion What impressed me the most were the well preserved mosaics, which cover the floors of the buildings.  On the inscriptions the name of  its owner «Efstolios» is incribed, as well as the fact that he was a Christian.  It is also interesting that on an inscription God Apollo Hylates, who was worshiped in the archaic times,  is also mentioned.  You can visit the sanctuary and temple of Apollo Hylates which is 2.5 km, on the west side of the ancient site of Kourion towards your way to Paphos. Greek inscription on mosaic The sea view from the house of Efstolios is magnificent.  You can see as far as the coast of Akrotiri. view from Efstolios house   Coast of Akrotiri from Kourion

View of Akrotiri peninsula.

Petra tou Romiou and Saracens rock

Petra tou Romiou in the background and the Saracen Rock in the foreground.

These two rocks are associated with two myths.  According to Greek Mythology, goddess Aphrodite, whose name means born out of the sea foam, was born here. «Aphros» in Greek means sea foam.  According to mythology, Aphrodite was born out of the foam that formed in the sea where Uranus” severed genitals landed, when his son Cronus tossed it out from the sky.   Petra tou Romiou9 The second myth associates the place with the exploits of the hero Basilios, who was half Greek (Romios) and half Syrian, as described in the epic narrative text called «Digenes Akritas» (which means «Two Blood border Lord». According to the legend, Basilios hurled the huge rock from the Troodos Mountains to keep the invading Saracens off  the island. Paphos After visiting Kolossi and Kourion we arrived at Paphos well after noon. paphos castle Paphos is situated on the west coasts of the island.   We walked on the seafront upto the Old Medieval Castle.  After taking some photos and having late lunch and coffee, we did not have much time to visit other places in Paphos. paphos castle2 On another day trip to Choirokoitia, we made a small detour to visit the Monastery of Agios Georgios Alamanos. Aghios Georgios Alamanos The monastery is only 20 km from Limassol.  We used to visit the monastery quite often when I was a child, as the mother superior was related to us but as my husband had never been there before, he wanted to visit it.

Aghios Georgios Alamanos2

We arrived around noon.  There were a couple of nuns there but by the time we visited the church and back we heard the «semantron» which summoned the nuns for lunch. Fountain Agios Georgios Alamanos I was planning to buy some homemade rosewater I saw on display at the entrance but there was not a soul there when we left so we left empy-handed as we were in a hurry to visit Choirokoitia. Aghios Georgios Alamanos3 Not very far from the monastery and on your way towards Nicosia or Larnaca you will find the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia on your left.   It stretches over the steep slopes of a hill and is enclosed within a wall which has been uncovered in the East and North. I must warn you that getting to the top is not as easy as it looks.  My legs were stiff for a week :)Choirokoitia The site is known as one of the most important and best preserved prehistoric sites of the eastern Mediterranean. Much of its importance lies in the evidence of an organised functional society in the form of a collective settlement, with surrounding fortifications for communal protection. Choirokoitia Culture (7000 – 5800 B.C.), or the Recent Aceramic Neolithic of Cyprus, results from a long process which began in the 9th millenium, if not before. Excavations on the site, which is included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO, began in 1936 under the direction of Porphyrios Dikaios, then Curator of the Department of Antiquities, and since 1976 have been continued by a French Archaeological Mission, under the direction of A. Le Brun. The constructions are circular with flat roofs in the form of a terrace.  A house constitutes the grouping of several of these circular constructions around a small inner «courtyard» with an installation for grinding grain.  Flint or bone tools and receptables made of stone or basketwork were used in daily life. The deceased were buried in pits cut into the floors of the habitation units.  Some of them were accompanied by stone vessels and necklaces. The nutrition needs of the inhabitants of Khoirokoitia were met by animal husbandry, hunting, cultivation of plants and gathering of wild fruits. The site was abandoned around 5800 B.C.  It was reoccupied from 5000 B.C. by people of the Sotira Culture who knew and had mastered the art of pottery.   Choirokoitia reconstructed houses   In the course of its efforts for the best protection of the site and in order to facilitate its interpretation for the visitors, the Department of Antiquities proceeded to reconstruct five circular units and part of the enclosure wall, including one of its entrances. Interior of choirokoitia house These are identical copies of the original structures.  The raw materials for their construction were collected from the immediate environment of the settlement and the project was carried out by taking into account all the relative information yielded from the excavation of the actual site.  One of the circular structures was left semi-finished in order to show the various stages of its construction and the materials employed for this purpose: stones, mudbricks, wood and reeds.  The roofs were made flat since, according to the excavarors, the old theory for domed roofs has become obsolute in light of new finds.


Choirokoitia ruins

Several objects, both authentic and copies, were placed inside the circular structures in order to recreate some aspects of the daily life in Neolithic Cyprus. Choirokoitia ruins2 Cyprus has always had problems with drought so there are a lot of Dams anywhere near rivers. Yermasoyia Dam is the closest to Limassol. Dam of Yermasoyia3 It is only 10 – 15 minutes drive from the town and is worth visiting to enjoy the view and for those who like sports can go for walks in nearby trails, fishing, canoeing etc

view of Limassol from Yermasoyia

Dam of Yermasoyia4 The last time I visited the dam it was more than thirty years ago. Yermasoyia village was separated from Limassol and to my surprise the whole area from Yermasoyia bridge to the Dam is now inhabited. fishing Omodos is a village  nestled in the southern foothills of Troödos Mountains, in the Limassol wine making region, about 42 kilometers from the city of Limassol (about 30 minutes drive).   The area is known as the «Krassochoria», which means «wine villages» and is found north of Limassol on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains. Wine has been produced in this area for centuries and still forms an integral part of village life.  The medieval winepress of the village is one of its attractions as well as numerous wineries and wine museums. Omodos1 You can visit the 4th Century stone built monastery of The Holy Cross, which dates back before the arrival of Saint Helena to Cyprus  who according to historians, when she visited the island, on her way back from The Holy Land, she offered a piece of the Holy Rope with which Christ’s hands were tied to the Cross and a piece from the Holy Cross, where he was crucified. Church at Omodos This as well as fragments of saintly bones and the skull of Saint Philip, as well as other relics, attract many pilgrims to the village. The Holy Cross at Omodos In the village you can visit some folklore museums, lace workshops, etc.  There are many restaurants, cafeterias, shops selling local products, most of which you can sample for free at many outlets, or  buy some of the unique «arkatena» which is a local bread make from chickpea yeast and «shoushoukos», the traditional one made with wine must, filled with nuts.  However, now you can find shoushoukos made with carob, pomegranate, pistachio etc.  It is also famous for its handmade embroideries and laces.


Local goodies such as arkatena, honey etc.


Carob and Pomegranate Shoushoukos filled with almonds and walnuts respectively.

lady making lace

A local woman sitting in the street, making lace.


Lace made using crochet hook on the right or just a sewing needle on the left.

  Embroideries and laces at Omodos

Embroideries and Laces

Restaurant at Omodos

A local «taverna» / Restaurant

On our way back to Limassol we made a small detour and visited my father’s village «Lophou».   «Lophou» takes its name from the word «lophos», which means hill. Lophou village The village of Lofou is  about 26 kilometers northwest of the city of Limassol.  The village  is built in a circular pattern on hills, at an altitude of 780 meters. It is surrounded by mountains with narrow and steep versants. The landscape is divided by two rivers that are canals of ‘Kryos’ and ‘Kouris’, which both come from the river ‘Kouris’. Panaghia Evaggelismos at Lophou village Lofou is a village dating back from the Byzantine period although archaelogical findings trace it back to the bronze age. It is one of the «krassohoria» of Limassol and it used to be one of the richest villages in Cyprus and had a lot of underground water. Lions, church Evaggelismos at Lophou After the First World War and then after the Second World War there was a tremendous decline of the population in the village.  Most of its inhabitants already owned land in Ypsonas, which they used during the summer months, to cultivate carobs, cereal fields etc.  Several of these farmers gradually settled in Ypsonas. During the period of the British rule there is a steady population decline of Lophou in favour of Ypsonas and after the Independence in 1960, due to urbanization many moved to Limassol, to find a job. Eventually the village was almost totally abandonned.  In 2001 only 50 inhabitants remained in comparison to 962 in 1921.  In 1987, the Association of Expats of Lophou is formed aiming to help the village in many ways especially to bring the village back to life.      The church of Panaghia Chrysolophitissa is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin «Evagelismos tis Panaghias».  The church was built in 1872 by all the villagers who volunteered to help build it.  Only a few technicians fron other villages were paid. Lion, church Evaggelismos at Lophou     Lophou3 Some of the locals who owned property in Lophou turned their stone built houses into summer houses and now you can find a lot of tavernas, cafeterias, a hotel has been built and the village hosts over 2000 inhabitants during the summer. Lophou2 There is a folklore museum and an old olive mill you can visit. Traditional House in Lophou

Renovated, traditional house in Lophou

interior of house in Lophou The houses were usually two storey buildings.  There are still some old stone houses which are yet to be restored and we went inside one of them to see how they were.  These traditional houses were protected by a tall, surrounding wall and entering inside there was a courtyard where they kept their domestic aninals, such as their horses or donkeys, some hens, ducks, turkeys etc.  Their storage rooms were on the ground floor and the toilet was far away, in some corner of their courtyard.   house interior fireplace at Lophou   The kitchen with the fireplace, which was mostly used as their living room, as well as the bedrooms were on the «anoi» that is to say on the top storey. Anoi, second floor house at Lophou The roofs were made of wooden beams (huge tree trunks) called volitzia, supporting the roof. roof volitsia You can learn more about Lophou village watching this interesting video prepared by Lophou Association. On our way back, we stopped to take a picture of the sunset as well as the Dam of Kouris. Sunset at Lophou As I said before, Cyprus is full of Dams.  The village of Alassa, which was used as an intermediate stop by the inhabitants of Lophou on their way to Ypsonas, who owned property there as well, was moved to a higher location and the village was flooded by the river Kouris in order to create this huge Dam of Alassa or Kouris in 1985. Kouris Alassa Dam   Μy Cypriot cookbook «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» is available on all Amazon stores. You can read more about my travels to here. Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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