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:

THE WORLD CULINARY ABC

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

 

  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!!

sausages

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

  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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

 

 

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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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