Ivy on January 31st, 2015

Revani with coconut

Revani or Ravani is a Greek semolina cake,  which I have already published in the past.

A few weeks ago when I made Bergamot fruit preserve, I decided to make more syrup than needed as I love using it in other recipes.

When I started making the Revani I used bergamot zest as well syrup from the fruit preserve.   When I make the fruit preserves, I always store the zest in the deep freezer so that I can use in my recipes.   It’s not the first time I’ve made recipes using leftover syrups from fruit preserves, as I was the first one to start making good use of the leftover syrups.

citrus rind

In many of my recipes I do not describe the taste as many of them are posted even two years later so it’s hard to remember the details.  However, I do know that it is good, otherwise I put the recipes, which I am not satisfied with their outcome, in a different file to be tested again.

I made the first revani two weeks ago with butter, adding coconut as well, as I had some leftover from Christmas.  I made it again two days ago and after taking the pictures, we ate the cake and I still have its wonderful taste in my mouth.

I must say that this is by far the best revani I have ever eaten until now and there is nothing I would like to change.  It is moist, light as sponge, fluffy and the bergamot adds such an amazing aroma!

You may think that it would be overly sweet with the addition of the syrup on top but no, it’s just as sweet as it should be.  Personally, I don’t like my desserts to be very sweet, so this one was just perfect to my taste.  The first one with the coconut was rich and delicious with a little bit of crunch from the coconut, which adds an additional exotic taste.

As I said, it was so good that I made it again a couple of days ago.  This time I wanted to try it with olive oil.  I did not have much semolina left from the previous one and as we will soon be going back to Assini, I did not want to buy more and have leftover, so I added flour.    I did not have coconut and I only had four eggs.  At the time I thought that by adding two eggs less I would need less semolina – flour but since I did not add the coconut it came out just right, without having to adjust the recipe.   Finally, I only had one cup of leftover bergamot syrup, so I made more syrup by using 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, a small stick of cinnamon, 3 cloves and boiled it for five minutes.  When it was ready I added 2 tablespoons lemon juice as well as the leftover bergamot syrup.  As soon as the cake was out the the oven, I added the syrup.    You will find the adjustments I made to the second cake next to the first recipe.

Olive oil revani with bergamot

The olive oil cake was equally delicious as Greek olive oil is light with a fruity taste, which only adds to the flavour.

I urge you to try any one of them and you will be hooked.  Personally, I love the one I made with olive oil more.

I know that it may be difficult to find bergamot in other countries but you can always make it with mandarins or orange.  The result will surely be different but equally good as I have made it many times.

Collage revani

Coconut and Olive Oil Bergamot Revani Cake

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  45 – 50 minutes

Yields:  18 pieces


  • 250 grams unsalted butter  (1 cup extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 cup (210 grams) sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated (4 eggs)
  • 200 ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 drops vanilla essence
  • 80 grams desiccated coconut (not added)
  • 150 grams fine semolina (160 grams fine semolina and 100 grams coarse semolina)
  • 355 grams coarse semolina (195 grams all purpose flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp bergamot zest
  • 50 grams almonds, blanched
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter, to grease the baking tin
  • 1 tbsp flour, for the baking tin
  • 400 ml Syrup from bergamot fruit preserve (see above)

To make syrup from scratch:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • Peel of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (boil the syrup for five minutes and add the lemon juice at the end)


  1. Prepare the syrup and set aside or use the leftover bergamot preserve syrup.
  2. Mix the lemon juice to the yoghurt and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Beat the butter (or olive oil) with sugar until fluffy, for about ten minutes on high speed.
  4. Add the yolks one at a time until incorporated.
  5. Add the yoghurt.
  6. Combine both semolinas (and flour), coconut (no coconut), bergamot zest, salt and baking powder.
  7. Whisk egg whites with lemon juice until the meringue is firm. (It is ready when turning the bowl to the side it should not fall from the bowl).
  8. Lower mixer speed and add the semolina with egg whites, alternating a little at a time.
  9. Pour in a well buttered and floured 28 cm baking tin and lightly score the pieces.  Add three almonds on each piece.
  10. Preheat oven to 180o C and bake for about 45 – 50 minutes, depending on your oven or until golden and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  11. As soon as you remove it from the oven, cut the pieces where previously scored and pour the syrup with a spoon on top to wet the cake.
  12. Set aside until it cools and absorb the syrup before serving.

Olive oil revani with bergamot2
You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.


Other related Recipes:

Revani with Masticha and Revani with Chocolate and Orange 

Kalon Prama or Samali

Karydopita (Walnut Cake)

Revani or Ravani with Whipping Cream and Pineapple (orange rind and vanilla can be substituted with mastic gum)

Pot Halvas with fruit

Vegan Coconut Mandarin Shamali with Vegan Whipped Cream

Bergamot White Chocolate Cake


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on January 27th, 2015

Pizza Rolls

Instead of making pizza, you can make these rolls, which are perfect as a snack or even for breakfast.

Sometimes, I make it into a big roll, which I cut into pieces and other times I make individual ones and make it into pull-aparts.

Whenever you are going to make pizza again, make more dough and try any of the following options.


Savoury and Sweet Pizza Rolls or Pizza Bread

Makes: 1 Pyrex 35 x 22 cm



  • 500 grams bread flour or all purpose flour
  • 25 grams fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • About 1 cup water

Savoury Filling:

  • 9 tbsp leftover bolognaise sauce or use other tomato based sauce
  • 250 grams feta
  • 80 grams anthotyros (whey cheese like ricotta)
  • 5 slices of smoked turkey
  • Olive oil to brush the baking tin and the rolls
  • Sesame seeds (optional)


See instructions how to make dough for pizza.


  1. Brush the Pyrex with olive oil.
  2. Divide phyllo into nine pieces and form nine balls.
  3. Crumble feta and anthotyros into a bowl.
  4. Roll each dough into a 1/2 cm thick disc.
  5. Add a tablespoon of bolognaise and spread it on the dough.
  6. Add about 2 tablespoons cheese.
  7. Add half a slice of smoked turkey.
  8. Fold to enclose mixture, forming a small round bread and invert it into baking tin.
  9. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds on top.
  10. If you like you can lightly score the breads on top but it’s only for decoration.
  11. Cover the dough with a napkin and set aside to rise.
  12. Preheat oven to 180o C and bake for about half an hour or until golden.


collage pizza pull aparts

Pizza Rolls

When I make pizza and want to make this snack for the next day, I usually make more dough and make either some savoury rolls or some sweet ones filled with Tahini, honey, sugar and cinnamon.

Pizza Rolls

I have made them many times and I loved the ones I made using my Tomato Fruit Chutney.  The sweet and spicy chutney combined with the savoury cheese and smoked turkey makes  the rolls irresistible.

Adding syrup on tahini rolls

One of the many times I’ve made them, I also added mozzarella cheese on top, which really gives them a pizza taste.

The sweet filling is inspired by the Cypriot Tahinopita.    The traditional recipe is quite different but the filling is almost the same.  After baking, I wet the bread with bergamot spoon sweet syrup.  It’s just enough to add its wonderful aroma to the bread.

If you are going to make the above dough you can make two smaller baking tins.   The instructions is for two small baking tins.
Collage pizza rolls

Makes:  2 (19 cm /7.5 inch) baking tins 

  • Half of the above dough

Savoury Filling:

  • Tomato Fruit chutney (or other tomato sauce)
  • 4 slices Smoked Turkey
  • 4 slices Gouda cheese
  • 5 slices Halloumi or graviera
  • Grated mozzarella (optional)

Tahini Filling:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup brown cane sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Corinthian raisins
  • 2 tbsp goji berries
  • 8 tbsp bergamot spoon sweet syrup (optional)*


  1. Divide the dough into two pieces.
  2. Brush two (19 cm /7.5 inch) baking tins with olive oil.

Savoury rolls:

  1. Roll out the dough into a rectangular sheet, about 40 x 30 cm.
  2. Using a spoon add a thin layer of Tomato chutney spreading it with the back side of the spoon, to cover the surface of the dough .
  3. One one of the longer sides add a row of smoked turkey and on top a row of gouda cheese and a row of halloumi or graviera cheese.
  4. Form into a roll the size of halloumi width.
  5. Cut the roll in the centre and then cut again each pieces in the centre and again each piece in the centre, so that you have eight slices.
  6. Fill the baking tin with the slices and gently press them so there are no empty gaps.
  7. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese on top.
  8. Preheat oven to 180o C and bake for about half an hour or until golden on top.


Sweet rolls:

  1. Put tahini in a bowl and add a tablespoon hot water each time and mix well until tahini becomes spreadable.
  2. Add honey and mix.
  3. Roll out the dough into a rectangular sheet, same as above.
  4. Using a spoon add a thin layer of tahini, spreading it with the back side of the spoon, to cover the surface of the dough .
  5. Sprinkle the cane sugar all over the dough as well as cinnamon.
  6. Add raisins and goji berries all over the dough.
  7. Form into a roll and form it into a spiral.
  8. Carefully put it whole into the greased baking tin.
  9. Preheat oven to 180o C and bake for about half an hour or until golden on top.
  10. While still hot, wet the surface with bergamot syrup.
  11.  Wait until it cools and cut the spiral into slices.

Useful tips:

Instead of making one large roll, you can divide the dough into 8 equal parts and make small round discs, add the filling (sweet or savoury) and form smaller spirals.

Another time I made the sweet rolls instead of adding honey, I added mandarin jam and coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts.

Tahini roll2

*  For the sweet rolls, I used leftover bergamot syrup which adds a wonderful aroma.  You can substitute it with other citrus syrup or if you don’t have any, you can make a glaze to pour on top.

In order to avoid making a mess with the syrup when pouring it on top, place your baking tin into a larger one.

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon glaze:

  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp water or milk


  1. Put sugar with cinnamon in a bowl.  Add water or milk gradually to make a spreadable glaze.
  2. As soon as you take the tahini rolls out of the oven, using a spoon glaze the rolls.

Tahini Bread with Greek Coffee

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


Other related Recipes:

Italian Pizza or Greek Ladenia

Tiganopsomo (Fried filled cheese bread)

Halloumi – graviera Pull-aparts


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on January 20th, 2015

Greek breakfast


One of my favourite marmalades is the one with mixed citrus.  You can make the marmalade using any combination of citrus fruit and if you like you can change the ratio of each fruit depending on dominating flavour you would like to taste.  You can follow the same method to make each fruit separately.

Citrus Fruit2

It’s citrus season again and since we have a lot of mandarins and Seville oranges in our garden in Assini, I add a few lemons and oranges and make this mixed citrus marmalade every year.

Mixed citrus marmalade

I have made the same jam with different combinations of citrus fruit as well as with different flavours, other times using fragrant geraniums or cinnamon or ginger for a more spicy and exotic taste.  Last year when I was in Cyprus I made it using mandarins, bergamot, kumquat, pomelo and grape fruit.

Citrus with ginger


We love eating it with our Greek breakfast, which is usually “Koulouri Thessalonikis” or toasted bread with some butter, halloumi or graviera and smoked turkey.  This combination of the sweet jam and the salty cheese and charcuterie is out of the world.  Of course, a Greek coffee is a must!

Collage marmalade

Four Citrus Marmalade


  • 5 tangerines
  • 4 oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 Seville (bitter) oranges (after boiling I got 700 grams (1.55 lbs) of peels)
  • 900 grams (2 lbs) sugar
  • 1 litre fruit juice (1 1/3 cup juice from all boiled fruit and 2 2/3 cups extra fresh citrus juice.  You can add water instead of juice but in this case, add 1 kilo sugar)
  • 2 – 3 fragrant geranium leaves (Arbaroriza / Kiouli)  or 2 inch cinnamon stick or 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • ¼ cup lemon juice


  1. Wash the fruit thoroughly. Put them whole in a large saucepan and cover them with water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer on low heat for about half an hour.  (They will float, so put a heat resistant plate on top, to keep them submerged).
  2. Drain and add fresh water, taking care not to break the fruit.  Bring to a boil again, lower heat and simmer for another half an hour.  Put them in a colander until they cool or until you can handle them.
  3. Cut the boiled fruit in the middle and using a juice extractor collect the juice inside. Cut each fruit again in the middle and using a sharp knife remove the entire interior, which set aside. Then cut the peels into very thin stripes and cut the stripes into smaller pieces, not bigger than 3 – 4 cm (about 1 ½ inch)*.  Repeat the same with all fruit.    (The oranges and tangerines had more pith so I removed as much as possible, cutting off a thin layer with the knife.  The bitter oranges did not have any juices at all inside.  One (1) litre fluid is needed, so depending on amount of juice extracted, either add more fresh juice or water, preferably juice.
  4. Collect the seeds and the remaining fruit interior (not the pith) and place it in a tulle or cheesecloth. This is where we get the pectin from. Tie it tightly with kitchen string.
  5. Put the peels, sugar, juice, fragrant geraniums (cinnamon or ginger) and water in a pot. Mix and bring to boil until the sugar dissolves. Add the tulle and on low heat simmer the fruit for about 30 – 45 minutes until soft, mixing every now and then with a wooden spoon. Remove the tulle in a colander and using the wooden spoon press it to remove any juice, which return into the pot. At this stage add the lemon juice and simmer until the temperature reaches 105ο C.
  6. If not using a thermometre wait until next morning.  If it has set add the lemon juice and simmer for a minute.  If not, boil again for five minutes and let it cool again.  The procedure should be repeated until the marmalade sets.  The lemon juice is added during the last time.
  7. Remove the fragrant geraniums , if you like (I do not remove them) and store in sterilized jars.

*Note:   Instead of finely cutting all the fruit, half of it can be pulsed in a food processor.

Koulouri and citrus jam


This recipe as well as many more similar recipes is included in volume 2 of «Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!»

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


Other related Recipes:

Lemon Marmalade

Mandarin Marmalade


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on January 14th, 2015

Homemade Tortilla Chips


Homemade tortilla chips are easy to make, cost almost nothing and are so tasty you cannot resist eating just a few.  You can flavour them with herbs and spices of your choice and in no time you have a delicious snack to serve with a dip, a sauce, to accompany your drink or eat them just as a snack.

Tortilla chips with olive oil

cutting tortillas

Baking tortillas

How to make Ηomemade Tortilla Chips

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Baking time: 5 minutes

For a big oven tray you will need:


  • 3 large tortillas
  • Olive oil (I used garlic flavoured olive oil)
  • Various spices and herbs, such as roasted garlic or garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt (preferable coarse sea salt), pepper, paprika, cumin, curry etc.


  1. Lightly brush the tortillas with olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and add any of the spices or herbs you like on top.
  3. Preheat oven to 180o C.
  4. Cut the tortilla into 4 stripes.  Then cut each piece into triangles.
  5. Place them on a baking tin lined with parchment paper and bake until they become golden.  Turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven until it cools.  This way they will become crunchier.
  6. Store in an air tight container.


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


Other related Recipes:

Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas with Sun-dried Tomatoes


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on January 1st, 2015

Nanaimo Bars2

Nanaimo bars are British Columbia’s (Canada) most popular chocolate dessert.   There are many stories about the origin and name of this confection.  According to Wikipedia the oldest recipe appearing in a cookbook goes back to 1953.   However, as I read in the official website of Nanaimo (where you will also find the recipe),  the confection became more popular when the Canadian mayor initiated a contest in 1985 to find the ultimate Nanaimo bar and Joyce Hardcastle’s recipe was the one which won.

In order to create my own recipe I read a few recipes on the web to understand what this dessert was about.

The dessert consists of three layers, each one needing time in the refrigerator before proceeding to the next one:

The base is a layer of Graham Crackers Wafers, butter, sugar, cocoa powder, walnuts (I’ve also seen it with almonds), shredded coconut and an egg combined together.   In Greece we do not have Graham Crackers Wafers, which actually have nothing to do with wafers, but in other recipes calling for this biscuit, I used to substitute it with Digestive biscuits.  However, I chose to use real chocolate wafers.  I made my own crust using dark brown sugar and did not add egg as I considered it redundant.  I used dark brown sugar and I urge you not to use any other type of sugar (although you can) as this particular one gives a crunch in the biscuit base as well as a lovely caramel flavour.

The middle layer is a rich cream, made of butter, icing sugar, custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder) and  milk. This part was a bit confusing for me regarding the custard powder.  My thought at the time was to make a creme anglaise.  However the original cream is more like buttercream, so I was thinking to add gelatine to thicken it.

The third layer is the simplest to make.  Chocolate and butter melted over a double boiler.  I’ve made it many times and love adding black pepper to chocolate.
collage nanaimo

By mere coincidence, a few days before, my friend Joumana posted about Sahlab drink, which is a popular drink introduced by the Ottamans in the countries they ruled.  Greece and Cyprus were, of course, ruled by the Ottomans and it used to be very popular here as well.

A few days before Christmas  my husband and I went to Athens for some Christmas shopping and passing from Plateia Dimarhiou, I remembered a nearby Middle Eastern store and I decided to buy a packet of sahlab to try it.  Of course, this is not the real thing but just a pudding flavoured with Sahlab.  When we tried it, we loved its taste and that is why I decided to use this pudding to make my middle layer.  I followed the instructions on the package but although the pudding thickens, it’s supposed to be a drink which will not set.  I don’t know if it would set if I added more powder but I decided to add some gelatine so that it would set.  When I made the drink it seems that sugar was added to the starch as it was sweet, so I did not add any sugar to the cream.

For those who don’t know this drink, “Salepi” is a drink made from the tubers of a kind or orchid which is powdered into starch. It is then thickened and flavoured with rose or citrus water and drank as a beverage to warm you up during winter.   This beverage was sold by street vendors and it is good to relieve the cough, asthma, stomach pain etc. It is sweetened either using sugar or honey and flavoured with citrus or rose water, ginger and cinnamon. This profession will be extinct in a few years here in Greece, as there are only a few old street vendors left. In Cyprus I am not sure if there are any left.   Although in the past I used to see them very often, especially in Hermou Street, it’s been a long time I have not seen one. As in Greece it is sold only in the streets, I never tried it but if I see one again, this time I will definitely try it.

Salepi street vendor

This recipe goes to Zibaldone Culinario who is hosting this month’s event ABC Culinario.  This month we shall be travelling to Canada.


Eggless Nanaimo Salepi (Sahlab) Bars

Preparation time:  1 hour

Cooking time:  10 minutes

Chilling time:  3 hours

Serves: 28



  • 125 grams butter
  • 3 packets by 68 g each Amaretti Chocolate Wafers*
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 10 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 100 grams (1 cup+) walnuts (chopped)
  • ½ cup leftover melomakarona filling (optional)

*Note: Instead of using wafers or other traditional biscuits, you can use some of your Christmas leftover cookies to make the base.


  • 4 cups milk
  • 100 grams salepi (sahlab) starch powder
  • 1 tsp citrus blossom water
  • 1 sheet gelatine soaked in water


  • 200 grams chocolate
  • 50 grams butter
  • Freshly grated black pepper



  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan or in the microwave.
  2. Powder the wafers and empty in a bowl.  Add all the remaining ingredients.
  3. Add the butter and mix to wet the ingredients.
  4. Line a 35 x 21 cm Pyrex with parchment paper and spread the biscuit base. Press to make it even, cover with cling film and refrigerate until you make the pudding.


  1. Place the gelatine sheet in a bowl and cover with tap water.  Set aside for 5 minutes until it softens.
  2. Put the milk and salepi (sahlab) powder in a pot and using a balloon whisk stir until it begins boiling.  (At this point it should start bubbling and the cream will thicken but not set).
  3. Remove from the heat and add the gelatine sheet.  Stir until it dissolves.
  4. Mix in the citrus blossom water.  Set aside until it becomes lukewarm before pouring the cream on top of the base.  Refrigerate until it sets.


  1. Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, grate some black pepper and stir until smooth.
  2. Spread over the filling layer and when the surface is coated, score the pieces you will later want to cut.  Chill until the chocolate begins to harden.
  3. Before the chocolate becomes too hard, remove the confection from the Pyrex and cut it into bars.   Heat the knife over a flame or put boiling water in a pot and dip your knife to warm it up and gently cut the bars.  Wipe the knife after each cut.
  4. Place in a platter and store in the refrigerator.


The New Year begins, so let us pray that it will be a year with worldwide Peace, and to you my readers, may God bless you through out the New!  Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Gr

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


Other related Recipes:

Black Lava, Orange Gateau with Leftovers

Gingerbread Cheesecake with Leftovers


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on December 30th, 2014

Vassilopita 2015

Another year has passed and here we are with the last post of the year.  I am not going to write a lot because almost each year I post a different kind of Vassilopita.  If you want to learn about the tradition of Vassilopita or who Santa Clause was, you can read about it in my first Vassilopita recipe.   At the end of the post you will also find links to other Vassilopitas I have made.

Vassilopita Almond Cake

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  1 hour

Makes:  1 cake for a 26 cm diametre / 10 inch baking tin 


  • 320 grams butter
  • 300 grams granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs (320 grams)
  • 70 grams pulverized almonds
  • 10 drops almond or vanilla extract
  • 250 grams cake flour, sifted (or 230 grams all purpose flour and 20 grams corn flour (starch))
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 85 grams blanched and roasted almonds



  1. Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F.
  2. While the oven is preheating roast the 85 grams almonds until lightly brown.  Set aside to cool and coarsely chop them in the food processor.
  3. Line a 10 inch (26 cm) cake pan with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan.
  4. Mix the flour with the corn flour.  Use part of the flour to pulverize the blanched almonds, gradually.  Sift and continue doing this until all the almonds are powdered.  If you have pieces of almonds which cannot go through the sieve, put them back in the food processor with more flour.  At the end you may have very small granules left.  Do not discard them but add them to the flour with the salt and orange zest and mix.
  5.  In your mixer bowl cream the butter and sugar together for about ten minutes until white and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  7. Scrape the sides of your mixer bowl using a rubber spatula.
  8. Turn the mixer to low, add almond or vanilla essence and flour mixture and stir until incorporated.
  9. Finally, add the roasted almonds and mix.
  10. Empty the batter into the cake pan, spreading the batter up to its rim with the rubber spatula.
  11. Wash a coin, wipe it and wrap it in aluminium foil and put it in the batter.
  12. Bake in the middle level of the oven for 1 hour or until a knife inserted  near the centre comes out clean.
  13. Remove pan to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes.
  14. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and reverse cake to remove the parchment paper.
  15. Allow it to cool for an hour before decorating.
  16.  You can decorate it just with icing sugar using a stencil, which is the traditional way or make icing, buttercream or fondant and decorate it.

Update: 01/01/2015

Almond Vassilopita

I wanted to update the post, not that I didn’t know that this cake would be successful but the only thing I didn’t know was about the taste.

My Vassilopita cake turned out to be amazing and you don’t have to wait until next year to make it because it is a perfect coffee cake.

It may not be the traditional Vassilopita cake with the orange flavour but the almond flavour was exceptional!
Happy New Year 2015

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


Other related Recipes:

Vassilopita 2007

Vassilopita (Lemon or Orange Flavoured)

Vassilopita Tsoureki


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on December 29th, 2014

Raviolia with leftover turkey, bacon and graviera

The turkey I cooked this year was around 4.5 kilos and of course there were roasted potatoes, the turkey stuffing, mushroom and prune sauce, yoghurt sauce and tabbouleh, which was way too much for the four of us, so he had lots of leftovers.

Christmas Turkey 2014

All the family prefers eating the turkey breast but we couldn’t eat more than a slice considering how many others things I had cooked.  On Friday I deboned the thighs and wings and made a Turkey Carbonara Pie.  On Saturday I used the carcass to make Turkey Trahanas Soup, on Sunday I used the leftover turkey broth to make Dolmades, which were delicious, and with the leftover turkey breast I made today’s lunch.


collage filling

The dough was only enough to make five servings of ravioli and I still have about 1/3 of the filling left.  If you want to use all the filling you must make more dough and use at least 700 grams flour.  If not you should use less ingredients.  (I have adjusted the recipe in red).

If I had made more dough I would prepare and freeze part of the ravioli to cook another day.  This filling was delicious and you can use it to make a meat pie or you can make Calzone or turnovers.  I haven’t decided yet what to do with it.

Collage making ravioli



Turkey Ravioli

Preparation time :  30 minutes (filling and dough)

Preparation time :  1 hour (for rolling out phyllo and stuffing them)

Cooking time:  10 – 15 minutes

Serves: 5



1 dose phyllo (without the vinegar)  (or make 1 1/2 dose)

Extra floor to dust on the working surface


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vitam culinesse (liquid margarine, or substitute with butter)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove roasted garlic, mashed
  • 5 slices bacon, finely chopped  (3 slices)
  • 360 grams (3 cups) finely chopped turkey breast leftovers  (200 grams)
  • ½ cup herbs (kafkalithres myronia) finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp carino (chicken seasoning) (1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 100 grams grated graviera  (75 grams)
  • 3 medium potatoes, boiled
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oi
  • Halloumi or graviera to grate on top


  1. Prepare the dough (see recipe and instructions here) and set aside to rest, for half an hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil and vitam and sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and mix for a couple of seconds.
  3. Add the bacon and sauté for five minutes, add turkey, herbs and spices and mix.
  4. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  5. Drain potatoes, add olive oil and mash.  Add the milk and mix.
  6. Add the potatoes to the filling, as well as the cheese and mix to combine.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Roll phyllo (either using a pasta machine or by hand).  Cut rounds  using a cookie cutter or squares, using a knife.
  8. Lightly brush each circle or square with a little water.
  9. Add a tsp filling in the middle and fold one side to enclose the filling or gather the edges to the top to make round ones.  (See post for ravioli or kaloirka).
  10. Place them on parchment paper on which also sprinkle some flour so that they will not stick on it.
  11. Heat water or chicken or turkey broth.  If using only water, add salt and cook the ravioli for 10 – 15 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle cheese on the platter and using a slotted ladle transfer the ravioli to the platter.  Sprinkle with lots of cheese on top and serve immediately.

Note:  If you are making them with broth you can eat them as a soup.



Σας εύχομαι πάνω απόλα υγεία και το Νέο Έτος να είναι δημιουργικό, με νέες προοπτικές , γεμάτο ελπίδα και αισιοδοξία.

New Year's wishes

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


Other related Recipes:


Kaloirka (beef ravioli)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on December 27th, 2014

Turkey pie with leftovers

On Christmas day it is a tradition in our house to stuff and roast a turkey.  So, whether you have leftover turkey from your Christmas feast or extra leftover roasted chicken to use, this delicious turkey (or chicken) and pasta pie is a lovely way to use your leftovers without having to eat the same food for three days.  You don’t necessarily need leftover pasta to make it but instead you can boil some pasta or make some bechamel and add some bacon and cheese in the filling.


Christmas Turkey 2014

On Christmas eve it’s a very busy day with all the preparations I had to make, so for lunch I wanted to cook something that would not take a lot of time.  Of course, pasta is always a good solution when you don’t have much time, so I made carbonara.  I was expecting my son to come home for lunch but as he was working, he only managed to make it for dinner.  I had made other preparations for Christmas Eve dinner, so as I don’t throw anything away, I stored the carbonara in the fridge.

collage carbonara turkey pie

The next day, I was tired and a little bit lazy to make phyllo from scratch so I used some store bought phyllo.  When I began making the preparation for the filling I remembered the leftover carbonara so instead of making a bechamel, which was my original plan, in which I would mix the turkey, I remembered the leftover carbonara.  It would be perfect as it already had bacon, cheese and cream in it, so with a few more ingredients I made the pie.

We still had some leftover turkey breast and mushroom plum sauce, turkey stuffing and tambouli (tabbouleh).  I had a few leftover phyllo sheets, so I also made some tyropitakia.

Christmas day after plate>

Turkey Carbonara Pie with Leftovers

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Serves: 8


  • 8 sheets of Greek phyllo
  • ½ cup olive oil to brush the phyllos


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove roasted garlic, mashed
  • 4 cups leftover turkey, finely chopped
  • 2 cups leftover carbonara pasta
  • 100 grams grated graviera (or halloumi)
  • 2 tbsp Greek spice mixture
  • A handful of other melting cheese (Greek kasseri or mozarella, gouda, edam etc.)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a non stick frying pan until translucent.  Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds.
  2. Add the turkey pieces, leftover pasta, spice mixture and grated graviera
  3. Mix to combine and set aside until it cools.
  4. For the base we use five phyllo sheets.  We brush each one with olive oil and place them in a greased baking tin, alternating each phyllo horizontally and vertically so as to cover all the sides.
  5. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  6. Add the mixture and spread it to go everywhere.  Brush another phyllo with olive oil.
  7. Fold it in the middle and add it on top.   Bring some of the phyllos hanging out of the baking tin on top on the filling and if needed brush it with olive oil.  Fold  another phyllo sheet and put it on top.
  8. Fold the remaining phyllos towards the centre, brushing in them with olive oil.
  9. Fold the third sheet and place on top.
  10. Brush the top with olive oil and lightly score them.
  11. Wet you hands and sprinkle the water on top.
  12. Bake for about half an hour or until the phyllos are golden on top.

 Turkey pie

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


Other related Recipes:

Turkey Pie Roulade

Stuffed Turkey Roulade

Chicken and Leek Pie

Chicken Galette (with video)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Chocolate Kourabiedes 2 with Buffalo milk

Each year I create the same desserts but I love to let my imagination run wild and turn them into something different each year.  If you are looking for the traditional recipes you will find the links to my recipes at the end.

Unconventional Christmas Desserts: Christmas Cake, Melomakarona and Kourabiedes

Christmas Cake:

Christmas desserrts together

I started my Christmas Cake rather late this year, that’s why it’s not ready yet.  I am still at the stage of waiting for the almost paste to dry a little bit more before I add the final layer.  This year I am going to attempt and dress it with fondant.  I am not a fondant expert but my first attempt to make it was successful.  Now I will have to see what I can create with the sugar paste.  I will update the post on How to make sugar paste, after the holidays when I find some time.

Sugar paste decoration for Christmas

What is interesting and different this year is that before the almond paste, instead of adding some jam on the cake, I created a spread using some of my leftover Chestnut and Dulce de Leche Spread, which I mixed with “threpsini”.   Threpsini (or stafidini) is a spread made with raisins, vegetable fat, glucose and lecithin.  These two spreads combined together resulted into a new spread which tasted amazing.  It can be used on top or inside cakes, on bread, toast, crepes etc.  As my chestnut and dulce de leche spread had small lumps of chestnut in it, I pulsed both in a food processor to make the spread creamy.

Melomakarona with Date Walnut Filling and Orange Walnut filling:

The recipe for my melomakarona is again adapted from my cookbook and exactly the same as last year’s Mandarin Melomakarona, with the exception that wherever mandarin is mention, this year it’s all orange.
Melomakarona with Date filling

I made two fillings this year:   I used Spartan Orange Preserve which I finely chopped and combined it with walnuts.

The second filling is with dates. Whichever you choose to use, they are both delicious.
Collage filling of melomakarona 2014

Date and Walnut filling


  • 200 grams dates, stoned (weighed before removing the stone)
  • 1 tablespoons blossom water
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 100 grams walnuts, coarsely cut
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ tablespoon of ground cloves
  • ½ tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 60 grams (about 1 heaped tablespoon) butter or margarine


  1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and pulse a couple of times.  Do not powder but coarsely chop them.
  2. Put them in a small pot.
  3. Put the dates in the food processor and add the liquid ingredient, that is the honey, blossom water and orange liqueur which will help to cut the dates into smaller pieces.
  4. Add them to the pot and combine with the remaining ingredients
  5. Cook until the butter melts, for 1 – 2 minutes mixing until all the ingredients are combined.
  6. Set aside to cool before using.

Date filling

Each melomakarono weighed 35 to 38 grams.   I flattened it into a disc, added a teaspoon of filling and sealed it.  I then pressed it on a box grater to make the design.

You can find all the ingredients and instructions here.

Chocolate Kourabiedes with Buffalo Milk Butter

I made these chocolate kourabiedes back in 2011 but with so many things to do during the holidays I did not post the recipe that year and forgot all about them.  This year as I was going through my files I discovered them again so I decided to make them again, with a few minor changes.

When I made the Spinach and Mushroom Tart a couple of months ago I used buffalo milk butter and the crust reminded me of kourabiedes.   Since then, I made up my mind that I would make this year’s kourabiedes with buffalo milk butter.  The packages I bought this time are 150 grams each.  At the time I bought only two packets as they are quite expensive and added a little bit of Ariston shortening/butter to make the amount I wanted.  I adjusted the ingredients a little bit.  As you may see the amount of butter is a little bit more and the amount of flour is less as I removed an amount of flour in order to add the cocoa powder.  Instead of adding more flour to adjust the amount of more butter,  I added a little bit more almonds.  Those 10 more grams I put them in the food processor with a little bit of flour and ground them into flour to cover the difference.

collage kourabiedes

The addition of blossom water to wet them is optional.  Use only pure citrus blossom water.  Whenever I have bought blossom water from Greece it went down the drain because it is chemically made and not pure blossom water.  The aroma of pure citrus blossom water is amazing so whenever I go to Cyprus I always bring some along and only use that one in my recipes.

In my cookbook I say 500 grams of icing sugar for sifting on top.  Better more than less!  However, if you sift the sugar gradually coating a small amount of kourabiedes each time,  you can definitely reuse what is leftover to continue with the remaining.

Kourabiedes from my cookbook

I made a bigger batch in 2011 that’s why you can see some numbers on the recipe.

Chocolate Kourabiedes with Buffalo Milk Butter

Preparation time:  1 hour

Baking time:  25 minutes for each batch

Makes: About 50


  • 300 grams buffalo milk butter*, at room temperature
  • 100 grams shortening or butter (or 400 grams only buffalo milk butter)
  • 135 grams blanched and roasted almonds
  • 135 grams icing sugar
  • 30 ml brandy
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 630 grams all purpose flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 10 drops of vanilla essence)

For the filling:

  • ½ cup citrus fruit preserve, I used orange but you can use mandarin, Seville orange, bergamot, kumquat or other citrus, finely chopped
  • 50 grams dark chocolate (72% cocoa), finely chopped


For Coating:

  • Citrus blossom water
  • 250 grams icing sugar
  • 20 grams cocoa powder


  1. Blanche and roast the almonds in a preheated oven to 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then coarsely cut in a food processor, adding a few tablespoons flour each time.
  2. Sieve the first amount of icing sugar. Then sieve the flour with cocoa powder and mix in the salt.
  3. Beat the butter with the icing sugar at high speed until it becomes white and fluffy. Add the brandy and vanilla and mix.
  4. Stop the mixer and switch to the dough hook.  Add the almonds as well as the flour gradually until the dough is soft but not sticky on the hands.
  5. Wear latex gloves and weigh pieces of dough around 33 – 37 grams, which place on a non-stick surface.
  6. Place a piece of cling film on your working surface and flatten the dough about 1 cm.   Add a little bit of orange preserve and chocolate.  Take the two opposite sides of the cling film and fold the dough to enclose the filling.  Then take it into your hands and shape them into round balls.
  7. Place them in a baking tin lined with parchment paper and bake for about 25 minutes.
  8. Set aside until they cool.
  9. Turn them over and spray with some citrus blossom water.  Do the same on the other side.
  10. Transfer them in a dry tray and sieve some icing sugar.  Turn them over and do the same.  Place them in a platter and sieve a little bit of cocoa powder on top.
  11. Put the used icing sugar back in the sieve and continue the same procedure until all are coated.

Note:  If you cannot find buffalo milk butter, you can substitute it with the same amount of ewe’s milk butter (which is the traditional one used) or cow’s butter. The taste of the final product may be different from the original as each butter has its own distinct flavour.

Kourabiedes 2014

All three recipes are adapted from my Cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste”.

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


Other relevant recipes:

Classic Christmas Cake

Classic Melomakarona

Classic Kourabiedes


Wishing you A Merry Christmas and happy holidays.  Hopefully I will post another recipe before the end of the year.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on December 18th, 2014

Colourful sugar paste


There are many types of fondant but today I am making Rolled Fondant.  Rolled fondant or sugar pasta is like sweet dough.  Glycerin, glucose gelatin and shortening are added to make the dough pliabe.   This type of fondant is used  to decorate cakes, biscuits, cookies, cupcakes etc or to make other objects to decorate the cakes.  If you do not add the gelatin, shortening and glycerin and use only icing sugar, water and glucose then you have a fondant which can be poured on top of cakes.

I have been intending to make rolled fondant since the first years of blogging but kept postponing it as I could not find all the ingredients listed.  Several years back I had bought some of the ingredients but never made it because I couldn’t find shortening.  At the time  I could not find edible glycerin and after discussing this with my pharmacist he ordered some for me.   Shortening is an ingredient which is not used in Greece.   After discussing this with my friend Eftychia of Dream of Cakes, who is a fondant expert, I decided to experiment and use a substitute.   I made a bit of google searching to see if I could find a substitute to use in Greece and found a thread on Nigella saying that Nea Fytini (vegetable oil) can be used.  I bought some but by the time I decided to make the fondant, I used “fytini” to make some pie crust.  However, since I could use fytini, I decided to use Ariston vegetable oil which is a similar vegetable oil but with 5% butter content, which I have used in the past and liked. Powdered gelatin was also difficult to find.   Now that I have made the fondant, I can easily make the recipe with gelatin sheets as well.

I am not very fond of using food colours and I rarely use them.  However, I wanted to try them to see the result.  The only food colours I found were in liquid form.  Unfortunately a few drops made a very pale colour, which was not what I wanted for a recipe I have in mind, so I had to add much more.

How to store sugar paste

You can find Efti’s recipe and instructions here.  I am posting mine, as I weighed the ingredients I used so I am giving you the ingredients by weight and cups.  Instead of making the fondant by hand I used the stand mixer using the dough hook and it came out perfect and in no time.  The end result will be very sticky and will look as if more sugar is necessary but don’t add any more.

Collage ingredients for sugarpaste


How to make Sugar Paste or Rolled Fondant

Adapted from Dream of Cakes

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  5 minutes

Makes: 1 kilo and 100 grams sugar paste


  • ¼ cup (60 ml or 4 tbsp) tap water
  • 14 grams granulated gelatine (1 sachet is 13 grams)
  • 180 grams (1/2 cup) glucose
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) edible glycerin
  • 1 tbsp shortening (plus about 1 tbsp for kneading)
  • 900 grams icing (confectioners’) sugar, sieved
  • 10 drops of vanilla (or other) essence
  • Food colouring (optional)


  1. Place the gelatine in a small bowl, add the water, stir and let it soak until water is absorbed.
  2. Put a metallic bowl over a pan with water and put on the heat.  Stir until the gelatine is dissolved. Add the glucose, glycerin and shortening, stirring until well blended and runny.   Don not let it boil.
  3. Put the icing sugar in your mixer bowl and attach the hook. Pour the liquid ingredients as well as vanilla and mix on low speed until all the sugar is absorbed.
  4.  If you will colour the icing, wear latex gloves.
  5. Grease the gloves or your hands with a little bit of shortening.   Take some paste and put it on a greased surface and add food colouring.  Add the colouring gradually and knead until the colour you desire is achieved.  Place each coloured fondant in a plastic bag.  Wash the gloves and surface before starting with a new colour.
  6. The paste can be used immediately or tightly wrapped and stored in an airtight container until required.  Do not refrigerate.
  7. When rolling out more icing sugar may be necessary.

Update 27/12/2014:

The sugar paste I made was used to decorate my Christmas Cake.  It is a fool proof recipe which I recommend that you give it a try.

I had made the sugar paste about a week earlier and all that was needed was to knead it in my hands a little bit to soften.

I worked on a silicone mat and covered it with cling film on top to roll  out the dough.  If you don’t have a silicone mat, use parchment paper.  I used the same rod which I use to make phyllo and the technique of rolling it was the same.

Rolling sugar paste

No icing sugar was needed during the rolling process.

As I said during the first attempt to make sugar paste decorations, I did not have any tools.  The only ones I used was a cookie cutter to cut circles and the Christmas tree.  The leaves were cut using my imagination and a knife.  In order to make the roses I used five circles for each one.  I started by forming the first one into a cone.  I then added “petals” around the cone.  The end part where I was holding it was long and when I finished each rose I just cut it off and kept only the rose.

Sugar paste decoration for Christmas

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



Other relevant recipes:

Three Tiered Mini Wedding Cakes

Royal Frosting (Icing)

Chocolate Carob Buttercream


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,


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

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