Ivy on Δεκεμβρίου 16th, 2013

panna cotta 1

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made with heavy cream. «Panna» means cream and  and «cotta» means cooked.  In panna cotta heavy cream is sweetened with sugar and thickened with gelatine.

A dessert such as Panna Cotta with heavy cream is surely delicious and very easy to make.  However, it is loaded with calories, as any other dessert.

In my  new cookbook apart from most of the Greek traditional recipes, I have added the recipes I was cooking while I was on diet in 2011, when I lost 18 kilos in 6 months.  Although in my cookbook I have not included the traditional Greek desserts, as that would need a new cookbook by itself, however, I have included a chapter with some desserts I have made over the years which are suitable either as a snack between meals or much lighter in calories.

Desserts are not excluded from the Mediterranean Diet, provided they are consumed in moderation.  This is the reason why they are on the top of the Pyramid.  This means that if you wish to lose weight, you are allowed to eat a dessert once in a while.  If it is a full fat dessert, you will have to try to have portion control and not go overboard.  You can either choose to eat a couple of tablespoons of a rich panna cotta or eat a filling dessert which is much healthier and with half the calories.

In this recipe which I made yesterday, I have used heavy cream and Greek yoghurt with 2% fat.  The cream is sweetened with honey which is a much healthier choice, which also adds flavour to the cream.  I don’t know a lot of people who don’t like Greek yoghurt with fruit and honey!

To make the dessert I used fresh cherries, which I froze during the summer.  I could have used Sour Cherry Spoon Sweet to serve on top of the panna cotta but since I had the fresh cherries, I made a light compote which I gelled.  If cherries are sweet, a very small amount of sugar is necessary to make a light syrup and some gelatine leaves to make the jelly.  If you want the syrup sweeter you can add some stevia.  If the jelly is left at room temperature, it will not gel completely, so it can be easily added on top.  Instead of cherry compote you can prepare a compote with other seasonal fruit, such as quince, apples, pears etc., or if you are living in the Southern hemishpere strawberries, apricots etc.

cherries

In order to speed up the procedure of gelling, you can put your glasses with the first amount of fruit, in a pyrex and fill it with ice cubes or cold water and refrigerate.

panna cotta chilling

In the cookbook I have a lot of of information on how to preserve vegetables and fruit.  This way you can enjoy fruit and vegetables during the seasons they are not available but also know that your food is all natural with no preservatives in them and it’s much cheaper than buying canned food.

I give you both the full-fat and low-fat versions of this dessert and this is up to you to decide which one you prefer to make.

Panna cotta 2

Panna Cotta

Preparation time:  5 minutes

Cooking time:   5 minutes

Chilling time: a few hours

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 gelatin leaves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or 2 vanillin ampoules)
  • 1 lemon peel (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp neutral oil

Directions:

  1. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with tap water for five minutes.
  2. Put the heavy cream, sugar and lemon peel in a small pot and heat until lukewarm.  Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine leaves (without the water). Mix until they dissolve and finally mix in the vanilla.
  3. Wet a paper napkin with the oil  and lighly oil your cups or bowls.
  4. Remove the lemon peel and divide the mixture  in the bowls and put the cups back in the ice cubes.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours.
  6. Unmold and serve with some fruit preserve on top.

Panna Cotta with Cherry Jelly

Low-fat Panna Cotta with Cherry Jelly

Serves: 8

  • Ingredients:
  • 250 ml heavy cream (you can reduce calories by using low fat cream)
  • 400 ml Greek Yoghurt 2%
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 lemon peel (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or 2 vanillin ampoules)
  • 7 gelatine leaves

Cherry Jelly

  •  500 grams frozen (or fresh) cherries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 gelatin leaves

Directions:

  1. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with tap water for five minutes.
  2. Put the water, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon stick, in a small pot and boil for 5 minutes. (Alternatively use 1/4 cup leftover syrup from fruit preserves which dilute with 1/4 cup water, to make it less sweet.  Put it on the heat and boil  for a minute).
  3. Put the cherries in a 2 litre pot and add either of the two syrups.  Bring to boiling point and cook the cherries for 2 – 3 minutes, pressing a few to release their juice.  Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.   Add the gelatine leaves and mix until they are dissolved.
  4. Add 4 – 5 cherries in each bowl (I prefer to make it in small glasses) with a few tablespoons syrup.
  5. Put them in the fridge and wait until they set.
  6. Put the gelatine leaves in a bowl with tap water for five minutes.
  7. Put the cream with honey on the heat and when it becomes lukewarm remove from the heat.
  8. Add the gelatine leaves and mix to dissolve.  Add the vanilla essence and mix.
  9. Set aside until it cools.
  10. Add the yoghurt and using a hand mixer mix until they are incorporated.
  11. Divide the mixture over the jelly leaving space to add more cherries on top.
  12. Refrigerate until panacotta sets.  Add more cherries with syrup on top and serve.


Panna cotta 5

In my new cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», I have included a low-fat panna cotta recipe which I made with light cream, yoghurt and cream cheese.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Δεκεμβρίου 11th, 2013

Book Cover 14 Dec 13

I have the pleasure to announce that my second cookbook has just been published on The Amazon Kindle.

Rocket, Pear, Pomegranate and Feta Salad

Rocket, Pear and Pomegranate Salad

As I have a love for food and a sweet tooth, ever since I can remember myself, I used to carry a few extra kilos.

Vegan cherry cake

Nistisimo (Vegan) Cherry Cake

I went on my first diet after adolescence and since then I have been battling to control my weight.

Revithokeftedes Nistisimoi

Vegetarian  (Nistisimoi) Chickpea Patties with Minty Yoghurt Sauce

There were times I followed these silly crash diets some friends would recommend to me.  One of them was eating one kind of food a day, for example eating as much spaghetti as I wanted all day, then as much chicken the next day, or nothing but yoghourt, or only boiled courgettes (zucchini) etc.   Really, how much spaghetti, chicken, yoghourt or courgettes can you eat all day long?

whole wheat pasta with sausage courgettes and eggplants

Whole Wheat Penne with Sausage and Vegetables

I have tried various types of diets and although there was some weight loss, it was only temporary, as when you starve yourself, you lose some weight at first, but once you start to eat normally again, you end up gaining it all back again and even more.

Kebab tomato relish and yiaourtlou sauce

Kebabs, Tomato Relish and Yiaourtlou Sauce

If you search the internet, you will find a plethora of information about the Mediterranean Diet, sometimes described in very scientific terms, which will probably only confuse you.  What I have aimed to do in this book is to take all of the research I have done and laid it out in simpler terms, so that you won’t have to spend endless hours cross-checking the information you come across and trying to decide which source is giving the best info.

Tourkakia

Tourkakia (grilled offal)

During the first three years of blogging, I got carried away and lost track of what we (I refer to my family) should have been eating.  Seeing new recipes which I had never tried before made me want to try everything.

Peinirli

Peinirli (Pontian Cheese on Flatbread)

I loved learning more about cooking and the new horizon which was open to me, by using the internet to learn more about other cuisines and cooking techniques, apart from broadening my horizons, it also contributed to broadening my figure!

Salata Rossiki

Salata Rossiki (A much healthier version of Olivier salad)

As that was not enough, to make matters worse, my blogging addiction meant that I was spending all day in front of a computer screen, and I became completely sedentary.

Tahini Yoghurt Sauce with Artichokes

Tahini Artichoke Sauce

The increase in caloric input plus the decrease in physical activity lead to hypertension, high cholesterol, and back problems.

Fava Soup with Caramelized Onions

Fava Soup with Caramelized Onions

I knew I had to change my lifestyle immediately if I wanted to enjoy a healthy middle age, not to mention a long life.

Nistisima Low fat lemon cookies

Nistisima (vegan) low-fat Chocolate Cookies

In 2011 I started my final diet and have maintained my weight loss to this day. If I gain a couple of kilos over the holidays, I always make sure to lose them before I gain too many and they become difficult to lose.

Vegan moussakas with salata me ladolemono moustardas

Nistisimos (vegetarian) Moussakas and Melitzanosalata (eggplant dip)

My wish  now is to inspire more people to start eating healthier!

This new cookbook is a collection of over 250 of the best healthy Greek recipes as well as many of my own, based on the Mediterranean Diet, with no starving and no bland food.  My culinary skills and knowledge allow me to transform classic, traditional Greek dishes with healthy twists that don’t compromise on taste. Although many of the recipes in this cookbook have already been posted on my blog, many of them have been revamped to reflect my new lifestyle.  Unfortunately, these changes have not changed in the older posts, due to lack of time.

Red Pepper Pasta

Red Pepper Pasta

Many new recipes have also been created exclusively for “More Than A Greek Salad”, always based on the principles of the Mediterranean Diet.  The pictures you see through this post are only a small sample.

Imam Bayildi

Imam Bayildi

The cookbook is divided into three sections.  The first section covers useful information about the Mediterranean Diet, which in fact is not a diet but a lifestyle approach which leads to long, healthy lives with less chance of chronic disease.

Leek and taro soup

Soupa me Kolokassi kai Prasso (Leek and Taro Soup)

The second section showcases those Greek recipes which are based on the Mediterranean Diet.

All the traditional recipes are in the cookbook but also the low-fat, but mouth watering recipes I came up with while I was on a diet.  Those of you who follow my blog already know that during this period I lost 18 kilos over the course of six months.

Xifias (Swordfish) Plaki

Xifias Plaki (Swordfish plaki-style)

The third section consists of a Diet Plan based on the recipes of the cookbook, from which you can choose what to eat.

To share my love and excitement with you, ONLY for a few days, you can now download the cookbook for yourself or as a gift to your beloved ones for only $6.14.  You can download it on your computer using the Kindle for PC.

If any of my food blogger friends would like to review my cookbook on their blog, I will gladly send them a complimentary copy.

Quinoa Cake

Quinoa cake

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Νοεμβρίου 24th, 2013

Apple Crumble

I had some friends invited for brunch today, so last night I made Spanakopita and Tyropita (the last one with homemade phyllo and feta) and this Apple Crumble.

brunch

I have posted many Crumble recipes in the past, so when preparing this one, I did not take any notes. The measurements are not very accurate but I was luck enough that I used a new packet of butter and flour, so today I weighed the leftover to know what I used.  I think I added 5 apples but if you add 6 nothing will go wrong.  The only thing I couldn’t weigh is the corn flour (starch) but I used two heaped tablespoons (not the ones we measure, but soup tablespoons).  That’s roughly abot 4 tablespoons.   I  did not have enough cane sugar so I added some in the apples and some in the crumble and added some crystalize sugar as well but most of it is cane sugar.  To cook the apples, I used water with lemon in which I had put the apples in, so as not to oxidize.  I may have added more or less cinnamon but I think 1/2 tsp is a good amount.

The crumble was delicious but a bit too sweet for my taste,  However, my guests loved it.

Apple Crumble

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  5 – 10 minutes

Baking time:  30 minutes

Serves 9.

Crumble Topping:

  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 180 grams butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, mixed with crystal sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 vanillin ampoule
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Apples:

  • Water with lemon juice
  • 5 – 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled – cored and cut into thin slices
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 100 grams brown sugar mixed with a little bit of white sugar
  • 100 ml water with lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons corn flour (starch)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC (350o F).
  2. Slice apples and place in a bowl with water and lemon juice.
  3. Grate butter over the large side of the box grater.  Pour the flour on the grater to get all the butter which sticks to the grater and then add the vanillin and salt.  Mix to make the crumbles and refrigerate for half an hour.  Just before adding it on top of the apples, mix in the brown sugar.
  4. Meantime, cook apples with cinnamon, sugar and water (I used the same lemon water and cooked them in a wok), for 5 – 7 minutes.  Leave the lide a little bit open so as the syrup not to overflow.
  5. Mix in corn flour and mix for a few more minutes until the juices set.
  6. Empty the mixture into a  30 x 22 cm ( 12 x 9 inches) baking tin and wait until the mixture cools (it should set).
  7. Sprinkle topping over fruit and bake about 30 minutes or until done.
  8. Serve warm (or cold) as it is or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Apple Crumble cut

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Book cover small

Amazon.com has announced a new promotion tool this past week called the Kindle Countdown Deals.

It gives the authors the opportunity to promote their books but also a big bargain for people to buy books at very low prices.

I have enrolled in this program which starts as from today in the United States and tomorrow in the U.K. and ends in one week.

Amazon launched a dedicated website at www.amazon.com/kindlecountdowndeals  and http://www.amazon.co.uk/b?ie=UTF8&node=3415852031 for readers to browse deals.

Here are the links for my e-books.

At Amazon.com:  Volume 1   $0.99

At Amazon.com:  Volume 2  $0.99

At Amazon.U.K.:  Volume 1  £0.99

At Amazon U.K.:  Volume 2 £0.99

The first 53 hours my books will be discounted at 91% so each volume will be sold at $0.99 at Amazon.Com or  £0.99 at Amazon.Uk.  After the 53 hours it will be sold at 61% discount and the next 53 hours at 31%.  At the end of the week the price will be back to normal again.

Here are a few facts about the e-books:

Cypriot cuisine is shaped by the island’s Mediterranean climate, geography, and history. The majority of its recipes are based on Greek cuisine and the Mediterranean Diet, which is one of the healthiest in the world, using fresh, wholesome ingredients. Cyprus’s strategic location in the Eastern Mediterranean, situated between the crossroads of three continents, had brought to the island many conquerors and thus its cuisine has evolved into an amalgamation of diverse tastes and textures, with an unmistakable mark that makes it undeniably Cypriot.

These e-cookbooks are based on the cookbook in print under the same tile but expanded with a collection of over 260 of the best traditional Greek-Cypriot recipes and is divided in two Volumes.

In Volume 1 you will find all the savory Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Mezedes & Salads, Dips, etc.

Collage main dishes

 

Some popular Cypriot main dishes are Sheftalia, Kolokassi, Koupepia,  Ravioles, Savoro, Souvla, Afelia, Ttavas, Atthoi, Kouneli Stifado, Keftedes, Souvlakia etc.

Collage salads and Sides

Here are a few sides dishes and salads:  Pilafi Pourgouri, Pilafi me Fide, Kroketes, Salata Horiatiki, Salads with Halloumi, etc.

 

In Volume 2 you will find Breads, Pites (pies), snacks, almyra (savoury pastries), traditional and modern Desserts, etc.

Collage bread, pies, snacks

Koupes, Eliotes, Flaounes, Kifylla, Pittes (flatbread), Glistarkes, Tahinopites, Tyropita/Halloumopita, Pites (Savory Pies, such as Spanakopita, Tyropita, etc.), Kolokotes, Lahmacun, Mini Phyllo Tyropita Muffins, etc.

collage desserts

Traditional desserts such as Shiamishi, Pastitsia (almond cookies), Daktyla, Palouzes, Karaoloi, Kourabiedes, Loukoumia tou Gamou (Wedding cakes), Melomakarona, Baklavas, Cakes / Vassilopita, Kalon Prama, etc.

This period until Christmas and the New Year is a period we exchange wishes.  Instead of sending Christmas cards, why not send an e-book?  We Greeks apart from our Birthdays, we also celebrate our name days, so again instead of sending a Card, with only 0.99 cents you can send a wonderful gift to any of your Greek / Cypriot family or friends, which will be greatly appreciated.

Here are a few of the most common names celebrating thoughout this period:

21st November:  Despoina, Maria, Marika, Maro, Marios.

25th November: Katerina, Catherine, Katy, Korina.

26th November:  Stelios, Stella.

30th November:  Andrew, Andreas, Andriana, Androulla, Andri.

04th Dececember:  Varvara, Barbara, Vana.

05th December:  Savvas, Savvina.

06th December:  Nicos, Nick, Nikki, Nikoleta.

09th December:  Anne, Anna, Annita.

12th December:  Spyros, Spiridoula.

15th December:  Lefkios, Leftki, Danae, Anthea, Anthoula, Anthi, Adam, Eleftheria, Lefteris, Rebecca.

17th December:  Dionysis, Nionios, Dionysia.

19th December:  Aglaia, Aris.

25th December:  Christos, Christia, Christina, Bethlehem.

26th December: Emmanuel, Manolis, Emmanouella, Emma.

27th December:  Stephanos, Steven, Stefanie, Stefania.

1st January:   Vassilis, Basil, Bill, Vassiliki, Biki, Vicky, Vasso.

DON’T HAVE A KINDLE? 
If you don’t have a kindle, you can still download and enjoy these books. Simply download the kindle app to your laptop or desktop and enjoy! 
Download Kindle app here
.

On a last note, if you have already possess my cookbook or will be buying it now, please, please, please, do me a favour and take a few minutes to leave a review at the Amazon store where you bought the cookbook.  Even if it is a gift and you have made any purchase in the past, you can still leave a review.

I have more exciting news to share.  My new e-cookbook in English called «More Than A Greek Salad», with over 250 recipes based on the Mediterranean Diet, with Menu plans to help you follow a healthy diet and even loose weight, is almost ready.

To all my Food Bloggers friends:    If you would like to receive a free copy, to prepare any recipe, which you should post on your blog and then write a review on Amazon, please contact me leaving a comment and I will get back to you with more details.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Νοεμβρίου 15th, 2013

Gift

The holidays are just around the corner so it’s time to think what presents to buy for our beloved ones.

gift 2

Here in Greece, we are usually last minute buyers.  We never plan ahead and end up rushing the last minute to buy some presents, not to mention that what’s left from our income is never enough to buy presents for everyone during the holiday.  We usually end up making quick decisions which end up in bad choices of presents.

good luck charm

A few days ago, I was contacted by Zoulovits, which is one of the oldest shops in Athens, if I wanted to review one of their good luck charms.  How could I refuse!  Who doesn’t need some good luck, especially with all that’s going on in our country the past three years?

You may be familiar with good luck charms, from your own culture, as I believe that most cultures have their own, but are you familiar with symbols which are about good luck charms, called «gouri – pl. gouria» in Greece? Some of these symbols are seen as lucky and other symbols are seen as having the ability to bring good fortune.

good luck charm 14

I took a look in their e-shop to choose what I liked.  They have such and amazing collection of handmade «gouria» that it was difficult to choose from.

 

 

pomegranate zoulovits.com--77.77.829-31 (1)

Pomegranates are symbols of fertility, good luck and abundance.

 

 

 

eye zoulovits.com--77.77.825-31

The eye protects you are and your family from the evil eye.

petal zoulovits.com--66.00.711a-31

 

Shoe petals are symbols of happiness and also protect against the evil eye.

four leaf clover zoulovits.com--77.77.824-31 (1)

 

Four leaf clovers are not only for good luck but each leaf symbolizes, love, faith, hope and of course good luck.

olive branch zoulovits.com--77.77.823-31 (1)

 

 

 

An olive branch symbolizes peace, rejuvenation, tranquility and protection.

sailing boat zoulovits.com--77.77.806-31

A sailing boat symbolizes hope, travel and speedy news.

 

Kotinos

I am sure you have all seen ancient Greek athletes, crowned with wild an olive wreath.

The wild olive wreath, in Greek called «kotinos», symbolizes eternal glory and success.

All the designs were beautiful but I loved the one with the olive wreath, without reading, at the time, about what it symbolizes. The following day the courier arrived with the parcel.

In the box, the gift was beautifully packed in a bag and in the bag the good luck charm was in a lovely pouch. The good luck charm was much even better and bigger than how I imagined it to be from the picture.

I hanged it in a lovely spot in house house.  Unfortunately although I took some pictures, the lighting was poor and the picture is not very good.

What I am going to say may seem a little bit fake but it’s the whole truth.  As I said above, the situation in Greece is not good at all and 50% of the younger generation are unemployed.  This charm brought luck to our family the same day it arrived.  I don’t want to jinx it so I am not going to say any more, you’ll have to take my word for it.

Was it a coincidence or good luck I don’t know but whatever it was, we are very happy and relieved. The good luck charms are beautiful and since this brought luck to my family, this year I’ve decided to send good luck charms to people who are important in my life.

If you are visiting Athens, you can visit their shop which is in the city centre, at Ermou Street, Nr. 23 – 25.  You can also buy them through their e-store and they despatch them by courier, anywhere in Greece and Cyprus for only 4.99 Euros.  In case to want to send a gift to other European countries, you can contact them for further information about the price, as this will depend on size and weight.

Each year they have a good luck charm symbolizing a «home».  This «gouri» symbolizes the warmth and safety of having a family and roof over your head.  For each sale, one (1) Euro goes to the Villages called SOS, where children with no family are fostered and taken care of.  The house is made of bronze, decorated with a read cord and a small red pomegranate. spiti zoulovits.com--88.88.888-31

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Νοεμβρίου 10th, 2013

Sausage galette

Now that we are still in Athens, I’ve been cooking a lot for the family.  When there’s no leftover food from lunch, I usually prepare something for my men to eat in the evening.

A few days ago I made pizza but when I began making the dough, the flour was not enough so I used some durum hard whole wheat, an Italian variety produced in Greece, called Simeto.  The ratio I added was about 2:1.  At the time I did not think of taking pictures because I have already posted  pizza recipes, but I was amazed by the difference it made both in texture and in taste.  

whole wheat dough

When I use all purpose flour the dough becomes elastic and it takes quite some effort to roll out the dough.  It also rises a lot, probably because of more gluten content, and when baked it rises and becomes more like a thin flatbread with ingredients on top.  This dough was easy to roll and it did not rise a lot.  The crust was delicious are tasted more like whole wheat biscuit than dough.  My family loved the crust as it as it was thin and crunchy.

The other night, I wanted to prepare something easy for supper, so this time I decided to make the dough using this whole wheat flour, given to me by the Grocery for the Mediterranean Diet.

whole wheat durum flour

I was intending to make some «loukanikopitakia» (aka pork in a blanket) to use some leftover sausage from another recipe I made but then I realized that this wouldn’t be enough, so instead I decided to make a galette and improvise with ingredients I had in the fridge.  I had some lountza (smoked pork fillet) which I had brought along from Cyprus, I had leftover boiled chicken, after making avgolemono the previous day, I had leftover cheeses from making the pizza and of course there’s always ketchup and mustard in the fridge.

The main ingredient of this galette is the sausage.  Living in Greece I used one of my favourite Greeek sausages but feel free to add your own favourite type.  Lountza can be substituted with pasto or with other smorked pork or other charcuterie of your choice and leftover chicken can also be substituted with other leftover cooked meat.  Cheese, such as anthotyro or ricotta, can also be added in the filling.  Feta is salty, so if you want to add some this will depend on how salty your other ingredients are.

Any kind of cheese your use for pizza can be used but you can also try grated halloumi, graviera or other Greek cheeses.

The reason I fried the sausage first, was to remove as much fat as possible.  Lountza on the other side has no fat at all and can be eaten raw but when fried its taste transforms into something amazingly delicious.  Boiled chicken is rather bland, so after removing bones and skin I chopped it into smaller pieces and lightly sauteed a couple of roasted garlic and flavoured the chicken.  The sausage and lountza were then cut into small pieces and mixed in with the chicken.  I did not add any salt, herbs or spices as I wanted the flavours of the sausage and lountza to be highlighted in this galette.

The sauce I used was just simple ketchup and mustard, mixed together.  I made some extra to serve it with, as it matches well with the galette, so if you want some leftover, just mix more of these ingredients.

Collage Galette with Sausage

 

Although I was a bit worried if the dough would rise properly, it rose perfectly and the rolling of the dough was easy peasy.  I didn’t even need to flour my working surface.

The crust was delicious and its texture was more like a soft biscuit rather than bread.  The filling was delicious but this will depend on what ingredients you will use.  If you use prime quality ingredients, you are bound to get prime quality results.

 

Galettes baked

Rustic whole wheat Galette with Sausage

Makes:  5

For the dough:

Ingredients:

  • 600 grams whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cube (21 – 25 grams) fresh yeast
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup tepid water

For the filling:

  • 600 grams pizza cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 slices lountza (smoked pork fillet)
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves and a little bit of olive oil
  • 200 grams sausages
  • 1 cup leftover cooked chicken

For the sauce:

  • 5 tbsp ketchup
  • 5 tbsp mustard

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dough (see step by step instructions) and let it rise, covered in a warm place.  No extra olive oil was used in this recipe.
  2. Cut the sausage in the middle, lengthwise and if you like you can cut it into smaller pieces and fry it in a nonstick frying pan. Place it on kitchen paper and set aside until you can handle and cut it into smaller pieces.
  3. Wipe the frying pan and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and lightly fry lountza on both sides. Set aside and cut it into smaller pieces.
  4. Add the garlic in the frying pan and press it a little to mash it. Add the chopped chicken and stir a couple of times, just to flavour it.  Add the sausages and lountza back in the frying pan and mix all together.  Set aside to cool.
  5. Knead the dough a couple of times and divide it into five equal pieces.
  6. Roll out the dough until it reaches 20 cm diameter.
  7. Mix the mustard with ketchup and spread 1/5 over the dough.
  8. Put the cheese in the middle of the dough, leaving about an inch margin.  Add 1/5 of the filling and cover with cheese.
  9. Fold 5 – 6 cm / about 2 inches edge of the crust over the filling, pleating the crust.
  10. Line a large baking tin with parchment paper and place the galettes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF and bake the galettes for about 30 – 40 minutes or until golden.

Galette cut

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Striftaria with Spiroulina

Today’s recipe has a weird name and many of you may be wondering what stiftaria or casarecce, spirulina and kritamo may be.  When I added the picture on Facebook, even Greeks did not know what this was about.

 

Striftaria Caserecce

Casarecce is a short, slightly tubular pasta, about one inch long, with a wonderful trench for sauce.

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids, antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).

Kritamo (Sea Fennel) scientific name Crithmum Maritimum L, which belongs to the Αpiaceae (Umbelliferae) family,  is an edible halophyte with various economical interests because of its high secondary metabolite content. It is a wild plant, growing in rocky seashore places, with an intense aroma and salty taste and has been known since antiquity.  Ancient Greeks named it Crithmum (κρίθμον) as it resembled the seeds of barley (called krithos in Greek).  According to Dioskourides it can be eaten raw in salads, cooked or preserved in vinegar.  Kritamo is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, as well as phenolic compounds.

Source: Spirulina | University of Maryland Medical Center - Crithmum Maritimum – Flora Cythera Unbound Medicine

Both spirulina and kritamo (sea fennel) are dried and powdered and can be used in cooking.

This pasta was made the same way any pasta with spinach, tomato or peppers etc., are made but enriched with spirulina and kritamo (sea fennel) which are both  rich in nutritional qualities.  The green colour of the pasta is due to both these ingredients.  According to the package ingredients 1.5% of spirulina was used and 15% fresh sea fennel.

My children did not want the pasta in a tomato sauce but I can assure you, you won’t miss the tomato sauce once you taste this pasta dish flavored with Greek sausage and cheese.   The recipe is incredibly easy to make and the ingredients I used, create their own sauce.

I made a  peasant style recipe with some of the ingredients I bought and some given to me from the Grocery for the Mediterranean Diet. I used extra virgin olive oil, sausages, dried anthotyros, feta, mushrooms and bell peppers.  To make the sauce, I made a roux and used white dry wine and cheese.  I avoided to use heavy cream because the sausages and cheese are quite rich so I tried to keep the dish on the healthy side.

You must be wondering how can sausages and fatty cheese be healthy?  Well my answer is that these should not be excluded from our diet.  These foods are part of the Mediterranean Diet and we should not forget that these are what our parents and grandparents ate.  There were no low-fat products then and heart attacks were more rare than today.   New studies show that adding some cholesterol in our diet is not as bad as we used to believe.  The amount of sausage and cheeses used is not that much considering that this amount is for 6 – 7 portions.  What we need is more exercise to burn the fat.

Note:  If you cannot find this type of pasta, any type of casarecce can be used.  Instead of dried anthotyros you can substitute with parmesan and use any kind of sausages you like.

collage striftaria

 

Choriatika Striftaria me Spiroulina kai Kritamo (Peasant style Casarecce with Spirulina and Sea Fennel)

Serves:  6 – 7

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams striftaria (casarecce) with Spirulina & Kritamo
  • 250 grams mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 grams Greek sausages
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 230 grams various peppers
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp all purpose flour
  • 250 ml white dry wine
  • A pinch of oregano and thyme
  • Black pepper
  • 30 grams dried anthotyros
  • 60 grams crumbled feta
  • Salt (at will)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms for only a couple of minutes as they should remain firm.  Remove from the skillet and add the other tbsp olive oil.
  2. Saute the sausage on one side, turn over and add onion and garlic and mix for a couple of minutes.  Add the flour and mix to make a roux.
  3. Add the wine and deglaze.  Add the mushrooms and peppers, as  well as spices and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Meantime heat the water, add salt and cook the pasta for 4 – 5 minutes according to package instructions.
  5. Remove with a slotted ladle directly into the skillet, add dried anthotyros and feta and cook until all the sauce is absorbed.
  6. Taste and adjust salt. (I did not add any extra salt as the pasta has been cooked in salt, the cheeses are salty and the sausage also contains salt).
  7. Serve with extra grated anthotyros on top.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Νοεμβρίου 3rd, 2013

Pantopoleio grocery shop2

 

October was a really exciting month.  We came to Athens during the second fortnight as we were leaving for Cyprus on the 23rd to attend a family wedding.   A couple of days later we found out about an event organized by Atenistas, on October 20, which was called Open Walk.  This event was about walking in the city centre and discoverying gastronomic delights.

 

Open Walk Map2

There was no way I would miss such an event.  The weather was splendid and on Sunday morning we set off to discover some known and other unknown shops, spots and flavours of Athens.

Open walker badge

We were given a map showing the route and a badge and started out tour. However, we made a  wrong decision and instead of going by bus we drove in our car and couldn’t find any parking place near the starting point so we finally parked somewhere near shop Number 14 and missed a few spots at the beginning and end of the route.

The weather was wonderful on that Sunday morning and lots of people participated, going up and down holding the maps in their hands.

Pantopoleio grocery shop

 

We started our tour by visiting a Grocery promoting the Mediterranean Diet.   Needless to say that I spent about an hour in there, as this was a foodie paradise in the centre of Athens.  One of the biggest traditional grocery shops (180 sq. metres) with over 2000 selected, gourmet products, most of them organic produced by 225 Greek agricultural co-ops, women associations or family businesses, you cannot find in any other Greek supermarket.

 

Marianna Komitopoulou Pantopoleio Mediterranean Diet

I introduced myself to Mrs. Marianna Komitopoulou, the Marketing Manager, who was courteous enough to show me around and explained everyting I needed to know about their products.  She explained to me that the products are made with traditional family recipes, using the most pure ingredients, whose products are organic and without any preservatives.

Whether you are Greek or a tourist, I  strongly recommend this wonderful shop, where you can find EVERYTHINHG a foodie dreams of, either to take as a gift to friends or to cook with as you will not find these products in any other Greek supermarket chain, except maybe just a few products.

I bought some products for my personal use, as you probably know by now that I am preparing my second cookbook, which is relevant to the Mediterranean Diet, but also many traditional sweets such as Yianniotikos baklavas (from Ioannina who are renowned for their baklavas) and amygdalota (citrus marzipan cookies) which I took as gifts to Cyprus.

Collage Mediterranean Diet products given

When leaving, Mrs. Komitopoulou offered me a bagful of wonderful products to try and which you will soon be seeing in my recipes.

 

Striftaria with Spiroulina

I have already cooked a pasta dish using Striftaria (similar to casarecce) made with spirulina and sea fennel, which will be my next blog post.

Collage pasta etc

I found all kinds of amazing Greek products, which didn’t even know of their existence.  I managed to capture with my lens only a few products as the shop was packed with people and it was quite difficult as they kept popping infront of my camera.

Olive oil

Endless brands of prime quality extra virgin olive oil, from all over Greece, which is surely the best in the whole world as well as prime quality vinegars, pasta with many types of flour and flavours, canned products from Satorini, such as their famous tomatoes, capers, legumes etc, dried figs and other products made with figs, halvas, pastelli (sesame-honey candy), carob products, grape molasses, blossom water etc.

Collage cheeses charcuterie

All kinds of selected Greek cheeses and gourmet charcuterie, such as buffalo kavourmas, beef pastrami, sausages, salami etc.

Collage fish

Fish products, like smoked trout,  marinated anchovies or mackerel, trout and other selected fish products such as «avgotaracho» which is mullet bottarga.

wines and liqueurs

A selection of Greek alcoholic drinks such as wines, ouzo, tsipouro, brandy, various liqueurs such as tentura, made with cinnamon, masticha, made with mastic resin, rakomelo, an aperitif, which is made either with raki or tsipouro and honey, combined with spices and herbs.

Collage other delicacies

Jarred grape leaves, a selection of all types of olives, best quality of sea salt (roughly one third of the world’s salt supply comes from the sea salt produced in Greece and France), jams, fruit preserves, mastiha products, almond cookies, all Greek spices, such as Krokos Kozanis (Greek saffron), nuts and what can I say about Greek honey, which is the best in the whole world.

I will definitely be visiting this shop again whenever coming back to Athens, to buy and try new products.  I am really glad I visited this shop first and spent most of my time there because the staff were really professional, ready to answer all your questions, with excellent service and politeness.

The grocery shop is situated at the corner of 1 Sophocleous Street and Aristidou Street No. 11.  Telephone: +30 210 3234612 and e-mail:  info@atenco.gr.  Their website www.atenco.gr is now being upgraded and will be operating in a few days.

Krinos loukoumades

Next stop was  at 87 Aeolou Street.  There was a huge queue at Krinos (Nr. 13) who served loukoumades (deep fried yeasted dough served with honey).

Loukoumades

 

It was worth waiting as their loukoumades were delicious.  They served them with top quality honey on top.

Zapholias cheese

The next stop was at Zafolias Cheese at Sophocleous Street. Nr. 7.  Here you will find a variety of Greek traditional cheeses.

Metsovone and ladotyri

 

Next stop at Nr. 16.  A shoping selling honey.  I must confess that the owner was a little bit stingy and cranky.  He offered us a pinch of honey on a toothpick and when I asked a question he answered in a rather irritated manner that he had already answered the question.

honey

 

Next stop at Nr. 17 at a small grocery shop with products from the island of Limnos.

Limnos

Mocca, coffee shop at 44 Athinas street was too crowded so I just manged to take two shots and left.

Mocca coffee shop

Another interesting shop was Nr. 9 selling all kinds of olives and pickled vegetables.  The shop is called «Ariana» and you will find it at 3 Theatrou Street.

Olives

Further down the road you will find a taverna called «Klimataria» (which means bower because of the vines twined together).

Klimataria

Next stop (Nr. 10), was at Theatrou square Nr. 2.  A very old taverna which outside doesn’t look very appealing but once you enter inside you will find a lovely garden shaded by bowers and decorated with wine barrels.

Klimataria2

The food smelled fantastic and we were offered a «mezedaki», an appetizer with bread, tzatziki and sausage, which was delicious.

Sausage

Nr. 8 at Socratous Street Nr. 3 was totally inhospitable.  A table outside had two empty plates and inside there was no one to greet us. We took a picture of this beautiful vintage cashier register and left.

Vintage Cashier Register

What a beautiful sight was the next shop called Miran, selling charcuterie at 41 Evripidou Street.

pastourmas

Apart from all kinds of charcuterie, this shop specializes in «pastourmas» (basturma).  Although I love the sight of all these goodies, I must say that I tried «pastourmas» which is too piquant and spicy for my taste.

pastourmas Miran

Another favourite shop I visit whenever I am in Athens and I visit the centre,  is Elixirion (elixir), who sell all kinds of herbs and spices.   You can find this shop at 41 Evripidou Street.

Spices

This was also very crowded but I patiently waited in the queue.  I bought some spices and herbs I needed and got to taste «threpsini» for the first time.  Although I knew about this grape cream, I had never eaten it before and it was really delicious.

Although, there were many more places to visit, the remaining family were waiting back home for lunch.  Hopefully, next year we will be able to visit it again.

Athens tour

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 22nd, 2013

chocolate lemon posset

 

I am sorry it took me so long to post but there were some problems with my blog, which were finally resolved yesterday.  Rather late than never, here is the recipe I was planning to post during the weekend.

I hope I will make it up to you with this amazing recipe you may have not heard before.  Personally, although I have been blogging for over six years, I never heard the word «posset» before.  Apparently, it’s a very old recipe which is now being revived again.  All this happened, when  I was google searching for inspiration to make a dessert in order to use a can of leftover condensed milk.

One of the recipes I bumped into was this Lemon Posset.  Lemon is a must in every posset recipe because it is the chemical reaction of milk and lemon which makes the cream set.

As I said, I had never heard of this term before and since I like learning about new words, I google searched it further.  I found out that  «A posset (also spelled poshoteposhotte) was a British hot drink of milk, often spiced and flavoured with wine or ale, which was popular from medieval times to the 19th century.» In the Middle Ages, it was a drink used as a cold and flu remedy.  The word «posset» is mostly used nowadays for a related dessert similar to syllabub (that’s new to me as well), which is curdled by the addition of wine, cider, or other acid, and often sweetened and flavoured and resembles like mousse.

chocolate lemon posset3

The above recipe had heavy cream and since I was too tired to go out and buy some, I decided to use the low-fat cream I already had at home.  However, I was skeptical if the dessert would eventually set properly.  Various alternative scenarios passed from my mind, from adding butter to the cream and chocolate mixture or adding egg yolks or even gelatin to set the cream.  I have curdled milk in the past when making «halloumi and anari» and «Indian paneer» so I decided to risk it, and I was really curious to see if it would set by just using light cream.

I decided to take the risk and go for it.  I know that you can’t make anything new and amazing if you don’t take some risks.  I’ve had my share of failures while experimenting but that is the most exciting part of cooking, at least for me.  Fortunately, the lemon juice did its trick again.  You cannot imagine how amazing it was to see the cream thicken before my eyes, as it began to cool.

I decided to improvise further and make something unique, using Savoyard biscuits I had at home.   I wet them in a Strawberry Liqueur I had made some years back, which gave an amazing flavour which matched with the chocolate.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have this particular liqueur. You can use cointreau, limoncello, cherry liqueur etc. which also match well with chocolate and lemon.  The decoration on top is optional.  If the dessert was made in Spring, I would probably have used fresh strawberries but I wanted something red on top and quince is seasonal and you know how much I love using it.

Initially, I was planning to put layers of Savoyard biscuits in a Pyrex dish, alternating it with cream and more biscuits on top but when I finished the cream,  I was still afraid it might not set properly, so  I decided to make the dessert in bowls. By the time I had everything ready and was pouring the cream in the bowls, it had already started setting.

cream setting

 

This scrumptious dessert was luscious and amazed everyone of us:  its sweet, sour, salty and bitter ingredients, all well combined together formed an amazing combination of flavour.   I heard lots of mmmms and other exclamations of delight from my family, who love desserts on the sweet side.  Personally, I don’t like desserts to be overly sweet but the combination I made was out of the world amazing and although sweet, I kept wanting more!  I will surely be making this cream again as the possiblities of using it in other desserts are endless and already can vision some twists to it.

Chocolate-Lemon Posset with Savoyard Biscuits

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  10 minutes

Serves:  6

Ingredients:

For the cream:

  • 115 grams dark bitter chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa and over)
  • 400 ml cream 15%
  • 397 grams (1 can) condensed milk
  • Scant ¼ cup lemon juice (around 50 ml)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • A pinch of coarse sea salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)

For the dessert:

  • 1/3 cup  strawberry liqueur 
  • 12 Savoyard biscuits (100 grams / half packet)
  • 2 tbsp grated chocolate shavings or flakes (optional)
  • 3 cigar shaped biscuits, cut in the middle (optional)
  • 6 pieces of quince preserve (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the cream over a double boiler and mix until the chocolate melts.
  2. Whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice.  Add the lemon zest, salt and melted chocolate and mix to combine.
  3. Add ¼ cup chocolate mixture into 6 bowls.
  4. Wet the Savoyard (lady fingers) in the liqueur and cut two lady fingers into 8 pieces, for each bowl.
  5. Mix any leftover liqueur in the leftover cream, which divide on top of the biscuits.
  6. Decorate with half a cigar biscuit, some chocolate shavings and a piece of quince.

 

chocolate lemon posset2

My cookbooks:

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Οκτωβρίου 12th, 2013

wedding anniversary

There are so many reasons I’m feeling really blessed with my life but first and foremost was that I met «D», we got married and had three wonderful children together.   I am grateful that we are growing old together and today we are celebrating  our 33rd wedding anniversary.

Banana Quince cupcake1

Although my today’s post is not mainly about «Quince» since I have written about it in another post, but it does have some connection with marriage, as ancient Greeks associated it with fertility, love and marriage.

As I said in my previous post, I may be obsessed with quince but one of the reasons I like making fruit preserves is to use them in my desserts.  However, the recipe can be executed without adding the quince.

Banana Quince cupcake5

The cupcakes are made using two ripe bananas and I used vanillin*, orange zest and cinnamon to flavour them. The execution was really easy to make, as all you need is to mix the ingredients using a hand mixer and will be ready in no time.

*Vanillin is produced chemically and is much cheaper than real vanilla.  Synthetic vanillin is very similar with real vanilla. You can substitute with any other type of vanilla you usually use.

Banana Quince cupcake4

The quince syrup was used in the glazing and the fruit to decorate them on top.  You can substitute the quince syrup wth honey or maple syrup and decorate them on top as you like.

I had heavy cream to make whipped cream to decorate them on top but as I didn’t want to store them in the refrigerator because I did not have much space to put them in, I decided to make a glazing instead.  I had some leftover pink chocolate buttons, which I needed to use from previous recipes, which actually according to the package was white chocolate with artificial colouring and flavoured with strawberry and vanilla.

 

Banana Quince cupcake6

During cold days there is no need to refrigerate them.  It is advisable during high temperatures to store the cupcakes in the refrigerator as the chocolate on top may melt.collage Banana quince cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Quince Glazing

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  about 20 minutes

Makes: 12

Ingredients:

  • 130 grams (about 2/3 cup) sugar
  • 100 grams butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs (60 – 65 grams each)
  • 185 grams mashed ripe bananas (275 grams with skin on – 2 medium sized)
  • ¼ cup orange juice (1 small)
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 vanillins (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
  • 185 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Chocolate Quince Glazing:

  • 75 grams white chocolate** (strawberry flavoured)
  • 1 tsp butter or margarine
  • 1 tbsp quince syrup (or honey)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Quince fruit preserve for decoration

**You can use regular chocolate or white chocolate.  If you want to colour the white chocolate, a very small amount (less than a drop) of colour may be added.

Directions:

  1. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 180oC /350 o F.
  3. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or butter the muffin pan with butter or margarine and then dust with flour and tap out excess.
  4. Sift flour and mix in baking soda, vanillin, cinnamon, orange zest and salt.
  5. In your mixer bowl, beat eggs with sugar on medium speed until smooth.  Add butter until incorporated, then add bananas, and mix until they mash.  Add orange juice and mix.  At this stage the mixture may seem as if it has curdled but that’s fine.  Increase your mixer speed and beat until light and fluffy
  6. Stir in sifted flour just until moistened.
  7. Distribute the mixture in the muffin tray, filling each one by two thirds.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Set aside to cool until you can handle them, for ten minutes.
  10. Place a sheet of parchment paper under your wire rack and remove them there to cool.
  11. In a double boiler add chocolate and when it begins to melt add all the other ingredients and mix to make a smooth cream.
  12. Dip each cupcake in the melted chocolate and place on the wire rack to drip down.
  13. Decorate with a piece of quince preserve.
  14. Remove them in cupcake liners.  With a knife collect the chocolate drippings before they solidify and add them back on top of the cupcakes.
  15. Set aside until the glazing dries.

Banana Quince cupcakes and coffee
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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