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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Deconstructed Pavlova with poached fruit

Three recipes combined together make this delicious fusion deconstructed Australian Pavlova: Greek Ryzogalo, British Posset and Meringues.  The poached fruit is optional but it makes a wonderful addition.  You can surely serve it as it is or with Glyka tou Koutaliou (Greek Fruit Preserves).

The meringues can be made ahead and stored in air tight containers.  The poached fruit can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

My recipe was intended to make a Pavlova filled with pastry cream, topped with whipped cream and since it is winter I decided to poach some fruit.  I had apples and pears and I had dried fruit and goji berries.

I had made the meringue and the poached fruit for an event involving Australian recipes, but when I was ready to put the dessert together and post, I found out that I was a few days late. I, therefore, decided not to make the Pavlova the way I intended to and stored the meringue and poached fruit.

When I decided to post my next recipe, I was planning to post two older Ryzogalo recipes, a Lemon Posset Ryzogalo, which I made a couple of years ago and a Dulce de Leche Ryzogalo.  The latter was similar to a previous recipe that I had made so I added it to that post.  The Lemon Posset Ryzogalo was made the same way described here but without  pulsing the rice.

Ryzogalo rice pudding2

My unposted recipes keep piling and piling and some will never make it to the blog because of lack of time.  The recipe you see below was made again with individual meringues, whipped cream and poached pears.  In fact the poached fruit recipe which follows, is based on that one.

Poached Pears new

Another recipe which will never make it to the blog is this low-fat Pavlova made with stevia and fresh fruit.  For each tablespoon of sugar I added 1/4 tsp stevia powdered extract.  This Pavlova was sandwiched with low fat strawberry pastry cream and topped with whipped cream.


So as I said I combined all these recipes to make this one. The result was amazing.

When pouring the Lemon Ryzogalo Posset on top of the meringue, the meringue absorbed all the cream and it became one body, making a light, fluffy pudding, not overly sweet, the texture of  which reminded me of marshmallows with an amazing lemon flavour.


Deconstructed Pavlova

Deconstructed Pavlova with Lemon Posset Ryzogalo and Winter Poached Fruit

Meringue Base:


  • 6 egg whites (200 grams)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon flavoured vanillin sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 300 grams icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top


  1. Preheat oven to 150oC and place rack in center of oven.
  2. Line a baking tin with parchment paper and put a ring in the centre.  (This is optional but I had other plans for this recipe).
  3. Sift the icing sugar as well as corn flour and mix in the vanillin sugar.
  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, (I used a hand mixer) beat the egg whites with salt and lemon juice, on medium speed until they hold soft peaks. (You know when the meringue is ready when the bowl can be tipped upside down and the meringue does not fall out).
  5. Add the powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time mixing each time until incorporated.
  6. Empty the meringue within the ring, try to make the sides higher than the centre (in order to add the cream in the centre) and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  7. Lower oven to 100 degrees and bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the meringue has a light brownish colour.  Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.
  8. If not used immediately, store in an air tight container.

Collage Pavlova

Poached Winter Fruit in Commandaria and Pomegranate Syrup


  • 2 ripe pears
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 cup prunes
  • ¼ cup goji berries
  • 1 cup grenadine
  • 2 cups Commandaria or other sweet dessert wine, such as Vin Santo (or Port)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5- 6 cloves
  • 5 – 6 peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Peel the pears and apples and remove the seeds. Cut the pears in four and the apples in eight pieces.
  2. Place the wine and the pomegranate syrup in a pot.  Add the fruit and spices and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat until the fruit are soft, for about fifteen minutes.
  3. Gently remove the fruit with a slotted spoon.
  4. Continue boiling the poaching liquid over high heat until the sauce is reduced to half (about 15 – 20 minutes).  Remove from the heat and put the fruit in again until the syrup cools.
  5. Refrigerate, if not using immediately

collage poachedfruit

Lemon Posset Ryzogalo


  • ¼ cup short grain rice or carolina
  • 1 cup water to boil rice
  • A pinch of salt
  • 330 ml heavy cream (35%)
  • 270 ml milk
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


  1. Put the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to boil.  Add a pinch of salt, lower the heat and cook until it absorbs the water (about 15 minutes), stirring frequently.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Puree in a food processor.
  3. Put the cream in a big saucepan with the milk, sugar and zest and gently heat, stirring, until the sugar has melted. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Add the rice and whisk to incorporate.  Set aside until it begins to set.

Collage Lemon posset

Putting the cake together:

  1. Cut the meringue in circles the size of your bowls.  Keep some of the crispy cinnamon flavoured meringue top layers aside.
  2. Place into the bowls and add a ladleful of lemon ryzogalo posset.
  3. Crumble the crispy meringue on top and refrigerate for at least an hour in order to set.
  4. Serve with poached fruit on top.

Pavlova with Winter Fruit2


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:

Ryzogalo (Greek rice pudding)

How to use leftover egg whites and Chocolate Amygdalota Cookies

Apple Galette with Meringue


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,


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Ivy on December 5th, 2014

Milokopi ala Briam

Milokopi (Shi Drum – Umbrina cirrosa), is a delicious Mediterranean fish recipe which I made up having Briam in mind.    This way you have your baked fish with some vegetables on the side.  I used the vegetables I had at home that day but you can also add some carrots and courgettes as well.

The fish does not need too much time to cook, so the vegetables were cooked first and when almost ready, I added the fish on top.

Milokopi shi drum

You can make this recipe using other large fishes such as cod, European sea bass, sea bream, grouper, trout etc. without of course restricting it only to Mediterranean fish.

Briam is a very versatile Greek dish so you can add more vegetables if you like.  The second time I made it with sea bream, I added slices of courgettes and carrots as well and it was even more delicious!

Preparing vegetables


Milokopi (Shi Drum) à la Briam

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour

Serve: 3 – 4


  • 1 kilo milokopi (shi drum)
  • 3 potatoes, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 2 onions, cut into thin slices
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped in slices
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, cut into slices
  • ¼ cup dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup white dry wine
  • 1/3 cup water (optional at the end)


  1. Preheat oven to 180o C.
  2. Ask your fish monger to scale and gut the fish.
  3. Put the potatoes, onions, garlic, dill, tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano in a large baking tin and mix well.
  4. Add olive oil, lemon juice and wine.
  5. Bake for about half an hour or until potatoes are cooked on one side.
  6. Wash the fish and season with salt, pepper and oregano, inside and out.
  7. Mix the vegetables and cook until the vegetables are almost tender, for about 15 more minutes.  Place the fish on top, adding a few tomatoes and liquid from the pan, and cook for about 15 to 20 more minutes, or until the fish is cooked (no need to turn it over).


Note:  If you see that the potatoes are beginning to stick to the pan, add the water and wait for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a salad.


Salad and shi drum milokopi


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


Other relevant recipes:

Lavraki Psito me Ladolemono Moustardas  (Grilled Sea bass with Mustard Ladolemono)

Galeos Marinatos (Marinated Tope shark Fish)

 Solomon Stiffado (Salmon Stew with Onions)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on November 29th, 2014

Wedding mini cakes2

SiliKoMart sent me these silicone molds to review together with a silicone mat and a package of sugar pasta.  Thank you silikomart for the lovely gift.


silicomart molds set

I would rate this product with five stars as they do not need any greasing and the cakes come out very easily.  They wash easily even in the washing machine.


collage molds


I learned about sugar paste many years ago and although a few years back I had bought all the ingredients to make some, I never got to that.  Now that I have been reminded of this, I think this time I will attempt and make some myself.  My friend Eftychia from  Dream of Cakes, has a tutorial, which I will follow, provided I find all the ingredients in Greece.

Collage Making mini cakes 2

These could easily be made by anyone.

I must admit that my first attempt to cover them with sugar paste was not very successful but my second try was much better.  I believe with a third attempt they will turn out even better.

Do not judge the appearance of my mini cakes as I have decorated them with no professional tools.  I used my creativity and used my pasta machine to roll out the sugar paste, various sizes of glasses and cookie cutters to cut rounds, tweezers, wooden skewers a tip of pastry bag and the lid of a pen to decorate the cakes.  However, if you want a more professional look there are molds with mini designs to make more attractive decorations.


collage playing with sugarpaste

The recipe for these mini cakes is one I have been making for many years.   I made these very small mini cakes in the restaurant I worked on a daily basis.  They were very small cakes, the size of a walnut, which we offered free with a cup of coffee and were a big hit.  This recipe can be made into a cake which needs more time to bake and less the the very small ones.  Of course, you know when they are ready by testing them with a knife or a toothpick.

Could these mini cakes become the new trend instead of cupcakes?

Mini wedding cake with white bow

Instead of the traditional Greek “bombonieres” which are out-fashioned, these would be great for bridal showers or weddings. They would be lovely inside a similar favour box.

Weddin favour box


Of course you need not limit your creations to wedding cakes.


chocolate ganache mini cakes


If you use coloured sugar paste and different designs you can make them for birthday parties, christenings etc., but with a simple chocolate ganache and some whipped cream you can make them for any other occasion.


Mini cake cut2


Three Tiered Lemon and Raspberry Mini Wedding Cakes

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Baking time:  25 – 30 minutes

Makes:  9 mini cakes or 18 cupcakes


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) 227 grams 8 ounces butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200) out 227 grams 8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 227 grams (8 ounces) eggs (4 large ones) room temperature
  • 2 cups, 256 grams (9 ounces) cake flour (1 cup flour 128 grams)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10 drops raspberry essence
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ cup heavy cream with 1 tbsp lemon juice

Citrus glaze:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 180o C /  350o F.
  2. Put the cream and lemon juice, mix and wait for about 15 minute until it curdles.
  3. Put the cake flour in a bowl (or all purpose flour together with corn flour (starch)  and mix in the baking powder and salt.  Sieve the mixture and mix in the zest. (See how to make cake flour here).
  4. Beat the butter, using a hand mixer, at high speed for 1 minute.
  5. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed for 2 – 3 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs slowly one at a time and beat again.
  7. Add the heavy cream and blueberry essence and mix.
  8. Lower mixer speed and add the flour mixture.
  9. Divide mixture into molds, filling 3/4 of the mold or up to the last line and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Heat the lemon juice with sugar and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves, to make the syrup.
  11. Remove the mini cakes from the oven and brush each one with the lemon syrup.
  12. Allow to cool and cut the rounded top with a sharp knife, so that they can stand upside down.
  13. Unmold and cover with sugar paste.


Tips for sugar paste:

  • Knead the sugar paste to make it softer.
  • Add a few drops of food colour to make coloured sugar paste.
  • If the sugar paste becomes sticky on the hands, add some icing sugar and knead again.
  • When kneading the sugar paste add a few drops of vanilla or other essence.
  • Wet the back side of the rolled out sugar paste with syrup so that it sticks on the mini cakes.
  • Leftover sugar paste can be kneaded again to be reused.
  • To flavour the sugar paste, add a few drops of raspberry or other essence.
  • To decorate the cakes with the small designs you can glue them by wetting them with a little bit of water, using the edge of the skewer .
  • Leftover sugar paste must be wrapped in cling film and stored in an air tight container.  No refrigeration.



The winner of my Cookbook is Jane.

Congratulations Jane, I will send you the cookbook right away!


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


Other relevant recipes:

Loukoumia tou Gamou (Cypriot Wedding Cakes)


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.

© 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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