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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

Kopiaste

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

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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

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.

Pavlova

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:

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

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

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

Congratulations

 

The winner of my Cookbook is Jane.

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

randomorg

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

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on November 24th, 2014

Curing olives

The best time to make these olives here in Greece but also all over the Mediterranean is from the beginning of October till late November when the olives begin to ripen and are still green.

I bought these olives from the farmers’ market in Nafplion early in October and what made me buy them was their size.  It goes without saying that you can follow this recipe for any type of green olives.

 

Collage curing olives

Look how big these olives are, as compared to the grapes!    The flesh of these olives is equivalent to 2 – 3 normal sized olives!

When picked from the tree, olives are very bitter so in order to make them edible a procedure has to be followed in order to remove this bitterness. By water curing them,  oleuropein, a component in olives that gives them a sharp, bitter taste, is removed.  I followed the same procedure I did when making Kalamata olives and Tsakistes (cracked olives).  The only difference here is the type of olive I’ve used and the aromatic herbs, I have added to the brine.

rosemary and scented geranium

In Assini, the village we live, we have  2 – 3 bitter or Seville oranges in our back yard as well as some rosemary among our herbs. I used wedges of lemons, bitter oranges and rosemary to flavour these olives and the taste and flavour was amazing.  Seville oranges have an amazing, unique taste but if you can’t find these bitter oranges where you live, you can substitute it with some other citrus fruit but of course each citrus fruit gives its own unique taste.

Seville or Bitter oranges

When they are ready you can eat them as they are but some times I like to add some finely chopped slices of garlic and crashed coriander, the way we eat them in Cyprus, just to remind me of home.

olives

Green Scored Cured Olives

Preparation time:  about 30 minutes

Waiting time: 10 – 15 days (I left them for15 days)

Ingredients:

  • 2 kilos extra large olives

For the bring:

  • 1 cup coarse sea salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon cut into slives
  • 1 bitter orange, cut into slices
  • 6 – 7 small sprigs of rosemary
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Wash the olives and score them in 1 – 2 spots.
  2. Put them in a basin or big bowl and cover them with water.  As they will float, put a plate on top to keep them submerged.
  3. Change the water once a day for 10 consecutive days.  On the 10th day try one and if they seem too bitter for your taste, continue for a few more days until you are satisfied with their taste.
  4. When they are ready, drain them.
  5. Put the salt in a bowl and add some hot water to dilute the salt.  Add the remaining tap water and mix.  (In order to know if the brine is of the right consistency, you can test it using an a washed raw whole egg.  The brine is ready when the egg floats).
  6. Remove the egg and  mix in the vinegar.
  7. Place the olives in clean, sterilized jars, adding in between slices of lemon, bitter oranges and rosemary.
  8. Pour the brine in the jars without covering them completely.  Add olive oil to cover them.
  9. Let them marinate for a couple of days and they are ready to consumed.
  10. Store in the cupboard.

Book Cover thumbnail

Today there are two giveaways.

If you would like to win a PDF copy of my cookbook “More Than a Greek Salad”:

1)  Leave me a comment here on the blog and tell me your favorite recipe with olives.    If you want more entries, you can share the recipe on twittter, google+, Pinterest, Facebook etc., and leave a second or third comment with the link for more chances to win. That’s it!

2)  Winner is selected randomly using random.org and is open worldwide.   Enter now through this Friday, November 28, 2014 midnight Greek time.  Winner will be notified by Saturday, November 29, 2014, during my next blog post.

Good luck!

For those who can read Greek, there is another giveaway on my Greek blog.  So if you would like to win it, please also leave a comment there.

 

thumbnail μαγειρευοντας για τον αλλο ανθρωπο3

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

 

Other relevant recipes:

Kalamata Olives

Elies Tsakistes (green cracked olives)

How to Sterilize Jars

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on November 19th, 2014

Making Chestnut Dulce de Leche Spread Homemade spreads are easy to make and can be bottled in pretty jars as gifts. This original chestnut and dulce de leche spread will be much appreciated. Dulce De Leche is a favourite Latin American treat.  I combined this amazing treat with chestnuts and I am very proud to have created this delicious spread.  Whenever I make a new recipe, I always google search to see if others have thought of this idea as well.   I was surprised but happy to see that no one had thought about it before. The road is now open to make it with almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts etc. Chestnuts

You can use it as a spread on bread for breakfast or use it as filling in cakes, to decorate cupcakes or in other desserts.

 

collages chestnut puree

Chestnut & Dulce de Leche Spread

Preparation time: 1/2 an hour to boil the chestnuts and 1 hour to peel them Cooking time:  about 30 minutes Makes: 3 jars (400 grams each) Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo chestnuts
  • 1 can condensed sweetened milk or dulce de leche
  • 1 1/2 cans water (measured in the milk can)

Directions:

  1. Prepare dulce de leche or used store bought (to make it yourselves, see instructions here).
  2. Score the chestnuts.  Put them in a pot, cover them with water and boil them for 30 minutes (see instructions here).  Drain them and when you can handle them, peel them.  To speed up process you can wash them with tap water.
  3. Put them in a pot and empty the dulce de leche as well as water.
  4. Put it on the heat and mix to dilute the dulce de leche.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until the water evaporates, about half an hour.  During the boiling process you should stir it once in a while but towards the end it needs constant stirring as the mixture will burn.
  6. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes for the temperature to drop.  Mash it the same way you would mash your potatoes. (I used a hand mixer).
  7. Allow to cool and store in sterilized jars.

Chestnut puree

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.  

Other relevant recipes:

Walnut, Cream Cheese Chocolate and Dulce De Leche Gateau

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Milk Chocolate Almonds Chestnuts and how to make chestnut puree How to make Dulce de Leche Chestnuts, how to boil and peel them Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Rocket and Peppers Salad with Mandarin vinaigrette

I do not post salads very often but I can assure you that we eat them on a daily basis.  Being a Greek, my all times favourite salad which makes it to the table 9 out of 10 times is, of course, the Greek Salad.  I do make other salads as well but since I only post about once a week, I usually post main dishes and desserts.

I made this salad late in September, when  The grocery of the Mediterranean Diet gifted me some of their prized products to try.  Among other products was this prized Mandarin Fruit preserve, from the island of Chios, made with the variety of mandarins called Citrus deliciose tenore.   The fruit preserve can be eaten on its own or on top of other desserts but try it in this salad and you will be surprised.

This salad is quite original and combines a lot of different tastes and textures:  peppery rocket, sweet bell peppers, salty feta, tangy goji berries, crunchy peanuts and the sweet and sour vinaigrette, with stripes of sweet mandarins, adds a delightful aroma and taste.

You can find the Mandarin Fruit Preserve at the Grocery of the Mediterranean Diet, which is situated at the corner of 1 Sophocleous Street and Aristidou Street No. 11.  Telephone: +30 210 3234612 and e-mail:  info@atenco.gr.

Mandarin fruit preserve

Rocket & Peppers Salad with Feta and Mandarin Vinaigrette

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Serves:  2 – 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rocket
  • Bell peppers, 1/2 of each colour:  yellow, orange and red, julienned
  • 100 grams feta
  • 20 goji berries
  • 20 peanuts, peeled

Mandarin Vinaigrette:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove roasted garlic
  • 1 heaped tbsp mandarin fruit preserve
  • Salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

 

Directions:

  1. Wash the vegetables and let them dry.
  2. Cut the rocket by hand in smaller pieces.  Put it in a salad bowl and add the bell peppers, peanuts and goji berries.  Add pieces of feta on top.
  3. Mash the garlic with a fork and put it in a jar with all the remaining salad dressing ingredients.  Shake well, taste and adjust the seasonings.
  4. Pour the dressing and mix the salad just before you serve it.

Fish milokopi shi drum and rocket and peppers salad
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.

 

Other relevant recipes:

Salad Bar

Revithosalates (chickpea salads)

Horiatiki (Greek Salad)

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Dulce de Leche and Almond Chocolate Cheesecake

 

Cheesecake is one of our favourite desserts.

If you ask me which kind do I prefer, the baked one or the no bake one, it’s very difficult to reply because I like both but if I were to chose only one, I would say the baked one.

 

Collage dulce de leche cheesecake

Today it’ s my eldest son’s birthday.  He is on holidays here in Athens for a few weeks, as he is now working in Cyprus and he had arranged his leave to be here during his birthday.

collage decoration

 

Since he loves dulce de leche, I made this cheesecake for him.  Dulce de Leche, which is a caramel sauce, popular in South America, flavours the cream cheese filling, making it so velvety and creamy.

I’ve mentioned this many times in my posts that I don’t like my desserts to be overly sweet.  When you beat the cream cheese, dulce de leche and Greek yoghurt, before adding the eggs, taste it.  If you want it sweeter, you can add some brown sugar, honey or grape or carob syrup, which will even make it darker.

The whipped cream was slighly sweetened in order to balance the sweetness of the remaining dessert.  If you like it sweeter, you can add more icing sugar.

Dulce de Leche and Almond Chocolate Cheesecake2

For the decoration on top, I had some leftover dulce from another recipe.  It’s not worth opening another can or jar just for the decoration.  You can use nutella, or melted chocolate, petimezi (grape syrup), carob syrup, threpsini (grape cream) or make caramel from scratch, which we mix with the caramel.  See how you can make it here (see caramel decoration).   Let it cool for a few minutes and then add the whipped cream.

Dulce cheesecake cut2

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake and Milk Almond Chocolates

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 400 grams Digestive biscuit crumbs
  • 80 grams butter, melted
  • 50 grams milk chocolate almonds, ground

Dulce de Leche filling:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, made into dulce de leche
  • 600 cream cheese
  • 400 grams Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp petimezi (condensed grape syrup)
  • 4 eggs
  • 20 grams corn flour
  • 100 grams milk chocolate almonds, ground

For decoration:

  • 330 grams heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 vanillin

Additional ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp dulce de leche
  • 1 tbsp whipped cream
  • 1 milk chocolate almond, ground
  • 6 milk chocolate almonds, cut in the middle

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave on low, a minute each time or in a frying pan until it starts melting and turn off the heat.
  2. Put the biscuits in a food processor and powder.
  3. Put it in a bowl.
  4. Powder the milk chocolate almonds as well and add them to the other crumbs.
  5. Add the butter and mix until well combined.
  6. Cover the base of a 28 cm spring form pan with aluminium foil.
  7. Transfer the biscuit mixture in the baking tin and press it with a spoon into the bottom and sides of the pan. (see video).
  8. Refrigerate until you prepare the cream.
  9. Preheat oven to 180°C.

Directions for the filling:

  1. Empty the cream cheese, dulce de leche and Greek yoghurt in a bowl.  Using a hand mixer whip the cream until all the ingredients are combined.
  2. Add the petimezi and mix.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  4. Finally add the corn flour and continue mixing until combined.
  5. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and add the milk almond chocolates scattered all over the cream.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminium foil
  7. Put the spring form pan in a larger baking tin and add hot water untill it reaches the middle.
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes.  Remove the aluminium foil and continue baking for 10 – 15 more minutes uncovered.  The cheesecake will still be wobbly but it will set in the refrigerator.
  9. Set aside until it cools completely.
  10. Beat the heavy cream with the sugar and vanillin until peaks form.
  11. Decorate the cheesecake using a piping bag.  At this stage the cheesecake is ready and you can serve it with caramel sauce on top.
  12. Alternatively reserve 1 tbsp whipped cream in which you dilute the dulce de leche to make it into a cream.
  13. Put this cream in a piping bag and make horizontal lines.  Using the back side of a skewer or the back side of a fork, make horizontal lines, alternating from left to right and right to left.
  14. Cut the almond chocolates in the middle.  If any break, pound them and scatter them on the top.  Decorate with the chocolate halves, almond facing up.
  15. Refrigerate for a few hours before removing the ring of the spring form pan.
  16. Serve with additional caramel syrup (optional).

Dulce cheesecake cut

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.

 

Other relevant recipes:

Dulce De Leche Banoffee Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake with Mars Chocolate and Fig Preserve

Strawberry Cheesecake with Greek Yoghurt

Agriovyssiono (wild cherries) Cheesecake

No guilt Apricot Cheesecake

Orange Chocolate Cheesecake

Kopiaste

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on October 24th, 2014

Chocolate and grape pudding

You may be wondering what petimezi (epsima in Cyprus) and charoupomelo (teratsomelo in Cyprus) are.   Petimezi or epsima is grape juice, cooked until a thick syrup is produced.  It’s a product produced for millenia and you may already know it as grape syrup or grape molasses.   These two Greek traditional products were used in the old days as sweeteners but I have been experimenting with these products to make something more contemporary, combining them with chocolate.

I’ve written about these two products many times and you can find a lot information in the links I provide below.

A few weeks ago I bought some fresh grape juice (must) from the farmers’ market in Nafplion.  This is used to make a pudding called “moustalevria”.  However, apart from the traditional recipe, which I love, I wanted to experiment and make some new recipes.  I reserved some must which I combined with chocolate.  The second time I used some milk and if you want a richer cream you can add heavy cream.

After seeing the amazing results, which  were easy and quick to make, all of them were delicious and some can also be classified as healthy desserts, I have a few more ideas how I will be using them in the future.

collage chocolate grape pudding

Grape and Chocolate (Moustalevria) Pudding

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves: 6 – 8

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn flour
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 cups grape must
  • 1 cup petimezi (concentrated grape juice)
  • 2 fragrant geranium leaves (or use other flavouring, such as vanilla)
  • 75 grams chocolate of your liking
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle on top
  • Quince preserve (optional)

Directions:

  • Put the flour and corn flour in a bowl and add water and milk and mix until it is dissolved.
  • Put the grape must in a pot as well as the dissolved flour and using a balloon whisk, mix until it begins setting.  Add the chocolate and mix until it melts.  At boiling point the cream is ready.
  • Transfer into molds.  When it cools refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
  • Serve with quince preserve or jam.

Moustalevria with Chocolate

Second recipe:

In the second recipe I did not use grape juice but instead I used only petimezi, which I diluted in water.  However, instead of water you can use milk.  You add petimezi and water or milk and mix it until it is sweet enough to your taste.  For this recipe we need three cups of diluted petimezi and water.   Personally I used 3/4 cup petimezi and 2 1/4 cups of water.  I did not want the pudding very sweet as I like serving it with some fruit preserve (glyko tou koutaliou) or jam on top.

Petimezi and Chocolate cream

This time I scented it was rose.  I used rose water, rose liqueur, another traditional, local product from  Karonis distillery in Nafplion and dried rose petals, which my daughter had gifted me some time back.

rose liqueur

Petimezi, Chocolate and Triantaffyllo Pudding

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves:    4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup petimezi
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 60 grams corn flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Freshly grated pepper about a pinch
  • 75 grams chocolate
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp triantafyllo (rose) liqueur
  • Dried rose petals (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put petimezi, water, rose water and corn flour in a pot and stir until the corn flour has dissolved.
  2. Put it on the heat and add salt and pepper and mix with a balloon whisk until it sets.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and butter.  Mix until the chocolate melts.
  4. Wet the molds with the liqueur and any leftover pour into the chocolate mixture and mix.
  5. Divide the mixture into six molds.
  6. Wait until it cools and refrigerate.
  7. Unmold and serve as it is or with chocolate syrup or with quince or other spoon preserve.
  8. Decorate with rose petals.

DSCN4261

Third recipe:

In this recipe, instead of using petimezi, I used charoupomelo (carob syrup).  This is another traditional product which I love and have used it in cakes, in cookies etc.  I’ve been using this product for years and you can find more information about it here.

chocolate carob cream

Carob and Chocolate Pudding

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves:  3 – 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups carob syrup diluted in milk
  • 40 grams corn flour and flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Freshly grated pepper about a pinch
  • 50 grams couverture chocolate
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur

Directions:

  1. Put the diluted carob syrup, flour and corn flour in a pot and stir until the flour has dissolved.
  2. Put it on the heat and add salt and pepper and mix with a balloon whisk until it sets.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and butter.  Mix until the chocolate melts.
  4. Wet the molds with the liqueur and any leftover pour into the chocolate mixture and mix.
  5. Divide the mixture into 3 -4 molds.
  6. Wait until it cools and refrigerate.
  7. Unmold and serve as is or with carob syrup on top.

Carob pudding

Useful tips:

1.  Petimezi and Charoupomelo are diluted in water, milk or heavy cream until the desired sweetness is achieved.  In my recipes I do not make it too sweet.

2.  For every cup of diluted syrup, we need 20 grams (or a heaped tablespoon) of corn flour (starch) or all purpose flour or a mixture of both.

3.  Butter is optional but it adds to the taste and make the cream shiny.

4.  You can add any type of chocolate you like but a good quality chocolate is advisable as it will make the dessert much tastier.

5.  Salt and pepper:  salt enhances the flavour to anything we make.  Pepper pairs well with chocolate.

6.  All three recipes can be made vegan by using couverture chocolate, water instead of milk or cream and margarine instead of butter.

7.  Any liqueur can be used but if you do not want to use alcohol, you can wet your molds or bowls with rose of blossom water.  This helps them unmold easily.

 

Greek coffee mousse

 

Fourth Recipe:

I am  not going to give you the exact ingredients for the last recipe because you can “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day or you can teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

With the instructions given above, I believe that if you try you can make your own pudding.

This last recipe was made just a while ago but when I finished I literally licked the bowl and it was so delicious.  The weather is cold, rainy, gloomy and windy but I managed to take this shot outside.  If there is any leftover by tomorrow, I hope to get a better shot.

In this recipe I used heavy milk and egg yolks.  I did not add butter as the dessert is already rich with the above two ingredients.  I added less corn flour as the eggs will also help set the cream.  The same recipe can be made with petimezi or carob syrup.  With petimezi it has a slightly sour taste and with charoupomelo, it has a more chocolaty taste.  You can understand that the richer the ingredients the more delicious the pudding gets, so make your own decisions and add what you like best!

This time the pudding was cooked over a water bath in order to avoid burning  the cream with the chocolate.

Petimezi or Carob Syrup Chocolate Mousse

Makes:  5 small cups

Ingredients:

  • About 1/2 cup petimezi or charoupomelo
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 75 grams chocolate
  • About 40 grams corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 2 – 3 tbs cherry liqueur
  • 2 egg yolks

Directions:

  1. Put the heavy cream, petimezi and cherry liqueur (after wetting the cups) in a metallic bowl.  Add the corn flour and mix until it dissolves.
  2. Put it in a water bath and mix with a balloon whisk until the cream is hot.  Add the chocolate, salt and pepper and mix until the chocolate melts.
  3. Add the egg yolks and whisk quickly so that yolks will not be cooked.
  4. Serve in small cups, hot or cold.

What’s next?  I’ m thinking of Panna Cotta!

Petimezi mousse

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, or in the shorter version “More Than A Greek Salad Just The Cookbook” and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.

 

Other relevant recipes:

Moustalevria

Greek Upside Down Apple Pie with Epsima (Petimezi)

Christmas Cake with a Twist

Carob Syrup, Koulourouthkia me Teratsomelo and Spiced Chocolate Cake with Ginger and Carob Syrup

Bitter Chocolate Ginger Cookies with Carob Syrup

Butternut Squash and Chocolate Chip Muffins with Carob Syrup Butter-cream Frosting

Kopiaste

 

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

 

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

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