Ivy on October 12th, 2014

Chocolate and Quince Tart

Happy Anniversary to us.  Today is our 34th Wedding anniversary.  I am not going to write much this year, as I have already written in previous anniversaries.  I  will leave it until next year since my wedding album is in Athens and I’ll have to remember to scan and post pictures of our wedding next year!

I invited over some friends over to celebrate with us and made this Chocolate Mousse Tart with homemade quince jam.  The recipe for the jam will be posted soon.

Tart with Chocolate

After making the tart and looking for last year’s post to link it, I discovered that last year’s post also involved quince.  Quince is in season and as I made the jam a couple of days ago, it’s no wonder why I have added it in my tart.  The other reason is that quince and chocolate is a wonderful combination.

If you don’t have quince, try it with Bergamot or other citrus jam or fruit preserve.  See also below my update of a new filling with Apple Jam.

Chocolate Tart with Bergamot
The filling came out more than I needed but if you skip the jam, I think it will be just enough.

Chocolate mousse2

Since the eggs in the leftover chocolate were not pasteurized, I put the chocolate back in the bain mari and put it back on the heat again for a few minutes.  I mixed in some of last year’s quince fruit preserve and we enjoyed it after lunch.

collage tart shell

Chocolate and Quince Tart

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  30 minutes

Serves:  8 – 10


Tart Shell Pastry:

  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, cold and grated or cut into small chunks
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed


  • 125 grams milk chocolate
  • 300 grams dark chocolate 70% cocoa
  • 400 grams heavy cream 36%
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Additional ingredients:

  • Extra butter to grease the pan
  • 450 grams quince jam (reserve 1 tablespoon)
  • Chocolate shavings


  1. To make the pastry: combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with a your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs Add the ice water and work it to bind the dough until it holds together without over working it. Form the dough into a ball and place on parchment paper.  Cover with cling film and roll it one inch bigger than the size of the tart pan in order to cover the sides.
  2. Grease your tart pan with butter and invert the rolled out dough into the tart pan.
  3. Cut off the excess dough with your hand. Put it back in the tart shell, cover with cling film and distribute it evenly with your hand.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the butter to firm up again.
  4. Add some parchment paper on top and cover it with weight so that it does not rise (I used beans).
  5. Preheat the oven to 170° C  fan forced.  Place the rack in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Simultaneously prepare the filling.
  7. Put the eggs in a big bowl but reserve separately about ½ an egg white.  Beat the egg white lightly and set aside.
  8. Whisk the eggs with sugar and set aside.
  9. Heat the heavy cream in a bain marie (water bath) and add the chocolate , salt and pepper and mix until it melts.
  10. Remove the tart shell from the oven and brush the egg white on its surface, just enough to wet it.  Bake the tart again for 5 – 6 more minutes.  If you have any leftover egg white after brushing the tart, add it to the other eggs.
  11. Empty the quince jam on top of the tart shell and spread it evenly.
  12. Pour the chocolate gradually into the eggs and with a hand mixer whisk to incorporate.
  13. Empty the chocolate mixture over the quince.
  14. Bake for about 30 minutes.  If you see the chocolate beginning to crack, remove it from the oven.
  15. Set aside to cool and refrigerate a few hours before cutting.
  16. Sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top for decoration and a spoonful of quince jam.


Chocolate and Quince Tart cut


Update:  13 January, 2015

Chocolate Tart with Apple Jam

The recipe is similar to the above, but the tart shell is different, so is the chocolate.   The baking method is also different.

You can make the tart shell using any kind of butter but the addition of shortening makes the crust more flaky and tender.  I had some leftover buffalo butter from my Christmas baking and combined it with the shortening.   A similar crust using only buffalo butter was made for my Spinach & Mushroom Tart.

For the filling I had only one chocolate, one heavy cream and one egg, so I made the chocolate topping using these ingredients and it turned out perfect.  The addition of the apple jam was also very good.

Chocolate and Apple tart

Chocolate Tart with Apple Jam

Tart shell:

  • 300 grams all purpose flour
  • 50 grams buffalo butter
  • 150 grams Ariston shortening with butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup brown cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp cold water


Chocolate ganache:

  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 125 grams chocolate couverture
  • 1 egg divided
  • 3 drops vanilla essence
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper

Additional ingredient:

  • ½ cup apple jam


The tart shell was made as above and  baked with parchment paper and weights (raw beans) on top at 180o C for 20 minutes. (The weight will prevent the shell from raising).  The parchment paper and weights were removed and the top of the tart was brushed with 1/3 of egg white.  (This is done so that the tart shell does not absorb moisture).

Meantime the chocolate and heavy cream were melted over a water bath.  Salt, pepper and vanilla were added.  The remaining egg was whisked and added to the chocolate stirring constantly.

The apple sauce was added on top of the egg white and chocolate poured on top.

It was baked again for 10 more minutes.

Apple Chocolate Tart

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:

Fig and Peach Tart with Anthotyro Cheese

Sausage & Onion Tart with Easy Cornmeal Crust

Peaches and Grape Tart

Milopita:  Two old fashioned Apple Pies


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on October 9th, 2014

Dolmades salad and veggie burgers


Dolmades is a Greek traditional dish using vine leaves to enclose a filling with minced meat and rice, with a lot of variations.  However, the recipe I made is not traditional at all.

There is a another Greek dish where sardines are wrapped in vine leaves and cooked with olive oil, lemon juice, spices and water but my recipe has nothing to do with that recipe apart from the sardines being wrapped in vine leaves is the only thing they have in common.

Couscous with cuttlefish ink

When I was given this black couscous, by the Mediterranean Diet Grocery Store, (Sophocleous 1 and Aristidou 11  Street, in Athens), to review , I  had no clue what to make with it.

Although at first glance it even looked a bit repulsive but believe me, after I cooked it, we loved it!

chicken couscous and peas
I did not want to make the usual side dish, which I have made many times but never published.  As I wanted to use it in a creative way,  I kept thinking for days, ways to cook it.

Filleted sardines

When the other day, I bought these lovely, fresh sardines from the farmers’ market the idea of pairing them together clicked into my head.  This handmade couscous, is made with cuttlefish ink, so these two ingredients  sounded like a perfect match.


Collage Dolmades with sardines

It’s always risky to make new recipes, and believe me there are many recipes I have made which will never be posted, but this time my instinct was right and the result was amazing!

It was so delicious that you will be seeing more recipes with this black beauty!

Dolmas with sardines opened


Dolmades with Sardines and Black Couscous

Preparation time:  1 hour

Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves:  4


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove (about 1 tsp) mashed roasted garlic
  • 1 vegetable organic bouillon
  • 200 grams black couscous
  • ¼ cup red dry wine
  • 1 can (400 grams) tomato concasse, blended
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • A handful dried mint
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 40 filleted sardines
  • 40 vine leaves


  1. Blanch the vine leaves, add cold water and drain.
  2. Heat half of the olive oil in a non stick frying pan and sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and bouillon and mix for a few seconds.
  3. Add the couscous and mix until it is wet.
  4. Add the wine and mix until the alcohol evaporates.
  5. Add half of the tomato juice.  Fill the can with water and add half of it.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, add the dried mint, mix, lower heat and simmer until the couscous has absorbed the fluid.
  7. Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley.  Set aside until it cools.
  8. Fillet the sardines.  Pull the head and the guts which will come out with it.
  9. Cut through the belly ending at its tail.  Remove the bone and cut off the tail.  Wash and drain.
  10. Season the sardines with salt and pepper.
  11. Place one of the leaves, vein side facing up, on a plate and put a sardine horizontally near the stem.  Add a spoonful of the couscous mixture on top. Fold the vine leaf, left edge over the filling and then right edge.   Then roll from the top, all the way, wrapping the vine leaf, to make a cigar shape.
  12. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling and place them in a baking tin.
  13. Put the remaining olive oil and water in the remaining tomato juice, mix them and pour on top of the wrapped sardines.
  14. Cover the baking tin with aluminum foil.
  15. Preheat over to 180C and bake for 1 hour.
  16. Serve with a Greek Salad or make some Veggie Burgers, as well


Veggie burgers - dolmades and Greek salad


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:

Dolmadakia Bakaliarou (Dolmades with Cod fillets)

 Vegetarian Dolmades with Mushrooms and Leeks


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on October 4th, 2014

Veggie burgers with Greek Salad

These burgers can be made with almost all vegetables you have in your fridge. The only thing you have to be cautious about is the drain well the those vegetables which have a lot of water content, such as the courgettes or the tomatoes.

I used eggplants which I had in the deep freezer.  When they were cheap I bought some from the farmers’ market in Nafplion and after eating what we needed, I fried the remaining and stored them, four in each zip lock bag and stored them in the freezer. This way they can be preserved for a very long time and  can be used in many recipes.  All you need to do is to thaw them.  However, in this case, it’s not even necessary to thaw them as you can easily chop them while they are frozen.

Instead of making burgers, if you want them smaller you can make smaller fritters by shaping them or just dropping a spoonful of the mixture directly into the frying pan.  If you want to avoid frying them, you can line a baking tin with parchment paper, shape as you like and bake them until golden.

Greek salad with Coriander and buffalo feta

They can be served as an appetizer, a side dish or a main dish with a salad.

Koroneikes olives

I served them with a Greek Salad, in which I added a different variety of small olives called Koroneiki, which are very delicious, different colours of bell peppers and coriander.  Instead of the usual feta, I added buffalo cheese, which is similar to feta but made with buffalo milk.  You can find the olives and buffalo cheese in the Mediterranean Diet Store, on 1 Sophocleous Street, Athens, Telephone  210 3234512.

Collage veggie burgers

Greek Veggie Burgers

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:   30 minutes

Makes:  16 – 20


  • 4 “tsakonikes” eggplants  (Japanese type) cut in half , fried and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped and drained (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup grated and well drained (about 7 small) courgettes
  • Salt (about ½ tsp)
  • 4 grated carrots (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup different colours (about ½ of each of 3 bell peppers) , coarsely chopped
  • 4 green onions, white and part of green leaves, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove (about 1 tsp) mashed roasted garlic
  • ¼ cup dill, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 110 grams finely semolina
  • 185 grams all purpose flour
  • 130 grams feta
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Olive oil, for frying


  1. Cut the eggplants lengthwise and fry on both sides.  Drain on kitchen paper and then cut them into smaller pieces.
  2. Grate the courgettes, put them in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  After ten minutes squeeze all the water out.
  3. Finely chop the tomato and drain.
  4. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and using your hand mix well.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before frying.  They can be left in the fridge for at least one day.
  6. Heat the olive oil on high heat.  Form the vegetable burgers.  Fry on first side until golden and then turn them over.  Remove them on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.

Veggie burgers

You can serve these Burgers as an appetizer with the Cream Cheese Dip, or as a side dish or as a main dish with a Greek Salad.  We had leftovers and ate them the next day and they were even more delicious!

Cream cheese Dip for eggplant fritters

Preparation time:  5 minutes Ingredients:

  • 100 ml Greek yoghurt
  • 100 ml mayonnaise
  • 200 ml cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cucumber, grated and water squeezed out
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Salt ½ tsp hot chili pepper flakes (or add red sweet chili flakes) Directions:

  1. Put the first three ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a balloon whisk until incorporated.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Taste and adjust to your liking.

Veggie burgers with cheese dip

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:

Ntomatokeftedes (Tomato Patties)

Kolokythokeftedes (Zucchini / Courgette burgers)

Fakokeftedes (lentil burgers)


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on October 2nd, 2014

“Viral” is a fashionable word these days. Something goes “viral” because everybody knows it, talks about it, wants it. Well, the European Community ABC didn’t go viral, but in reading again its announcement post from December 2012, I see that it talked about 16 blogs that were announcing together a virtual culinary tour of the European Community countries. This year, however, we are ready to go: the calendar has been finalized and 29 bloggers (some of them ambassadors for a country, others travelers) plus the one and only Aiuolik make up a happy caravan.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to announce:


You got it: this time we will virtually travel around the world and put it on the table one letter at a time.

This tour will feature an ambassador for each letter and we hope that again there will be many of you traveling with us — for just one leg or for the whole tour or whenever your luggage is ready and you want to join the fun.

Each letter of the alphabet is associated with a city that represents a country and the ambassador will start the festivities with a dish s/he chooses from that country’s culinary tradition. During the three weeks following the opening post, anyone can publish a recipe from the same country. It’s that easy.

In brief, if you’d like to participate, remember the 4W rule:

  1. WHEN: every three weeks we change letter and country;
  2. WHAT: you can publish any recipe (or more than one) from the country represented by the letter (the initial of the recipe name does not matter);
  3. WHERE: publish the recipe on your blog and then leave a comment on the initial post (on the ambassador’s blog) containing the URL of your post;
  4. WHO: anyone who has a blog can participate; the more the merrier. It would be great to travel together for as many stops as possible, but, as I said above, you can choose when to participate.

The post(s) you publish must include a reference to the event and to the ambassador’s blog. Use of the logo (the image above) is optional but welcome. You can also contribute a recipe from your archive: add the reference to the event and to the ambassador’s blog and then submit the URL as described above. Let me know if you have any questions or doubts on the process.

Here’s the calendar. Each line includes the letter, the name of the representative city, then in parentheses the name of the country and continent in which the city is located, the start and end date of our stay in the country and finally the hosting blog (ambassador).

  • A – APIA (Samoa, Oceania) – October 6 through October 26, 2014 – Mangiare è un po’ come viaggiare
  • B – BALARAMPUR (India, Asia) – October 27 through November 16, 2014 – Cindystar
  • C – CANBERRA (Australia, Oceania) – November 17 through December 7, 2014 – Cook (almost) anything
  • D – DAKAR (Senegal, Africa) – December 8 through December 28, 2014 – Cafe Lynnylu
  • E – EDMONTON (Canada, America) – December 29, 2014 through January 18, 2015 – Zibaldone culinario
  • F – FORTALEZA (Brasil, America) – January 19 through February 8, 2015 – Torte e dintorni 
  • G – GUADALAJARA (Mexico, America) – February 9 through March 1, 2015 – Torta di rose
  • H – HANOI (Vietnam, Asia) – March 2 through March 22, 2015 – Les madeleines di Proust
  • I – CAIRO (Egypt, Africa) [In Italian, the city is called IL CAIRO] – March 23 through April 12, 2015 – Crumpets & Co.
  • J – JUAN CARLOS BASE (Shetland Islands, Antarctica) – April 13 through May 3, 2015 – Briggis’ home
  • K – KYOTO (Japan, Asia) – May 4 through May 24, 2015 – Nato sotto il cavolo
  • L – LUCERNA (Switzerland, Europe) – May 25 through June 14, 2015 – Kopiaste
  • M – MINNEAPOLIS (USA, America) – June 15 through July 5, 2015 – Briciole
  • N – NAIROBI (Kenya, Africa) – July 6 throuh July 26, 2015 – La cucina di qb 
  • O – ODESSA (Ukraine, Europe) – July 27 through August 16, 2015 – BigShade
  • P – PORT MORESBY (Papua New Guinea, Oceania) – August 17 through September 6, 1015 – Kitchen in the city
  • Q – QUITO (Ecuador, America) – September 7 through September 27, 2015 – Ricette di cultura
  • R – RABAT (Morocco, Africa) – September 28 through October 18, 2015 – La melagranata
  • S – SUVA (Fiji, Oceania) – October 19 through November 8, 2015 – Santa Parmigiana
  • T – TUNISI (Tunisia, Africa) – November 9 through November 29, 2015 – Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
  • U – ULAN BATOR (Mongolia, Asia) – November 30 through December 20, 2015 – Un Uomo dal Bagno alla Cucina 
  • V – VOLGOGRAD (Russia, Europa) – December 21, 2015 through January 10, 2016 – Un pezzo della mia Maremma
  • W – WELLINGTON (New Zealand, Oceania) – January 11 through January 31, 2016 – Gata da plar
  • X – XIAN (China, Asia) – February 1 through February 21, 2016 – Un’arbanella di basilico
  • Y – YEREVAN (Armenia, Europa) – February 22 through March 13, 2016 – La cucina di Cristina
  • Z – ZAGABRIA (Croatia, Europa) – March 14 through April 3, 2016 – Burro e zucchero

Traveling with us is free, you learn a lot and you’ll always find someone smiling next to you. What are you waiting for? Get that luggage ready.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on September 29th, 2014

Layered dessert with spartan orangade

This dessert is easy to make and so light and refreshing, which will please everyone.  Instead of making a pastry cream with heavy cream, butter and eggs, I made this light cream using evaporated milk and Greek yoghurt, which add a wonderful taste but with far less calories.

collage spartan products My relatives in Sparta have started their new business, with some of the products they produce.   They are called Spartan Products, and they gave me some of their products to try.    Needless to say that the concentrated juice is 100% pure orange juice with no preservatives or other additives.  It can be diluted in iced water for a refreshing drink or used in cocktails.  The spoon sweet is again of course 100% fruit with syrup, with no preservatives or additives, and can be served as it is or used in desserts. We all know that chocolate and orange is a killer combination, so I have used both these products, combining them to make this layered dessert. collage chocolate orange desserrt I have used a good quality chocolate which gave taste and colour to the cream but as it set, it surfaced making a layer of chocolate between the cream and the jelly, which I made with the concentrated juice.

choco layer

Chocolate Orange Layered Cream Dessert

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Waiting time: a few hours

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves:  10


  • 12 (½  packet) Savoyard biscuits with chocolate
  • ½ cup orange liqueur
  • 2 tbsp chocolate shavings

Chocolate Pudding:

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 12 gelatin sheets
  • 1 can (410 grams) evaporated milk
  • ½ cup orange spoon sweet syrup
  • Add sugar to you taste (I added half a cup)
  • 200 ml strained Greek yoghurt 2%
  • 12 drops orange (or vanilla) essence
  • 100 grams couverture chocolate
  • Add cold water until it reaches 1000 ml

Orange Jelly:

  • ½ cup concentrated orange juice
  • 6 gelatine leaves
  • Water to reach 500 ml
  • 3 slices orange preserve


  1. Dissolve gelatin sheets with tap water until soft.
  2. In a pot heat the water, remove from the heat and add the gelatin and mix until it dissolves.  Add the chocolate and mix until it melts.
  3. In a measuring bowl add the evaporated milk, the orange preserve syrup as well as the dissolved gelatine with chocolate.  Add the orange essence.  Add the yoghurt and using a hand mixer, mix to combine.  Add more cold water until it measures 1 litre. Add sugar gradually, mix and taste and adjust if you want it sweeter.
  4. Set aside until it cools and then refrigerate until it begins to thicken (if it sets just fluff it up using a hand mixer).
  5. Dip each biscuit into the liqueur and layer in a 18 x 26 cm (7 x 10 inch) dish.
  6. Gently pour the cream on top of the biscuits and sprinkle the chocolate shavings.
  7. Refrigerate for a few hours until it sets.

For the Orange jelly:

  1. Put the gelatine sheets in a bowl with tap water until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 cup water and add the softened gelatine.  Mix until it dissolves.
  3. Put the orange juice in a measuring cup, add the gelatin and add more tap water until it reaches 500 ml.
  4. Set aside until it cools.
  5. With a spoon add the jelly slowly over the set cream.  Arrange the orange preserve on top. (You can cut it into smaller pieces, if you prefer).
  6. Refrigerate for a couple of hours again until it sets.

Choco Orange dessert


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

Other relevant recipes:

Goat Cheese and White Chocolate Panna Cotta

Paris on Ice Yoghurt Masticha Dessert

Panna Cotta with Masticha (Mastic Resin)



  Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on September 24th, 2014

Spaghetti with sausages and buffalo cheese


Last week we visited our children here in Athens for a few days and on Saturday I visited the centre of Athens where I could find some ingredients which are not available in Nafplion.

Collage Athens September 2014

Dinkel pasta, black handmade cous-cous with cuttlefish ink, prune jam, tangerine jam, village bread flour, koroneiki variety of olives and chives from the Varvakeios market, are only a few.  You will certainly see some of these products in my future recipes.

Collage products

Some deli cookies, filled with pear for our morning coffee.


pear cookies

I visited my favourite Greek Grocery Store where I know I can find selected Greek products, which are only available in this and a few other stores, I visited Varvakeios, a Coffee shop to buy freshly ground Greek coffee, a Middle Eastern shop, Cleopatra, which however was being renovated, spice shops, charcuterie shops, cheese shops and a shop selling various types of flour, especially Zea flour (triticum dicoccum).
The Mediterranean Diet Grocery Store

We also visited  The Festival of Taste – Art and Fun where our relatives from Sparta are also participating with a booth (Spartan Products) with their products.  They are now producing 100% pure concentrated orange juice with no preservatives or other additives as well as an amazing orange sliced fruit preserve.

collage spartan products

Really, can a spaghetti recipe be gourmet?  My answer of course is yes, if you cook it properly and have selected top notch ingredients.

Let’s see some of the products I used:

Buffalo milk white cheese

First product:  Greek White Artisan Cheese in brine, made with Water Buffalo Milk by Beka Family.

You like feta, right?  Well, actually it is feta but it cannot be named as feta because it is a Protected of Origin Product (PDO) and can only be named feta if it is made of sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat milk and is produced in certain parts of Greece (mainland and Lesvos island ONLY).

If you like feta you will love  this cheese as it has a sub-acidic and piquant taste which leaves a lovely tickle on your taste buds and has a more creamy texture.  Before using it in the recipe I tried a bit to see how it tasted and I wanted more and more.

In my recipe I added some mozzarella but I only used it as I had bought it a couple of weeks ago and took it to Athens with me as it was about to expire.  However, you can definitely add more of this cheese instead.   I am saving this cheese as I have other plans for this delicious “feta” cheese!!


Second product:  Greek Tempi sausages.  These unique patented Greek sausages are made with smoked beef and pork mince and inside there are cubes of kefalotyri cheese.  An unusual combination but the result was amazing.

red pepper sauce

Third product:  Red Sweet Pepper Sauce made by Dolopia.  A lovely sauce made with roasted red sweet peppers with a lovely aftertaste of smoked paprika.

These three wonderful ingredients were combined to make a gourmet dish.  It did not take more than fifteen minutes to put the dish together and what is more I did not add any spices or salt in this dish because I wanted the spices in the sausages and pepper sauce to do the job for me.  Nothing more or nothing less was needed as the dish turned out perfect.

collage spaghetti with sausage and buffalo feta

The easiest Gourmet Spaghetti Recipe:

Spaghetti with Sausages, Red Pepper Sauce and Buffalo Cheese

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves:  5


  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sausages with kefalotyri, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 250 ml tomato juice
  • ¼ cup red pepper dip
  • 250 grams mozzarella, cut into smaller pieces
  • ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
  • Buffalo cheese to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the sausages for a few minutes.
  2. Add the tomato juice and red pepper sauce and cook five more minutes. (No salt or spices are necessary).
  3. Turn off the heat and mix in the chives and mozzarella.
  4. Meantime heat the water in a separate pot and when it comes to a boil add salt and cook pasta according to the package instructions, about 7 – 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pasta directly into the frying pan and mix to combine.
  6. Serve with grated buffalo cheese and more chives on top.

spaghetti with buffalo cheese and sausages

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

Other relevant recipes:

Greek Style Spaghetti Chicken Alfredo

Spaghetti with Wild Asparagus Pesto

Summer Pasta with Mint and Parsley Pesto


  Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on September 16th, 2014

Banana, fig peach and grape jam1

A sudden trip popped up, unexpectedly and since I had some fruit in the fridge (the peaches were from last week), the bananas started to have spots, so since I already had dessert in the fridge, what better way to use them and make some jam.

Fig trees

Our neighbour who has the citrus grove next door has two fig trees and he has told us to harvest any fruit from his grove, as he never comes to pick them.


So we were lucky to find and pick about 600 grams of figs as well.  I remembered there were also some grapes in the fridge after I took the picture.

Bananas, figs and peaches for jam

I have made several combinations using figs but pairing them with bananas was the first time.  I was a bit reluctant at first when I decided to add the bananas in the jam but  I love to experiment and try new flavours.  Most of my jams are flavoured with rose geraniums but this time I wanted something different so my choice was cinnamon.  Try the combination and you will not regret it.

My directions are simple.  Although I have weighed the products and used a thermometre, you can easily make the jam using basic equipment.  General instructions about jam making will tell you that for each kilo of fruit, you usually use 1 kilo of sugar.  However, those are instructions for dummies and sometimes we have to use some common sense.  Figs, bananas and grapes are fruit with high sugar levels, so for the quantity of fruit I used, I reduced the sugar to just enough to preserve it and not make it overly sweet.  If you want it on the sweeter side, you can add more sugar if you like.  I love leaving some chunks of fruit in the jam, so that I can serve them on top of ice cream, on puddings, or even with Greek yoghurt, it’s delicious.

Four fruit jam

Since I have a thermometre, I used it during the second stage of boiling but simultaneously I also checked the time and it took about half an hour to set.  However, the time also depends on what equipment you are using.  A shallow pot will help the juices evaporate much quicker.  In this case, if you are not sure, you will have to do the testing by putting a small amount of jam in a cold saucer.  However if you still have any doubts that the jam has not properly set, you can preserve it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Mashing the fruit

Until recently I would peel the figs but when I made some halloumi and fig appetizers and made them with the skin on, they tasted just perfect, so they went in the jam with the skin on, as well as the other fruit, except of course the bananas.

Ivy in the kitchen holding halloumi platter

When the jam was cooked, there was nothing to remind you that the fruit were with the skin on.

adding the cinnamon

Banana Jam with Figs, Peaches and Grapes

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour 30 minutes

Makes: about 2.5 kilos


  • 825 grams banana (6 bananas)
  • 725 grams peaches  (4 peaches)
  • 600 grams figs  (14 figs)
  • 175 grams seedless sultana grapes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 kilo sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  •  2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Wash the fruit and cut them into big chunks.
  2. Put them in a large pot together with sugar.  Let the juices of the fruit come out to wet the sugar.  You can speed up the process, by pressing the fruit with a potato masher (I used the wooden spoon).
  3. When there is no visible sugar, add the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat (I bring the temperature from 12 to 10) and cook the jam, mixing regularly for one hour.  (While the jam is boiling you may see some froth forming on top.  Just ignore it and continue mixing as this will not affect the jam.  While cooking the jam, press the fruit with the wooden spoon to make smaller pieces.  If they slip away, especially the grapes, put them in the wooden spoon and use a fork to press them).
  4. Cook the jam for one hour and turn off the heat.  (I cooked it on the ceramic stove, so I left it  on the stove, which adds a few more minutes of cooking). When it cools, cover the pot with the lid.
  5. Next morning check the jam.  If it has set and is thick enough put it back on the heat, add the lemon juice and when it comes to a boil turn it off.
  6. However, if it has not set, more boiling is necessary.
  7. When it starts boiling bring the stove button down to number ten again.  Add the lemon juice and keep mixing until the temperature of the thermometre shows 105o C / 220o F.
  8. Remove from the heat and when it cools store in sterilized jars.

Banana, fig peach and grape jam

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

Other relevant recipes:

More Fig Jams

 How can we tell if the syrup is ready?

How to sterilize Jars for preserving fruit and vegetables


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,



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Ivy on September 11th, 2014

Lemon cheesecake with yoghurt and honey Today I am posting two different cheesecakes I made recently.  One of the them was baked and the other was not. The crust is the same for both cheesecakes.  Each one is different in taste and texture but both delicious. You can see below in the video how I shaped the crust. Two different Chocolate Mousse Cheesecakes Preparation time:  30 minutes Baking time:  15 minutes + 1 hour for the baked one Waiting time:  a few hours Ingredients: For the Crust:

  • 2 packets (500 grams) Digestive biscuit crumbs
  • 90 grams butter, melted
  • 50 grams ground almonds, skin on
  • 1 tbsp brown cane sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a frying pan until it starts melting and turn off the heat.
  3. Put all the crumb ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  4. Transfer it to a 28 cm spring form pan, and press it with a spoon into the bottom and sides of the pan. (see video).
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is slightly toasted.  Set aside until it cools.
  6. If making the baked cheeseckae, lower heat in order to keep your oven warm.

In one of them  I made an easy mousse with whipped cream and in the other I made the classic chocolate mousse with eggs.  However, due to fear of salmonella I have stopped using raw eggs, so you can see how you can still make mousse with eggs by pasteurizing them.   Eggless Chocolate Mousse:

  • 500 grams heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 4 drops vanilla essence
  • 125 grams couverture chocolate
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of freshly grated black pepper


  1. Whip the cream with a hand mixer.  Add sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until peak forms.  Refrigerate.
  2.  In a double boiler melt the chocolate and mix in the salt and pepper.  Remove from the water bath and mix with a spoon until it chills but it should still be runny.
  3. Whip the cream again on low speed, adding spoonfuls of melted chocolate, until all incorporated.
  4. Keep the cream refrigerated.

What makes the difference in each one of the cheesecakes, is of course the filling but I can assure you that both taste amazing.  One of them is made with vanilla essence and the other one with bitter almond oil which makes an amazing combination with chocolate. Regarding the baked cheesecake, when I removed the aluminium foil after 50 minutes, there was some steam concentrated in the middle of the cake.  I took some kitchen paper and gently let it absorb some of the water.  I reduced the temperature to 120°C and continued baking it uncovered, until all the moisture evaporated, for 10 more minutes. Lemon Filling with Greek Yoghurt and Honey: Ingredients:

  • 800 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 200 grams Greek Yoghurt (2% or full fat)
  • 1 cup light brown cane sugar
  • 2 heaped spoonfuls Greek honey
  • 10 drops of vanilla essence
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

For serving:

  • 450 ml sour cherries fruit preserve


  1. Prepare and bake the crust.
  2. Prepare the eggless chocolate mousse and refrigerate.
  3. Beat cream cheese  with a hand mixer to soften.  Add Greek yoghurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  4. Add sugar and honey and mix well.
  5. Sprinkle the corn flour while the mixer is still working.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.
  7. Cut two pieces of aluminium foil and join together.  Wrap the baking tin around, to cover the baking tin from outside.
  8. Increase the temperature to 170°C.
  9. Pour the batter evenly over baked crust and use a spatula to spread it.
  10. Cover the top of pan with aluminium foil.
  11. Put the baking tin in a larger roasting pan and add hot water (about 1 1/2 litres).
  12. Bake in the water bath 45 to 60 minutes or until set.   (It will still be wobbly but it will set in the fridge).
  13. Set aside to cool.
  14. Fill a piping bag with the chocolate mousse and decorate the cheesecake, leaving some space in the middle to add the sour cherries.
  15.  Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
  16. Serve with extra sour cherries on top.
  17. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Collage baked chocolate mousse cheesecake Sorry for the bad picture which follows.  I prepared this cheesecake for a friend who invited us for dinner.  It was dark but I managed to take this picture on my mobile phone. cheesecake cut   The second cheesecake is for those who love chocolate! It’s much easier to make but equally delicious.  The combination of bitter almond and chocolate is  amazing so long as you like bitter almond. If not, you can still add vanilla but even better, orange essence. chocolate cheesecake The desserts I make are not overly sweet so that I can serve them with the fruit preserves, jams or fruit sauces I make.  I have served this spicific one with orange preserve, with watermelon rind preserve (refrigerated) and with fig and peach sauce/jam.  All three different combinations were amazing! Collage No bake chocolate mousse cheesecake No Bake Bitter Almond Chocolate Cheesecake with Honey Preparation time:  45 minutes Baking time:  15 minutes Ingredients: Crust:

  • Same as previous cheesecake

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 600 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 80 grams light brown sugar
  • 200 grams (a little bit more than half a cup) Greek honey
  • 1/4 tsp bitter almond vanillin

Chocolate Mousse with eggs:

  • 200 grams baking chocolate
  • 40 grams white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs

For Decoration:

  • 30 grams chocolate shavings


  1. Prepare and bake the crust as above.
  2. Melt the chocolate over a hot water bath and empty it in another bowl to cool. Keep your water hot.
  3. When the metallic bowl is cool (no need to wash it) add the eggs and sugar and beat with a hand mixer over the water bath until frothy.  Lower speed and add the melted chocolate and mix to combine.
  4. Beat the cream cheese with heavy cream, as well as sugar and honey.  Add the melted chocolate and the bitter almond oil and mix to combine.  Refrigerate until the crust cools.
  5. Poor the cream on top of the crust and sprinkle the chocolate shavings on top.
  6. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

chocolate cheesecake with fig jam

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

Other relevant recipes:

New York Cheesecake with Mars Chocolate and Fig Preserve

Strawberry Cheesecake with Greek Yoghurt

Agriovyssiono (wild cherries) Cheesecake

No guilt Apricot Cheesecake

Orange Chocolate Cheesecake


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Whole wheat penne with chutney


I mentioned this recipe in my post for the Tomato and Fruit Chutney.  You can use the chutney as a sauce to dress your pasta dishes and you will have an easy pasta dish prepared in no time, which is not only easy to make but also delicious.


This time of the year I have purslane in our garden, which I have used.  If you don’t have any you can used picked purslane or just leave out this ingredient.

Whenever I make pesto, I store it in the deep freezer.  You do not need to thaw it and it goes without saying that you can, of course, use any other kind of fresh or store bought pesto.  Mint pesto, would be my other choice.

Collage Whole wheat penne with chutney

Whole Wheat Penne with Courgettes, Tomato Chutney & Feta

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Serves:  3



  • 250 grams whole wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 small courgettes, cut into round slices
  • 1 handful of tender purslane, finely chopped
  • 15 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon roasted garlic, mashed
  • 1/3 cup coriander, parsley and kafkalithres pesto with almonds (no cheese)
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • 100 grams crumbled feta
  • Tomato and fruit chutney



  1. Boil water, add salt and cook penne according to package instructions, for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the courgettes on both sides.
  3. Add the purslane and sauté until it wilts.
  4. Add the fresh mint leaves and mashed garlic and mix for a few seconds.
  5. Transfer penne to the frying pan and add the (frozen) pesto and mix (until it melts).
  6. Add a little freshly grated black pepper (no salt is added).
  7. Serve with crumbled feta and tomato chutney on top, which are mixed in the plate.

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


Other relevant recipes:

Penne with Seafood Medley

Penne with Chickpeas and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

How to Roast Garlic


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,




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Ivy on September 3rd, 2014


Tomato and fruit chutney dip

In my previous recipe for Spicy Cornmeal Breadsticks with Graviera and Tomato Chutney, I had used some of this Tomato Chutney I had recently made.

I’ ve been hearing about Tomato Chutneys for many years now, so it was about time to make some and see if it was as amazing as I had heard.

Chutneys originate in India and is a thick sauce that is made from fruits, vinegar, sugar, and spices.  The most appropriate English translation for it would be a relish but it also is a savoury kind of jam.  It is usually served as a condiment but it is so versatile that it can be used in many other recipes as well.

lentils with chutney

I have already served it as a dip with breadsticks, on top of lentils, with pasta (a recipe to follow),  with lamb souvlakia, on pizza, with fish and corn patties and I can think of many more ways to use it in the future.

Tomato and fruit chutney

By the time I got to post the recipe, we already ate the first batch and needless to say how much we loved it as last Saturday I made a second batch using 5 kilos of beautiful, ripe tomatoes, keeping the summer flavours for the winter to come.

Before making it, I read a few recipes to get the whole idea of what a chutney is and from there on I proceeded to make my own chutney .

Tomato, Peach, Nectarine and Pear Chutney

I am very proud that I made a unique umami chutney combined with the reaming flavours of  sweet, sour, salty and bitter but also spicy.

To make my tomato chutney I used ripe tomatoes, a peach, a nectarine and a pear, which were the fruit I had at the time.  I did not make it too sweet as suggested in many recipes, but used some light brown sugar and honey, I used dried hot chilies and added bitter orange juice.  This time of the year is not really the time to find bitter oranges but my house is surrounded  by them, so I did find some on the trees, to get enough juice.  I also used an amazing prized aged nectar of vinegar made of fruit, which all combined together made this delicious chutney.

Isis vinegar

My husband is not fond of spicy food but the fact that he loved it, is proof enough for me that it was delicious.

Collage2 Tomato Chutney

Tomato and Fruit Chutney

Preparation time:  1 hour

Cooking time: about 2 hours

Makes: about 1 kilo chutney


  • 1750 grams tomatoes, diced
  • 1 peach, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 1 nectarine, pitted peeled and diced
  • 1 pear, pitted and diced (skin on)
  • 3 small to medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp roasted garlic, mashed
  • 10 hot, dried mini chili peppers, cut into smaller pieces
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup bitter orange juice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp elixir of vinegar nectar


  1. Wash and dice the tomatoes.  Put them in a colander with the sea salt for 10 minutes to drain some of the water.  Mix with the fruit.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent.
  3. Add the mashed garlic, the hot peppers and the remaining spices and mix.
  4. Add the tomatoes and fruit.
  5. Add sugar, honey, bitter orange juice, Worcestershire sauce and both vinegars and mix.
  6. Bring to a boil covered.
  7. You will see that a lot of juices have been released.
  8. Lower the heat to medium, keep the lid ajar and continue simmering, keeping an eye on it and mixing every now and then, until the juices have been reduced considerably and the sauce thickens.
  9. Turn off the heat and wait until the next morning. (I keep it on the ceramic stove, so it continues cooking until it cools).
  10. Next morning if there are still juices in the tomato chutney, bring to a boil again, without the lid this time, lower the heat and let it simmer until the sauce thickens, mixing regularly this time, as it may stick to the bottom of the pot.
  11. Remove from the heat and wait until it cools before storing in sterilized jars.

Chutney with tomatoes and fruit

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


Other relevant recipes:

Spicy Tomato Sauce

Marinara Sauce

Tomato Pesto alla Trapanese

How to sterilize jars


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,  


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