Mezes

The usual Loukanikopitakia we make in Greece are those called Pigs in a Blanket made with frankfurter sausages, wrapped in puff pastry. The other day I made Galaktoboureko and had some leftover phyllo sheets*.  Instead of making the usual Tyropitakia I saw some Kalamata sausages** in the fridge, I had leftover parmesan from my last recipe and a leek.  I combined these ingredients, added some feta as well  as spices and made this amazing, unique «mezedaki».  A mezes (or mezedaki) is food to accompany wine, ouzo, tsipouro, beer etc.

filling with bechamel

The second time I made them I added some bechamel*** as well.

Collage loukanikopitakia

Note:

* During my last working experience in a restaurant in Cyprus, I found out, to my surprise, that the phyllo sheets were half size of the ones we get in Greece.   Therefore, depending on their size you may need more phyllo sheets.

**These Greek Kalamata sausages are flavoured with savory (throumbi) and cumin (kymino).    Feel free to use other sausages you like.  If they have an intense taste, you can leave out the spices or use other spices of your choice.

*** Adding bechamel is optional but helps the filling hold together better.

Loukanikopitaki inside

Loukanikopitakia:  Spicy Phyllo Wrapped Sausages with Parmesan and Feta

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Makes:  24

Ingredients:

  • 1 Greek Kalamata Sausage (200 grams)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek,  only white part, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmesan (or other cheese such as graviera, halloumi, kasseri)
  • 100 grams crumbled feta
  • ¼ coarse sea salt (depending on saltiness of cheese)
  • ¼ tsp red sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp my spice mixture
  • 4 phyllo sheets cut into 6 stripes each
  • 1 cup olive oil, for frying
  • 2 tbsp bechamel (optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove the skin of the sausage and finely cut it.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté the leek and onion until translucent.
  3. Add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes.  (Drain any excess fat from the frying pan).
  4. Add the spices and cheese (bechamel) and mix.  Taste and adjust salt, if necessary and set aside to cool.
  5. Cut the phyllo lengthwise into six stripes (about 8 cm wide) and add 1 tbsp of the sausage mixture on the top.  Fold to form a triangle and continue wrapping towards the opposite direction until the end.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a clean non stick frying pan and fry the triangles until golden on both sides.
  7. Put on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  8. Serve hot or cold.

Spicy Loukanikopitakia

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:

Rustic Whole Wheat Galette with Sausage

Sausage Rolls and Tyropita with Tangzhong Starter

Gemista me Loukanika (Gemista with Sausages)

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Ιουνίου 8th, 2014

Hounkiar Beyendi

 

The dish is called hünkâr beğendi in Turkish, which means «the sultan was satisfied».   The French chef serving  sultan Murad IV (who was sultan from 1623 to 1640) , combined his knowledge with French cuisine to prepare a dish which would satisfy the sultan and he fully succeeded, creating  this delicious dish. This dish was made popular in Greece, when the Greeks of Asia Minor were forced to leave Turkey and come to Greece.  I learned about this recipe from a friend, whose grandparents were from Constantinople.

Charring eggplants

 

This dish is made either with lamb or veal but the star of this dish is the eggplant puree.   I made several changes to the original recipe.  The eggplants are charred until the flesh acquired a smokey taste.  Then a roux is made together with the salt and spices.

charred eggplants

I also added some cumin together with the nutmeg.  The flour was roasted in olive oil until the flour started lightly browning, which always gives an amazing taste to the bechamel.  Then the eggplant puree was mixed in the bechamel, as well as some cheese.  The traditional cheese used for this recipe is either kefalotyri, kaskavalli or even kasseri.  This time I made it with Pamigiano Reggiano which added a wonderful taste to the puree.

Melitzanosalata with Roasted garlic

When I bought the veal I was planning to make a different recipe.  Instead of cutting the meat into small pieces, as stated in the recipe, I cut it into thin slices of about 1 1/2 cm, which I dredged into flour.  I made the veal stew using more spices which I usually add when making  stews, such as a cinnamon stick, all spice berries and a bay leaf.  My children do not like garlic so I reduced the amount from 3 cloves to 2.   Also instead of adding sugar to the sauce, which I usually avoid and instead I usually add honey, on that day I had made apple sauce which I used instead.   Instead of adding concasse tomatoes, I added passata as well as tomato paste and water. By adding the tomato paste and water there was leftover sauce but I do not regret it as it was really delicious and I made good use of it.  I was surprised to see my daughter  adding some of this sauce to her toasted sandwich.  The rest was used a couple of days later to make a quick chicken stew.  All I did was to cut the chicken breast into very small, thin slices, I added salt and pepper and sauteed the chicken.  Nothing else was needed but the leftover sauce and the meal was ready in fifteen minutes.  I served it again with eggplant puree and accompanied it with rice pilaf.  I boiled some broccoli florets for three minutes which I put in iced water immediately.  I then cut the florets into smaller pieces and I mixed it in the rice together with some crumbled feta.

Hounkiar Beyendi Chicken

This is surely a dish which I will be making over and over again.

charred eggplants

Hounkiar Begendi (hünkâr beğendi)  

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Cooking time for the eggplants: 1 hour  

Cooking time for the stew: 1 hour  

Serves: 6-8  

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of round beef (or rump or silverside)
  • 80 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of apple sauce
  • 1 cup red dry wine
  • 500 grams of tomato Passata
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  •  5 all spices
  •  1 cinnamon stick
  •  500 ml water (fill the carton of tomato passata)

 For the Eggplant Purée:  Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo (4) eggplants
  •  ¼ cup olive oil
  •  1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2 cups hot milk
  •  100 grams grated parmesan (the traditional cheese used is kefalotyri)
  •  1 tsp salt
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  •  A pinch of cumin
  •  A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1.  Wash the eggplants and pierce them with a fork all over.
  2. Char the eggplants over open flame until black outside or place them on a baking tray and bake for about 1 hour turning once. Turn them over half way through. Set aside to slightly cool and purée in a food processor.
  3.  Heat the milk in a pot.
  4.  In another pot heat the olive oil, add the flour and spices and stir with a balloon whisk to prepare the roux.
  5. Pour the milk and keep stirring with the balloon whisk.
  6. When it starts thickening, add the mashed eggplants as well as the parmesan and mix well until incorporated.
  7. Remove the purée from the heat and serve as a side dish.
  8.  Simultaneously you can start cooking the meat.
  9. Wash and cut the veal into small pieces or thin slices ​​ 1 ½ cm thick.   Season with salt and pepper. Pour the flour into a zip lock bag and dredge the meat, a few pieces each time.
  10.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the meat on both sides.  Do not put too many pieces in the frying pan. Remove the fried meat in a pot and continue frying the remaining.
  11.  After removing the meat, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Mix in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Pour the onion with the olive oil in the pot with the meat. Put it back on the heat and add the wine. Boil for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates and add the apple sauce, tomato paste and tomato passata as well as all the spices.  Fill the carton of tomato with water and add to the pot. Put the lid on and when it starts boiling, reduce heat and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Taste and adjust salt.
  12.  Just before the meat is cooked prepare the eggplant puree.

Eggplant puree

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:

How to make your own Apple Sauce

Veal Stroganoff with Ryzokeftedes

Giouvetsi (veal with orzo)

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Μαΐου 24th, 2014

carbonara four cheeses and bacon

When it comes to a busy day I always resort to making a pasta dish which can be made in minimum time and still have a delicious meal.

It was not a planned meal so I used the ingredients I had at hand.  I always have grated cheese in the deep freezer and had a low fat cream and when I saw the Greek yoghurt in the fridge I decided to go for it.

The outcome was amazing.  A light meal with so much flavour.  The bacon was just enough to give its flavour and the Greek yoghurt combined with the cheeses gave a slightly sour but delicious cream.

The chevril also added a wonderful aroma to the dish.

I had some leftover spanakopita from the previous day which matched perfectly with our meal.

Four cheese, Carbonara with Bacon and Greek Yoghurt

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Serves 5

 

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams penne rigate
  • 1 tbsp salt
  •  5 slices bacon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 grams cheese, mozzarella, kerrygold light, milner light, gouda
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 grams Greek yoghurt
  • 200 ml light cream
  • 50 ml light milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup pasta water
  • Finely chopped myronia (chervil) or parsley (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in salted hot water, al dente, according to package instructions, about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté the bacon on both sides until crispy and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg and add the yoghurt, cream, cheeses, salt and pepper and mix.  If the cream is too thick, dilute it to a runny consistency with some milk.
  4. Withaslottedladletransferthecookedpastaintothesautéingpanlettingsomepastawaterfallaswell.
  5. Finally add the cheese mixture and mix until the cheeses melt and the sauce begins to thicken.
  6. Serve with more freshly grated black pepper and some myronia or parsley on top.

Four Cheese Carbonara with yoghurt

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:

How to make your own Greek Yoghourt

Yiaourtoglyko

Greek Strawberry Cheesecake with Yoghurt

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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tutti frutti in a bowl

I based this dessert on an older recipe of mine which I make with Greek yoghourt, whipping cream, sugar and canned tutti frutti.  These four ingredients make an easy and delicious dessert called Yiaourtoglyko (yoghourt dessert) which you can have ready in five minutes.

Orange fruit preserve

I love making fruit preserves, which I love using  in my recipes.    This time, instead of  the canned tutti frutti, I used an orange fruit preserve and instead of adding sugar I added some of its syrup.   In order to hold together I used a sheet of gelatine.  This way you can flip it over in a plate and serve it with cinnamon and fruit preserve on top or just serve it as it is in a bowl.

Greek yoghurt Tutti frutti

The one sheet of gelatine I used is enough just to hold it together.  If you like it firm, like a pannacotta for example, you can add two gelatine leaves.

The amount of syrup used makes the dessert slighly sweet.  If you like you can drizzle more syrup or honey on top or you can increase the amount of syrup in the recipe.   If you don’t make fruit preserves you can use any canned compote with its syrup.

 

tutti frutti

You can use full fat yoghurt and cream but I opted for a healthier version using cream with 25% fat, which is enough to make it form peaks and a low fat Greek yoghurt with 2% fat, which is equally delicious.

 

Giaourtoglyko me Portokali (Greek Yoghurt Tutti Frutti with Orange)

 

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Setting time:  2 – 3 hours

Serves:  8

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams Greek yoghurt (2%)
  • 500 ml heavy cream (25%)
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserve syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 gelatine leaf
  • 1 cup orange fruit preserve cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp orange essence (or vanilla)

Directions:

  1. Put the gelatine leaf in a bowl with water and soak it for five minutes.
  2. Put the syrup and water in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Add the gelatine leaf and mix to dissolve.  Remove from the heat and set aside until it cools.
  3. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks are formed.  Add the yoghurt and orange essence and whip for another second.
  4. Add the syrup and fruit and mix in with a spoon.
  5. Divide the mixture into molds or small bowls.
  6. Serve with cinnamon on top and a slice of fruit preserve.
  7. Depending on how sweet you prefer it, you can add more syrup or honey on top.

Orange yoghurt tutti frutti
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:

How to make your own Greek Yoghourt

Yiaourtoglyko

Greek Strawberry Cheesecake with Yoghurt

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Cauliflower Kapamas Did you know that in the Middle Ages the British used to call the cauliflower «Cyprus Colewort»?   It is believed that the cauliflower originated in Cyprus, where the oldest record dates from the 6th century b.C.    Cauliflower,  arrived in Europe from Cyprus by the Venetians. It was then introduced to mainland Europe through Italy in the mid-16th century and only when King of France, Louis IIV tried it and liked it, it became very popular.  Since then they began to cultivate it, especially in the region of Brittany. Cauliflower You won’t find many cauliflower recipes on my blog as my children hate it.  When I was in Athens I used to say to myself that once we moved to Nafplio, we΄” ll be eating cauliflower much more often and we have. Kounoupidi Kapamas Cauliflower This is one of the recipes my mother used to make quite often.  While I was cooking it the wonderful aroma of cinnamon filled the house and evoked so many beautiful memories.  My mother did not add any wine or garlic to this dish but we love garlic so I added a clove but  for some unexplained reason, the last time I started making it, I felt as if the cauliflower was shouting to me in my head:  «add some wine, add some wine, add some wine».  I trusted my instinct and the stew turned out much richer as it contributed a refreshing fruitiness that mingled well with the other ingredients and complimented their flavors. If you don’t want potatoes, you can still serve it as a main dish (or side if you prefer) but adding the potatoes makes the dish more filling and if you accompany it with some feta and crusty bread to mop up those delicious juices, you will feast like a king :) Collage Cauliflower Kapamas   Kounoupidi me Patates Kapamas (Stewed Cauliflower with Potatoes) Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Servings: 4 Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 ½ kilos cauliflower
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1tin tomato passata
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black Pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 organic vegetable bouillon
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Water to cover

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick frying pan.
  2. Fry the potatoes on both sides.  Remove them in a pot and do the same with the cauliflower. If necessary add more olive oil.
  3. After removing the cauliflower sauté the onion until soft and add garlic. Add the wine and wait a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper and cinnamon as well as the vegetable bouillon.
  4. Mix and when it comes to a boil transfer it into the pot. Add water to cover it and cover the pot with the lid.
  5. Lower heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about half an hour to 45 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and simmer until sauce thickens without overcooking it.
  7. Serve with freshly grated black pepper on top (optional).

Stewed cauliflower 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: Moungra (pickled cauliflower) Kounoupidi me Hylo (fried battered cauliflower) Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 29th, 2014

Karydopita with chocolate

Karydopita (walnut cake) is one of the most delicious, traditional Greek cakes.  I have already posted two «Karydopita» recipes (see links below) but this new twist of mine is my all times favourite.  This time I made it with semolina flour, olive oil, orange syrup and added a chocolate ganache made with orange fruit preserve syrup.  I decorated it with orange fruit preserve, which of course paired with chocolate is a killer combination.

Orange fruit preserve

I did not make it overly sweet but if you like yours on the sweet side, you just double the amount of the syrup.  Also, if you want it more spicy you can add more cinnamon and cloves and if you want it darker you can remove a couple tablespoons of flour and replace them with cocoa.  Unfortunately, I was out of cocoa powder.

Karydopita before baking

The chocolate glazing is optional but it’s an amazing addition.  If you do not add the orange preserves on top, you can add the walnuts as part of the decoration.

Karydopita

Olive Oil Karydopita with Chocolate and Orange

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Baking time:  45 minutes

Serves: 16

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 125 grams (about 3/4 cup) sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 450 grams fine semolina
  • 150 grams walnuts, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 25 grams halved walnuts, for decoration
  • Butter to grease the baking dish

Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Chocolate glazing:

  • 125 grams couverture chocolate
  • 1/2 cup leftover orange spoon sweet syrup

For decoration:

  • 4 slices orange spoon sweet

Directions:

  1. Prepare the syrup.  Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for 5 minutes and set aside to cool.
  2. Beat the olive oil with sugar on high speed for about 10 minutes.  Add the eggs and beat until creamy and smooth.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients.
  4. Lower mixer speed to minimum and add all the dry ingredients.
  5. Grease a 25 x 18 cm (10 x 7 inches) baking dish with butter.
  6. Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F.
  7. Pour in the batter and decorate with the walnuts.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Spoon the cooled syrup over the hot cake and wait until it is absorbed.
  10. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a double boiler and mix in the orange syrup.
  11. Spread it over the cake and decorate with the orange spoon sweet.

Note:  If your mixer is not very powerful, whisk the egg whites separately with a pinch of salt until peak form and then gently fold into the batter.

Today is my second son’s Birthday.  Unfortunately I am not in Athens to make a cake for him.  Happy 29th birthday Kyriacos, with continued health and happiness for a long time to come!  Enjoy this virtual sweet today until I come to Athens next week!  We Love you!

Happy Birthday Karydopita

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:

Karydopita (Walnut Cake)

Olive oil, Beetroot and Chocolate Karydopita

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 28th, 2014

Fussili with sausage and feta2

This is a very easy pasta dish you can pull together in less than half an hour.  I always keep some sausages in the deep freezer and had some leftover leeks from the last time we went to the farmers” market.  Of course, it’s impossible that a Greek household is without feta, so with a few ingredients I made this delicious and easy dish.  I did not add any salt or spices to the sauce and let the taste of the sausages do the trick.  The spice that prevailed the most from the sausages was cumin.

I had some leftover «Paphitiko» cheese which you can easily replace with halloumi or more feta, if you can’t find any.

I grated both cheeses and mixed them in the tomato sauce.  It melted making a creamy sauce which was absorbed by the pasta.

collage sausage pasta

Sausages in Tomato, Leek and Feta Sauce with Fussili

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  about 20

Serves:  4

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams fussili
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sausages (around 300 grams)
  • 1 cup white dry wine
  • 400 grams chopped, peeled tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 60 grams feta
  • 40 grams Paphitiko cheese
  • Black pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a 30 cm (12”) skillet or wok and sauté the leeks and onions, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes, until translucent.  Add the garlic and mix a couple of times.
  2. Meantime, remove the casings of the sausages and grate the cheese.
  3. Add the sausages and sauté for a few minutes, pressing them with a spatula to cut it into smaller pieces.  Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates.  Add the tomatoes, mix and cover with the lid.  Lower heat and cook for ten minutes, mixing regularly.
  4. At this point cook the pasta in salted, hot water for 10 – 15 minutes but at least five minutes less than the instructions on the package.
  5. Remove the lid from the skillet and cook the sausages until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add the grated cheese and mix for a couple of minutes.
  7. Drain pasta and mix it with the sausages and cook for five more minutes.
  8. No salt and pepper is added because the cheese are salty and the sausages have their own spices, but feel free to add pepper or other spices.
  9. Serve with freshly grated black pepper on top.

Fussili with sausage and feta

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:

Spetzofai (spicy sausage stew)

Sausage and Onion Tart with Cornmeal Crust

How to make your own Spartan Sausages

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 24th, 2014

Lentils with carrot and orzo Christos Anesti (Christ has risen) to all my Christian readers.

Hope you had a joyful Easter! This recipe is one of those I cooked at the restaurant, at the beginning on Lent, when I was in Cyprus, for the staff.

I love dried legumes, especially lentils and if I were to chose between a meat dish or a legume dish, I would definitely choose the latter.  This is one of the reasons I have made so many twists to the classic Cypriot dish «Fakhes Moutjentra».

caramelized onions

In this recipe I have added grated carrots and tomotoes and instead of adding rice I substituted it with orzo.  I served it with caramelized onions on top which together with the carrots add a lovely sweetness to the dish. You can prepare the dish ahead but it is advisable to add the orzo just before serving as like any other pasta, orzo will continue cooking and absorbing the juices from the food and will become dry.

Fakes me karoto

I took this picture of the leftovers on my mobile, many hours after serving the food to the staff.  It’s an awful picture but I just wanted you to see the result.  You can still eat it when cold and it still tastes delicious but when it is warm it is even better. 

Lentils with orzo and carrot 

Brown Lentils with Carrots, Orzo and Caramelized Onions

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  about 30 – 40 minutes

Serves:  4

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams brown lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Water to cover them
  • 3 small carrots coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 600 ml water
  • 400 grams fresh tomatoes grated or the same amount of tinned tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 cup medium orzo (195 grams)

Caramelized onions: Ingredients:

  • 4 red onions, cut into slices
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon petimezi (grape syrup or molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a  skillet and sauté the onions, stirring regularly for about 15 minutes.  When they lightly start to brown remove half of them and set aside.
  2. Season the remaining with salt and pepper.  Add the balsamic vinegar and petimezi (grape syrup) and stir until the juices are absorbed and the onions become caramelized (total time about 30 – 40 minutes).
  3. Simultaneously put the lentils and bay leaf in a pot and add water to cover them.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.  Strain and discard the bay leaf.
  4. Put them back in the pot, together with the grated tomato and grated carrots and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until lentils are almost cooked (about 30 minutes).  Add the lightly browned onion and continue cooking for fifteen more minutes.  (If we started cooking early, at this point we can stop cooking until it is lunch time.  All we have to do is to bring it back to a boil again).
  5. Add orzo and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring regularly until all juices are absorbed.
  6. Serve with the caramelized onions on top.

Lentils with carrot and orzo and caramelized onions

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:

Lentils with Orzo and Pasto

Coconut, Red Lentils Soup

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Ivy on Απριλίου 16th, 2014

Almond and strawberry halvas

Easter is just a few days away and this will probably be my last post before Easter.  The fasting period is almost over but there are some days during Lent when not only animal products are not allowed for the Orthodox fasting period but also any kind of fat, be it animal or vegetable fat.  Good Friday is one of them as well as Holy Saturday.

This wonderful vegan dessert is perfect for these two days.  The recipe was given to me by my nephew’s wife in Cyprus.  It’s a very easy dessert and very healthy considering that it is eggless, milkless and without a trace of fat.   It’s main ingredient is almond in the form of a cordial, which is a syrup made from almonds and raw almonds.  It is then thickened with semolina.  The amount of sugar depends  on how sweet you like this pudding.  The amount used may seem a lot but believe me it is not sweet at all.  Now if you can’t find almond cordial you can experiment and make it with almond milk or rose cordial, vyssinada, which is a sour cherry cordial or just make some syrup with water, sugar and blossom water, or use fresh orange  or mandarin juice and why not pomegranate to make the syrup?  My twist to the recipe was the addition of the strawberry sauce.

Vegan Almond and Strawberry Halvas

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

Strawberry Sauce:

  • 300 grams strawberries, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Halva Pudding:

  • 1 1/2 cups soumada (almond cordial)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4  cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup blanched and finely chopped almonds

Directions: 

  1. Put the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a non stick frying pan and cook for about five minutes.  Press the strawberries to release some juice and mix until the syrup thickens.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Put the water, sugar and soumada on the heat and when it begins boiling add the semolina.  Stir with a balloon whisk unit it sets.  Add the almonds, mix and remove from the heat.
  3. Wet the bottom of a mold or a bundt form with a few tablespoons of strawberry syrup.  Add half the pudding which spread evenly using a spoon.  Add half the strawberry sauce on top and cover with the remaining pudding.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hour and then unmold.
  5. Serve the pudding with more strawberry sauce on top.

Halvas me Soumada

 

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook «More Than A Greek Salad», available on all Amazon stores.

You can find more Lenten or Vegan Recipes here. Wishing you all a Happy Easter.

 

Kalo Pascha

 

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Vegan samali

This Lenten or vegan dessert is a twist to a recipe I used to make in the restaurant called Samali or Kalon Prama in Cyprus, which we offered to our clients after their meal free of charge.  The traditional recipe is a semolina cake flavoured with mastic and drenched in syrup.  Some blanched almonds are used to decorate the cake on top.

Kalon prama

This time of the year we have a lot of mandarins in our yard so I made the syrup using mandarin juice.  If you like you can substitute it with orange juice.  The mastic powder is what gives this dessert its distinct flavour.  I used some of the mastic I ground over 8 months ago and although mastic crystalizes, the method I used to store it keeps it perfect for months.   In this dessert apart from the mastic you can also sense the flavour of coconut.

Greasing the baking tin with tahini or tahini with carob syrup is optional but it adds additional flavour to the cake.

In order to make the dessert richer I decided to add some vegan whipped cream on top.  I used coconut cream and I was surprised to see how well it holds together and if you like the taste of coconut, it is superb.  If you want to skip the whipped cream, you can decorate the cake with blanched almonds before baking it, as in the traditional recipe.

The strawberry sauce is also optional but if you do add the whipped cream it goes well with the dessert.

Nistisimo Samali

Vegan Coconut Mandarin Samali (Semolina Cake) and How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream

Preparation time : 15 minutes

Baking time : 1 hour

Ingredients :

For the syrup:

  • 500 grams sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup mandarin juice

For the Semolina Cake:

  • 1/2 kilo fine semolina
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup  blanched and ground almonds
  • 40 grams grated dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp mandarin zest
  • 3 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mastic powder with sugar
  • 1/2 cup mandarin juice
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup water

To grease the baking tin ( optional ):

  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tsp carob syrup

Vegan Whppped Cream:

1 can (400 ml) coconut cream which leave in the fridge over night
2 tsp icing sugar
1 packet vanillin powder

Directions:

  1. Put the coconut cream in the fridge the night before .
  2. Put all the syrup ingredients in a small pot and boil for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool .
  3. Mix the semolina together with the sugar , baking powder, the zest and mastic powder.
  4. Add all the liquid ingredients and mix well .
  5. Allow the mixture to sit for 2-3 hours covered .
  6. Mix the tahini with the carob syrup and coat a baking pan measuring 32 x 23cm (12 1/2 x 9 inches).
  7. Spread the cake in the pan and bake in a preheated , moderate oven to ( 160 ° C) until golden brown , about one hour .
  8. Pour the syrup on the hot cake and leave it to cool and absorb the syrup .

How to make Vegan Whipped Cream :

  1. Leave the coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Open the can carefully without shaking it.  When refrigerating, the cream stays on top of the can and the water will stay below. Use a spoon and collect all the cream which is on top.  Put the remaining in a strainer and collect the remaining cream.
  3. (Do not discard the coconut water left.  It can be used in desserts or savory recipes instead of water).
  4. Beat the cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until it is thick .

Decorate the cake as you like.

Store the cake in the refrigerator upto one week.

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

You can find more Lenten or Vegan Recipes here.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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