Portokalopita is a typical Greek dessert made of phyllo, oranges (Portokàli means orange) and syrup. There are various recipes for portokalopita. I propose the one with whole oranges in which the peel of the fruit is also used.
Orange peel has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, containing high percentages of Vitamin C, is an indispensable aid for the immune system. Also is suitable against acidity, cholesterol and bacterial plaque in the mouth, helping digestion and intestinal transit. It is an excellent ally for those who have to fight cholesterol, as it helps to clean the arteries and counteracts the formation of clots, promoting cardiovascular health.
As it will be used the whole fruit, it is essential that it is organic and not treated with any type of pesticide.
For the syrup
- 700 g granulated sugar
- 500 g water
- juice of 3 oranges
For the orange pie
- 2 whole organic oranges
- 450 g phyllo dough sheet
- 250 g granulated sugar
- 250 g seed oil
- 250 g milk
- 3 eggs
(Some butter and flour for the pan)
To serve: chocolate or stracciatella ice cream
- Spread the phyllo sheets onto your working surface. Let them dry for 2 – 3 hours.
- Meanwhile prepare the syrup. In a pot, add the sugar, water, orange juice and transfer over medium heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180ο C (356ο F).
- With your hands, crumble the phyllo sheets until they broken up into small pieces. Place them into a large bowl.
- Wash and cut 2 whole organic oranges into small pieces. Remove the seeds
- Blend them into a food processor until they are almost pureed
- In the same food processor add all the other ingredients: 3 eggs, sugar, milk, seed oil, vanilla. Mix until blended.
- Pour this mix into the bowl with the phyllo. Mix very well with a ladle.
- Spread butter and sprinkle flour onto a 32×25 cm baking pan. Spread the mixture inside, bake for 90 min (180C / 356F)
- Remove from the oven. With a ladle pour the cold syrup over.
- Allow 30 minutes for the syrup to be absorbed. Cut in pieces and serve with chocolate or stracciatella ice cream.
The oranges for this particular recipe must be 100% organic and without any type of synthetic pesticide. If used, must be derived from natural sources, not synthetically manufactured.
A very simply and tasty salmon recipe, full of omega 3, proteins, excellent sourse of Potassium & Selenium. Very high in B vitamins such B1 , B2 , B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12. Furthermore contains the antioxidant Astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is a compound linked to several powerful health effects. As a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, astaxanthin gives salmon its pinkish-orange pigment. Lower the risk of heart disease by reducing oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL and increasing HDL (the “good cholesterol)
With the addition of herbs rich in indisputable properties, the dish that “marries” the land with the sea is a hymn to health and taste. The result is a flavorful crispy crust on the outside, while the interior impregnated with the flavor of the herbs is soft and tasty.
Serve it with oven baked hot potatoes chips, avocado, chia seeds, walnuts and a home made dressing made by mayonnaise, lemon and olive oil. If you have fresh biological eggs you can made your own mayonnaise.
The right recipe that fortifies the organism in these dark and sad times that we are currently experiencing. Don’t lose hope, don’t let panic overcome fear. Take care of you, of your health, of your mind, read books, paint a canvas, start a yoga course, create new unusual recipes. The enemy of fear is creativity. Eat healthly, stay strong and rest at home. Best wishes to all of you. From Italy with solidarity and positive thoughts.
Ingredients: Fresh salmon 2 pieces, olive oil
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
- sprigs of parsley
- sprigs of mint
- sprigs of thyme
- sprigs of marjoram
- 1 garlic glove (optional)
- CRUST: Place all ingredients for the crust into a blender. Pulse several times until is homogeneous green. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200°/ 392° F
- Place the mix of herbs+breadcrumbs in a dish. Press salmon all over into the green mixture to coat it on both sides
- Place the fish onto a tray (or cast iron pan). Drizzle a little olive oil on top
- Transfer the pan into the oven (200°C /392°F ) and bake for 15 min.
Serve with oven baked potato chips, avocado, chia seeds, walnuts and a homemade dressing.
For the dressing: 2 tbs mayonnaise, 1 lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil. In a jar add all the ingredients, close the lid, shake very well until homogeneous and creamy.
See the procedure step by step here:
Ingredients for the steaks:
2 boneless beef steaks 6 – 7 cm thick
salt + oregano mix
Ingredients for the dressing:
3 tbsp mayonnaise – 3 tbsp extra virgin oil – 1 lemon juice and lemon jest (In a glass jar add all ingredients together, cover tightly and shake)
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator. Let it reach room temperature — around 1 hour.
- Cut outer edges of fat on steaks, diagonally at 4-5cm intervals with a knife. Use a paper towel to absorb the moisture from the meat. Dry meat forms the best crust.
- Sprinkle the mix of salt and oregano over the steaks into each sides. Massage well all over the meat.
- Build up the fire until you can have a deep coal bed large enough to cook your steaks on. (About the size of your grill rack).
- Set the steaks on the grill. Let them sear on one side, once it’s acquired the Maillard reaction* color golden brown. After 7 min flip it, let it do the same on the other side. (For thinner steaks, about 3 – 4 minutes per side for medium rare it’s ok, but a 6 cm steak takes at least 7 minutes)
- Remove the steak from the heat, cover it with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 3-4 minutes. This tip will allow the juices (myoglobin) to redistribute into the meat.
Serve with lettuce salad, top with the dressing.
Recommended wine: Chianti Clasicco. Typical Tuscan Red Wine – DOCG – Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin.
Tips, tricks & info’s
- The blood red color liquid in the steak is not blood at all. It’s myoglobin, a protein that only found in muscle tissue and delivers oxygen to an animal’s muscles; contains a red pigment- which why muscle tissue is red. As a steak is cooked, the myoglobin darkens- which is why the more “well done” the meat is, the grayer it looks. So rare* meat isn’t bloody, it is just cooked to a lower temperature
- *Rare. This refers to a steak that is been cooked for a very short period of time — leaving the centre red in colour. It’s just a stage up from raw meat — but cooked on the outside. Steak doesn’t contain parasites that chicken and pork do — eating it rare doesn’t pose any health risks
- *The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring the addition of heat. Like caramelization, it is a form of non-enzymatic browning.
- You can use a digital instant-read meat thermometer. Check the temperature of the steak while it’s still on the grill. Grill the steak to your desired taste:
55°Celsius (130°F) for rare
57°Celsius (135°F) medium-rare
63°Celsius (145°F) medium
65,5 Celsius (150°F) medium well
and 71° Celsius (160°F) for well done.
Wild Boar is a natural meat very low in bad cholesterol, low in sodium and an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and zinc. No added hormones, no antibiotics, no steroids, no additives.
Very high in proteins. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Our body use them to build and maintain our bones, muscles, cartilage skin and blood. Protein is also what the body uses to repair damaged tissue. The benefit of wild boar meat is it contains ALL the essential amino acids (proteins) our body requires.
Wild boar is rich in Iron, Selenium, Zinc. Rich also in Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2) Niacine (B3) ,Vitamine B6. Our body does not produce these vitamins naturally so they must be obtained from the food we eat. These vitamins are used by our bodies to convert the food we consume into energy. This improves our metabolism. A person’s nervous system and brain function are also dependent on these vitamins beacause they improve our immune systems, help regulate our moods and reduce stress.
- 500 g wild boar
- Gragnano pasta or other of your choice
- 1 onion peeled and halved
- 1 carrot washed and cut into large pieces
- 1 celery stalk washed and cut into large pieces
- bay & rosemary leaves
- 2 tsp juniper berries
- 1 lt red wine
For the sauce
- 2 lt tomato passata
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 carrot washed and finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk washed and finely chopped
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 glasses red wine (room temperature)
Wash the wild boar meat, cut it into pieces. Put it in a large bowl.
Add the onion (peeled and cut in quarters) the carrot and the celery in large pieces, the bay leaves, the rosemary, the juniper berries.
Cover with red wine and mix.
Cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to stand in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Once the necessary time has passed, drain the meat and eliminate the wine, the vegetables and the herbs.
How to make the ragu:
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet and fry very slightly the garlic, carrot, celery and onion
Add the wild boar meat and brown it on all sides.
Add the red wine (3 glasses), lower the flame and cook for about 10 minutes so the alcohol can evaporate.
4. Add the tomato pulp, a pinch of salt and cook with the flame reduced to a minimum for about 1.5-2 hours. Stir occasionally and add some water if the sauce seems dry.
After 2 hours, cook the pasta al dente, add the paccheri pasta into the ragu’ and mix carefully. Serve immediately.
The first secret of this amazing pasta is the land where the wheat is cultivated. Situated at the foot of Monte Lattari, Gragnano village (near Naples/Campania) benefits from a microclimate made of the right mix of dry wind from the mountain, sun, and humidity from the sea. It was for this reason that, in the 18th century, the king of Napoli decided that only two places were suitable to cultivate the wheat for the rest of the population: Naples and Gragnano. The pasta also must be made by mixing durum wheat with the calcium-poor water of Monti Lattari.
The second secret is the carefully-developed process, which continues to be regulated by a strict standard of production. In 2013, the European Union declared PGI (Protected Geographical Indication): the pasta made under the name “Pasta di Gragnano” must be produced in a legally defined area that still corresponds to the territory indicated by the king of the Napoli about two centuries ago.
Finally, the dough must be extruded through rough bronze forms and, once it has taken shape, dry at low temperatures in the mountain air. The result of this long and traditional process is one of the finest pastas in the world.
excerpt from the article “WHY PASTA DI GRAGNANO IS SO DELICIOUS” (Eataly)
- 1,5 -2 kg wild boar ribs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup honey
- sweet paprika (optional)
- barbeque sauce of your choice
- Brush and massage the ribs with the brown sugar and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Next massage the meat with the honey and sweet parika.
- Seal the container and let marinate in the fridge overnight
- Place the meat into a oven tray lined with parchment paper. Seal it with alluminiun foil and (slow) cook the ribs at 160°C for 90 minutes.
- At the 90-minute mark, brush them with your barbeque sauce
- Return to the oven for another hour. Brush them frequently with the bbq sauce (every half hour it’s ok, but you can repeat it every 15 min too)
- Set your grill on low, brush the ribs one more time with the bbq sauce then place ribs on grill . Let the ribs cook a minute or two so the sauce can caramelize.
See step by step in the gallery below
Vasilopita is a New Year’s Day traditional cake in Greece and many other areas in eastern Europe and the Balkans. The cake contains a hidden coin which gives good luck to the receiver. Usually the night of the new year, the moment of the change of the year, the cake is traditionally cut by the oldest member of the family, and the individual who receives the portion of the cake which contains the coin is considered blessed and lucky for a whole New Year.
This age old tradition commenced in the 4th century, when Saint Basil , who was a bishop, wanted to distribute money to the poor people in his Diocese. He wanted to preserve their dignity, so as not to look like charity, he commissioned some women to bake sweetened bread, in which he arranged to place gold coins. So the families in cutting the bread to nourish themselves, were pleasantly surprised to find the coins.
- 300 g butter, at room temperature
- 250 g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 7 g mahleb
- 2 g mastic
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoons vanilla powder or liquid
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 80 g milk
- 400 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
Decoration: icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180* C (350*F) Fan.
- In a mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar, with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Stop beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat for another 5 minutes. (It is important that the butter is at room temperature. The softer it is the fluffier your mixture will be.)
- While you are waiting, add the remaining ingredients from the 1st mixture (apart from the orange zest) and beat them in a blender along with a tablespoon of sugar, until they become powdery. When ready, add the orange zest and mix.
- Add this powdery mixture to the mixer and beat on low speed.
- Add all the ingredients from the 2nd mixture, in batches. Release the mixing bowl and add the ingredients from the 3rd mixture. Mix with a large spoon.
- Grease a round 25 cm spring form baking pan and dust with flour. Transfer the batter to the baking pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes.
- When ready, remove from oven. Allow the cake to cool completely. Pour the icing sugar over it and serve.
The secrets for this recipe are two. The fresh biological eggs and the butter. Produced by The Greek Award Winning Dairy Company “Flegga“, this goat butter gives a velvety consistency and a truly inimitable flavor. Rich source of several vitamins such A, D, E, (E is a powerful antioxidant) B12, K2 (K2 protects against heart disease and osteoporosis). Most of the saturated fats in butter are short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), the most common of which is butyric acid. Butyric acid is a unique component of the milk fat of ruminant animals, such as sheep, and goats. Reduces the inflammations in the digestive system and has been used as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.
This is all due to the free grazing of healthy animals under the sun in one of the most pristine areas of Greece. In the heart of the National Park of Pindos.
Mahleb or Mahalepi (Greek : Μαχλεπι) is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of a species of cherry, Prunus mahaleb. Mahleb is rich source of fatty acids, phytosterols and antioxidant phenols (good for hypertension and colesterol) also contains vitamins B1, B6, E, a tocopherol, proteins, essential oils
Mastic (Greek: Μαστίχα) is a resin obtained from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) cultivated in the Greek island of Chios. Mastic releases a refreshing flavor similar to pine and cedar. Mastic resin absorbs cholesterol, it has antibacterial properties, acts as an oral antiseptic, aids digestion, tightens the gums, heals wounds and scientists discovered that when it is administrated even in small doses it cures stomach ulcers.
“Christopsomo” in Greek means “Christ’s Bread” and this is why the bread is decorated with a cross. Christopsomo is considered very sacred bread in Greece and is usually prepared the day before Christmas and is served at the Christmas table.
According to the tradition, it has a cross made out of dough in the center and it has whole walnuts, almonds, raisin in it, that represent abundance. It also has other sacred shapes made out of dough which portray animals, members of a family, babies, grapes (a frequent symbol in Christianity and New Testament who represents the abudance), fruits, stacks of wheat (it represents a good harvest), flowers, crosses, a sun (represent life and strenght) leaves (the number of leaves represent the number of family members).
In some parts of Greece, where farming has always been a major occupation, Christopsomo is adorned with dough likenesses of specific farm tools, plows, ears of corn, sheaths of wheat, mules, horses, sheeps, shepherds and more. Everyone decorates it with the symbols that best represent it.
They are almost universally round, the circle a symbol of eternity, or, alternatively, cross-shaped.
**Merry Christmas to everyone**
For the dough:
- 550-600 ml water, at room temperature
- 18 g yeast
- 120 g granulated sugar
- 50 g olive oil, +extra 10g for brushing bowl
- 1 kilo hard flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 g salt
- 30 g anise
- 100 g walnuts
- 120 g water, lukewarm
- 20 g olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 1 walnut, whole
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten for brushing
For the glaze:
- 50 g honey
- 20 g brandy or 20gr water
For the dough
- In a mixer’s bowl add a part of the water (550 g), the yeast and sugar.
- Mix with a hand whisk until the yeast dissolves completely and it becomes activated.
- Add the olive oil, flour and cinnamon. Beat with the hook attachment on medium speed for about 5-8 minutes, until all of the ingredients are completely combined start coming together to form a dough.
- If the dough is too thick, you can add the remaining water if needed.
- In a separate bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the dough.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 1 hour, until it doubles in size.
Prepare the dough for the decoration of Christopsomo, so add the water, olive oil, flour and salt in the mixer’s bowl or you can simply use a bowl and your hands. Mix until the dough is smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes to rest.
For the Christopsomo
Deflate the dough lightly with your fingers and shape into a round loaf.
Add the salt, anise and walnuts. Beat for 1 minute, just to combine. They are not added from the start so that they don’t get crushed inside the dough.
Butter a round baking pan (28-30 cm) and line with parchment paper. Transfer the dough into the baking pan and spread lightly. Brush the top lightly with some beaten egg white and water.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the decorating dough and cut it into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a long rope. Then form 2 braids. Place the 2 braids over the Christopsomo and shape a cross. Place the whole walnut in the center. Cover the dough with a towel and wait for the dough to rise for 1 hour. (see also the preparation photos below)
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F Fan and bake for 50 minutes, until the Christopsomo is nicely coloured and cooked through.
- When the bread is almost ready, prepare the glaze by combining the honey and cognac thoroughly. When ready, remove from oven and immediately brush the glaze over the Christmas Bread.
See step by step the photo gallery below
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry popular in Middle Eastern countries made of layers of phyllo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.
Baklava is normally prepared in large pans. Many layers of filo dough, separated with melted butter are laid in the pan. A layer of chopped nuts—typically walnuts,pistachios or almonds is placed on top, then more layers of phyllo. Most recipes have multiple layers of phyllo and nuts, though some have only top and bottom pastry.
Greek version of baklava is made with 33 dough layers, referring to the years of Christ’s life.
How to cut it in diamond shape (4 steps)
Repeat the same procedure for all quarters
- 1 package phyllo dough
- 300 gr chopped nuts
- 200gr chopped almonds
- 300 gr butter (My choice is always the Greek award winning dairy products of “Flegga” Company. This specific butter gives not only a delicious fragrance but another dimension of taste to all dishes, sweets and savoury)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon clove powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nut
Ingredients or the syrup:
2 cup water
2 cup white sugar
1 orange peel
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 160° C. In a bowl, melt the butter .
- Butter the bottoms and sides of a 33×23 pan.
- Process the nuts until in small, even sized pieces. Combine with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves powder. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough.Place a sheet of phyllo dough into the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter. Repeat more times until you have 10 sheets layered.Sprinkle 2 – 3 tablespoons of nut/almond mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go.Continue to repeat the nut/almond mixture and two buttered sheets of phyllo until the nut mixture is all used up. The top layer should be about 10 sheets deep. With a cuisine scissors cut out all edges of phyllo.
- Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake baklava for about 1 hour until the top is golden brown and crisp and the lower phyllo layers beneath the nut/almond mixture are thoroughly baked through. To test this, use a knife to lift up a corner of one of the pastry rectangles from the center of the pan so you can peek at the bottom layers . If the top starts to get too brown before the pastry is cooked through, lay a piece of foil over the top.
- .While baking, make the syrup.Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add orange peel, cinnamon sticks and honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon syrup it . Serve at room temperature.
Cyprus bread is more than food, is a religious expression.
Different types of bread are traditionally made for different occasions, weddings , easter , Christmas, communions, baptism.
Dr. Dorita Voskaridou is a researcher, author and founder of the Decorated Breads of Cyprus museum in Limassol.
Dorita’s book “To Ploumisto Psomi tis Kyprou” (The Decorated Bread of Cyprus) is a collection of historical and personal testimonies. Decorative breads for every occasion, based on various village designs have been re-worked by this talented lady.
“All the symbols came from the ancient times when people used to believe in 12 gods. There are symbols from ancient Greek pots. From excavations we then find the same symbols in bread.
There were Byzantine shapes and influences. Women in villages see icons of churches which inspire them to go home and make the bread. Every village has different kinds of symbols and every woman has a different, very personal style, for example one village may have the same symbol but each woman makes something different. Every woman has her own aesthetic.
Bread is the king of the house in Cyprus proverbs. It is very important still and is the main nutritional ingredient in our culture. In Cyprus’ popular traditions, bread on the table symbolised Jesus Christ himself. So nobody gets up from the table until the bread has been removed. The bread has to move first away from table,” says Dorita Voskaridou
I tried to reproduce one of these ancient and full of tradition shapes. I have no idea if it is a wedding, communion, Christmas or easter bread. I choose it for the presence of the cross and the X of Xrist. (Χριστος in Greek language). So i think perfect for Xristmas.
Follow the instructions step by step. You will need 33 dough cords and a good amount of sesame seeds. Isn’t difficult as appears. Crunchy texture , delicate flavor. Enjoy a Merry Xristmas!
- 500 bread flour
- 250ml warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon dried yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large bowl combine flour, olive oil, yeast and sugar. Add the water & salt. Mix well
- Knead the dough until is smooth and elastic. ( If the dough seems a little stiff add 1-2 tbsp water)
- Place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Leave to rise for 1 hour
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knock back the dough by gently kneading just few min. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Now mould the dough into a 33 thin cords as in the pictures. Follow carefully the step by step instructions. Seal ends by pressing down firmly with your fingertips. Brushing with water, then sprinkling with sesame seeds
- Heat oven to 180°C / 350°
- Bake for 25-30 mins until golden
Method: 1 Cut pomegranates. Gently pull seeds away from the white centers.
2. Place all seeds in a glass container
3. Pour the alcohol over the seeds. Close the lid. Let it age for two weeks in a cool dark place.
4. After 2 weeks, heat the water with the sugar . Disolve very well
5. Strain through fine wire mesh and discard all the seeds.
6. Pour the cold syrup into the liqueur and mix with a spoon
7. Tranfer in a clean glass bottle.
It is ready to be served alone or added to cocktails such 1 to 1 with vodka or 1 to 1 with sparkling wine and cinnamon syrup. With tequila and cranberry juice. You can added it in a glass of warm red and spiced sangria (mulled wine) to accompany roasted chestnuts. The possibilities for use are endless. Enjoy!