Food & Wine

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Wild Boar Ribs with Barbeque Caramelized Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 1,5 -2 kg wild boar ribs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • sweet paprika (optional)
  • barbeque sauce of your choice

Method:

  1. Brush and massage the ribs with the brown sugar and let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Next massage the meat with the honey and sweet parika.
  3. Seal the container and let marinate in the fridge overnight
  4. 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.
  5. At the 90-minute mark, brush them with your barbeque sauce
  6. 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)
  7. 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.

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See step by step in the gallery below

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Vasilopita (New Year’s Coin Cake)

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.

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Ingredients

  • 300 g butter, at room temperature
  • 250 g icing sugar

1st mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 7 g mahleb
  • 2 g mastic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • zest of 2 oranges

 

2nd mixture:

  • 1 teaspoons vanilla powder or liquid
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 80 g milk

 

3rd mixture:

  • 400 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Decoration:  icing sugar

 

Method:

  • 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.

Tips:

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.

Flavors:

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 (GreekΜαστίχα) 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.

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Christopsomo /Christ’s Bread

 

“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**

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INGREDIENTS:

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

To decorate

  • 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

METHOD:

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.

To decorate:

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.

  1. 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)
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F Fan and bake for 50 minutes, until the Christopsomo is nicely coloured and cooked through.
  3. 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

 

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My big fat Greek baklava

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.

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How to cut it in diamond shape (4 steps)

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Ingredients

Ingredients or the syrup:

2 cup water

2 cup white sugar

1 orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks

1 cup honey

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160° C.   In a bowl, melt the butter .
  2. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 33×23 pan.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. .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.
  6. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon syrup it . Serve at room temperature. 

The traditional ornamental bread of Cyprus (Festive bread)

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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

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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!

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  1. 500  bread flour
  2. 250ml  warm water
  3.  1/2 tablespoon dried yeast
  4.  2 teaspoons  sugar
  5.  1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 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

Pomegranate Liqueur

 

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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!

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Melomakàrona

Melomakarona are traditional Greek Christmas cookies. Typical ingredients of these biscuits are flour or semolina, sugar, orange fresh juice, cognac (or similar beverage), cinnamon and olive oil. Immediately after baking, they are immersed for a few seconds in cold syrup made of honey, sugar, dissolved in water. Finally, they are decorated with ground, as well as bigger pieces of walnut.

The word “melomakarona” is a combination of the two Greek words: “mèli” which means honey and “makàrona” which comes from the ancient word “makaria” and means “blessed”

 

 

 

For the 1st mixture:

  1. 400 ml orange juice
  2. 400 ml vegetable oil
  3. 180 ml olive oil
  4. 1/2 tsp clove
  5. 2-3   tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4   nutmeg
  7. zest of 2 oranges
  8. For the 2nd Mixture:
  9. 1 kg flour

    1 tsp baking soda

  10. 50 g icing sugar

 

For the syrup:

  • 500 g water
  • 800 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g honey
  • 3 stick(s) cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 orange, cut in half

 

  1.  

  1. Boil the ingredients for the syrup 2-3  hours before you start making the melomakarona so that there is enough time for the syrup to cool.

1. Boil all of the ingredients for the syrup, apart from honey, until sugar melts.  Remove from heat.  Add the honey and mix till combined.

  • let syrup cool for 2 – 3 hours. It must be cold by the time the cookies come out from the oven.
  • You can prepare the syrup from the day before.

 

2.Preheat the oven to 190° C (370*F)

To make the cookies, you need to prepare 2 separate mixtures.

3.Mix all the ingredients for mixture 1 thoroughly using a good whisk.

4.Add the ingredients of mixture 2 and mix softly for a little while, just until the flour is fully incorporated in the rest of the mix. Be careful not to overwork the cookie dough because the oil may start to seep out and then they won’t turn out crispy.

5.Mold cookie dough into oval shapes, 3-4 cm in length, 30 g each. Try to keep them as similar as possible.

6.Bake at 190°C for about 20-25 minutes until they are crispy.

7.As soon as you remove them from the oven, soak the hot cookies in the cold syrup for 20-30  seconds.

8.Allow them to drain on a wire rack.

9.Drizzle with honey and chopped walnuts.

 

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Lemon, Garlic, Greek black olives Roasted Butterflied Chicken

 

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Ingredients: 1 chicken 1,5 kg , 3-4 lemons sliced into 2 cm rounds , 2 bulbs garlic halved horizontally, black Greek olives, 2 tbs olive oil , salt.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).
  2. Arrange the garlic and lemon on an oven tray . Top with the chicken, breast-side up.
  3. Brush the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Roast for 50 – 60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Towards the end of cooking add the black olives

TIPS
 Butterflying a chicken allows it  to roast more quickly and evenly *
 Placing the chicken on a ‘bed’ of lemon and garlic infuses it with amazing flavour as it roasts.

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*How to butterfly a chicken. Step by step guide here:

How To Butterfly A Chicken | Step by Step Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 


Oven Roasted sea bream with potatoes and aioli

 

 

 

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Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • thyme leaves
  •  place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with a whisk.
  • 2 sea bream
  • 1kg  potatoes,  sliced
  •  garlic cloves
  • sprigs thyme
  • Red pepper flakes
  • A lemon, sliced
  • Bay leaves

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200° C / 392°F
  2. Put some oil in a rosting tray and layer the potatoes. Add few slices of garlic.
  3. Prepare the sauce  (Oil – lemon juice – salt – red pepper flakes – thyme leaves or any herb of your choice) Pour over the potatoes and put in the oven.
  4. Bake for 30 min, until the potatoes have absorbed the liquid.
  5. While they’re cooking, take a sharp knife and cut diagonal slashes across each side of the fish. Cut the lemon slices in half and push them into the grooves. Fill the cavity of each fish with lemon slices, garlic and bay leaves.
  6. Drizzle the rest of the oil-lemon sauce over them and season well with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Place the fish on top of the sliced potatoes and roast for a further 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with aioli sauce and fresh “Assyrtiko” white grape wine from Santorini island (Greece)

AIOLI recipe:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 0.5 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 0.5 cup sunflower oil
  • 3 tsp lemon juice

Smash up the garlic with 1 teaspoon of salt in a pestle and mortar . Place the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl and whisk together, then start to add the oils bit by bit. Once you’ve blended in a quarter of the oil, you can start to add the rest in larger amounts. When the mixture thickens, add lemon juice. When all the oil has gone in, add the garlic.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and a bit more lemon juice, if needed.

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Oven Octopus Linguine

Probably the easiest way to cook a big octopus.  Incredibly easy recipe to make succulent and fork tender tentacles that really melts in your mouth.

Cooked very slowly for 2 hours, the octopus exudes the most delicious juices, so the linguine pasta absorb all this savory.  Obviously you can substitute with any type of pasta.

A must try recipe for seafood lovers. Enjoy!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg octopus
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • 300 gr linguine

Method:

Clean the octopus, eliminate the eyes and mouth, wash it several times, and beat lightly on a work-surface to tenderize it.

Cut it in pieces. Put them in a pan roomy enough to easily contain them. Add the oil, the white wine, the garlic, parsley and season with salt.  Cover the pan with its lid or with aluminium foil,  so that the octopus pieces are hermetically closed.  Bake in a moderate oven (350° F – 180° C) for 2 hours.

Place the octopus on a serving plate and keep hot.

Put linguine in the same pan into octopus juices. Cook for about 10min. or until pasta is al dente. Stir occasionally.  When it is almost ready add in the pan the octopus pieces and serve with a sprinkle of parsley and ground black pepper (optional).

(This recipe is for 300 gr linguine. If you wish to cook more pasta simply add 1 – 2 cups of boiling water in the pan)

 

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Pastiera (Neapolitan Easter Dessert)

Neapolitan pastiera is an Easter dessert made with cooked wheat, eggs, ricotta cheese, and flavoured with  flower water (Mille fiori aroma). It is usually eaten at Easter and according to tradition, every family in Naples prepares one during the Holy Week. The recipe for this “cake” probably derives from the breads made from milk and honey that were commonly eaten during the baptism ceremonies the night of Easter when Constatine was Emperor. The modern version of this dessert was invented at the convent of San Gregorio Armeno (located in Naples historic center). A nun decided to make a cake using the ingredients that symbolized life and resurrection.

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Ingredients for Pasta Frolla:

  • 5 oz butter
  • 4 oz confectioners sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ lb all-purpose flour
  • vanilla
  • lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

 

 

1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor just until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 6 to 8 times.
2. Whisk together  egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest. With processor running, add egg mixture; process just until dough begins to come together. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; lightly knead to form a ball.
3. Divide dough into 2 pieces, and gently press into flat disks. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

 

 

 


Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • ½ lb granulated sugar
  • ½ lb cooked wheat
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 oz mille fiori water
  • 3 oz mixed candied fruit
  • 1 oz confectioners sugar

Follow the steps below (slideshow)

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Before removing from the tray, wait until it has cooled enough. Serve at room temperature .

Store pastiera  in its pan covered with plastic wrap in a cool place (room temperature) (Never store pastiera in the fridge. Only in cool place)

 

 

 

 


Lagana

Lagana (Λαγάνα) is an ancient Greek flatbread traditionally baked for Clean Monday (Καθαρα’ Δευτερα) –  the first day of the Great Lent. (Clean Monday actually refers to the abstention from sinful attitudes and non-fasting food ). Traditionally, it was prepared unleavened (without the yeast),  like those mentioned in the Old Testament, but leavened lagana is nowadays more common. It is typically flat, oval-shaped, with surface decorated by impressing fingertips.

Sesame seeds are a common topping, and it may also be topped with other herbs, and seasoned with olive oil.  Linguistically, the word lagana comes from the Greek word “ laganon” (in ancient Greek: λάγανον),  which is also the origin of the Italian word lasagna.

Lagana is never cut with a knife but rather broken apart, because iron, the stuff of knife-making long ago, was believed to contain the powers of evil.

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Ingredients:

  • 500 g hard flour (bread flour)
  • 350 ml water, at room temperature
  • 10 g dry yeast
  • pinch of granulated sugar
  • 10 g salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For coating

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • sesame seeds

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 220° C (446° F)
  • Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a mixer’s bowl.
  • Set it aside for 15-20 minutes so the yeast can activate.
  • Add the flour, salt and olive oil.
  • Knead by hand  for at least 10 min.
  • When ready,  transfer  the dough to a bowl.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 1-2 hours, until it doubles in size.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it in to 2 equal halves.
  • Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on to a working surface.
  • Add your dough, dust with some flour and roll out. If it is too difficult to roll out, dust with some more flour.
  • Form 2 flat oval loaves
  • Transfer to a baking pan along with the parchment. Simply lift the edges of the parchment and transfer.
  • Repeat the exact same process for the other half of the dough.
  • To make the coating, combine the water and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Brush coating over both flatbreads and sprinkle with a generous amount of sesame seeds over the top.
  • Set them aside for 20 minutes, so they can rise again.
  • When they have risen, use your index finger to make indentations all over the dough. This gives the “lagana” its characteristic appearance.
  • Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes. Make sure your oven is properly preheated so that the flatbread can turn out as crunchy as possible.
  • When golden and crunchy, remove from oven and serve it in the traditional Greek manner with Taramosalata (Fish Roe Dip), Potato Garlic Mash and Kalamata olives.

 

 

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Sicilian “Pan d’ arancio” (Whole Orange cake)

” Pan d’ arancio” means orange bread.  Is a traditional cake recipe from Palermo. All the fruit is used, only the seeds are discarded. The whole orange with all the peel is blended & added in the mixture.

Full of flavor and nutrients. Extremely quick & easy to make. Baking a cake doesn’t have to be complicated. This recipe work well for cupcakes too,  you can add mini chocolate chips in the mixture,  an orange icing or chocolate frosting on the top.  Perfect for hungry kids at school.

Orange peel is rich of polyphenols (helps keep the gut healthy and is important in helping to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease), vitamins A, Cfolic acid B9 (a water-soluble B vitamin) and other B vitamins, calcium,  copper,  magnesium and dietary fibers, essential oils and carotenoids 

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Ingredients for the cake

  • 2 organic oranges, washed and cut into pieces
  • 100gr seed oil (or 100 gr softened butter)
  • 300gr all purpose flour
  • 16 gr baking powder
  • 250gr sugar
  • 100gr milk
  • 3 eggs

Ingredients for the icing

  • 300 gr icing sugar
  • 1 orange (juice)

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F
  2. Puree the diced oranges in a food processor.
  3. Add all the rest of the ingredients over the purèe (flour+baking powder, sugar, eggs, seed oil, milk)
  4. Mix  until blended
  5. Grease and flour an 9″ (23cm) pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes (The cake is ready when a knife or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean)
  7. Remove the cake from the oven, and allow to cool completely
  8. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake

 

Icing: In a bowl,  mix together the icing sugar with  half of the orange juice.  Whisk until there are no lumps.   You can adjust the consistency  to your liking  by adding more powdered sugar or juice, to thicken or thin it out.

Pour the icing over the top of the cake.

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Rigatoni Pasta Pie

Trasform an Italian classic pasta dish into an attractive cheesy pasta pie. Just stuff rigatoni with sauce, layer with mozzarella and bake it for few minutes. Nothing simpler, nothing more delicious & succulent. Bon appétit!3-2018-05-1431-2018-05-14

Ingredients:

500 gr rigatoni pasta

500 gr ground beef meat

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bottle (500ml) tomato sauce
  • Butter, for pan
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 250gr grated mozzarella cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200°C). Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add pasta; cook until slightly underdone.
    Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain. Toss pasta with 1 tbs oil to coat.
    Set aside.
  2.  Heat 1 tbs oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.
    Add tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Butter a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan. Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end.
  4.  Spread meat sauce on top of pasta, pushing it into holes. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella on top.
    Bake until cheese is pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes more.
    Remove from oven, and let stand 15 minutes.
    Run a knife around edge to loosen; unmold.
    Cut into wedges & serve with fresh Rosso di Aprilia DOC red wine

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Beer roasted pork knuckles / Hasselback potatoes

Pork knuckle is the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot of a pig, where the foot was attached to the hog’s leg. It is the portion of the leg that is neither part of the ham proper nor the foot or ankle, but rather the extreme shank end of the leg bone.  This cut of meat can be cooked with potatoes, greens or in sauces. Beer roasted knuckle is easy, super tasty and juicy/ fork tender dish with a very crispy and flavory skin. Serve it hot with some delicious golden Hasselback potatoes. 1-Snapseed8

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Ingredients: 1 knuckle/person (about 1 kg) – 2bottles dark beer

salt -pepper (optional) – thym (optional) – grated garlic (2 cloves/knuckle) – 2 onions/knuckle,  salt, black pepper (optional)

Method: 1. Peel and slice into rounds 2 onions, lay them in a roasting pan

2. Season knuckles with salt , black pepper, grated garlic, thym. Sit the knuckles on top of the onions. Add a cup of beer (300 ml). Cook in the oven for 30 min (220°C)

[Meanwhile prepare the hasselback potatoes as you desire (empty or with bacon/cheese)]

4. After 30 min pour another cup of beer (300ml).  Place the potatoes around pork knuckle. Roast an additional 1h and lower the temperature to 180°C. After the skin has started to crisp, baste with beer about every 30 minutes or so

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Hasselback potatoes

Ingredients:

 For the empty version: Potatoes, olive oil or melted butter (2 tbsp/ potato) , 2 tbs/potato grated pecorino or parmesan, 2 tbsp/potato dry bread crumbs (optional)

In a bowl mix together grated pecorino romano or parmesan or another grated cheese of your choice,  seasoned dry bread crumbs (optional),  salt , black pepper (optional) , thym (optional)

With cheesy bacon filling: Potatoes, olive oil or melted butter (2 tbsp/potato), bacon,

cheese, grated pecorino or parmesan, salt, pepper (optional), thym (optional)

Method: see below the gallery step by step

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Saragli’

Saragli’ is a traditional Christmas Greek sweet with plenty of grated walnuts and crispy phyllo drizzled  with sweet and spicy syrup.

It is basically  “baklava”  that is rolled instead of layered. Phyllo sheets are brushed with butter, covered in a seasoned walnut mixture, and rolled up. 

If you like crispy pastries, dried fruits, an intense scent of cinnamon and cloves in your home, this is the right recipe for you! Merry Christmas!

This recipe has been adapted by Akis Petretzikis saragli recipe

 

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Ingredients:

For syrup

  • 500 g granulated sugar – 300 ml water – 4 cloves – 1 cinnamon stick – Rind from 1 orange – juice of half orange

For saragli

  • 400 g butter
  • 100 g walnuts
  • 100 g almonds
  • 100 g pistachio nuts
  • 2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 packages phyllo dough (900 g)
  • pistachio nuts, ground, for serving

Syrup:

  • In a pot, add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange rind.
  • Place pot over medium heat.
  • In about 2-3 minutes, as soon as the sugar melts, remove pot from heat.
  • Add the orange juice, stir and set aside to cool.

Saragli’:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  • In a food processor  grind the walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and cloves together. You don’t want to finely grind them but you don’t want to have large pieces because they will rip through the phyllo dough.
  • Transfer the filling to a bowl and transfer the melted butter to a separate bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 160° C (320° F)
  • Spread out the phyllo dough on a clean working surface.
  • Lay one sheet of phyllo dough separately on your working surface. Drizzle with melted butter, making sure not to let the brush directly touch the phyllo.
  • Cover with another sheet of phyllo and drizzle with butter.
  • Spread the filling over the entire surface.
  • Place two wooden sticks in the middle of the phyllo and roll the smaller side towards the middle, leaving an empty space at the edge.
  • Do not roll too tight and gently press the ends together towards the middle with your hands, creating folds in the phyllo and remove the sticks.
  • Brush a 30×40 cm baking pan with butter and add the sargli.
  • Drizzle with butter immediately and repeat the same process until the baking pan is full of saragli rolls.
  • When the pan is full, drizzle any leftover butter over the sargli rolls.
  • Bake for 70 minutes.
  • When ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cool syrup over the scorching hot saragli rolls.The temperature of the pastry must be always opposite than the syrup. This is the key for a successful baklava /saragli’
  • Allow them to soak up the syrup for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with ground pistachio nuts and serve

Two simply ways to cook Brussels sprouts

 

Brussels sprouts contains significant amount of vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and dietary fiber. Here are some of the major nutrients in a cup (150 gr) of cooked Brussels sprouts Calories: 56 , Protein: 4 gr , Carbs: 12 gr, Fiber: 4 gr,Vitamin K: 274% of the RDI, Vitamin C: 162% of the RDI, Vitamin A: 24% of the RDI, Folate: 24% of the RDI, Manganese: 18% of the RDI. But the most impressive is their antioxidant content (especially high in kaempferol).  Kaempferol may reduce cancer cell growth, ease inflammation and improve heart health.

Enjoy them “au gratin” with crunchy bacon and creamy cheesy bechamel or simply oven roasted with bacon and olive oil.  A healthy side dish for the Christmas table.

 

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Brussel sprouts au gratin

Ingredients: 200 gr bacon, chopped – 400gr  brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed – 1 cup grated cheddar cheese – 1 teaspoon salt – 500 ml bechamel

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 180°C (256°F)

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until fork tender (10 minutes). Drain.

3. In a skillet fry the chopped bacon over medium heat until is golden & crispy

4. Tranfer the Brussels sprouts in a large baking dish and add the half of chopped bacon. Season with salt.

5. Pour bechamel over sprouts, sprinkle with cheddar and the remaining bacon

6. Bake the sprouts  in a preheated oven at 256°F (180°C) for 20min or until the top is golden. Serve warm.

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Oven roasted brussels sprouts with bacon & balsamic

Ingredients: 400 gr Brussels sprouts – 300 gr chopped bacon – 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar – 3 tbsp olive oil – salt

Method: 1. Preheat oven to 200°C (392°F)

2. Wash and slice sprouts in half

3. Put them on a sheet pan with the rest of the ingredients (except balsamic vinegar) and toss to coat with your hands

4. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes,  until crispy , and bacon is golden brown. (Stirring halfway through)

5. Remove from the oven. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and salt

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Caprese (Flourless chocolate/almond cake from Capri)

There are several apocryphal stories about the cake’s origin. A legend told that an Austrian princess married to the king of Naples wanted the Sacher cake (Austrian chocolate cake), but Neapolitan chefs didn’t know this recipe, so they improvised by using a typical Neopolitan ingredient: almonds.

One is of a baker fulfilling an order for an almond cake by a few tourists at his bakery in the 1920s. The baker forgot to add flour to the mix, but the tourists liked the resulting cake and considered it a delicacy. Another account ascribes the invention to two heirs of Austrian painter August Weber, who created it at the Strandpension Weber in the 1930s. 

Although its origins are unknown, several aspects of its creation are known. The cake was first created by the hospitality industry of the island of Capri and it was created primarily for tourists to the island. At first, it was likely served in tea rooms. As it became more popular, restaurants incorporated it into their menu.1-IMG-20171212-WA0000-01-01

1-Snapseed4Ingredients:

  • 200g  dark chocolate, minimum 70% (melted and cooled)
  • 200gr unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 200g sugar
  • 5  eggs, ‎separated
  • 200gr ground almonds (blanched)
  • 1 small glass Strega liqueur (optional)

Method:

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Beat the sugar and butter until creamy, add 1 egg yolk at time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add the melted butter, ground almonds , the liqueur and the melted chocolate. Mix well.
  • Beat stiff the egg whites with a pinch of salt and add to the mixture, folding gently.
  • Line a cake tin with wet greaseproof paper, pour the cake mixture in it and cook for 40 minutes.
  • When cooked cool 20 min then remove from the tin
  • Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust the top with powdered sugar
  • If you prepare Caprese for Christmas you can decorate it with ice cream cones Christmas trees (Hold each cone and coat it  in melted chocolate or nutella. Then cover with ground coconut , groung almonds, colored sprinkles ecc)

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Roast beef with mushrooms & white wine sauce

Roast beef . Great for a Sunday lunch and why not for a Christmas menu’. Enjoy a juicy and tender roast without feeling guilty.  Low in fat , rich in proteins, vit B12 & iron.  The secret is in the time cooked. 30 min at 200°C / 392°F

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        Ingredients for the beef:   

  • 1.2kg prime beef fillet
  • Sea salt
  •  A handful of rosemary leaves
  • 10-15 garlic cloves
  • olive oil – salt
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp mustard
  • 500 gr mushrooms of your choice

Ingredients for the sauce: 

1 glass white wine – 500 ml heavy cream – 1 tbsp butter – 200gr grated parmesan

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/392°F/  Take the beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it and allow it to come up to room temperature. Salt generously

1.Mix together chopped rosemary leaves and garlic witha tbs of olive oil. Stir to combine and reserve

2.Heat a non-stick frying pan with extra virgin olive oil. add mushrooms , salt , pepper and saute’ for 4-5 min or until tender

3.Remove mushrooms from the skillet.

4.Heat the same skillet and when is hot add the beef. Sear for 2-3 min on each side until browned all over

5. Brush roast with mustard , then spread herb-garlic mixture all over

5 Transfer the beef to the skillet over mushrooms, add the butter on the top of the beef and place it in the oven. Roast for 30 min for medium rare

Transfer the fillet to a warm platter. Cover with a double layer of tin foil  . Leave to rest for 10 min. Serve it warm or at room temperature with the mushrooms and some wine sauce. Slice it thickly and overlap the slices on a serving platter

WHITE WINE SAUCE : In the same skillet used to roast the beef and the mushrooms, add the wine and simmer for about 4minutes until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter & the cream .Bring to a boil .add the parmesan or  another cheese of your choice such blue cheese, grana etc. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened.

 

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Fruits & white wine slushie

A slushie is a frozen treat perfect  for hot summer days. Fruits & wine slushie  is made with only two ingredients: Frozen fruits of your choice and your favorite white wine. The quickest way to make a slushy is by using a blender, but if you have an ice cream maker your slushies will have a smoother texture.

In this recipe i use peach & bluebberies but feel free to use any fruit combo you desire. Just put all the ingredients in a blender and you ‘ve got a delicious, perfumed and colorfull glass of slushie

 

Peach & bluebbery

Ingredients for 1 person: Peach & bluebbery

  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches (Cut 1  peach into slices and put in the freezer until frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup fresh white wine 
  • 1tsp sugar (optional)

 

Method: Put all ingredients together in a blender. Pulse until homogeneous. If slushie appears too thick, add more wine. Serve immediately

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Blueberry mojito

Nothing makes a hot summer night better like a cold mojito. Shake up your own refreshing cocktail but this time try to add some sweet blueberries. Extra flavor, extra scent is guaranteed. Enjoy!1-1-DRINKS31-DRINKS41-2017-06-24


Paella de Marisco

Spanish polycromatic symphony that your eyes enjoy before your stomach.

Paella is a Spanish rice dish. It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia in eastern Spain but variations exist in the different Spanish provinces.A colorful mixture of saffron-flavored rice, various meats , vegetables or seafood. Paella’s name comes from the paellera, the flat, round pan in which it is cooked.

There is a wide variety of paella, such:  1.Paella Valenciana – The original paella was born in Valencia. Besides rice, this includes chicken and pork.   2. Paella de Marisco (Seafood paella) – This paella does not contain meat. It usually contains prawns, mussels, calamares, clams, and other seafood.  3. Paella Mixta – This paella is a mixture of the paella Valenciana and the paella de marisco. It contains both meat and seafood. Sometimes this paella is called Paella Andaluz. 4. Paella Vegetariana – This paella contains a variety of vegetables like artichokes, lima beans, red and green peppers, and rice and does not include any meat or seafood.  5. Paella Negra – This paella is cooked with squid ink and looks black. It may have very small squid.

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  • Ingredients for 4 serves:
  • 10-14 raw shell-on king prawns
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g cuttlefish, cut into chunks
  • 8 shrimp tails
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (optional)
  • 250g paella rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • pinch of saffron
  •  1/4 x 200g can chopped tomatoes (save the rest for the stock, below)
  • 300g mussels cleaned
  • 100g frozen peas
  • handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped

For the stock

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • ½ x 200g can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Shrimp heads
  • Prawn shells

Method:

  1. Peel and de-vein the prawns (remove the dark dorsal vein), reserving the heads and shells. Return the prawns to the fridge.
  2. To make the stock, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and reserved prawn shells and shrimp heads. Cook for 3-4 mins, then pour 2 litres of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Leave to cool slightly, then whizz in batches in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine sieve.
  3. Heat the oil in a large paella pan or an extra-large frying pan. Add chopped cuttlefish . shrimp tails and sautè for a few mins each side, then remove and set aside. Add the onion and fry for 4-5 mins until softened.
  4. Stir in the rice and cook for 30 secs to toast. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne (if using) and saffron, cook for another 30 secs, then stir in the tomatoes and 1.5 litres of the fish stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, stirring, for about 10 mins (the rice should still be al dente). Return the cuttelfish & shrimp tails to the pan with the prawns, mussels, peas (and if you desire the red pepper cut in stripes)
  5. Cover the pan with a large baking tray, or foil, and cook on a low heat for another 10-15 mins until the mussels are open and the prawns are cooked through. Scatter over the parsley before serving. 

    Enjoy with white wine made from  the Alvarinho ( a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia ),   Verdejo ( a variety of wine grape that has long been grown in the Rueda region of Spain)  or sauvignon blanc grapes. These wines should also be served well chilled, between 5 and 8ºC

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Instant cherry ice cream

This 2 ingredients instant ice cream will be ready quicker than it takes to eat it. It comes out of the food processor like soft-serve ice cream. You only need a very ripe banana and cherries. Experiment by adding other frozen fruits such frozen strawberries, peaches, apricots, berries but you can add also nutella, peanut or pistachio butter. All you need is a freezer and a blender. Enjoy!

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1-DRINKS Ice creams2Ingredients for 1 person :

  • 1 ripe or overripe banana, sliced and frozen (Freeze for at least 2 hours)
  • 10 pitted and frozen cherries (Freeze for at least 2 hours)
  • Maple or agave syrup 1 tbs (optional)

Method:

  1. Add bananas and cherries to the food processor and blend.
  2. At first the banana pieces will look crumbled or smashed. Scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times to make sure everything gets blitzed and continue to blend until smooth, approximately 4 -5 minutes.
  3. Scoop ice-cream into bowls or cones and serve immediately with chocolate chips or chopped cherries

If the fruits are frozen rock-hard,  leave it to thaw for about 10 minutes before blitzing, this will make it easier on the food processor

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