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Marinated Greek lamb souvlaki

Delicious , succulent , crispy outside – juicy pink inside – lamb souvlaki previously marinated in olive oil , oregano , thyme, onion, lemon or lime  juice, coriander , garlic , salt and pepper

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Ingredients for 3 souvlaki 

250 gr lamb leg or shoulder cut into 2cm cubes

1 red onion

1 red pepper

Marinade: Olive oil,  1 lemon, mediterranean herbs such oregano,  thyme, mint, coriander. Onion,  garlic, salt & ground pepper

Method:

  1. Cut the meat into 2 cm cubes
  2. In a large bowl mix all ingredients for marinade.
  3.  Put the lamb pieces into the bowl with the marinade, cover with a plastic wrap. Refrigerate the lamb for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  4. After 4 hours (or after one night) peel and cut the onions, chop the peppers into 2cm pieces and assemble the lamb souvlaki alternating lamb, wedges of onion and pieces of pepper.
  5. Brush the lamb with olive oil and cook over hot grill for about 8-10 minutes,  until cooked to your liking.
  6. Serve with hot Greek pita bread,  tzatziki sauce and fresh Retsina of Attica “Kourtaki” (Greek resinated – with pine resin – wine)

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Pita (Greek flatbread)

Pita bread is flat, round bread that originated in Greece, and is commonly found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean kitchens. The first known mention of “Pita” is in Aristophanes’s comedies.

Traditionally, the pita bread is made with wheat flour and yeast. It is traditionally accompanied by hummus, tzatziki, or tabouleh. In Greece, pita is a component of pita-souvlaki. These types of sandwiches involve the wrapping of souvlaki or gyros with tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, fries, and condiments into a pita bread

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Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 250 ml warm water
  • 320 g strong flour
  • 1 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + extra for brushing

Method:

  • In a bowl combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Set the bowl aside for 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to froth.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour & the salt . Mix to combine.
  • Add the oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture in batches. Make sure each batch is incorporated before adding the next.
  • Transfer mixture to a lightly floured working surface. Knead for 4-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth.
  • Brush a bowl with some oil and add the dough.
  • Cover with a towel and let it rest for about 40 minutes, until it rises and doubles in size.
  • Place a pan over medium heat.
  • Press on the dough to remove the air and cut into 6 equal sized pieces.
  • Place pieces of dough on a lightly oiled working surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out each piece of dough to a circle 20 cm in diameter.
  • Cook the pita bread for 1-2 minutes on each side in the pan, until they puff up slightly.

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This pita recipe has been adapted from http://www.akispretetzikis.com


Stuffed bread / Γεμιστο ζυμωτο καρβελακι

Stuffed bread. Transform the usual bread dough into a savory meal that you can enjoy for brunch, lunch, dinner, at school or at work. Great idea for Easter picnics. Easy, flavorful, fragrant. Feel free to use different ingredients as options such mozzarella, bolognese sauce, bacon, sausage, salami, meatballs, peperoni etc.1-PANE

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Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Method:

  • In a large bowl stir yeast into 1 cup lukewarm water until dissolved. Let sit until small bubbles form around edges.
  • Whisk in sugar &salt until blended.
  • Gradually add flour and olive oil , mix with your hands until a soft dough forms . Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead in remaining flour, continuing to knead for about 10 min until the dough is very soft.
  •  Return dough to cleaned bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Turn out dough onto work surface and gently squeeze out air bubbles.
  •  Fill and shape as desired. Feel free to use different ingredients as options such mozzarella, cheddar cheese, Greek feta, bolognese sauce, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, salami, peperoni, asparagus, olives, meatballs etc.
  • Brush every bread with olive oil . Bake in hot oven at 200°C (375° F) for about 20 min or until surface is golden brown.
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MEATBALLS WITH APRICOT DIPPING SAUCE

Great for an appetizer or served with cheese , rice, toasted bread, fry or oven roasted potatoes, these  meatballs are served with a sweet apricot, mustard & chilli dipping sauce. 1-carne38

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEATBALLS:

1/2 kg ground beef, 300 gr white bread previously soaked in milk and squeezed dry, 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 egg , salt , pepper

1. Heat oven to 200°C /400°F. Line a pan with parchment paper

2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients. Shape mixture with your hands into meatballs. Place in pan.

3. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE APRICOT  SAUCE

1 can (350gr) apricot jam

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  1. In a large skillet mix  all ingredients together
  2. Cook the mixture for about 1 min on low heat
  3. Add (previously cooked) meatballs in a single layer and cook 2 minutes.

Serve immediately. This mixture is suitable for dipping kebabs, meat or veggie balls and it also makes a great sauce for burgers. Enjoy!

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BLUEBERRY BARBECUE MEATBALLS

Simply to make. Glazed , sticky, oven roasted meatballs with a super easy sweet bbq sauce. They require only 2 ingredients. Jam & a barbecue sauce of your choice. I have used blueberry  jam because i had it from last summer but really work great with whatever preserve you have. If you desire you can add chilli  or tabasco , you can add more than 100 gr bbq sauce. Depends on your personal taste. I use more jam because i like  sweet flavors but if you desire more bbq sauce you can add it. No limits for your fantasy. Serve hot with cheese, fry potatoes , rice or simply as an appetizer.1-carne361-carne43-001

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEATBALLS:

1/2 kg ground beef, 300 gr white bread previously soaked in milk and squeezed dry, 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 egg , salt , pepper

1. Heat oven to 200°C /400°F. Line a pan with parchment paper

2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients. Shape mixture with your hands into meatballs. Place in pan.

3. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes 

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BBQ SAUCE

1 can (350gr) blueberry jam

100 gr barbecue sauce of your choice

  1. In a large skillet mix well blueberry jam & barbecue sauce
  2. Cook the mixture on low heat until bubbly and looks like dark caramel
  3. Add (previously cooked) meatballs in a single layer. Stir to coat completely
  4. Let cook -always on low heat – for about 4-5 minutes

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Pomegranate cocktail

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Ingredients for 2 persons :

200ml pomegranate juice

200ml champagne or other sparkling wine

100 ml sprite

Juice from 1 fresh orange

Pomegranate arils

Fresh mint

Ice cubes

Method:

1.In a  pitcher combine pomegranate, orange juice & sprite

2 In 2 cocktail glasses  place ice cubes,  pomegranate seeds and the juices+sprite mix

3.Top with champagne or other sparkling wine. You can adjust the wine to your liking.

4. Garnish with orange slices, some mint leaves and enjoy!

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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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Repeat the same procedure for all quarters

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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. 

Roast leg of lamb with mint sauce / Ψητο αρνισιο μπουτακι γαλακτος με γλυκοξινη σαλτσα δυοσμου

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Ingredients for the sauce :                                  

  • 1 bunch mint (chopped)                               2 kg quality leg of lamb,  salt
  • 200 ml white wine vinegar
  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbs brown sugar

Method:  In a large bowl mix together all ingredients for the sauce ( chopped mint, vinegar, olive oil . brown sugar) Stir to combine.

Score the leg with a knife. With a pastry brush, rub part of the mint mixture all over the leg. Sprinkle all over with salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.

Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F . Roast for 1 hour – 1 h &15 min for a mediun rare.

Serve with the mint sauce and a fresh Merlot wine.

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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 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!1-pasta851-pasta86

  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
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Herb laminated fresh pasta / Λαμιναρισμενα διφυλλα ζυμαρικα με βοτανα/ Pasta fresca laminata con erbe

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    Aromatic fennel + purple cabbage

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    10-cucina 68Ingredients:  340 gr flour for pasta ( 70 % semolina flour + 30% all purpose flour)

                                    4 eggs , fresh herbs ( sage , thyme , aromatic fennel , chives, marjoram,

                                   basil , parsley , dill , tarracon , rosemary , mint etc )

Method: Step by step  home made fresh pasta instructions (with photos)                          

  1. Mix together flour with eggs until ball is formed.
  2. Knead dough until is smooth (about 10 min)
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 15 min
  4. Divide your dough into 6 equal parts
  5. Use the pasta machine to roll each piece of the dough until it is thin as possible (adjusting machine to thinner settings after every pass and dusting with flour if sticky , until pasta sheet is thick – setting 9 on most machines).
  6. Place the first 3 pasta sheets in a single layer on a lightly floured surface .
  7. Now spread your herbs on pasta .Use the remaining 3 sheets to cover the others (pic3)Gently press together to hold the leaves  in place.
  8. Pass these doubled sheets through the roller (pic 4) starting with setting # 6 , until sheets and herbs are well pressed together
  9. Cut your laminated pasta as you want (Cannelloni , lasagna, tagliatelle , pappardelle etc).
  10. Bring a large saucepan  with water to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente ( 5 minutes )

Serve with fresh oil or butter

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