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Easter cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 kg flour
  • 400 g. Butter
  • 750 g. Sugar
  • 9 eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ cup of milk (room temperature or slightly warm)
  • ½ cup of alousia*
  • 25 ml of ouzo
  • 45 gr of ammonia
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 25 gr. baking powder
  • Gum mastic crushed (mastic is a resin obtained from the mastic tree)
  • 8 vanilla
  • Half lemmon

*Alousia is made as follow: To a glass of water dissolve two tablespoons of ashe from burnt clean wood. Boil the mixture for 2 or 3 minutes and allow to settle. Then strain it carefully either by using filter coffee or by putting tulle and cotton to a strainer.

 

Instructions

  • Separate the eggs to yolks and whites
  • Shake the egg whites to meringue
  • Mix the flour and the baking powder
  • In a mixer, mix the flour with the sugar
  • To the mixture, add one by one all the yolks and the vanilla and continue mixing
  • Dissolve the ammonia in the milk and pour it
  • Dissolve soda in ouzo and pour
  • Add the alousia, gum mastic, lemmon and a teaspoon of flour
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and add meringue and flour alternately, stirring by hand
  • Knead a soft pliable dough. You may need a little more flour
  • Make cookies and place them in pans
  • Brush the surface with egg and bake at 180 degrees until they take gold colour

 

Tips

We can crush the gum mastic with a teaspoon of sugar.

The egg mixture which we use to brush the surface is made from mix egg yolks diluted 2 or 3 teaspoons of water.

 

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Kidonopasto (Quince Paste)

Ingredients

  • Quince
  • Sugar

 

Instructions

  • Wash and clean the quinces by removing the stems, the hard parts and the skin.
  • Put the purified quinces in a baking sheet and bake in oven at 180 Celsius for approximately 2 hours OR put them in a cooking pot, cover them with water and boil them until they become soft. When ready you can drain the water.
  • Grind the quinces
  • Measure the pulp in glasses and then put it in a large cooking pot.
  • Add sugar at the same amount of glasses and add it.
  • Stir and leave it for an hour to melt the sugar.
  • If you want you can use honey instead of sugar. The quince paste becomes transparent with honey.
  • Begin cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Continue stirring, if necessary, lowering the heat until the mixture is reduced in volume and the colour to be darker.
  • If you wish, at this point, you can add blanched almonds.
  • Lay wax paper on a baking tray and pour the mixture.
  • Flatten the surface to have the same thickness and leave for 2-3 days to dry.
  • Cut the surface into small pieces of your choice.
  • If you want, you can roll them in granulated sugar and then wrap with plastic film.

 

Tips

  • You can preserve them in a dark place, out of the refrigerator, wrapped in gelatin for 1 year.
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Mousaka and it’s history ;)

With a well-recognized name outside of the country, mousakas, along with tzatziki, souvlaki and xoriatiki salad, is a famous representative of Greek cuisine in the eyes of the rest of the world. Still, all this popularity raises the question. How Greek is mousakas and how many different recipes are hidden under its bechamel? In the end what mousakas even mean??

The word mousakas is Arabic and is originated from the word musaqqa whick means «wet» and «notismenos». In free translation this means a juicy food with its sauce. Mousasa is a know food in Middle East, Egypt, Turkey and all the Balkan area. Turkish and Libanese musaka are cooked in pot with vegetables, either with lamb meat chopped like minced meat and either without meat at all. Egyptians cook mousaka with slices of eggplant and tomato without minced meat. Closer to Greek recipe of mousaka is the Persian “magourma” which is a dish with slices of eggplant, onnion and chopped lamb meat.

Greek modern mousaka is a creation of 20 century and is a child of the Sifnian Nikolaou Tselemente. His target was to get rid of the eastern elements from the Greek cuisine and so he add the French mpesamel. His recipe offer another finesse to mousaka that made him famous and loved by the rest of the world.

The first recipes of mousaka in Crete are found in hand-written notebooks that was written in the end of nineteen century. These first recipes received a fast spreading in the urban centers since the recipes were found more and more in the start of 1920 decade. In suburban areas, the mousaka started to be known from the start of twenty century, but it was not still spread in rural areas. This happened mainly because mousakas needed many ingredients and it was not easy for the rural families to gather them and prepare the food. It needed a lot of time too.

They say that mousakas is a combination of low-class and high-class cuisine.

The editions of classic mousaka
Trouble maker but irresistible, mousaka is consists of three chapters: vegetables, minced meat and mpesamel. Its success is hidden on the balance of these three ingredients. The three layers have to be equal without too much mpesamel.

The vegetables can make many combinations in mousaka. Eggplant alone, eggplant with potato, potato alone, eggplant with zucchini and potatos, with or without peppers. Which combination you choose is up to you and your taste.

The secret of eggplant
The ideal cut of eggplant is moderate thickness slices. The cleaning are at striped strips or with the peel, something that makes the mousaka more beautiful and helps the eggplant to stay in one piece when cooked.

My grandma, which was from Constantinople and was elite shef, thought that the eggplant has to be alone without potato. This can result in a more light and gourme mousaka.

Mousaka should not absorb much olive oil. In order to succeed this, you have to let the eggplants for one hour at least in cold salty water. Then dry them and fry them in olive oil, always covered in order to be protected from the splashes that comes out all the time. Then, place them in strainer and let them dry a whole night. The amount of olive oil which gone, makes the mousaka lighter. For an even better result, you cut the slices a bit more thick, brush them with olive oil and cook them for 30 minutes in 180 C.

My secret of taste: Along with the eggplant, i cook or fry 3-4 peppers which i cut in the middle.

 

The minced meat

*In the classic recipe, the minced meat is from lamb, which fits perfectrly with the eggplant, or a mixture of pork and veal. Nevertheless, it is better to avoid the fat free minced meat. The fat makes the difference.

*According to your taste, you can also add some cinnamon, some allspice or just 1 full spoon from a mixture of spices for pork or chicken.

*Dropping the temperature with white wine gives some more taste.

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Mpriam (ratatouille)

Ingredients:

  • 2 flaskes eggplants
  • 2 big zucchinis
  • 2 medium size potatoes
  • 2 pepper (1 green,1 red)
  • 2 mature tomatoes or 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 big or 3 medium size dry onions
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt
  • pepper

 

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200 0C (at air and oven registors).
  • Wash and clean the vegetables
  • Cut the eggplants, the zucchinis and the potatoes in sticks of 2cm thickness.
  • Clean the fibers, seeds and stalks from the peppers and cut them in sticks.
  • Cut the potatoes in 6 or 8 pieces depending on their size or if we have tomatoes we cut them in the middle.
  • Clean the onions and cut them in thick slices.
  • Put the mixed vegetables in a pot.
  • Grind the garlic with olive oil and vinegar in a blender and pour over the vegetables.
  • Salt and pepper and sprinkle with the herbs.
  • Mix well with your hands or with two spoons.
  • Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour.
  • The first 30 minutes we bake the food covered. Towards the end of baking we expose the food to brown.
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Taramosalata (Fish roe with bread)

Ingredients

  • 150 gr fish roe
  • 200 gr crumb of stale bread
  • about 300 ml olive oil
  • 1 small size onion
  • Lemon juice (about three lemons)
  • For garnish (1-2 onions, parsley and olives)

Instructions

  • Put the bread in a deep bowl with water and leave it to soak. Then wring it with your hands until it drain well.
  • Toss the crumb of bread, the onions and the fish roe into the blender and blend them until you mix them. Next, start to drop little by little the olive oil and the lemon juice. The mixture should become homogenized and has the texture of a smooth cream.
  • Try your salad and if it is necessary you can add a little more olive oil or lemon juice.
  • Serve in deep bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and olives.

Tips

  1. The white fish roe has more spicy taste than the red one.
  2. The white fish roe needs more bread and olive oil because it is more spicy.
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Politiki salad

Ingredients

 

  • ½ kg chopped cabbage (white and slightly purple)
  • 3 carrots, grated on a coarse grater
  • 2 red peppers cut as matchsticks (julienne style)
  • 1 green pepper also cut in julienne style
  • ½ bunch chopped parsley   
  • 2 sprigs of chopped celery
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
  • ½ cup of vinegar tea
  • ½ glasses of wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olives for garnish

 

Instructions

  • From the cabbage you remove all the damaged outer leaves and chop them into a deep bowl or salad bowl
  • Wash the peppers, remove their stalks and their seeds and cut them like matchsticks (julienne). Chop the parsley and rub or crush garlic.
  • Pour the peppers, the garlic and the parsley in the salad. Add salt and pepper and mix the salad.
  • Add olive oil, vinegar and water and mix the salad again
  • Cover the bowl and let your salad in a cool place or in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving it.

 

Tips

If you mind the garlic but you like it’s taste, you can avoid using garlic and instead just spread on with a cut clove the walls of the bowl.

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Chicken with okra

IMG_20180103_143416_HDR

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (1-1 ½ kg)
  • ½ kg okra
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (melted)
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes (chopped)
  • ½ bunch parsley (chopped)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vinegar
  • ¾ cup of olive oil

Instructions

  • Peel the okra with a sharp knife, by remove the hard casing on the top without removing the entire top. Wash them with plenty water, drain and drizzle them with vinegar and let them under the sun for 1-2 hours.
  • Clean the chicken, cut it in food portions, wash it and leave it dry completely.
  • Put the oil in the pot to warm up. If you can’t fit all the chicken in a layer, put it little by little, we brown it and take it out of the pot.
  • Put and saute the onion and the garlic
  • Add the chicken, the tomatoes, some water, salt and pepper and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Replace the chicken to a pan or clay pot
  • Add the okra into the sauce to boil for a few seconds and then pour them in the pan (where you put chicken) with their sauce
  • Add the chopped parsley and add a little salt if necessary.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil or it’s lid and bake at 180 celsius for 1 hour. The last 10 minutes expose it to get colour.

Tips

Instead of letting the okra under the sun, we can also fry them to wilt them.

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Boureki from Chania

Φ-μπουρεκι.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 kg green zucchinis
  • 350 gr potatoes
  • 900 gr “mizithra” or soft goat cheese
  • 1 or 2 medium sliced tomatoes (optionally)
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 30cm diameter baking pan

For the mush

  • ½ cup of flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 soup spoon of sesame
  • few salt
  • pepper

IMG_20170426_125848829

Instructions

  • Cut zucchinis and potatoes in very slim slices. Put them in a big bowl and salt them.
  • Oil a baking tray and sprinkle breadcrumbs.
  • Place a layer of potatoes, sprinkle a layer of cheese and little mint
  • Place a layer of zucchini, sprinkle with a little breadcrumbs and continue with a layer of cheese and a little mint.
  • Place a layer of zucchini, sprinkle with a little breadcrumbs and continue with a layer of cheese and a little mint. (for second time)
  • Place a layer of tomatoes (if you want)
  • We finish with a series of zucchinis.

IMG_20170426_133347628

  • Into a bowl we put the mush ingredients. We stirring them until we have a homogeneous mush
  • We pour in the boureki first some olive oil and then the mush
  • Sprinkle some sesame and bake it for 40 minutes in 1800
  • Cover with silver foil and bake for 60 more minutes in 1500
  • We serve the boureki at room temperature or even cold

Tips

  1. During the baking, we understand that boureki is baked by shrinking a sharp knife in the center.