Tirozouli – homemade Cretan cheese

What you will need:

  • 4 lit whole milk (goat or sheep or cow, pasteurized is fine, but don’t use ultra-pasteurized)
  • Fresh lemon juice from 4 lemons (approx. 120 ml) (no pulp or seeds) (maybe you need more) or vinegar.
  • salt to taste
  • Fresh or dried herbs (optionally).
  • 1 glass cold water from the freeze
  • Mold or colander cover with cheesecloth.

The recipe step by step:

Pour the milk into a large pot and heat until the temperature reaches 90OC or almost boiling. Stir constantly to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot.

Once the milk hits the right temperature, gentle bubbles will be forming and the surface will look foamy.

Remove from the heat.

Pour the lemon juice or vinegar all around the milk surface and stirring gently. You will notice curds immediately beginning to form.

The mixture should separate into curds and a yellowish liquid called whey.

After 1-2 min and when you recognize a clean break, pour in the saucepan edges the cold water to low the temperature.

Let stand for 10 minutes.

Place the mold or a colander over the sink or a large pot.

With slotted ladle remove the cheese from the saucepan into the mold in layers. After each layer season the curds with salt to taste. At this point, you can also add other types of seasonings like fresh or dried herbs.

Massage the salt and the herbs (if you use) into the curds with a ladle.  This helps the texture of the curds become a little bit softer, smoother and creamier.

Let the cheese continue to drain in the strainer for 1 hour.

Cover a plate or bowl with the kitchen paper. Remove the cheese from the mold and put it on the plate. Store it in the refrigerator.

The second day covers the cheese with kitchen paper wrap in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.

Fresh cheese will usually last about a week


Bon appetite – Kali orexi

Appetizers, Vegetarian

Kremidokalitsouna – Pies with onions




     This recipe can be found for the first time at Chania during the Second World War. The ingredients for food back then were few and not easy to find. Nevertheless, the Cretan housewives who knew how to cook according with the Cretan traditional cuisine, took advantage of three ingredients (flour, dry onions and olive oil) which they could find in Crete, prepare small pies with onions (commonly referred as kremidokalitsouna).

    My recipe for “kremidokalitsouna” is the one that Tasa taught me. Tasa was a wonderful cook and even better woman who I had the luck to have as my mother in law. She used to make delicious Kremidokalitsouna. I will never forget that the first time I taste them, she didn’t tell me that there is onion (back then I was young and I didn’t like onion that much). I only taste the onion in a second pie. Since then they have become an irreplaceable part of my recipes and I feel very proud every time my siblings say that my pies taste the same with those of Tasa.

what you will need:

      for the dough:


  • 1/2 kilo all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 250 ml water at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • plenty olive oil for frying


   for the filling:


  • 1 kilo dry onions peeled and cut into thin slices.
  • 1 small ripe tomato (50 gr), coarsely cut
  • a pinch cinnamon
  • salt, pepper
  • 30 ml, olive oil

 the recipe step by step:

1. Prepare the dough:

    Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and half of the water and mix these ingredients by working them with your fingertips.

    Gradually add water, knead by hand until the dough is soft and smooth. Cover with a towel and leave it for 30 minutes.


   2. Prepare the filling:

    Put olive oil, onions, tomato, salt, pepper and cinnamon in a large frying pan. Sauté and stir gently for about 5 minutes. Transferred the filling in a colander until most of the liquid has disappeared.

   Alternatively, place the onions and salt in a bowl. Squeeze strongly with your palms for 5 minutes. Add tomato, pepper and cinnamon, mix well and put in the colander to drain well.


3. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, roll out the dough (approx. 0,2 cm thick), on a floured surface, and cut it into circles (about 12 cm diameter).


Μ-κρεμμυδοκαλίτσουνα (2)


5. In a frying pan on medium heat put the olive oil and fry the onion pies on both sides until they become golden. Remove and place them on absorbing paper.




    Alternatively, place the pies into a lined pan with non-stick paper and brush both sides with olive oil. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180° C for 30′ or until they become brown.


tips and tricks

  • If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  • Kremidokalitsouna with raw onions are better baked in the oven, while the ones that have been sautéed onions are better fried in the pan.
  • You can freeze them. Place the pies in layers on a shallow pun. Between the layers, add double non-stick paper. Cook them as above, without defreezen.

                               Bon appetite – Kali orexi







Appetizers, Vegetarian

Dakos or Koukouvagia (owl)




Recipe steps




1. Wet the rusks in water (shaking off any excess water) and cover it with a towel for 5 minutes.




2. Put it on a plate, pour it olive oil and little salt. Rub origano in your hands and sprinkle it on the rusk.





3. Carefully lay out the tomatoes on the rusks.




DSC_0246 (2)



4. Then add mizithra above.





5. Lastly add the black olive oil above in the center, like the eye of an owl.

6. Sprinkle with olive oil. 



Tips and tricks

  • You can add more olives or kapari or kritamo for more bitterness and saltiness  
  • With the years, the presentation of “koukouvagia” has been evolved so as to look more with the eye of the animal owl (koukouvagia in Greek). This is why the ingredients are placed with care in circle over the “paximadi”. First the tomato, next the local cheese (mizithra) and a black olive in the middle.

Bon appetite – Kali orexi


The History

How the “koukouvagia” takes its name?

The history starts in the decade of 1950 in Rethymno. There was a tavern at the suburbs of the town, where all the forbidden pleasures were gathered there: gabling, smoking, women.

The conservative society of these days did not allowed such shops inside the town.

In this tavern they made round rusks which were offered for quick and stimulant meal. They were offered wet in olive oil and with the known goodies on them.

The rumors say that the owner was called Koukouvagias, a known name back then.

Other rumors say that in the area there were many owls (koukouvagia in Greek) that were witnesses of all the night walkers in the area every night.

The only certain fact is that the namekoukouvagia” end up to be the morning codename for all the gentlemen of the high society by saying to each other “Let’s go for koukouvagia at night”

Nice story