PLEASE NOTE: This is an archive page of previous recipes-the latest updates are to be found here.
This was submitted to us by a Symiot. It is a traditional recipe enjoyed on 25 March, Independence Day when many people eat fish.
Palmida Baked in the Oven with Lemon
Ingredients (for 2 people):
1 Palmida or two mackerel, cleaned, gutted and scaled.
Wash and dry the fish thoroughly, cut 3-4 deep slashes on each side through the thickest part of the fish and leave to drain for 15 minutes in a colander. Combine the salt, pepper and oregano and rub into the fish inside and out, including into the slashes. Let stand for fifteen minutes. In the meantime mix together the chopped onion, celery, parsley and garlic. Stuff into the body cavity of the fish and secure with toothpicks if necessary. Put into a suitable oven dish with the potatoes around. Put the slices of tomato on the fish if used and pour over the oil and water. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the fish is cooked and there is still a little juice left in the pan. Pour over the lemon juice to taste. And let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Roast Pork with Island Herbs and Nuts
This is a simple roast that is transformed into something special by the addition of a handful of garden ingredients. It is also good cold with a Greek potato salad. Pistachios or walnuts can also be used.
1 kilo piece lean boneless leg of pork or pork fillet if feeling affluent!
Freshly ground black pepper
30 ml pinenuts
30 ml almonds, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 twig rosemary
1 twig thyme
Make small incisions in the meat in 5 or 6 places. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper. In a dry frying pan toast the pinenuts and almonds. Mix with crushed garlic and finely chopped herbs and enough olive oil to form a paste. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place the meat in a small roasting dish with a little olive oil. Press the nut and herb mixture evenly over it to form a crust, pressing well into the incisions too. Bake in the hot oven for about 40 minutes or until done to your liking. Cover with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
Leek and Feta Cheese Pie - this is by request!
Just remember that with leeks it is important to wash them really thoroughly as even the slightest bit of grit remaining will ruin the whole dish. The only crunchy bits should be the pastry! Some cooks sautee the leeks in a little olive oil until wilted rather than salting them, some cooks also add spring onions... As with all things in this part of the world, it is a case of making best use of what is available. If you have a choice, go for the heavier sort of phyllo pastry rather than the really fine Beirut variety. If phyllo in any shape or form is unavailable, use good quality shortcrust made with butter rather than margerine. Avoid puff pastry as it is far too greasy for this dish.
350 grams (about 10 sheets) phyllo pastry
100 ml olive oil or 100 grams unsalted butter, melted
5 big leeks
250 grams feta cheese, crumbled
125 ml finely chopped flat leaf parsley
30 ml finely chopped dill or fennel fronds
80 ml olive oil
Remove roots and tough tops from leeks. Slit lengthwise and wash very thoroughly. Slice very finely and rub with salt. Put in a colander and leave to drain for about 20 minutes or until limp. Wash again and then press firmly until as dry as possible. You should have about 6 cups of leeks.
Put the leeks in a bowl and combine thoroughly with the cheese and herbs. Beat the eggs lightly until frothy and add to the leek mixture along with the smaller amount of olive oil.
Brush a baking dish with olive oil or melted butter and line with a layer of phyllo, tucking neatly into the corners. Brush pastry with oil and lay another sheet on top. Repeat until you have used 5 sheets. spoon the filling evenly into the dish and level off. Top with the remaining pastry, once again brushing each layer with oil or butter. Trim the edges neatly and tuck in. Using a sharp knife score the top layer into either diamonds or squares. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Sprinkle the top of the pie lightly with cold water and bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes, reducing the heat to 180 after the first ten minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Spinach and Feta Muffins
Fusion food! This makes a lot but they freeze well.
1.5 litres (6 cups) cake flour
45 ml baking powder
15 ml salt
10 ml dried oregano
750 ml crumbled feta cheese
600 grams fresh spinach, washed, tough stems removed, cooked and drained off all excess moisture or the equivalent in frozen spinach, well drained.
300 ml olive oil
250 ml milk
6 big eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare about 4 dozen muffin cups.
Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a big mixing bowl. Add the spinach, feta cheese and spinach and mix lightly. Make a well in the middle, pour in the rest of the liquid ingredients and mix until just combined (overbeating tends to make holes in the muffins)
Fill muffin cups about two thirds full and bake for about 25 minutes or until done when tested with a skewer. If your oven is too small to take them all in one go, you may need to add a little water to the remaining batter as it thickens on standing.
These little meatballs are sometimes called Palace Kofta, a reference to their being served to Sultans. In some versions they are either wrapped in little phyllo purses or the mixture is rolled in phyllo and sliced before frying. The following version is less fiddly and is good with a green salad or served as a mezze. We had them for supper last night with some hummous as a dip.
200 grams minced lean beef
200 grams minced lean pork
1 spring onion, finely chopped including the green parts
1 clove garlic, crushed
60 ml finely chopped parsley
2-3 sprigs fresh mint, stems removed and roughly chopped
75 grams shelled pistachios
small knob unsalted butter
5 ml paprika
salt and pepper
Olive oil for shallow frying
Heat the butter in a small pan and toast the pistachios, shaking frequently, until they just start to turn golden. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before finely chopping. Combine all the ingredients in a basin and knead thoroughly. Let stand for an hour for the flavours to develop. Form into small balls, about the size of a walnut, and flatten slightly. Shallow fry in hot olive oil, turning once or twice. Drain on paper towels and serve either hot or warm.
Recipe 88 - Posted Monday, 3rd January 2005
Spicy Orange Pot Roast Pork
Came up with this one on Sunday afternoon to warm up the kitchen a bit!
2 kilos boneless and fairly lean chunk of leg of pork (as sold at the butcher in the harbour)
4 small slightly bitter but still juicy Symi oranges from the tree in the garden
A tablespoon of coriander seeds, crushed
2 small dried chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
A tablespoon of sweet paprika
salt and pepper
2 cups white wine
Combine the seasonings and rub all over the meat and let stand for half an hour. Heat the olive oil in a tapsi (the round stainless steel dishes they use here for everything from cakes to pies to roasts) and brown the meat all over. Grate the zest off two of the oranges and squeeze all four. Drizzle the orange juice over the meat. Sprinkle with the zest. Pour the wine into the pan. Cover with foil and bake at about 180 degrees until cooked through, basting occasionally with the pan juices. The steam will keep the meat moist and makes a good sauce afterwards. Take the foil off for the last 10 minutes and let stand for another 10 after you've taken the meat out of the oven so it has a chance to rest before carving.
We had ours with the first new potatoes from the garden and a salad of peppery rocket, sweet cucumbers and a handful of fresh parsley.
Pesto is something one can fiddle with quite a bit. This recipe is unusual in that it does not include any cheese so it is suitable for vegans.
Almond and Basil Pesto
100 grams blanched almonds
5 ml sea salt
4 medium garlic cloves, quartered (optional)
50 large leaves fresh basil
5 sprigs flat leaf parsley
2 ml chilli pepper flakes (optional)
6 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped (or 3 sundried tomatoes in oil)
125 ml olive oil
Put the almonds and sea salt in a food processor and whizz until like flour. Add the remaining ingredients and whizz until creamy. Use as required.
This is one of the ways I am serving the glut of peppers in our garden. Garlic and chilli fans can add these to the oil at the beginning for a bit of zip.
Warm Pepper and Plum Salad
A selection of colourful peppers, cored and cut into strips
2-3 red onions, peeled and cut from top to bottom in thin segments
4 firm plums, stoned and cut into wedges
60 ml olive oil
45 ml balsamic vinegar
Heat the olive oil in a wok and stir fry the onions and peppers until they soften and the onions become translucent. Add the plums and stir round briefly until just heated through. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, mix well and serve immediately.
An uncured olive is a bitter and inedible thing, only attractive to wasps, birds and various insects. To enjoy the olives from your tree some effort is required - and quite a lot of patience.
These are some of the methods I have experimented with, with varying degrees of success, over the years.
1. Place black olives in a jar, alternating with layers of coarse salt. Leave for 20 days, shaking every day and topping up the salt as the juices start to run. After 20 days, rinse one olive and taste it. If it is still bitter, add more salt and leave for longer. If it is okay, add luke-warm water to cover. Pour in 60 ml red wine vinegar and add to the olives in the jar. Pour over some olive oil to cover. Leave for a few days before eating. This method works quite well for fairly small olives as it is not labour intensive.
2. Slash the olives with a sharp knife or pierce several times with a darning needle, being careful not to damage the pit. If you have a lot of olives try to rally some helpers for this! Soak the olives for 12-15 days, changing the water daily. When they are no longer bitter put into a brine made up of one part sea salt to 10 parts warm water. Add vinegar and olive oil as above and leave for a few days before eating.
3. Layer olives and coarse salt in a sack or wicker basket and leave in the sun for 3 weeks until the bitter juices run out, adding more salt and shaking the sack or basket every day. This results in shrivelled olives so it is best to start off with quick large specimens. When they are no longer bitter, you may wish to replace some of the lost moisture by marinating in the olives in vinegar or olive oil for a few days before eating.
All of the above can then be flavoured with various additions such as slices of lemon, garlic, chillies, rigani etc but it is very important to eliminate the bitterness first.
This one is for Kojak. It comes from a small cookbook modestly entitled 'Greek Cooking - the finest traditional recipes' by Despina Tsakira and with a pedigree like that it has to be authentic... Just remember that this is for free range rabbits which need a lot of cooking, not specially fattened plump bunnies.
Spicy Rabbit Stew
(looks like a stifado recipe to me)
2 kilos of rabbit or hare
1.5 kilos small onions
1.5 cups olive oil
2 tomatoes, grated
1 head of garlic
2 bay leaves
1 cup vinegar
some whole peppercorns
Marinate hare or rabbit by cutting into pieces and putting in a bowl with vinegar and water the night before. The next day drain, add salt and pepper. Sauté meat well in a saucepan with half the olive oil. Douse with a cup of vinegar, add grated tomatoes, whole cloves of garlic, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and a little water and cook. At the same time, clean the onions, without removing roots which are scraped so that they do not disintegrate while cooking. heat the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan and saute whole onions. Empty contents of frying pan, along with olive oil, into pan, add a proportional amount of salt and pepper, a little hot water and simmer until the meat is cooked, onions are done and sauce has thickened.
Halloumy and Red Pepper Salad
There are lots of beautiful shiny red Florina peppers around at the moment and the first of the new season's greens are for sale too. What better way to combine them than in this simple and colourful salad.
200 grams halloumy cheese, sliced 2 mm thick and patted dry
2-3 long red peppers, cored and cut into strips
1 fat red onion, cut into segments from top to bottom (they are sweeter that way!)
60 ml olive oil
selection of rocket, endive, Kos lettuce, blanched dandelion and other suitable greens, washed, dried and torn into bite- sized pieces
handful of pine nuts, crushed walnuts or roughly chopped almonds
Divide the greens between salad plates. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the halloumy on both sides until crisp. Place on top of the greens. Add the onions and peppers to the frying pan and saute quickly until they start to soften. Spoon over the cheese. Sprinkle nuts on top and serve immediately.
See, lots of flavour without having to add any gloop from a bottle!
It's easy to think that peas are a typical
English vegetable, usually served to add a little colour on a plate
of meat and potatoes. Greeks cook them too, but in a way that has
little to do with a plate of 'meat and three veg'. And they are just
coming into season now... This type of vegetable dish appears on
Greek menus until the heading of ladera, referring to the olive oil
in which they are cooked.
Sounds like it is comfort food time on the Chat Page, judging by the debate on the relative merits of marmite and jam and the horrors of deep fried pizza. Here's a Middle Eastern variation on pizza that is easy to make. They used to make these at the Arab bakery near the entrance to Jaffa port (see photo) when we lived there about 12 years ago and it was impossible to buy the bread for the day without buying one of these to munch on the way home!
Jaffa Pita Pizza
One quantity risen pizza dough, rolled out and shaped as per my recipes (see archive) but unbaked
One egg per person
Handful of black olives, pitted
A little olive oil
Some feta cheese mashed with a handful of chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to very hot as for the usual pita. Shape the pita dough into slipper shapes but pinch a bit of a rim around the edges so the topping doesn't slide off. Work quickly as this is one time you don't want pita to form a pocket! Crack an egg onto the top of some of them and spread the others with the cheese mixture. Add a few olives to each, to taste. Drizzle a little olive oil over the egg yolks so they don't burn and put them all into the oven until the egg has set and the dough is cooked through. If the oven is hot enough this should not take longer than five minutes. Eat while still warm.
Peppered Lamb Chops
This is a slightly different variation on marinated lamb chops and can be cooked either on the BBQ or under the grill if the weather turns against you. It is a good recipe for those who have to watch their salt intake as all the herbs and spices add plenty of flavour without added sodium.
12-16 lamb chops, of even thickness and neatly trimmed
1 tablespoon freshly ground mixed peppercorns
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
250 ml olive oil
Wash and pat dry the lamb chops and put them in a plastic or porcelain dish with a lid. Put all the seasonings in a blender and chop together or crush with a pestle and mortar. Mix into the oil and pour over the lamb chops. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
Grill or BBQ until cooked to your liking and season with salt to taste if necessary. Serve immediately.
This is an interesting - and healthier - alternative to the cheeseburger. It is one I included in the cookery feature in the July edition of the Symi Visitor and I make it quite often in the summer.
with Feta and Herb Stuffing
Who Needs Cheeseburgers?
grams lean minced beef
ml medium hot mustard
and freshly ground black pepper
ml sweet paprika powder
ml dried marjoram or 10 ml rigani
few breadcrumbs to bind.
grams feta cheese
small bunch flat leaf parsley
small bunch spring onions
cloves of garlic
together all the hamburger ingredients and form into 8 patties.
Cut the feta into small dice.
Finely chop the herbs and crush the garlic.
Put a third of the chopped herbs and garlic with the cheese and
mix the rest with the yoghurt. Set
the yoghurt aside. Put
the feta and herb mixture in the centre of each of four patties and
put the remaining four on top. Press
together firmly around the edges to seal.
Grill or barbecue the hamburgers until cooked through and serve
with the herb yoghurt.
Yoghurt and Peach Ice Cream
This is from 'Yoghurt. Yes, Please!', a new Greek cookbook by Ermione Spheeris which I have reviewed in the July edition of the Symi Visitor. Just the thing for summer and it doesn't need an ice cream machine or other equipment either so anyone can make it.
750 grams peaches
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest, slightly toasted
1 tablespoon orange zest, slightly toasted
350 grams low fat yoghurt
6 tablespoons honey
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons cognac
Mash the peaches in a bowl and mix in the lemon and orange zest. Add the yoghurt, honey and cognac and stir together well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and then gently fold the meringue into the yoghurt and peach mixture. Make sure you keep your strokes light and in one direction. Freeze the mixture making sure that over the course of the freezing you beat the mixture at least once or twice more. This will ensure that your ice cream stays smooth and doesn't crystallise. Serve in decorated tall ice cream glasses.
Recipe 78- Posted Friday, 18th June 2004
If you like carrot cake, this is similar and a great way of using up a glut of courgettes. And it is a sneaky way of feeding vegetables to the sweet-toothed. If you have a food processor it is one of those recipes where you can sling into all into one bowl and go whoosh. It freezes well.
Spicy Courgette Cake
50 grams almonds, walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
zest of one lemon
4 courgettes, peeled and grated to make 250 ml
125 ml olive oil
200 grams plain flour
145 grams brown sugar
5 ml ground cinnamon or ground ginger
3 ml ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
3 ml salt
3 ml baking powder
3 ml bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 170 degrees centigrade. Oil and line two loaf tins about 20 cm by 10 cm.
Mix together grated courgettes, egg and oil until well mixed. Then stir in all the other ingredients. Do not overmix.
Divide the mixture between the two tins, smooth the tops and bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. This is quite a moist recipe so let the loaves cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turniing them out.
Recipe 77- Posted Monday, 14th June 2004
This is an easy lunch or supper to put together when you want something slow to nibble on in the garden while you admire whatever is flowering and plan your holidays. Add or subtract according to what is looking good. Remember to vary tastes, textures and colours. If you have a divided dish, use that, otherwise use a big plate. Make the whole thing as pretty as possible and serve with small plates, forks, fresh bread and, of course, some Greek wine or retsina. Adjust quantities to suit appetites!
6-10 new potatoes, steamed until just tender
1 big red tomato, cut into large chunks
1 cucumber, peeled in stripes and cut into chunks
piece of feta, diced
handful of black olives - the wrinkly dried ones add a smokey taste
handful of green olives - the ones bottled with lemon and coriander have a clean fresh taste
a few sardines or anchovies, well drained. If you have any Greek sardines canned with oregano, so much the better.
2-3 hardboiled eggs, cooled and shelled quickly so the yolks are still bright yellow
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced longways into strips
Some pickled capers or, better still, pickled caper leaves from your last Symi holiday
Some rocket if it is good and fresh, well washed and any scraggy bits removed
The heart of a cos lettuce (use the outside leaves to line the plate)
Some flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
80 ml olive oil
juice of one good lemon
2 pinches of dried oregano
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon and oregano. Pour half of it over the potatoes while they are still warm and toss to coat.
Arrange all the ingredients in little heaps on the serving plate, tucking rocket and lettuce leaves between the different items. Halve the eggs and sprinkle with parsley and make a nest for them with the heart of the lettuce. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the tomatoes and cucumbers.
Fried Courgettes and Onions with Pine Nuts
This is nice as either a vegetable accompaniment to grilled meat or as part of a mezze table. A dollop of yoghurt goes well with this. The calorie conscious can roast the vegetables in the oven instead but I have found that this is only worth doing if the oven is on for something else.
4 young courgettes, topped and tailed and then sliced thinly into ribbons
1 big red onion, peeled and sliced from top to bottom into slivers
60 ml olive oil
60 ml pine nuts
lemon wedges to serve
Heat half the olive oil in a heavy sauté pan or wok and cook the onions until they start to colour, shaking occasionally to make sure they don't burn. Remove and keep warm. Add the rest of the oil and cook the courgette ribbons until golden. Return the onions to the pan. Add the pine nuts and toss everything together. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon.
Kataifi - if you can find the pastry to make these they are easier than you might think, and have a more interesting texture than their cousins, the ubiquitous baklava. Try this basic recipe first and then experiment by varying the flavours of the syrup (orange instead of lemon and so on), the kind of nuts and also the shapes. Have fun! They will keep in the fridge for a few days but do become tougher with storage so are best eaten within a day or two of making.
500 grams kataifi pastry (available from Middle Eastern, Turkish, Lebanese or Greek delis)
250 grams unsalted butter, melted
250 ml coarsely chopped walnuts
250 ml coarsely ground almonds
125 ml caster sugar
5 ml ground cinnamon
3 ml ground cloves
1 egg white, lightly beaten
15 ml Metaxa
500 ml sugar
325 ml water
5 ml lemon juice
thin strip of lemon juice
Small piece of cinnamon bark
15 ml runny honey
First make the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in the water over gentle heat. Add lemon juice and rind, cloves and cinnamon. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in honey, strain and cool.
Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl.
Divide the pastry strands into 8 bundles and spread them out lengthwise. Dab some melted butter over the strands. Put a dollop of filling at one end and roll up firmly into a neat roll. Pack the rolls snugly into a cake pan or baking dish. Brush with the remaining butter and bake for about an hour in a moderate oven. Pour the cool syrup over the warm pastries and leave them to cool
Classic Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolmades)
This is from my column in the Symi Visitor newspaper and is a bit fussier than the recipes I usually select for this web page but it is by special request. Serve with avgolemono sauce or yoghurt.
375 grams preserved vine leaves or 60 fresh leaves
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
30 ml olive oil
500 grams finely minced lamb
250 grams finely minced beef
125 ml short grain rice
30 ml finely chopped parsley
10 ml finely chopped mint
7 ml salt
Freshly ground black pepper
30 ml lemon juice
15 ml butter
500 ml light stock
Rinse the vine leaves in cold water and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes in 3 or 4 batches. Remove to a basin of cold water to cool and then transfer to a colander over a plate to drain.
Gently fry onion in oil until soft. Lightly mix lamb, beef, rice, onion and oil, herbs, salt and pepper until well combined.
Place a vine leaf, shiny side down, on a clean work surface. Snip off the stem if necessary. Place a tablespoon of the mixture near the stem end, fold end and sides in neatly over the stuffing and roll up firmly. Repeat until you have used up all the filling. Line the base of a heavy pan with about 6 leaves. You can use up any damaged ones this way. Pack the dolmades closely, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice. Cover the top with the remaining leaves. Add butter and stock to the pan with any remaining lemon juice. Invert a heavy plate on top to keep the rolls in shape during cooking. Cover pan with lid and place over medium heat. Bring to a slow simmer and simmer gently over very low heat for about one and a half hours.
Drain cooked dolmades and arrange on a dish. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley
Pita Bread - this is for Christine and anyone else out there who cannot buy pita easily locally. The recipe is not difficult - it just takes a little practice but if you follow the instructions below you should not have any problems. Watch points are that you roll the dough thin enough, don't let the shaped pittas rise for too long after shaping and that you have a really hot oven. If necessary use the grill to provide top heat. I sometimes make them on a flat sheet of hot metal on the BBQ. If your pockets don't work out the first time, the bread will still taste delicious and it can always be wrapped around the food instead of stuffed.
500 grams plain flour
1 sachet instant yeast
3 ml salt
5 ml sugar
15 ml olive oil or sunflower oil
Approximately 400 ml tepid water.
Recipe 72- Posted Friday, 23rd April 2004
1 kilo small even-sized new potatoes, washed and dried
60 ml corn oil
125 ml dry red wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
25 ml crushed coriander seeds (or more if you wish)
Crack the potatoes by whacking each one sharply with a mallet. Heat the oil in a big frying pan with a lid. Add the potatoes and fry over high heat to brown them slightly, shaking the pan occasionally. Reduce the heat and add the red wine, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, shaking the pan occasionally so that they don't stick. Sprinkle the crushed coriander seeds over the potatoes and cook with the lid off for a few minutes before serving.
broad beans are now in season and while they are young and tender
they lend themselves to a variety of simple dishes.
A word of warning
– shelling broad beans can leave you with black fingers so apply
barrier cream before you
start or wear gloves.
Bean Salad with Dill
grams shelled broad beans
ml fresh dill, finely chopped
of one small lemon
the beans in boiling water until just tender – not more than 10
minutes and considerably less if they are really fresh.
Allow to cool and then carefully peel off the little skins.
This makes them considerably more digestible and gives the
dish a more delicate flavour.
Toss the beans gently in olive oil until they glisten.
Then season with a little salt and the lemon juice.
Sprinkle over the chopped dill and serve at room
Recipe 70- Posted Friday, 2nd April 2004
Special Bread for Lazarus Saturday
1 cup olive oil
2 kilos flour
500 grams sultanas
500 grams chopped walnuts
1 cup sugar
2 sachets instant yeast
1 large spoonful aniseeds, crushed
Sift together flour, sugar and instant yeast. Make a well in centre and pour in the oil. Add enough lukewarm water to make a dough and knead well. Knead in the aniseed, walnuts and sultanas and let it rise. Knock the dough down and knead again. Divide the dough into three and roll each piece into a fat sausage. Plait into a braid and let rise again. Bake in a hot oven until the bread sounds hollow when knocked.
Arni Stamnas – Lamb and Vegetables Baked in an Unglazed Pot.
was traditionally baked in a clay water jar.
The story is that the wives and mothers of a band of
guerrillas hiding out in the mountains used to leave water jars
with this stew in them close to the well for the men to collect in
secret. The modern
answer to this cooking technique is a slow cooker if you have one.
kilo boneless leg of lamb, cut into cubes
ml olive oil
ml minced fresh chilli or 3 ml dried chilli pepper flakes
bay leaf, crushed
ml dried oregano
ml dried thyme
medium aubergines, cut into the same size cubes as the meat
green sweet peppers, seeded and cut into strips
cloves of garlic, minced
medium potatoes, cut into the same size cubes as the meat
cup fresh tomato puree, strained to remove seeds and skin, or
the lamb with the olive oil, chilli, onions and herbs.
Allow to marinate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Salt the aubergine and allow to drain in a colander for about 30 minutes. Rinse and dry. Add all the remaining ingredients to the meat and herb mixture and stir well to mix. Put in an unglazed clay pot. Cover tightly and bake for about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 150 degrees centigrade, stir contents and add more liquid if necessary. Cover and bake gently for about an hour and a half or until the lamb is very tender.
Cake with Honey and Fresh Grapes
recipe is from Myrsini Lambraki’s new book, ‘Honey, Wild Flowers
and Healing Plants of Greece’ and is a departure from the usual
carrot cake recipes. This
makes quite a large cake if you use a standard European measuring
cup of 250 ml. For best
results remember to use the same cup throughout.
If you don’t fancy the Greek ‘hands on’ approach, a big
wooden spoon will do the job.
½ cups white grapes without stones
cup orange juice
cup olive oil
tsp poppy seeds
star anise, grated
tsp ground cinnamon
small shot of salt
tsp baking powder
cups all purpose flour
cups self-raising flour
Greek Ham Pies
There are several versions of this. I like this filling the best. You will need a chunk of ham cut into cubes so it is a good way of using up a boiled ham. It also works well with tinned ham, but scrape off all the jelly as otherwise it will be too salty with the feta cheese. It's a filling that you can play with. A handful of peas makes a good alternative to the red peppers. Bottle peppers can be used in which case don't cook them, just add them with the parsley at the end.
500 grams puff pastry, home made or bought
300 grams ham, cut into dice
2 sweet red peppers, seeded and cut into matchsticks
3 spring onions, washed and finely chopped including both green and white parts
250 grams feta cheese
125 ml flour
500 ml milk
250 ml olive oil or sunflower oil
60 ml finely chopped fresh dill or parsley
Extra egg yolk for brushing
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the onion until soft but not coloured. Add the red pepper strips and cook for a minute. Then add the ham and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Don't let it brown. Sprinkle the flour over and stir into the oil as though you were making a roux based sauce. Stir the milk in steadily and remove from the heat. Crumble the feta cheese into the mixture. Beat the three eggs until frothy and stir into the pot. Taste the seasoning and only add salt if absolutely necessary. Stir in the dill or parsley.
Roll out the pastry and using a saucer as a template, cut out circles with a sharp knife. Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle. Brush the edges with beaten egg or water and bring up to form half-moon shapes. Press to seal. Put on a lightly oiled baking sheet, make a small slit to let out the steam, brush with beaten egg yolk and bake in a moderately hot oven for about half an hour, until golden and risen. Let cool slightly before eating as the filling will be very hot and firms up on standing.
Good with green salad for lunch or for picnics.
Anraki Anixiatiko i Lemonato - Spring Lamb Casserole
This is very easy and once assembled looks after itself. The health conscious may want to let it cool and remove any fat from the top before adding the vegetables but most Greeks wouldn't bother!
6 portions of lamb, about one and a half kilos, cut into pieces and bones discarded
1 kilo potatoes, peeled and cut into long slices
500 grams small carrots, scraped and topped and tailed or 3 big carrots, peeled and cut into long chunks
3 spring onions, finely chopped
30 ml finely chopped fresh dill
juice of one big lemon
250 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sauté the onions in the oil over a medium flame until just starting to colour. Add the meat, salt and pepper and add water to cover. Cover pan and simmer until the meat is half cooked. Add the potatoes and carrots, dill and lemon juice and simmer until done. Serve hot.
Lentil Soup Pot
500ml (2 cups) brown or beige lentils, washed and any small stones removed
1 cinnamon stick or 2 bay leaves or 1 dry chilli
1 large onion, finely chopped
30 ml olive oil
1 big carrot, peeled and cut into fine dice
1 litre good vegetable or chicken stock
Put the lentils and the seasoning of choice in a big pan. Boil the lentils in water to cover until just tender. Meanwhile in a large pot heat the olive oil and cook the onion until soft, add the carrot and cook for a few minutes. Add the lentils and their cooking water and the stock and simmer until the lentils start to disintegrate. At this point you can:
serve as is,
stir in a good dollop of passata,
cook until it thickens and serve with boiled, sautéed or mashed potatoes, sausages or hard boiled eggs.
serve with extra browned onions on top
all of the above at once with good bread
Any leftovers can be diluted with the addition of more stock before reheating as lentil soup tends to thicken on standing. A generous sprinkling of ground cumin brings out the flavour of the lentils and makes it more like dhal in which case, bring out the yoghurt and roti!
This is the Greek version of the French classic. Just the thing for lunch on a cold day. The cheese should be perceptible so don't use that thin powdery pregrated parmesan. Rather buy a chunk and grate it yourself. You don't need much and it is worth the extra effort.
4 large onions, preferably red, finely sliced
30 ml flour
100 ml olive oil
250 ml good beef or vegetable stock
500 ml hot milk
500 ml hot water
125 ml coarsely grated kefalotyri cheese or parmesan
10 thin slices toasted farmhouse bread, halved
Salt and pepper, paprika
Gently cook the onions in the olive oil until soft. Stir in the flour and cook until golden brown. Add the meat broth, season with salt and pepper and cook gently for 5 minutes.
Combine the milk and water and stir slowly into the soup pot. Continue to cook slowly for another 10 minutes.
Check seasoning and add paprika if desired. Divide the toast between 4 soup plates. Sprinkle over half the grated cheese. Pour over the soup. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and serve.
Recipe 64- Posted Friday,23rd January 2004
Sausage making is not difficult if you have a mincer or food processor. Your local butcher should be able to provide sausage casings. If not, the mixture tastes just as good shaped into rolls before cooking. There are many regional variations in the seasonings – the Symiots put in lots of garlic but other recipes leave this out and replace the cinnamon and cumin with oregano or minced leeks! This is the kind of sausage that is used to make spetsofai (sausages braised with coloured peppers).
1 kilo skinless boneless pork shoulder, about 20% fat
60 ml port or sweet wine such as Mavrodafne
5 ml black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
3 ml freshly ground black pepper in addition to the above
12 ml ground coriander seed
3 ml ground cinnamon
3 ml whole cumin seeds
10 ml salt
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Grated rind of one orange
Sausage casings if available.
Either mince the pork using a coarse screen or chop in a food processor. The texture should be fairly coarse, not like an English pork sausage! Mix with all the other ingredients except the casings and leave, covered, in the fridge over night. Fit the sausage filling attachment to your mincer and use that to fill the sausage casings or alternatively use a funnel with a long nozzle. Put the sausage casing on the end of the funnel nozzle and ease it off as it fills. (An extra pair of hands in the kitchen can be helpful with this!) Push meat through with the handle of a wooden spoon. Knot the end of the skin as the meat begins to come through the nozzle. When the casing is filled, twist into sausages about 15 cm long and knot the end.
The sausages can be stored loosely covered in the fridge until required. Apart from using them as an ingredient in spetsofai they can also be fried in olive oil or grilled and served cut into chunks as part of a mezze. If you are unable to obtain sausage casings, shape the mixture into sausage shapes with your hands and fry a test one carefully. If the mixture shows signs of breaking up, try rolling them in a little flour to bind.
Fresh Herb Omelette
This is quite substantial, rather like a Spanish tortilla, and is packed with vitamins. You can vary the herbs according to what is available. Just remember to balance the flavours. The traditional dish to use for this type of omelette is the saganaki which is a kind of two handled frying pan. It is good served in wedges with dollops of good Greek yoghurt, ripe tomatoes and fresh pita bread.
500 mls finely chopped spinach
Combine the greens, flour, salt and pepper in a big bowl and toss well to mix. Beat the eggs until frothy and pour over the greens. Heat the butter in a large oven proof frying pan or skillet. Swirl melted butter round the hot pan to coat evenly. Pour in the egg and herb mixture and cook for a minute then put into a moderate oven (180 degrees) to bake for about 45 minutes or until set and the top starts to brown. Alternatively cover the pan and cook on gentle heat on the stove top until half done and then finish under the grill.Serve hot or cold.
Greek Tuna Salad - this is a slightly more interesting version with some good strong flavours and a wide range of nutrients. Serve with wholegrain bread.
200 grams good quality tuna, canned in olive oil, drained and reserving the oil
Juice of one lemon
Half a green pepper, finely diced
Half a red pepper, finely diced
2 spring onions, chopped (white and green parts)
12 capers, rinsed and patted dry
6 black olives, sliced
Half a cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Kos lettuce leaves
Whisk together the reserved oil with the lemon juice and black pepper. Arrange lettuce leaves on plate. Gently combine tuna with diced peppers, spring onions, capers and olives. Spoon onto lettuce and sprinkle with the parsley.
After all that rich festive food, thoughts turn to lighter fare as resolutions are made and diets contemplated. Here’s one to get you off to a good start and which is a bit more interesting than the usual salad lunch.
Warm Chicken Salad
Combine the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and herbs and brush the chicken fillets on both sides. Sprinkle with the crushed green peppercorns. Leave to stand for half an hour or overnight in the refrigerator.Divide the salad vegetables onto individual plates. Heat a grill pan and briskly cook the chicken fillets on both sides, basting with any remaining marinade. When the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned on both sides, remove it to a board to cool for two minutes. Meanwhile pour the red wine vinegar into the grill pan to loosen the bits. Slice the warm chicken fillets and arrange on top of the salad leaves. Spoon the pan juices over the top and serve immediately. Variations: this has numerous potential variations as the chicken can be flavoured with orange juice instead of lemon and different herbs and spices can be used. Balsamic vinegar can replace the red wine vinegar if appropriate. The salad leaves can be varied according to what is available and nuts and olives can be added if desired. The important things to watch for are that the chicken is cooked through but still succulent and that there is a good contrast of flavours, colours and textures. Avoid over-cooked stringy chicken on pale wilting iceberg lettuce!
These recipes are taken from Adriana's monthly column in