If you ever happen to be walking around a Greek town or village and it seems that there are BBQ smells everywhere chances are it’s probably Tsiknopempti. (It could also be Easter Sunday but in that case the smell is the roasting lamb on a spit so you’ll know quite quickly which is which).
Tsiknopempti comes from the words tsikna (the characteristic bbq meat smell) and Pempti (Thursday). It comes about once a year, about two weeks before Lent starts.
There is a whole host of dishes we make in Greece which are classed as ‘meze‘. These are small (or big) plates of delicacies and nibbles (not prawns on stick or mini sausage rolls though) which are served with tsipouro (a.k.a. raki) or ouzo. Try not to drink the later if you’re not used to them. Meze can be simple – just a few slices of cheese and tomatoes, more complicated like boureki or just out-of-this-world, like today’s recipe.
I’ve been watching Nigel Slater‘s (he really needs a new website) Simple Cooking on BBC lately. What actually made me watch it in the first place was the amazing title sequence. I want to bake something for the people who thought of having episode and recipe titles on food packages. So cute!
What kept me watching are the really interesting recipes. Even though in every single episode I marvel at the miles he has to walk in his kitchen to get from the cupboard to the fridge or from the oven to the garden. Seriously, this must be the biggest kitchen ever.
There is something about London in November that just makes me ache for hearty soups and curling up on the sofa with thick socks. It’s not so much the cold – it gets worse over December and January. It is all about the sharp smell of the cold to come in the air. Sort of like the promise of winter right around the corner.
I was looking for something seasonal to do this week and I stumbled upon some lovely ambercup squash the other day. They look so lovely, don’t they? Small, round, tough, they are like a toy vegetable I think. In the past I never cooked with squash and pumpkin, for some reason my family is not very big on them. My mum has now started growing them in her garden, too late for me as I have flown the nest and my memories of what we eat “at home” are pretty much set. So using squash and pumpkin is very much a London thing for me.
I uploaded a pic of our dinner today on Google+ and Stratos asked for the recipe. That is to say he actually threatened that he would have a heart attack if I didn’t share it. Fine. You know me, I’m here for my friends.
What you need to know about this recipe is that roasted chicken with potatoes is one of the most frequent things we have in Greece. It is considered ideal for a family Sunday lunch so after a few years you are sick and tired of it. So I just gave the recipe a little twist to make it more interesting.
Here I am with the first ever Digital Scullery video in English. Cheers to all the friends of the Greek blog for the idea, by the way if people hate the video I’m blaming you 😉
I honestly thought about doing the Greek accent but I sound so fake that I just stuck to my own. So no funnies there I think. Anyway.
In this first ever Digital Scullery video in English the only classic recipe from modern Greece I could think of was the Frappé coffee – beloved in Greece. The actual phrase “drinking Frappé ” in Greek has become sort of like a cultural symbol. Depending on the context it could mean that you’re just chilling or – in some cases – that you are just lazying about.
Roxakia are a Greek type of sweet dough. I hope it’s mainly Greek but you never know. Anyway. They are bite sized cocoa and vanilla and cinnamon goodies that look lovely and taste like heaven. Avoid if syrupy stuff is not your cup of tea, but you will love them if you like any of the syrupy Greek, Turkish and Arabian goodies.
So. Friends of the Greek blogLOVE this dessert and have been asking me to do a video for absolute ages. I got around to it over the weekend (you can watch the video here – it’s in Greek obviously but you’ll see the technique I am describing below) and I managed to take some pics for the English side too.
Lorraine is an ex model and after a few jobs here and there she got busy, went to some seminars, studied and today she is a chef. Her first programme was mainly about baking, particularly desserts and pastry. Her second programme is all about food in general.
It seems that the Dukan diet is sweeping the whole world , not just the nation (please get the media to stop with Carole Middleton and how she got her figure!). It does have some weird and interesting recipes (mainly with oat bran admittedly) and I mentioned that I wanted to make the muffins on our Facebook page. However, the Greek friends on there shouted out in despair about the galette. It seems people find it impossible!
All the chums on facebook (and twitter) are saying that this galette comes out horrible, gets stuck, it’s really hard. So, did my research and here I am with my photos.
One of the most useful things – and nobody thinks to share this with you if you’re a newbie – is a list of what you should have in your fridge and your cupboard, especially when you’re busy and do not have time. Everybody kind of assumes that you know how to miracle food on the table or that you have time to stand over a stew. Let’s face it. You don’t.
Never ask your dear mother. Especially a Greek mother. Over the years they know all the tricks and they’ll tell you to have a lot more stuff than you actually need for quick lunches and dinners. The result will be that you’ll be throwing out about half of your fridge contents.
Kokkinisto literally means ‘reddened‘ in Greek. It’s basically a stew which you can make with all sorts of meat – even though each cut and animal have their littler secrets. It’s a bit different than your normal stew – it comes up with a spicy and cinnamon-y taste. Come to think of it that’s very common in my kitchen.
Anyway. Kokkinisto was the first recipe I really wanted to learn and it took quite a while. I’ve had to get rid of whole pots crying (even though it was better than what I had to deal with when I was learning to bake a cake).
This Saturday we went for a walk to Borough Market in London, a fantastic food market.
If you are in London and like food (seriously, who doesn’t?) it is definitely worth a stroll. Have some cash on you too – you will definitely be buying stuff.
The smells and the photos are really great but people are the best feature. You end up chatting with everyone, they explain, invite you to take photos, tell you what kind of wine to choose to accompany what you bought.