On Friday we had amazing weather so we went out in the garden to gather wild greens. They are called χόρτα (chorta – wild greens) in Greek and we gather them from gardens and fields. I imagine that in an English garden some of those yummy wonders are killed off as weeds. They are boiled and then served hot or cold with olive oil and lemon. They go amazingly well with fish, but I love them any old way.
Since we started getting an organic fruit and veg box delivery each week I have been trying out all sorts of new things. It’s so exciting to be getting vegetables every week that you’ve never tried. It makes you look for information, learn and do new stuff. Sort of brilliant.
Especially since we are going through Lent (and the Greek version is a bit weird as I was saying the other day) it’s great to be doing different things with veggies.
I already posted the other day on Tsiknopempti, our BBQ Thursday. Then there is the Sunday of Apokreo – very similar to Halloween, but probably a bit more Dionysian in nature – when we dress up, eat, drink, dance and generally go a bit crazy.
The next day is Clean Monday, the start of the Great Lent, 40 days of no animal products whatsoever. Supposedly. Most Greeks don’t fast during Lent anymore. However, I’ve heard it’s quite good for detox to abstain from animal products now and again.
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 blog LOVE 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.
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.
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).
For the salad:
- Green bits (anything you like but I prefer various types of lettuce)
- 2 medium sized tomatoes
- 3-4 medium sized mushrooms
- Shrimps (this is an easy salad so ready-to-eat shrimps. I hear they are anathema to the foodies but hey ho)
You can also add anything else you like – e.g. cubed courgette, fresh peppers etc.
For the dressing:
This is an amazing dressing a la Auntie Sofia. It is GREAT with chicken or sausages where you just bathe the meat in it and then cook it. It’s also really nice for a salad.
- Olive oil
- Mustard (same amount as olive oil)
- Lemon juice (same amount as olive oil)
- Pinch of salt
Chop up all the ingredients. Actually it’s better if you just tear the green leaves with your hands. It saves time and looks better.
Use your green leaves as a basis and then add the tomato.
Add your mushrooms. If you don’t enjoy them raw (I do), just place them in a pan with a tiny bit of water and brown them a bit.
Add all the rest of your salad ingredients.
In a big glass add all the ingredients for the dressing and shake em (use a foamer if you’ve got it or just a little handheld mixer).
Hero sent me a little message in Greek via facebook. She has a lot of apples and no food mixer so she was wondering if I have a recipe for Apple pie with only kneading by hand.
For the dough:
- 2 cups of flour
- 3/4 of a cup soft butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar (preferably caster sugar)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon cognac
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 egg white
Mix the flour with the sugar and baking powder.
Put in the softened butter, the egg yolk and the cognac.
Knead with passion, first just rubbing between your fingers and then normally (punch it). The dough should be relatively crumbly
Just place the dough on a pastry dish (preferably a pie dish). It might be impossible to use a rolling pin so just beat it into the dish and flatten with your fingers.
Prick with a fork since you don’t want it to rise.
Place in the over for about 20 minutes (180 fan – Celsius) so that it just starts changing color. If you want to be a perfectionist cover with baking parchment and fill with red or other beans to stop it from rising.
While it’s in the oven slice the apples and sprinkle with sugar (consider brown sugar for this), cinnamon and the egg white.
Take the pie base out of the oven and just place the apples in with all their juices. concentric circles work well here. Pour any remaining juices over. Melt the butter and pour that over too.
Place in a moderate oven for about half an hour more.
Recipe: A really old Greek cook book by Sofia Skoura, Μαγειρική Ζαχαροπλαστική του Ελληνικού Σπιτιού, Athens, 1967
Photograph: Caramel-Apple Streusel Pie Recipe Uploaded by Pillsbury.com on 20 Aug 09, 9.10PM GMT.