Vegan cabbage rolls

This is a vegan version of a dish I love so much. I hope that my vegan friends will discover it. It is essential to use extra sweet cherry tomatoes for preparing the sauce. Their taste is going to replace the taste of the meat and bring balance in the dish. A sort of umami 🙂

Ingredients for 4 portions

  • 1 small cabbage
  • 200 gr cooked brown short grain rice (brown sushi rice is suitable)
  • 200 gr sweet cherry tomatoes cooked and reduced in confit sauce
  • 1 large sauteed onion
  • 300 ml water
  • 70-100 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 3 tbs fresh thinly chopped dill
  • 3 tbs fresh thinly chopped parsley
  • a grated green apple
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • sweet paprika for serving
  • greek yogurt for serving

 

DSC_1039.jpg

Instructions:

The day before, prepare the rice following the instructions below:

  • Wash the rice thoroughly and gently until the water comes out transparent
  • Strain the rice for an hour or more until it is almost dry
  • Cover the rice in a pocket of paper and let it rest for a whole night in the fridge

The day of cooking :

  • Put the cabbage in a steamer and steam it for around 20 minutes, depending on its size
  • Once the cabbage is ready let it cool down ( you can prepare the cabbage the day before)
  • Cut the central surface of the nerve of the cabbage leaves without cutting the cabbage leaves
  • In a large bowl mix the drained rice, the tomato sauce, the  green apple, the sautéed onion the dill and add salt and pepper to your liking
  • Add 3-4 tbs of extra virgin Greek olive oil and mix well
  • Add a layer of cabbage leaves in a heavy bottom pan in order to prevent your rolls form burning
  • Stuff the cabbage leaves one by one with the rice mixture and place them in the pan in a circular pattern
  • Place a dish on the top of your pan, it will maintain the shape of your rolls
  • Add  water, extra virgin olive oil and the bouillon
  • Cover and cook in low heat for 1h to 1h30 hours depending on the variety of rice and cabbage you have used

DSC_1042

Your dish in ready. Enjoy 🙂

 

Protein breakfast bowl

After morning exercise it is nice to have a nourishing breakfast. This breakfast bowl is rich in protein and beneficial fats thanks to quinoa, avocado and olive oil. It is also quick to prepare if you have boiled to quinoa the night before. You will only need to assemble the ingredients in the dish.

Ingredients for 1 bowl:

  • 75 gr quinoa
  • half avocado
  • 50 gr of boiled chickpeas
  • 100 gr cherry tomatoes
  • half cucumber
  • 20 gr feta cheese
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  • Wash the quinoa in order to get rid of the bitter taste
  • Put the quinoa in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 16 minutes
  • In a serving bowl put the quinoa in the middle and arrange all the other toppings around it. Add some olive oil.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aubergine, yellow cherry tomato and onion comfit sauce

This is one of my signature recipes. Orestis, my brother keeps on saying that I am the only person he knows serving pasta with this sauce. In Greece aubergines are enjoyed as a main dish, they are not considered as an accompaniment for other dishes.

But I do like aubergine as sauce for pasta or pizza. This sauce is inspired from an aubergine dish called “Imam Bayildi” which means the imam fainted. It was originated in the Ottoman cuisine and the stories behind it are quite humorous.

The name supposedly derives from a tale of a Turkish imam, who was overwhelm  with pleasure at the flavor when presented with this dish by his wife, although other more humorous accounts suggest that he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish.

Another folktale relates that an imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant. Her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted.

So it is clear by the tales presented here above that the original dish contains lots of olive oil. Through the years I have developed the recipe and replaced the great amount of olive oil by slow cooking the vegetables in an open pan in very low heat for an hour – or more if needed – until they become caramelized. The result is a quite solid paste with chunks of aubergine, tomato and onions that is very sweet without adding any sweetening agents.

It is of great importance to use exceptionally fresh and high quality ingredients in this recipe. The cherry tomatoes should be extra sweet, otherwise they will dissolve the sweet flavor. Large tomatoes are not appropriate for this dish. If you cannot find extra sweet tomatoes then do not use tomatoes at all. As for the onions the Roscoff variety is very good for this recipe as any other red sweet onion variety.

If you wish to try this dish follow the instructions here below.

Ingredients:

  • 400 gr aubergines
  • 200 gr extra sweet yellow cherry tomatoes (if you cannot find extra sweet tomatoes do not add any tomatoes at all)
  • 2-4 large red sweet onions
  • fresh oregano
  • fresh basin leaves
  • 4  cloves of crushed garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • sunflower oil

Instructions:

  • Cut the aubergines in cubes of 2-3 cm and place them in a strainer with some salt. Let them release the excess water for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Cut the onions in slices of 2-3 mm
  • Add a small amount of sunflower oil in three different pans.
  • Add in a pan the aubergine cubes, in another the tomatoes and in a third the onions.
  • Start in medium heat until the vegetables obtain a slightly golden crust.
  • Then turn the heat to low and let the vegetables caramelize slowly. The tomatoes and onions will be ready within 10-15 minutes, the aubergines will take 45 minutes to an hour.
  • When the aubergines are soft with a nice crust and are super sweet add in the pan the tomatoes and onions.
  • Add the crushed garlic without cooking it (you may skip this ingredient if you do not like the after taste and smell of garlic).
  • Turn of the heat.
  • Chop the fresh oregano and basil leaves and add them in the mixture.

Your sauce is ready, enjoy 🙂

The secret of the Cretan diet or what does not kill you makes you stronger

The people of the legendary island of Crete live  a lot, it is a fact. There are many reasons that contribute to this longevity, eating habits are one of them.

The Cretan diet is rich in olive oil. But Cretans are not the only people eating a lot of olive oil. So what is their secret? Well the secret is found in what Cretans eat the olive oil with and the answer is “whatever is green”.

During the years of the Ottoman occupation, the Turcs have treated the inhabitants of the island quite roughly. They forced them to starvation because they confiscated all of the available grain of the island. Like in many other parts of the world, the amazing descendants of Zeus (the God of Gods was raised on the beautiful island where the European civilisation was founded) the Cretans, decided to face the challenge and  started eating whatever grew on the island.

The island of Crete is rich in wild herbs. The Ottoman greediness was the reason of the invention of an extremely nourishing diet and the origin of the Cretan longevity. So this historical event is the literal representation of “what does not kill you makes you stronger”.

Cretans eat plenty of leafy greens. I have been living all around the globe, from Vietnam to USA and I have always bought and boiled whatever green I found in local markets. In green I trust.

At this time of my life I am in Bangkok, here I can find a variety of local greens. One that I favour a lot is the Chinese spinach. It is very close to the taste of a summer green vegetable that is called “vlita” in Greek.

My father’s mother, unlike other housewives, used to boil her greens with tomatoes. The tomatoes give a sweet flavour to the otherwise bitter greens and bring balance to the dish.

We eat this dish for lunch or dinner as a salad. It is super easy to prepare and you will do your body a favour to try it.

If you wish to enjoy this dish follow the instructions below.

DSC_0096.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 500 gr of cleaned Chinese spinach
  • 200 gr tomatoes
  • salt
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil from Crete

Instructions:

  • clean the Chinese spinach and cut off the rough edges, if any
  • Put the Chinese spinach and the tomatoes in a large pan and boil in medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
  • Your dish is ready. Serve with lots of extra virgin Greek olive oil from Crete, salt and lemon juice.

Enjoy 🙂

DSC_0098.jpg

An olive oil that compliments the taste of the green leaves without masking their taste is GAEA from Sitia. If not available where you live, any Greek extra virgin olive oil with acidity of less than 0.08% will be appropriate.

Oven roasted broad beans falafel

When we think of falafel we instantly think of chick peas. Did you know that you can make falafel with broad beans also? It is a delicious alternative.

The falafel in this recipe are oven roasted, the mixture is not appropriate for deep frying, the falafel are going to dissolve into the pan.

This dish is a great source of protein and is full of herbs. The taste is truly amazing, it is as fulfilling as a meat dish.

The final result will be very crunchy and a bit dry. It is very important to serve them with sauces. Any sauce will do, here they are presented with a yogurt sauce and a tomato sauce.

Rosé wines are an excellent match for falafel. Any rosé will be fine, this weekend I had enjoyed them with a Malbec rosé.

DSC_0092.jpg

If you wish to taste this super healthy and super nutritious dish follow the instructions below.

Ingredients for 4 people (or 2 very hungry people) :

  • 350 gr broad beans soaked in mineral water for 48 hours, skins removed
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 medium red onion roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds roasted and crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds roasted and crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • a pinch of paprika
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • salt
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs all purspose flour
  • sunflower

Instructions:

  • Place the beans, onions, garlic, and herbs in a food processor and mix them until the beans are chopped into small pieces. Do not over-mix, no need to create a paste. If your food processor is small, place the ingredients in small bunches.
  • Put the mixture in a big bowl. Add the spices, baking soda, lemon juice,  flour and  salt.
  • Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Put a bit of sunflower in a pan.
  • Create little patties with your dough and flatten them a bit, it will be easier to cook them in the oven this way.
  • Place the pan in a preheated oven in 200 C. Cook for 15 minutes on one side. Then flip the patties over and cook 15 more minutes on the other side or until golden brown. Do not over cook, they will become very dry.

Your falafel are ready, enjoy 🙂

DSC_0095.jpg

Mint and couscous salad

This is a simple salad that can be prepared quickly. It is excellent as an accompaniment of a Sunday lunch, or on its own. You can use the left overs for lunch boxes. It can be kept in the fridge for one day.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 250 gr of couscous prepared according to the instructions of the producer
  • 200 gr sweet cherry tomatoes chopped in half
  • half a cucumber chopped in small cubes ( seeds removed)
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves
  • half a red onion chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small carrot chopped in small cubes
  • 2 green onions
  • origano
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt
  • a rich of cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Prepare your couscous according to the producer’s instructions or if you are lucky enough to have access to homemade couscous just prepare it as you regularly do.
  • Add a bit of olive oil to your couscous.
  • In a large bowl place all the vegetables and herbs and mix gently.
  • Add a bit of salt to the mixture.
  • Place the couscous in this mixture once it is cold with a pinch of cinnamon.
  •  Your salad is ready.

This salad is great when served with falafel, yogurt and tomato sauce and cabbage salad.

DSC_0089.jpg

Prosecco wine goes very well with this dish.

DSC_0090.jpg

Happy vegetarian Easter

Easter is my favourite holiday of the year. It reminds me of the happiest moments of my childhood. From the age of 9 to the age of 12 my family spent Easter on a lost beach in the Euboea island in Greece. There was nothing near by, no villages, no towns no mini markets there was just sea and sand and a tiny little river around which trees grew sleepily.

DSC_6511

It was the only moment of the year that we were free. Our parents just forgot about us, they let us play on the beach for hours and hours, remembering to call us back for the occasional extra layer of sunscreen. The sea was still cold so if we would swim we would become blueish. I remember going to explore the little river, always falling inside it and my mother being mad at me because she had never packed enough shoes and clothes in case we got wet.

I also remember Saturday nights for the Easter Liturgy. There was a little white church on the top of a hill. No priest would come in such a remote area so we would create our own Easter ceremony. The grown ups would turn on a radio with the Liturgy from the Metropolis of Athens and we would sing along. My father has a beautiful voice, not too low not too high just the perfect frequency. Many Cretans like my father have this trembling vibration in their voices. I have always found it soothing, it makes the tympanic membrane vibrate in the frequency of love.

DSC_6517

Christos Anesti is a psalm that I listen and sing every year wherever I am in the world. It is a reminder that life has won over death and that love can and will win over fear.

There are numerous exquisite recipes from all over the world celebrating the festivities of Easter. Here I am sharing a simple pasta recipe that would be suitable for vegetarians. You may celebrate this holiday with friends from other religions, cultures and origins. I hope this dish will help you make them feel included in the festivities and the universal message of Easter.

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 500 gr of handmade tagliatelle (they should have a rough surface, that would facilitate the absorption of the sauce)
  • 400 gr brown button mushrooms chopped in slices
  • spring onions finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • rosemary finely chopped
  • fresh oregano finely chopped
  • 2 chillies finely chopped
  • freshly grated black pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan/pecorino/kefalotiri cheese/ Gruyere cheese/kasseri Xanthis/Gryuere from Chania or Tripoli or any yellow salty pressed cheese you wish
  • salt
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • sweet paprika

Instructions:

  • Turn on the heat to high. When the pan is hot add the olive oil and stir the mushrooms. Add the chopped garlic cloves
  • Turn the heat to medium and let the mushrooms give their juice. That would take 2-3 minutes.
  • Take the mushrooms out of the fire.
  • In a large pot boil water with a bit of added salt. Add the tagliatelle when the water is boiling.
  • Cook the tagliatelle 2 minutes less than indicated at the package instructions. Keep them on the side with a few tablespoons of the cooking water
  • Turn of the heat to medium and place a large pan on the stove. Add some olive oil.
  • Place the rosemary, chilli, oregano, chives, paprika and pepper in the warm olive oil   for a few seconds in order to transfer their aroma.
  • Add the cooked mushrooms.
  • Add the cooked tagliatelle and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese. It is ready to serve. Enjoy 🙂

Pizza bread

I love baking pizzas. When I am in Greece I take over the kitchen with my brother, we share the tasks from grating the cheese to kneading the dough and we bake big trays of pizza. My current oven is too small and I had prepared too much dough. I did not wish to spend my evening baking. The pizza bread was created in order to use a lot of pizza dough when there is not enough space in the oven to present it as a flat pizza. It is delicious and a great accompaniment for olive oil based sauces, cold cuts etc.

If you wish to taste it follow the instructions below.

DSC_9894.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of 00 flour or bread flour
  • 1 tsp of dried active yeast
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 100 gr of grated parmesan
  • 50 gr of grater gruyere cheese
  • 50 gr of feta cheese
  • 150 gr of  aubergine, yellow tomato and onion comfit sauce (recipe coming soon)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • flax seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds

DSC_9896.jpg

Instructions:

  • Mix the dried active yeast with the sugar and a small amount of warm water. Place it in a warm place and wait for bubbles to be formed on the top of the mixture. It will take around 15 minutes depending on the room temperature.
  • Put the flour in a large bowl, add the active yeast mixture the water, a bit of salt and 2 tbs of olive oil and start mixing. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes or until it is smooth. This dough needs a lot of kneading in order to liberate the gluten and create a beautiful chewy texture.
  • Let the dough rise and double in size. That may take an hour or more depending on the room temperature.
  • When the dough has doubles in size put some oil in your hands and knead the dough again. Let it rise one more time.
  • Knead the dough for a third time, always by adding oil, do not add extra flour.
  • Separate the dough in three balls.
  • Make a flat surface with every ball and make a large rectangle.
  • Place one third of the aubergine comfit sauce,and one third of the cheeses in the rectangle and fold it.
  • Place the three balls into a cake pan.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.
  • Bake in preheated oven in 160 C for 1 hour to 1 hour and a half depending on the oven.
  • Let your bread cool down.
  • It is ready to eat, enjoy 🙂

DSC_9899.jpg

 

 

 

 

Alkaline brunch

Rice is quite popular for breakfast all over South East Asia. I admit that I enjoy it thoroughly. I have always been the kind of person that eats a lot for breakfast. A typical breakfast in my world includes a savoury dish, some kind of sweet snack and tea.

A few years ago my sister has talked to me about the benefits of alkaline nutriments. Red cabbage, carrots, broccoli, garlic, almonds, green tea and bananas are great sources of alkaline elements. This brunch includes all of them.

If you wish to start your day with this alkaline brunch composed by vegan brown rice with alkaline toppings, green tea and frozen banana smoothie follow the instructions bellow.

Ingredients for the brown rice for 1 person:

  • 100 gr cooked brown rice (leftover rice is the most appropriate for this recipe)
  • 1/2 diced carrot
  • 2-3 red cabbage leaves chopped in large pieces
  • a few baby broccoli stems chopped in large pieces
  • a clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a small onion chopped in medium slices
  • a chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • cooking oil

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl place the cabbage leaves and the broccoli stems. Add a bit of cooking oil and salt and mix well.
  • Turn on the stove on maximum and place a large empty pan, preferably a wok on it. When the wok is very hot, place the vegetables and mix them for 1-2 minutes, until they are stir fried and glossy. Take the vegetables out of the fire. Continue the same process with the diced carrot and take it out of the fire too.
  • Turn the heat to medium and add a tbs on cooking oil in the pan. Add the onion. When the onion is almost caramelised add the garlic and the chilli.
  • Once the garlic and the chilli are tossed add the rice and the soy sauce. Add the stir fried vegetables and mix well.

Instructions for the frozen banana smoothie:

  • mix a frozen banana with a bit of almond milk.

Your brunch is ready, enjoy 🙂

DSC_9882.jpg

 

Happy Nowruz

Every year at the moment of the Vernal equinox it is time for Nowruz, the Persian new year. One of my Persian students taught me that yesterday.

I celebrate all celebrations that are presented to me. Life is meant to be lived in happiness. So this year after celebrating the Gregorian calendar new year, the Chinese new year and while counting the days before Thai new year, I will celebrate Nowruz in the most untraditional way 🙂

Nowruz comes from the Persian word now which means new and the word ruz which means day light, so Nowruz is the beginning of a new day.

This evening after coming back home from work I have prepared an Iranian tea bought in the store of an Iranian merchant in the central souk of Dubai, blended with rose buds and lavender. Next year I will definitely prepare the 7s table according to the Persian tradition.

Happy Nowruz 😀

The magic of orange cake

Whenever I bake this cake I remember Proust and his madeleine. That was my school snack for many years during childhood.

Last week I visited my beloved friend and her family. She gave birth six months ago to the most beautiful baby in the whole world. His name is Gabriel and the name suits him like a glove, he is a little smiling angel.

Meeting Gabriel reminded me of my childhood and in a way I wished that he would discover the odour of warmth and love that accompanied me during my first years in this world. A special though for my mum that has baked this cake hundreds of times and created moments of warmth in her kitchen.

If you wish to enjoy this enchanting cake follow the instructions below.

DSC_9774

Ingredients:

  • 250 gr all purpose flour
  • 250 gr sugar
  • 250 gr softened butter
  • 4 eggs
  • a tsp of vanilla extract
  • zest from one orange
  • 60-100 ml of orange juice
  • a tsp baking powder

Instructions:

  • Place the butter and the eggs out of the fridge one hour before baking the cake
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C
  • Grate the orange zest.
  • Squeeze the orange to extract the juice
  • In a large bowl combine the softened butter with the sugar, the zest and the vanilla extract.
  • Add the eggs and mix gently.
  • Add the baking powder and then little by little add the flour and the orange juice. Avoid to over mix !! The secret of this recipe is to mix the batter the least possible.
  • The final version of the mixture will be quite liquid.

DSC_9772.jpg

Enjoy with a cup of tea 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aubergine salad with peanut butter

“Πενία τέχνας κατεργάζεται” is a very old Greek saying, meaning that poverty develops and contributes to the research of the arts.

It is not poverty, as lack of monetary means, that contributed to the creation of this recipe. It is poverty as lack of specific ingredients in the city that I live, more specifically the lack of tahini. Tahini is a sesame based paste, that is commonly used in aubergine salad. It is  quite complicated to find Tahini in Bangkok.  So I have decided to replace it with peanut butter. The result is very tasty. If you wish to try this dish please follow the instructions below.

DSC_9015.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium aubergines
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 small red onion
  • parsley
  • 1 tbsp of white sesame seeds
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • sweet paprika

DSC_9014.jpg

Instructions:

  • Cut the aubergines in big pieces.
  • Roast the aubergines in the oven covered under an aluminium foil for one hour
  • Once the aubergines are cooked put them in a food processor and mix with the onion, garlic, peanut butter, olive oil and salt. Serve with chopped  parsley and paprika.

Enjoy 🙂

DSC_9013.jpg

Exciting burger-kebabs with a south east Asian twist

One of the inevitable things that happens to a person once he or she has started living abroad is constant exposition to new information. And that will spoil them forever. The wish for more and new will be their everyday partner.

Sometimes I think of my father’s mother. She was born and lived in Crete all of her life. She knew many of the islands herbs, vegetables, she carried the wisdom of people that have stayed on the same place on earth for thousands of years.

I remember her presence in the kitchen when I was little. She was sharing with my mother her life experience handling the dough, cleaning herbs, preparing honey pastries. I think of her and I wonder, what would she think of me if she was alive? Would she approve that my home is the whole world? Would she be ok that I use Indian spices and south east Asian herbs to  the recipes that the people of our island have enjoyed for thousands of years?

The answer to this question will stay a mystery for me. But the results of this weekend’s culinary experiments will be no secret to you.

If you wish to spice up your burgers in an unexpected way follow the recipe bellow.

dsc_8891

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 400gr ground meat (pork, beef, chicken any meat you wish)
  • 150gr smacked abread
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped in a food processor
  • 1 small egg
  • half a bunch of fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 medium jicama root finely chopped in a food processor ( it can be replaced by a small green apple)
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • half tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • jus of a lemon
  • Jus of an orange
  • 2 stalks  lemongrass
  • 5-10 kaffir leaves
  • a small chili
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil

dsc_8884

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 C
  • In a large bowl mix the ground meat, bread-crumbs, the small red onion, the egg, the fresh mint leaves, the jicama root, the orange zest, the freshly ground cumin seeds, the turmeric, paprika, freshly ground black pepper and the nutmeg.
  • Chop your potatoes in large wedges, you may keep the skin on if you like this.
  • I a medium sized tray lay your potato wedges. Add the lemongrass stalks, the kaffir leaves and the whole chili on them.
  • Add the lemon and orange juice.
  • Shape your meat mixture in medium sized burgers and place them on top of your potatoes.
  • Drizzle some extra virgin Greek olive oil.
  • Place an aluminium foil on the tray and cook for 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes take away the aluminium foil and cook for extra 5-10 minutes on each side of the burgers.
  • Your dish is ready.
  • Serve it with a colourful salad.

dsc_8890

Enjoy 🙂

DSC_8889.jpg

dsc_8892

Amazing chocolate cake-Fondant au chocolat

A few years ago my friend Stephanie has surprised me with the most amazing chocolate cake. She had found the recipe in a French fashion magazine called “Glamour” . I would have never though that such a delight would be in a fashion magazine. The incident has demolished my prejudice regarding the cooking section of fashion magazines. Since then, whenever a restriction is imposed by my own conscious mind I remember the taste of this fondant au chocolat and I reconsider.

Cooking, in a way is an everyday expression of our inner philosophy. I hope you will enjoy this dessert, your kitchen will be infused in a profound chocolate perfume that will wake up your inner child.

DSC_8541.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 80 gr of dark chocolate 50% cocoa
  • 120 gr of dark chocolate 70% cocoa
  • 100 gr unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa
  • zest of one orange
  • 100 gr granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs icing sugar

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Chop the butter in small cubes. Break the chocolate in small pieces. Mix these ingredients in a glass bowl and let them melt in a bain marie. Mix the ingredients only when thoroughly melted.
  • Break the eggs and separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
  • Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and the orange zest.
  • In a separate bowl mix the egg whites in order to create a meringue. When soft picks are formed your meringue is ready.
  • In a large bowl mix the chocolate and the egg yolk mixture and add the cocoa. Add little by little the meringue.
  • Pour the mixture in a 20 cm diameter pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Your fondant will be ready when there is a nice crust on the top but the middle is not thoroughly cooked. If you will put a knife trough the fondant it will come out moist and this is normal.

dsc_8540

Enjoy 🙂

 

Christmas healthy chocolates

A great snack for Christmas, that is actually healthy, are prune chocolate bites. It is one of my favourite snacks because it is low in sugar, there is no fat and is instantly satisfying. It is also very easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 100 gr couverture chocolate 50% cocoa
  • 100 gr couverture chocolate 70% cocoa
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 250 gr dried prunes

Instructions:

  • Break the chocolate in small pieces.
  • Put the pieces into a large heat proof glass bowl.
  • Put some water into a small pan and turn on the heat.
  • Make sure that the water stays warm but does not boil.The water temperature should be around 80 C.
  • It is important that no steam escapes from the pan, it will destroy the consistency of the chocolate.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, start dropping the prunes one by one in the chocolate mixture and then place them on kitchen paper.
  • Let the chocolates get cold.
  • They are ready. You can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Take them out of the fridge 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

Citrus, almond and sia seeds cake

It is the season of clementines. This cake is a beautiful way to exalt their delicate scent in the kitchen. It is also a fresh idea for your Christmas baking.

Ingredients:

  • 225gr butter , softened
  • 225gr caster sugar
  • 175gr almond flour
  • 100gr self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 220 gr of plain yogurt
  • 4 tbs almond milk
  • 2 tbs sia seeds
  • finely grated rind of 4 clementines

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Grease a cake mould
  • Mix all the ingredient with an electric mixer
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes in the oven
  • Allow the cake to cool in the mould
  • Remove the cake carefully and let it cool on a wire rack.

It is ready. Enjoy 🙂

DSC_8409.jpg

Vegan Christmas, vegetarian Berber couscous

dsc_8403Many traditional Christmas dishes are composed around meat. It is useful to remember that our ancestors did not have the luxury of meat in everyday life. So they compensated by creating exceptional carnivore dishes.

Having said this, vegetarian and vegan dishes become more and more popular. I wish to share this traditional Berber couscous from Algeria adapted to the sauce of the modern world. It is a light, healthy and colourful dish that will satisfy all tastes.The combination of spices with the chickpeas is so tasty that meat becomes unnecessary.

It is a nice idea to prepare this couscous also in case you have guests with different nutritional regimes. A slow roasted lamb shoulder in the oven can be presented as a side dish for whomever appreciates this without compromising the taste of  your vegan/vegetarian guests.

The greatness of this dish is the amazing aroma of the spices. Your kitchen will be enchanted by a beautiful Christmas scent.

DSC_8405.jpg

Ingredients for four portions:

  • 400 gr instant couscous (optional, if you know how to separate the grains by hand and you live in a country where you can find real couscous, take the time to prepare it properly)
  • 200 gr chickpeas
  • 3-4 medium carrots chopped in large chunks
  • 250 gr turnips chopped in large chunks
  • 2-3 medium zucchinis in large chunks
  • 4 tomatoes mixed in a food processor
  • a roasted eggplant
  • a sliced onion
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 2 tsp raz el hanout
  • salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 tbsp of butter (optional, can be replaced by olive oil)
  • 2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 l of water
  • some herbs for the presentation (parsley, mint, coriander according to your preferences)

Instructions:

24 hours before:

  • Put the chickpeas into a bowl of water with the baking soda and let them rest in the fridge for a whole day.

On the day of the preparation:

  • Put the chickpeas into a pan and boil them for 1 hour or until they become soft.
  • Drain the chickpeas.
  • Put some olive oil into a pan, turn the heat on low and add the onion and the spices.
  • Add the garlic cloves.
  • Roast for 3-4 minutes, just enough time for the spices to develop their aroma.
  • Add the chickpeas and keep on stirring in low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrots and the turnips
  • Add the water.
  • Add the tomato sauce
  • Let this soup simmer for 1 hour
  • Carefully add the zucchini.
  • Let simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Prepare the couscous according to the instructions of the packaging.

It is ready. For the presentation separate the vegetable from the chickpeas and the sauce. Present the grains of couscous in a separate large and deep plate, the sauce in a bowl and the vegetable on a plate. In this way your guests will choose whatever they wish according to their taste.

Enjoy 🙂

dsc_8407

Raz el hanout

Raz el hanout is a North African mix of spices mainly used for the preparation of couscous. It can be used for many other dishes. So if you are searching for a warm and exotic flavour to level up your Christmas dishes, raz el hanout is the answer.

It is quite tricky to find it in some parts of the world. Luckily it is very easy to prepare at home. There are as many raz el hanout recipes as there are spice shops. So the following recipe is just one of the many and it is really good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds.
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds.
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes.
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
  • 1 teaspoon paprika.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground galangal
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients in a mortar and reduce them to a powder. Your raz el hanout is ready to use. Enjoy 🙂

DSC_8382.jpg

Green beans

I love the taste of green beans. I always did, even when I was a child. In Greece green beans are enjoyed slow cooked because they release a sweet nutty taste when they are cooked in low heat for 40-45 minutes.

DSC_2732.jpg

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 400 gr green beans
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • a large onion chopped in slices
  • salt
  • sesame seeds
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil

Instructions:

  • Clean and wash your beans
  • Put a heavy bottom large pan on high heat and let it burn. Do not add any oil.
  • In a large bowl mix the beans with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, the chopped onion and the whole cloves of garlic.
  • When your pan is very hot add the mixture and saute until the beans change colour.
  • Turn the fire to low. Add half a cup of water.
  • Let your beans simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  • When cooked thoroughly turn the fire off and add the sesame seeds and the extra virgin Greek olive oil.

This dish can be enjoyed on its own

DSC_7913.jpg

It can also be enjoyed as a side dish or a salad.

DSC_7921.jpg

 

 

 

Candied pesto

dsc_6947

This is not a pesto recipe. This is a pesto conservation recipe. Dear Italian readers please ignore this post. I know your pesto is sacred and what is going to happen to it in this recipe is outrageous. For the rest of the readers,  this is a great way to keep pesto fresh and vibrant green after the day of its fabrication. It is a chef that gave me the recipe when I complained that the pesto I kept in jars with olive oil turned black and became “bitter” after a few hours of its preparation.

This is my recipe of basil pesto, it is not traditional and it is not authentic because theres is garlic in it, but I like it very much and like the French say “des goûts et des couleurs, on ne discute pas”.

Ingredients: 

  • a large bunch of basil leaves
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • 50 gr of pine nuts
  • 100 gr of freshly grated parmesan cheese (it can be replaced by any type of hard yellow cheese such as pecorino, gruyere etc
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt

Instructions:

  • Pick the basil leaves from the stems.
  • Crash the garlic cloves.
  • Put all the ingredients in a chopping robot and mix until you reach the desirable consistency. I enjoy pesto with small bits so I stop mixing after a few seconds.
  • Your pesto will be quite dry at this point.
  • Put a generous tablespoon of  this mixture in a small piece of plastic wrap and fold it.
  • When all the pesto candies are ready put them in the freezer.
  • Use your portioned candied pesto when you wish and add to it a generous amount of extra virgin Greek olive oil.

This pesto is great in pasta as well as in soups or as a savoury addition to salad dressings.

dsc_8214

Enjoy 🙂

Protein and fibre: pork and celery Cretan-Thai style

Pork and celery is a traditional dish in Crete. It is an autumn favorite and I have great memories of the delightful smell of this dish from my childhood. It is also a great dish for people following the Atkins diet since it is composed by protein and vegetables.

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 1 pork tenderloin (it can be replaced by an equivalent part of veal)
  • 150 gr of pork meat on the bone (it can be replaced by an equivalent part of veal)
  • 500 gr celery
  • a large onion chopped in big chunks
  • 5-7 kaffir leaves
  • 2 stocks of lemongrass
  • 5cm of galangal
  • lemon and/or lime juice
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt

Instructions:

  • Put the meat in a large bowl with water and let it rest for 30 minutes to an 1 hour in the fridge. In this way the impurities of the meat will disappear.
  • Boil the celery for 40 minutes. Keep the juice.
  • Take the meat out of the fridge and dry it. Leave the tenderloin in one piece in order to permit the meat to keep all of its juices during the cooking.
  • In a large heavy bottom pan put some oil and saute the meat in high heat with the onion.
  • When the meat is cooked in all sides add the celery juice.
  • Keep the fire high for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the boiled celery sticks.
  • With the back of a heavy knife bit the lemongrass in order to release its aroma.
  • Add the tom yam spices (lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves) in  disposable tea bags that you can discard easily from your pan.
  • Turn the hit to low. Discard the tea bags after 20 minutes, otherwise the herbs will give an unpleasant bitterness to the dish.
  • Cook in total for 1h-1h30 until the celery is soft.

DSC_7904.jpg

Serve with a generous amount of lemon or lime juice and extra virgin Greek olive oil.

Enjoy 🙂

Berber roasted pepper sauce

There is a sweet and bitter roasted pepper sauce that is quite popular in Algeria. I make it every Sunday and I eat a bit of eat everyday during the week.

DSC_7911.jpg

I got this recipe long time ago from a dear friend that is dear  no more. The recipe though stays with me and it is a great accompaniment for variable dishes. It is best enjoyed with bread.

Ingredients :

DSC_7848 (1).jpg

  • 500 gr of bell peppers, or corn shaped peppers  of all colours, preferably not very fleshy
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt
  • a small chilli chopped thinly (optional)

Instructions:

  • Wash and dry the peppers.
  • Insert your finger to each pepper in order to create a whole. Put some salt in it.
  • Roast the peppers for 40-50 minutes to 190 C. It is important to slow roast the peppers in order to release their sweet flavour.
  • Put the peppers in a plastic bag and let them rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Peel the peppers and try to discard as many seeds as possible.
  • Crash the peppers with a fork.
  • Add the chilli if you enjoy spicy food.
  • Serve with a generous amount of olive oil.

The sauce can be enjoyed on its own with some bread.

DSC_7907.jpg

It is also great as accompaniment.

DSC_7915.jpg

Enjoy 🙂

Quinoa tabouleh

This is a quinoa salad inspired by tabouleh. It can be enjoyed as a side dish as well as on its own.

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 200 gr quinoa
  • 150 gr of boiled chickpeas
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 large bunch of mint
  • 1 large bunch of parsley
  • a carrot
  • sesame seeds
  • sia seeds
  • salt, paprika
  • a small red onion
  • juice of a lemon
  • a small green chilli (optional)
  • a crushed clove of garlic (optional)
  • 50 gr of raisins (optional)
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil

Instructions:

2 hours before preparing the salad:

  • Wash the quinoa in order to get rid of any bitter taste.
  • Put the quinoa in a pan  cover it with water and add some salt
  • Cover the pan and boil for 14 minutes in low heat or until the inner sprout comes out of the grain- do not over boil, the texture will be damaged
  • Add some olive oil and let the quinoa cool down
  • Cut all the vegetables in slices or cubes
  • Chop the herbs thinly
  • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Your salad is ready to taste. Enjoy 🙂DSC_7826.jpg

 

 

Cabbage and rice -dolmades

This is a wonderful dish for the last days of autumn. The cabbage is an excellent vegetable for the cold days. This dish is quite time consuming, so I recommend it to people that enjoy spending time in their kitchen. I usually prepare dolmades during the weekend, the leftovers are highly appreciated during busy week days in a bento.

DSC_7816.jpg

Ingredients: 3-4 portions

  • 1 small cabbage
  • 200 gr cooked short grain rice (sushi rice is suitable it can be replaced by brown rice)
  • 100 gr cherry tomatoes blended into a food processor
  • a small jicama 9 it can be replaced by a green apple)
  • 150 gr ground meat (pork, beef. chicken whatever you wish)
  • 300 ml water
  • 70-100 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 3 tbs fresh thinly chopped dill
  • 3 tbs fresh thinly chopped parsley
  • salt, peeper

Instructions:

The day before, prepare the rice following the instructions below:

  • Wash the rice thoroughly and gently until the water comes out transparent
  • Strain the rice for an hour or more until it is almost dry
  • Cover the rice in a pocket of paper and let it rest for a whole night in the fridge

The day of cooking :

  • Put the cabbage in a steamer and steam it for around 45 minutes, depending on its size
  • Once the cabbage is ready let it cool down
  • Cut the central surface of the nerve of the cabbage leaves without cutting the cabbage leaves
  • In a large bowl mix the drained rice, the tomatoes, the jicama (or green apple), the ground meat, the dill and add salt and pepper to your liking
  • Add 3-4 tbs of extra virgin Greek olive oil and mix well
  • Add a layer of cabbage leaves in a heavy bottom pan in order to prevent your rolls form burning
  • Stuff the cabbage leaves one by one with the rice mixture and place them in the pan in a circular pattern
  • Place a dish on the top of your pan, it will maintain the shape of your dolmades
  • Add the water and the extra virgin olive oil
  • Cover and cook in low heat for 1h30 -2 hours depending on the quality of rice and cabbage you used

Your dish in ready. Enjoy 🙂

Ting Tai Fu Hua Mak Bangkok

Chinese soup dumplings and hand pulled noodles are among my favorite delicacies. You can find both in a small Chinese restaurant on Ramkhamhaeng road in Hua Mak. I am endlessly grateful to my colleague Lesia for sharing this great address with me.

Ting Tai Fu (Ramkhamhaeng), 166 Ramkhamhaeng Soi 14, Bangkok, Thailand.

The soup dumplings are prepared in front of you and come in a cute little basket peeping hot.

dsc_7577

DSC_7580.jpg

The noodles are also prepared by skilful cooks at the moment of your order

You can enjoy them in soups or dry, I really enjoy the dry version.

DSC_7583.jpg

There is multitude of other dishes to discover. So if you live in Bangkok and wish to try authentic xiao long bao outside of a mall this restaurant is an interesting option.

Enjoy 🙂

Vegan day: Chickpeas soup

This soup contains a large quantity of Greek extra virgin olive oil. It is an essential ingredient, that gives to this dish its distinctive taste.

If you also enjoy olive oil try this soup 🙂

DSC_7749.jpg

Ingredients for 4 portions:

  • 25o gr  dried chickpeas
  • 2 l water
  • 2 laurier leaves
  • 2 small onions thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot chopped in stripes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 150 ml extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 ts baking soda
  • wedges of lemon for tasting (optional)
  • chili for tasting (optional)

Instructions:

  • Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight with 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • The following day drain the chickpeas, put them in a pan, cover with water and boil for 30-40 minutes.
  • Drain the chickpeas and discard the boiling water.
  • Put the chickpeas in a clean pan with 2 litres of water and add the laurier leaves, the small onions, the carrot in stripes and the cloves of garlic.
  • Boil in low fire of 1 hour and a half. Add the olive oil and continue boiling for 30 extra minutes.

It is ready. In Greece this dish is often enjoyed with accompaniments such as pickled fish olive oils and feta cheese.

Since I live in the tropics I may choose more exotic side dishes such as durian.

DSC_7077.jpg

Enjoy 🙂

About apples 3 : Tropical yogi strudel

Wherever we live in the world, it is beautiful to feel at home. And we feel at home in the company of people that remind us of all the good things that surrounded us during happy moments in our lives.

As a kid, the happiest moments of my existence where inside my mother’s kitchen. In there,  I could observe the transformation of aliments into savoury dishes, that was my world of miracles.

My friend,  amazing Tuu, is where I feel at home in Bangkok. Every single experience in her presence is elegant, tasteful, hypnotically soaked in perfection. She is the definition of success in my world, someone that I look up to with great admiration.

DSC_7473.jpg

She has invited me in her kitchen to show me how to prepare an apple and tropical fruit strudel. The preparation of this dessert  is an experience connecting people from different cultural backgrounds through food. In this dessert there is the knowledge and dexterity of a wonderful Croatian mama and the skills and imagination of her amazing Thai daughter in law.

It was such a pleasure to be in your company. Thank you 🙂

The ingredients for the recipe are approximative, everything was measured with eyes 🙂

Ingredients for 1 large strudel:

The dough of this recipe can be replaced by filo pastry. You will need  7-10  filo shits depending on their size.

For the dough:

  • 300 g  unbleached bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 170g warm water
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the filling:

  • 4 apples thinly sliced in the mandoline
  • 100 gr drained tinned black cherries
  • 50 gr of raisins
  • 50 gr thinly sliced pineapple in the mandoline
  • 50 gr thinly sliced green mango in the mandoline
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon

Instructions: 

  • Mix all the ingredients for the dough and work  for 10- 15 minutes. This is important in order to make the dough more maniable.
  • Transfer the dough to a medium-sized oiled bowl and turn the dough over a few times to coat it lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The finished, rested dough is now ready to be stretched and filled.
  • Line a tabletop with a tablecloth, oilcloth or linen work especially well. A kitchen table, or any surface you can walk all the way around will work; it will make the stretching easier.
  • Remove the strudel dough from the refrigerator. Lightly oil your hands. The dough should feel lightly tacky but not sticky, and it should stretch easily. Start by stretching the dough a little like a pizza, trying to keep it rectangular as you work. Once the dough is no longer easy to manage with your hands, lay it down on the covered table.
  • Use closed fists to stretch the dough. Put your hands under the dough at one corner, and gently work your fists outwards, working toward the edge of the table. Continue to do this, bit by bit, working around the dough to slowly stretch it out. The goal is to get it so thin you can see through it (if your tablecloth has a pattern, this can be a good guideline). Don’t be alarmed if the dough tears (you’ll be rolling it up, and the tears will get rolled up and hidden inside). The dough is very strong, and you should be able to stretch it without major tearing.
  • Once the dough is stretched to the edge of the table, use your fingers to pull gently around the edges to make sure they aren’t too thick.

dsc_7464

  • To assemble the strudel: drizzle the strudel with sunflower oil  (don’t brush it on; you may tear the dough). Spread with the filling.

DSC_7477.jpg

  • Sprinkle a bit of sugar and cinnamon
  • Gently grab the dough and roll it up into a tight spiral. Use the tablecloth to help you — the less you handle the dough, the less likely you are to rip it.
  • Bake for 27-32 minutes in a preheated oven at 160 °C

It is ready, enjoy 🙂

DSC_7552.jpg

Double Dogs teashop

Double Dogs is a wonderful tea room in Bangkok. It is the definition of cute elegance. The  Chinese tea ceremony is a mesmerising opportunity to “play tea time”.

You can find Double Dogs in the address below:

406 Yaowarat, Sampanthawong, Bangkok, Thailand, Call 086 329 3075

The team behind this project is so sweet and welcoming.DSC_7510.jpg

Once your order is shorted your hostess will prepare the tea leaves before serving.

DSC_7512.jpg

Then your tea will arrive and your hostess will show you how to prepare it.

They also serve Chinese inspired desserts. I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful red bean paste filled cakes.

The tea room also sells utensils for the Chinese ceremony.

DSC_7506.jpg

If you ever visit Bangkok and you enjoy “playing tea time”, Double Dogs worths a visit.

Enjoy 🙂

About apples 2: meat sauce

This is a thick, sweet meat sauce with a lot of vegetables. It represents the same philosophy as a sauce bolognese but some ingredients are different. You can use it for pasta, rice or whatever else you wish. The star ingredient that contributes to the thick texture and the sweetness is the apple.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 600 gr ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken whichever meat you prefer)
  • 2 sliced carrots
  • 2 small red onions thinly sliced
  • 200 gr of Chinese brocoli ( it can be replaced by kale)
  • 1 sliced daikon radish ( its can be replaced by 4-5 turnips)
  • 1 apple
  • 250 gr sweet cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ts oregano
  • 1 ts sweet paprika
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 glass of red wine (preferably Porto or any other red dessert wine)
  • 4 tbs cooking oil
  • olive oil to serve
  • salt and pepper

DSC_7429.jpg

Instructions:

  • Put a large non stick pan on the fire and turn your stove on hight heat. Let the pan get very hot. At this stage do not add anything.
  • Once the pan is extremely hot add the cooking oil and the ground meat. Let the meat caramelise and start staring with a  wooden spatula. Turn the heat to medium.
  • When the meat is thoroughly cooked add the onions and the garlic. There is no need to caramelise the onions, they will melt through the cooking process.
  • Add the red wine. Let it evaporate.
  • Once the wine has evaporated add the carrots and the daikon.
  • Pass the cherry tomatoes and the peeled apple through a blender and  blend until you obtain the texture of a smoothie.
  • Add this mixture to the pan.
  • Add the oregano, paprika, salt, pepper and the bay leaf.
  • Turn the heat to low and cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour. There is no need to add extra water in this sauce because there is enough liquid from the vegetables.
  • Finally add the Chinese broccoli roughly chopped. Cook for 5-10 more minutes.

DSC_7086.jpg

It is ready. Enjoy 🙂

About apples

This is my mother’s recipe for an apple cake. The consistency is close to  a ginger bread.

dsc_7404-1

Ingredients for 12 portions :

  • 4 apples
  • 220 ml sunflower oil
  • 320 gr brown sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 ts ginger powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 500 gr all purpose flour
  • 2 ts of baking powder
  • zest from an orange

dsc_7408

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C .
  • Mix the oil, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, eggs and the orange zest in a large bowl.
  • Add the flower little by little. You will obtain a firm mixture.
  • Peel the apples and chop them in small square pieces.
  • Gently incorporate into the cake mixture.
  • Put in a 28 cm of diameter baking pan that you have previously buttered.
  • Bake for around 40-50 minutes.

It is ready. It is an excellent treat for tea time.

dsc_7418

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Halloween ravioli in Italy

Pumpkin is the traditional ingredient for Halloween. I enjoy pumping as ravioli filling.

This is the recipe I use:

Ingredients:

For the dough

  • 150 gr of 00 flower
  • 50 of durum wheat fine semolina
  • 2 free range eggs

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredient until you obtain a hard dough. You can use a food processor or your hands and mix until all the flower is combined.

For the filling

  • 150 gr of pumpkin
  • 30 gr of parmesan cheese
  • 1 small chilli chopped
  • 1 thinly chopped spring onion
  • grated nutmeg

Instructions:

  • Roast the pumpkin for around 30 minutes until it is soft. Let it cool.
  • Puree the pumpkin in a food processor.
  • Add the chopped spring onion, the small chilli and the parmesan cheese.

Once your pasta dough and your filling are ready you can start preparing your ravioli.

Instructions:

  • Open the pasta dough in a thin sheet as shown here below:

DSC_0962.jpg

  • place a small teaspoon of filling.
  • cut the pasta dough in small squares.
  • fold the pasta dough in triangles.
  • boil the ravioli for 3-5 minutes with some salt.

You can serve this dish with yellow tomato sauce and chives

DSC_0958.jpg

You can also serve these ravioli with melted butter, grated nutmeg and parmesan cheese.

Enjoy 🙂

Create an appetite

I love exercise. Because of the light feeling once the effort has finished. Because of the concentration. Because of the possibility to observe progress in small steps in everyday life. But most of all I love exercise because it creates an exquisite sentiment of hunger.

Hunger is a major motivator in life. It helps me feel alive. And I adore the satisfaction procured by a tasty meal.

These are some of the late breakfasts I have after an early morning yoga practice.

All protein breakfast in a bento with quinoa, eggs whites and tomates, lentil spread, cucumber sticks and sausages.

DSC_7289.jpg

Bento with avocado, smoked salmon, nori and flying fish roe on top of sushi rice.

DSC_7292.jpg

Omelette with chives and salad with smoked salmon and bread served with Greek coffee.

DSC_7180.jpg

Boiled eggs with bread, turkey breast, beetroots, goat cheese and cucumber sticks.

DSC_7849.jpg

I wish you enjoy breakfast as much as I do 🙂

Edible art

Ko Kret is a small island in the Chao Phraya River in the province of Nonthaburi.

dsc_7368

It is situated in the north of Bangkok and is easy to access by taxi.

dsc_7360

The island is known for its pottery crafts.

There are also numerous temples.

DSC_7362.jpg

In Ko Kret you can find very interesting local delicacies which are of ethereal beauty and are also delicious. One of them are the deep fried tempura style flowers.

DSC_7326.jpg

In the local market you can find these beautiful soft candies made of crashed peanuts, sugar and coconut milk. They are not very sweet and they taste of some kind of aromatic coconut soft candy.

Another dessert that I thoroughly appreciated is the water cake. I have no idea which are the ingredients used for this sweet. It is a gelatinous cake with a texture close to the aloe vera jelly and its taste is very light and subtil. I also suspect that it is quite low in calories.

DSC_7345.jpg

The next discovery were those carnation shaped rice balls filled with sesame seeds, sugar, coconut and peanuts.

And last but not least the discovery of this fruit which I found surprising and delicious.

DSC_7339.jpg

An impressive storm has started in the early afternoon and interrupted any further plans of discovery.

DSC_7370.jpg

I plan to visit Ko Kret again. If you also wish to visit Bangkok it may be interesting to take a day and discover this tiny island. I wish you enjoy it as much as I did.

dsc_7351

Herbal soup (tom yam kung)

Autumn is here and the first colds and flues have arrived. Thais have many exquisite soups based on herbs. They are an excellent cure for all kinds of colds.

This is a simple recipe for tom yam kung, a herbal soup with shrimp.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • half a carrot sliced in thin stripes
  • 10 tiger shrimp cleaned and peeled
  • 200 gr of mixed asian mild tasting mushrooms (enoki, cat ear mushroom etc)
  • 5 little bouquets of brocoli
  • 6-8 tbs fish sauce
  • the juice of 2-4 limes
  • 5 cm of galangal (you can replace it with ginger)
  • 10 kaffir leaves
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 chillies
  • 1 and a half liter of water

Instructions

  • Crush the lemongrass in order to release the aroma.
  • Put  water into a pan and turn on the heat.
  • Create a mousseline  tea bag in which you will put the kaffir leaves, the lemongrass the garlic, and the galangal. Put the mousseline tea bag into the pan.
  • Add the carrot stripes.
  • Once the carrot has softened add the rest of the vegetables and the chillies.
  • After 3-5 minutes add the fish sauce little by little. Adjust according to your taste.
  • Turn off the heat  add the shrimp and the lime juice. Discard the mousseline tea bag  with the herbs and the chillies.
  • It is ready.

Enjoy 🙂

dsc_5344

Spinach and dough

dsc_2796

The Greeks love spinach and dough. You will find this combination in pies called “spanakopita”  as well as in deep fried raviolis called “kalitsouni”.

You can find here my recipe for a wonderful spanakopita:dsc_2691

Ingredients for 15-20 portions

for the dough (phyllo):

  • 300g all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 130-150g water (1/2- 3/4 of a cup)

for the filling:

  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 500g spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 200g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1-2 tbsps fresh dill, chopped (optional)
  • butter
  • extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Make the phyllo dough first, by mixing all the ingredients. Once the dough reaches the desired consistency cut it in balls (slightly larger than a table tennis ball), coat lightly with olive oil, wrap with some plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 45-60 minutes. This is essential, so that the dough softens and you can roll it easily.
  • Place one ball of dough on a floured surface and coat your rolling pin with some flour. Make a circle of dough with your hands. Use the rolling pin to roll out the dough, until it becomes a very thin round sheet.
  • When the dough is ready , heat the oven to 200 C.
  • Prepare the filling for this spanakopita recipe by mixing the spring onions, the spinach, the feta cheese and the dill in a large bowl.
  • Fill in the sheets of dough with the spinach mixture and roll them into long sausage forms.
  • Sprinkle a 30 cm round pan with olive oil and put the sausage formed sheets of dough into the pan in a snail pattern. Keep going with the rest of the sheets.
  • Brush the top of the spanakopita with olive oil and butter.
  • Bake in preheated oven for about 60 minutes until the phyllo is crisp and golden.
  • Leave the spanakopita cool down for 10-15 minutes before cutting into pieces.

You can use the same ingredients in order to prepare “kalitsouni”, little deep fried ravioli that are much appreciated in the island of Crete.

Enjoy!

Financiers my love

dsc_6450

I love financiers. And I love Paris. I have discovered this exquisitely decadent buttery dessert during my studies in the city of light. I remember buying a small bag of them from the  Kaiser bakery at “rue d’Assas“before going to my morning lectures in the university. I now live far away from Paris but I still enjoy delicious financiers with my afternoon tea.

dsc_6368

This recipe is a delight. The only secret is to prepare the mixture 24 hours before baking and let it rest in the fridge. This is it 🙂

Ingredients for a 23 cm cake pan or 6-8 individual financiers :

  • 120gr butter
  • 120gr icing sugar
  • 45 gr flour
  • 45gr ground almonds
  • 10 gr of honey
  • 40 gr (4 cl) of aloe-vera juice (or orange blossom water)
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 3 egg whites

The day before:

  • Heat  the butter in a small saucepan until it turns into a hazelnut color. Do not burn 😉
  • Then filter through a fine sieve and add honey. Keep this mixture on the side.
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, the baking powder, the icing sugar and the ground almonds with a whisk.
  • Gradually add the egg whites, the honey-butter mixture and finally the aloe-vera juice (or the orange blossom water).
  • Keep the final mixture at least 24 hours in the fridge.

The baking day :

  • Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.
  • Pour the mixture into your molds small or large without filling to the top (max 3/4 because it will expand during cooking).
  • Bake up to 35 min for the 23 cm cake pan and up to  20 minutes for the individual financiers. You will know that they are cooked when turning into a caramel color.

DSC_7299.jpg

Enjoy 🙂

The soup day

In whichever climate you live on our beautiful blue planet, a hearty soup made of homemade broth is a beautiful source of minerals. Homemade broth is full of magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium, minerals that are useful to our body.

So if you wish to recharge your batteries follow the recipe below:

Ingredients for 2 bowls of soup: 

  • 8 chicken wings (or a chicken carcass)
  • 200 gr of pork meat on the bone
  • 1 carrot
  • a daikon radish
  • an onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • a bay leaf
  • salt
  • 2 chilies
  • 10 kaffir leaves
  • a galangal root

Preparation:

  • Wash all ingredients thoroughly
  • Peel the onion and the garlic cloves
  • Put everything in a pan and cover with cold water
  • boil in low heat for 2-3 hours.

It is ready.

You can enjoy this broth with rice noodles or any other type of noodles you favor. You can add a variety of toppings.

dsc_7196

 

Here the soup is served with shredded cabbage, Chinese broccoli, baby kale,  minced pork, chili flakes and mustard greens.

Enjoy 🙂

Happy disaster macaron day

Baking is an interesting procedure. While raw material is transformed under the heat of the oven, human relations can transform into meaningful friendships.

My dear friend Sheen has opened her enchanting house to me. We baked macarons. We burnt a bunch and saved another.

And understood that oneself should know her oven 🙂

dsc_7181

Countryside style macarons are easy and require only 30 minutes in the kitchen.

The ingredients for those elegant countryside style macarons are:

  • 150 gr ground almonds
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 2-3 eggs whites (depending on the size of the eggs)

Instructions:

  1. Mix the ground almonds with the sugar.
  2. If you wish your macarons to be dense add the egg whites to this mixture and combine gently. Alternatively if you prefer airy macarons, bit your egg whites into a soft merengue and fold gently.
  3. Use a plastic storage bag,  from which you have cut a small corner, to squeeze little round biscuits.
  4. Bake for 14 minutes at 180 degrees. Keep an eye on your oven!

dsc_7184

It is done 🙂 Macarons are a quite healthy dessert,  sealing all the benefits of almonds in a tiny delightful bite.

dsc_7185

Enjoy 🙂

Detox day

Once in a while during a calm weekend I enjoy having a detox day. During that day I only consume fruit and vegetable and light vegetable soups.

One of the meals I eat during detox days is cabbage and carrot soup. It does not have much of a taste but it is quite effective in cleansing the respiratory system.

dsc_7280

Mangosteen is a delightful tropical fruit known for its antioxidant vertus. It can be part of a light tasty snack of tropical fruit accompanied by ginger tea.

dsc_7073

Other snacks that I enjoy during detox days are sugar apples, raisin, durian and pineapple smoothies.

I also try to drink infused herbs and spices like kaffir leaves, citronella, lemon and ginger tea.

dsc_8376

Enjoy 🙂

Greek halva and tea

Halva is one of my favorite desserts. A few weeks ago I have tested the exceptional recipe of the amazing chef Akis Petretzikis. The result is WoW, the best halva ever!!

Enjoy 🙂

Indian breakfast

India is a country in which I have found the best, the worst and everything in between. And it is a country that I love for many reasons, food being only one of them.

India is the only country I have visited that the beauty of the gardeners rivals the beauty of the gardens.

DSC_4019.jpg

In India they are so many ways to communicate with divinities that every drop of water, every piece of land is somehow “holy”.

dsc_4357

It is the land of majestic tigers.

dsc_3976

Whenever I miss India I prepare a dish that brings me happiness because I have linked it to my dear friend Ashu, aloo paratha. Delightful wheat pancakes filled with crushed potatoes and spices.

DSC_7145.jpg

In India they are served with pickles, my favourite are from Fabindia and often enjoyed with tea. Here aloo paratha are presented with black eyed beans salad, feta cheese and a generous amount of extra virgin Greek olive oil (I am addicted to Greek olive olive, no one is perfect)

You can find a beautiful recipe in order to prepare aloo paratha at the following  link

Enjoy 🙂

dsc_4126

 

 

 

Moon pearls in roll

There are some nights when the moon rises so bright and white that reminds me of white pearls. And white pearls remind  me of perfectly steamed grains of sushi rice.

dsc_7122

Preparing sushi rice in perfection can be a quite interesting task. I cannot pretend that I master this art but through the years a wonderful recipe appeared in my life and I do my best to honour it.

In order to achieve delightful sushi rice it is recommended to follow these simple steps:

  • wash the rice thoroughly and gently  until the water comes out transparent
  • strain the rice for an hour or more until it is almost dry
  • cover the rice in a pocket of paper and let it rest for a whole night in the fridge
  • put the rice in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cover it with water
  • boil the rice in an open saucepan at high heat until bubbles are formed on the surface
  • turn down the heat to the minimum, cover the rice and steam for 13 minutes
  • let the rice rest for 10-15 minutes
  • transfer to a non metallic bowl
  • add the appropriate amount of sushi vinegar salt and sugar
  • mix gently

It is done 🙂

Now you can use your rice to prepare maki and inari sushi.

dsc_7115

Enjoy 🙂

Meze in a box

It is September already and holidays are behind us. A nice way to remember them is savouring the delights that we tasted during those beautiful moments.

DSC_5155.jpg

Calamari is an excellent meze 🙂

dsc_7112

A fantastic way to prepare calamari is to deep fry it. According to my beloved uncle Alexis, tapioca flour is the secret ingredient in order to keep the calamari crunchy and enjoy it in a lunch box. Other meze to accompany this are slow cooked okra with olive oil, wheat salad with vegetable, miso soup in an enveloppe and for dessert peanut butter and blue cheese sandwich.

dsc_7063

Other great meze is shrimp. Great accompagnement for this is Greek salad with extra virgin olive oil. Ouzo is a wonderful match for meze and a guarantee for a mouthwatering aperitif.

Enjoy 😉

 

Cheesy Cretan breakfast

Creta is the island I come from and even though I have always lived out of the island,  the island lives in me.

dsc_7046-1

This is one of many breakfasts that one may enjoy in beautiful Crete. Sheep milk gruyere, dried black bread with olive oil, tomatoes, origano and feta (it is called dakos), Greek coffee, brioche (called tsoureki) scented with a typical cherry seed kernel spice (mahlepi) and raisins.

1037-1

Enjoy 🙂

Breakfast in a mug

If you also are super busy in the morning, breakfast in a mug is for you. Here is a smoothie with sour passion fruit, pineapple, cucumber, super hot chili, yogurt, chia seeds, flax seeds and honey. Choose your local fruit and vegetable and enjoy 😉

Thai lunch

Thai cuisine reserves a special place for rice. Khao pad is one of the many rice dishes that you may enjoy in Thailand.

Ingredients for 1 portion:

  • 80 gr short grained cooked rice
  • half diced carrot
  • 3-5 white cabbage leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 limes
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • a few slices of chilli
  • 1 spring onion
  • cooking oil

Instructions:

  • Heat a wok on high temperature. When the wok is very hot add 2 tbs of cooking oil.
  • Add the cabbage, the chilli and the carrot.
  • Once the vegetables had taken some colour and are glossy add the rice and stir in high temperature. Turn off the fire.
  • In a separate pan prepare a tiny scrabbled egg portion. Add to the rice.
  • Add the fish sauce, lime and spring onion.
  • It is ready enjoy 🙂

 

dsc_7066

Almost vegetarian khao pad with cabbage, carrots, egg, green and red onions, cucumber and fish sauce. Great Greek beer to accompany with ODYSSEY white

 

Dinner in a square

dsc_7050

Meatballs, quinoa, tomato, feta and olive salad, figues malmelade and tea with milk.

Tea time

dsc_7103

The autumn is here, (the monsoon as well) and tea time  is such a soothing moment of the day. Earl gray, milk and tiny butterscotch.

dsc_7056

Senza tea with almond milk and cinnamon roll.

 

Back to school

dsc_7095

Bentos are such a cute surprise during lunch time 😀

This is a simple bento with potato omelette, salad, grapes and brown rice.

dsc_7097

And this is a bento with spaghetti bolognese, steamed brocoli, green beans with toasted sesame and feta and macarons with cardamome 😀

 

The create a dream and eat it project

This blog presents everyday pleasures through food and photography. The idea of this project appeared 5 years ago but it was not mature enough to appear in daylight. Today is a special day, a day that creations are revealed. So today is the day that this project starts 🙂 Join me to this new adventure.

Special thanks to Lieven who has inspired the idea for this project, to Zofia for motivating me and kindly reminding me that I should create this blog, to Stephanie and Michael for being enthusiastic about the photos, to my mum who has always decorated everything elegantly, to Ifigeneia that has always been a fun of my work, to Orestis Nektarios and  Sebastien that accepted to eat all of the meals I have prepared for them, to Gregory for reminding me that all that we wish should be our life compass, to Claudia and Alessio for sharing the secret of access to free time, to Nadia whom I love dearly, to Gabriel for being born the right day, to all of my friends who have opened their kitchens, houses, hearts and recipe books and shared their creative happiness with me.

dsc_7092Love, Eillie