Monday, December 28, 2009

Greek Shortbread - Kourabiethes

 These were made by my GdM. She's a fabulous cook. These are all that were left after we devoured them at Christmas.
Here's my recipe that I've adapted from Family Circle Step by Step Greek Cooking.
Ingredients250gm or 8 oz butter or substitute
1/2 cup icing sugar sifted
1 teaspoon
1 egg yolk
3 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 tablespoon whiskey
whole cloves
extra icing sugar to dust the biscuits once they're out of the oven.
Directions
Soften butter in a bowl. Beat well.
Add sifted icing sugar and beat until fluffy. The product should be lighter than when you began.
Add egg yolk and beat thoroughly.
Sift flour and baking powder.
Add to butter mixture.
Add chopped almonds and sprinkle lightly with whiskey. Emphasis on lightly.
Knead well and form into long biscuit shapes.
Place on a baking tray and cook in a moderate oven for 15 minutes.

Once they are golden brown, take them out to cool and dust with icing sugar.
Made 16 August 2010.

I made this batch today for work tomorrow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Breakfast crunch - fruit crumble

My foodie SIL and Bro bought use feed me now! by Bill Granger so I decided to use the cherries, lychees and strawberries for breakfast this morning. I'm strictly a savoury breakfast eater but I thought this would be a special post Christmas breakfast, that we could use up the fresh stone fruit in a 'healthy' way. PS I have to lose 5.5 kg, so that was kind of motivation to look for a 'healthy' option.

The picture above gives you an idea of how the resulting breakfast turned out. I used untoasted muesli in the crumble topping and I was easy on the butter.

Here's the real recipe:
Ingredients
350g rhubarb chopped into 5cm lengths
500g strawberries, hulled and halved
1T plain flour
50g caster sugar

Crumble topping
120g untoasted muesli
25g plain flour
55g caster sugar
100g cold butter, cut into small pieces

Serve with thick greek yoghurt
We didn't have any yoghurt, so that' probably why this was more like a dessert than a breakfast treat.

I used loads of fresh cherries, fresh lychees and fresh strawberries that we had on Christmas day.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the chopped fruit into a baking dish. I used my blue pyrex pie dish. I just love the blue colour - such a greek. Sprinkle with the flour and sugar and toss to combine. Bake for 10 minutes.
For the topping, mix the muesli, flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Add butter and run in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. If it's a humid day, like it was today, use the food processor on pulse. I ended up with a dough like mixture and realised there wasn't enough crumble.
So I used a crumble mix from a White Wings flour packet. It uses 3/4C plain flour, 150g butter chilled and cubed, 2/3C rolled oats (I used muesli) and 1/4C dessicated coconut (which I didn't have). I used much less butter and the breadcrumb texture worked out really well.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve with thick Greek yoghurt. Today this recipe took 20 minutes to cook and we relished it without yoghurt. Mmmm.
Preparing the fruit took 20 minutes and I wore disposable gloves, so I would have cherry stains on my hands. DH made me a latte while cooking, so I have lots of energy to keep cooking and not deviate and eat other stuff while cooking.

Pastichio - Greek lasagna

At any greek gathering, we always have platters of food and Pastichio is one of those must haves. If you plan large gatherings, this can be made ahead of time and heated up on the day. Some people eat this cold, but that's up to your preference.

The beauty of this dish is that it's something that kids will eat and the grandparents will eat even if they are sensitive to spicy foods.

If you're health conscious, omit the cheese sauce and just use a thick tomato sauce.

Preparation order:

  1. Pasta
  2. mince sauce
  3. cheese sauce
  4. Assemble and then either store in the freezer or bake and then serve.

Preheat oven to moderate 180C.

Pasta layer:
Precook approximately 500 grams pasta strands with a hole. The amount depends on your dish.

Mince sauce:
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons dry white wine (optional)
1 can tomato puree or 400 grams home made tomato puree
1 Tablespoon parsely chopped finely
2 Tablespoons mint chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in pan
  2. Add onions and mince. Stir over high heat for 10 minutes or until well browned and all liquid has evapourated.
  3. Add wine, tomatoe puree, herbs, cinnamon, pepper and bring to boil.
  4. Reduce heat, simmer, covered for 20 minutes and stir occasionally.
  5. Remove lid and simmer for 10 minutes.


Cheese sauce:
90 grams butter
1/3 cup plain flour 2 cups milk (skim is ok as is soy)
2 eggs lightly beaten (omit this if you're watching your cholesterol)
2/3 cup grated cheese (any cheese is ok, from ricotta to kaseri)

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in small pan, then add flour.
  2. Stir over low heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add milk gradually and stir until smooth. Use a whisk or if you have sore hands, get out the electrical beater - or your husband (he he).
  4. Stir the cheese sauce over medium heat 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens.
  5. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat. That's it if you are not adding eggs and cheese.
  6. Add eggs and cheese.
  7. Beat until smooth.


Assembling:

  1. Place half the pasta on the bottom of the baking dish.
  2. Then add mince layer.
  3. Place remaining pasta in the baking dish but leave room for the sauce. If you haven't added cheese and eggs, the sauce will filter into the pasta layer, but this is still as tasty option.
  4. Place final layer - cheese sauce. Try to leave some room in the dish for the sauce and mince to bubble away as it cooks. Hungry yet?



Here are the left overs from my last attempt.

Kali oreksi