Monday, August 16, 2010

Paella

We had a quiet day in after actually going out on a Saturday night, so I cooked.
The secret action was to cover it with alfoil at the end and let it cook. I took it off the heat before the rice burned, which is a no-no, so next time I'll leave it to burn a bit around the edges.

Nuts - baklava

Baklava
This is my latest batch of Baklava. It has a mix of almonds and walnuts and the syrup is a sugar, water and lemon mix.

I wanted to use up the filo after making spanakopita a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

pancakes

At the same afternoon tea I made a stack of pancakes.
Again using the commonsense cookery book, they were great, with a bit of nutella.

Walnut cake

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to host an afternoon tea for my family. I was planning on making a Greek walnut cake but the recipe I had was full of eggs. I was gobsmacked. Not that I have a cholesterol problem so I took the basic cake recipe from the commonsense cookery book and added walnuts and cinnamon, with a dash of baking powder. I topped it with chopped almonds.

As you can see, I added too much baking powder but it was still so good...

mince sauce

There are times when I get organised and cook ahead of time. Now these times can be rare at times, so while working on a new recipe, I threw together a quick mince sauce to be frozen for later.

This recipe is simple:
Chopped onions and crushed garlic are sauteed in some olive oil. Then I added the mince. In this instance it was a blend of pork and beef mince. Then I added in a tin of chopped tomatoes with some chopped fresh tomatoes. To allow the sauce to simmer, I put in 1 cup of chicken stock and pepper. Once the sauce has reduced, it cools and then is put into containers for freezing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Moussaka with Soy milk


When I have vegies that need cooking, and there's some mince in the freezer, moussaka is a good solution. Stir fries are my first 'everything vegie' dish.

I always layer the potatoes first so they cook in the vegie and mince sauce. Then layer is eggplant then zucchini. The layering depends on what you have and the size of your baking dish. This is my little baking dish. I've used herbs and cracked pepper on different layers. There's no cooking at this stage. Traditional recipes call for the layers to be pre-cooked or fried.
This is the mince layer is the second last layer. Ok, if you're a real vego, use cooked brown rice and drizzle with salsa sauce.
Below is the beginnings of the bechamel sauce. The reason I've used soy milk is because DH still is lactose and fructose intolerant, from last year's salmonella poisoning. The salmonella was something he picked up in Austria last year.


This is a tricky part so if you're not up for it, don't bother. I add in the milk in small quantities and guess when I have enough for the baking dish. Use 2T butter and 2T flour, make the roux and then gradually add in the milk.

The oven is 180C and I place the dish on a larger metal tray, in case the sauce overflows while baking.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter flaounes 2010

This year I made these flaounes at home.

DH helped me roll out the dough using a pasta maker. I gave this job to him because I needed a hand and he loves any technology, and the pasta maker is something he's been wanted to use for a while.
My right hand was jarred 4 weeks ago when I cycled from St Ives to West Head so my wrist is now taped up, but I still kneaded the dough for this recipe.
Last year I made about 90 flaounes that it took ages to eat and give them away so this year my Godmother gave me a locally produced Greek cook that had a recipe for 60 flaounes. This recipe is by Dimitra Papilos, in the from home to home fund raising cookbook, St Raphael's Greek Orthodox Church, Parish of Liverpool and Districts, 2009.
Cheese mix ingredients (prepare the mixture the night before)
5 medium pieces haloumi cheese, grated (I used 1 pieces of haloumi from Woolies)
6 cups cheddar cheese, grated (I used 3/4 pack of a 500 gm tasty chees grated from Woolies)
1kg kefalograviera, grated (I used 800 gm)
1 cup fine semolina
1/2 self-raising flour (I used plain flour and added 4 T baking powder)
2 sachets yeast (I started the yeast in 1/2 cup luke warm milk)
2 cups chopped fresh mint (I used 1/2 cup fresh mint from my garden)
2-3 dozen eggs (I used 8 eggs in the mixture and freshened it up with 2 eggs before I used the cheese mix).
extra eggs for glazing (I used 1 egg)
1kg sesame seeds (I used 300 grams of sesame seeds)
I also added half of the mahlepi and mastica required for the pastry.
Directions:
Use a laundy size plastic tub for this because it's a large amount of ingredients. My bowl was a real struggle to use.
  1. In a large dish, add all the cheese. Then add the semolina, flour, yeast and enough eggs to make a wet but firm mixture. Set aside in a cool place over night, but cover it with a towel.
  2. If you like sultanas, add some in the preparation stage or just add a few as you assemble the flanounes.
  3. You can now make the pastry. I made this the night before after making the mixture, but most Greek mums make this on the day. I work full time, so this was a handy option.
Pastry ingredients: (Prepare the pasty the night before)
3kg plain flour (I used the flour for bread)
5 cups self raising flour (I used 1 cup)
6 cups luke warm milk (I used 4 cups)
3 cups vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 pkt mahlepi powder
10 grams crushed mastica
Directions.
Again, use a huge plastic bucket/dish. These are massive quantities.
  1. Prepare the pastry by adding the sifted flours together with the oil, luke warm milk and spices. knead together until soft and pliable.
  2. Cover and set aside to rest and rise.

Day 2:

  1. Clean and clear your kitchen ahead of time because you need stacks of room.
  2. Preheat the oven at 200C (my oven overheats so I used base heat at 190C).
  3. Blanche sesame seeds in boiling water and drain through a fine sieve.
  4. Before commencing, add the fresh mint to the cheese mix.
  5. For the glaze, beat some eggs and to that add some of the sesame seeds.
  6. Break pieces of dough into portions and roll out on a clean floured surface to form a round shape. (This is when we used the pasta maker to take the pressure off my shoulders and hands).
  7. Add a heaped spoonful of the cheese mixture to the centre of the pastry and fold the four edges together, leaving a small opening in the centre.
  8. Glaze with the egg and sesame seeds.
  9. Place onto a well greased baking dish and cook in a hot oven at 200C. (This is where I used baking paper on a scone slide, and didn't need to grease and re-grease the baking dish).
  10. Continue until all the pastry and mixture is finished.
This recipe was always made by Mum when she was able to cook. She used this as a way to bring the family together. On occassions, she would even have extended family members help out when assembling this recipe. The mystery has always been in the preparation and I hope you enjoy the preparation journey of this recipe.