Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday biscuits

Ingredients
300g flour
2t baking powder
250g dry curd cheese
50g sugar
2 eggs
1/2t lemon peel
salt
100g currants

Preheat oven at 200C.

Method
Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and mix it and make a well in the middle.
Add curd cheese, sugar, 1 egg, grated lemon peel and salt.
Knead until smooth.
At the end, add currants.
Form rolls and place on greased baking sheet.
Brush with whisked egg and bake them in a preheated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes.

Reformation biscuits

Ingredients
500g flour
salt
250ml milk
40g yeast
50g butter
1t sugar
50g raisins

Method
Sift flour into a bowl, add all ingredients except raisins, and prepare smooth dough.
Let dough rest for a few minutes.
Roll it out and cut into 12cm large squares.
Fold the edges towards the middle so all four corners touch each other.
Add raisins and a dab of jam in the middle.
Let it rest again for a few minutes and then bake them until golden brown at medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes.
Frost or sprinkle it with icing sugar.

Curd cheese pretzels

Ingredients
175g soft butter
50g sugar
vanilla sugar
salt
3 eggs
250g dry cheese curd
400g flour
baking powder
125g chopped almonds

Preheat oven at 200C.

Method
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and 2 eggs until fluffy.
Add stirred cheese curd.
Mix flour and baking powder and sift into the dough.
Knead dough and form into pretzels.
Brush pretzels with whisked egg, sprinkle with chopped almonds
Place them on a greased baking sheet and bake at 200C for 15 - 20 minutes.

Ring thaler

Ingredients
Dough
8 large apples
100g sugar
4T lemon juice
175g flour
3T cornflour
2T soft butter
salt
2 egg yolks
250ml milk
6T cream
2 egg whites

Serving finishings
concentrated butter/ oil
cinnamon sugar
250ml sweet whipped cream

Method
Remove apple core, peel apples and cut them into 1cm thick rings and sprinkle them with 2T sugar and drizzle with lemon juice.
Stir all remaining ingredients, except for egg whites, until mash /batter is viscous.
Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold the whipped egg whites carefully into the dough.
Cover apple rings with dough and bake them until golden brown on each side in the heated butter.
Spinkle them with cinnamon sugar and serve them with whipped cream when still hot.

Almond tarts

Ingredients:
Dough
250g butter
salt
1t brandy
70g sugar
125g butter

Almond filling
125g butter
150g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
150g grated almonds
75g flour
1T corn flour
4 egg whites
250g apricot jam

Preheat oven at 175C.

Method
Dough
Sift flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
Add egg, salt and brandy and spinkle it with sugar.
Add butter flakes and knead everything well.
Knead until dough is smooth.
Let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Filling
Whip butter in a bowl until fluffly, add little by little icing sugar, egg yolk, almonds, flour, corn flour and mix well.
Fold the whipped egg whites into the filling.
Grease baking pans 6cm diametre.

Assembly
Roll out dough 1/2 cm thick and fill baking pans with dough.
Puncture dough to avoid bubbles forming.
First spread jam on dough and then add almond mixture on it.
On top, arrange 2 strips of dough crosswise.
Bake in preheated oven at 175C for 20 minutes.

Ring pastries

Ingredients
50g soft butter
100g sugar
salt
2 eggs
6T white wine (reisling)
300g flour
1t ginger grinded
butter or oil for frying
icing sugar

Method
Mix butter, sugar, salt, eggs.
Add wine, flour and ginger and stir it well.
Roll out dough on a floured board and cut in into 2 x 12cm pieces.
Rotate each dough strip around an egg beater and put it into hot butter and fry until golden brown.
Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Sour cream cookies

Ingredients
200g soft butter
125g sugar
300g flour
250ml sour cream
4 egg yolks

Preheat oven at 200C.

Method
Stir butter, sugar and flour and mix in the sour cream and 3 egg yolks.
Let the dough rest on a cool spot for 1 hour.
Roll out dough, cut out circles, hearts, moons, place them on a greased baking sheet and brush them with egg yolk.
Bake them at 200C for 8 - 10 minutes.

Egg liqueur cake

Ingredients
4 eggs
175g butter
125ml egg liqueur
300g flour
1T vanilla pudding
2t baking powder
375g icing sugar

Preheat oven at 200C.

Method
Separate eggs, beat 125g butter and egg yolks and egg liqueur until fluffy.
Mix flour, pudding powder and baking powder, strain it little by little into the egg mixture and stir it well.
Also mix 250g icing sugar into it.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold it carefully into the dough.
Fill dough into greased springform pan.
Bake it in a preheated oven at 200C for about 60 minutes.
Take it out, let it cool off, brush it with the remaining butter and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Apple tart

Ingredients
125g butter
125g sugar
4 eggs
1/2t lemon zest
200g flour
2T cornflour
2t baking powder
4T cold milk
750g sour apples
100g apricot jam
50 sugar

Preheat oven at 200C.

Method
Whisk butter until fluffy and stir in sugar.
Separate eggs and add egg yolk and lemon zest to butter mixture.
Stir flour, cornflour and baking powder through a sieve and add gradually to milk and mix it well.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the dough mixture.
Fill dough into greased springform tin.
Peel apples, cut in half and carve them to arrange them on the dough.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 50 - 60 minutes.
When still warm, brush with apricot jam and sprinkle with sugar.

Paella by DH



Our Christmas lunch is always a global feast. It includes Vietnamese summer rolls, pastichio, bbq chorizo on italian bread with homus, fish in banana leaves, paella, wild rice salad, santa cup cakes, fruit, antipasto and tarama. We don't turkey or ham or watermelon. We always have plenty of fresh cherries, pineapple and lychees.

The paella was our spanish dish that we saw made at the Boulevard Markets when they were held years ago. The cooking show was hosted by Joanne Saville and the recipe was from El Bulli at Surry Hills.

Pictures above are our paella leftovers. The seafood was all bought locally and DH cooked this to perfection.

Coffee tart

Ingredients
Dough
100 g butter
4 eggs
125g sugar
6T freshly brewed coffee
125ml milk
200g corn flour
2t baking powder

Filling
125ml milk
3T instant pudding mix (chocolate flavour)
2T icing sugar
Vanilla sugar
50g butter
1 egg yolk
3T chopped nuts

Icing
200g icing sugar
2T cocoa
1T butter

Method
Whisk butter until fluffy.
Separate eggs.
Stir egg yolks, sugar, coff and milk.
Mix flour, corn flour and baking powder, strain it and add it to the mixture.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold it into the dough.
Fill dough in a greased baking pan and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 200C for about 35 minutes.
When it is cool, cut it across.

Filling
Whisk instant pudding mix with a little bit of cold water until it even and stir it in heated milk.
Bring in to a short boil and let it cool.
Stir every once a while to avoid a formation of milk skin.
Whisk butter until fluffly; add icing sugar, egg yolk and vanilla sugar and mix it well.
Stir cooled off pudding and nuts in it.
Fill the tart.

Icing
Mix icing sugar, 2T hot water, cocoa and soft butter and brush the surface and sides of the tart.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheesecake without base

Ingredients
250g butter
6 eggs
300g sugar
1t grated lemon peel
3T lemon juice
1kg cheese curd
100g semolina
1T flour
1 T baking powder
Salt
125g icing sugar

Method
Whisk 200g butter until fluffy.
Separate eggs.
Add egg yolk, sugar, lemon peel and lemon juice and mix with butter.
Stir curd cheese, semolina, flour and baking powder and add it to the butter-egg mixture.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites, whip it until stiff and fold it into the dough.
Place dough in a greased spring form tin.
Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 50 - 60 minutes.
When it is still hot, brush it with remaining butter and sprinkle it with icing sugar.

Egg baked pie

Ingredients
Dough
500g flour
30g yeast
250ml luke warm milk
200g butter
150g sugar
vanilla sugar
salt

Filling
150g butter
300g sugar
8 eggs
1kg curd cheese
1pkt instant pudding mix (vanilla flavour)
1/2t grated lemon rind
salt
2T grated almonds
1T cornflour
brandy

Method
Dough
Place the flour in a bowl and make a hollow in the middle.
Mix crumbled yeast with some luke warm milk and 1t sugar.
Pour yeast mixture into flour hollow centre and sprinkle some flour onto it.
Spread butter flakes, remaining sugar, vanilla sugar and salt around flour hollow.
Knead the ingredients well and add remaining milk.
Knead the dough until it is shiny.
Cover it and keep it in a warm spot for 1 hour.
Beat and knead dough
Roll out dough, place it on a greased baking sheet and press on the edge.

Filling
Whip 100g of butter until fluffy.
Add 200g sugar, 3 eggs, curd cheese, instant pudding mix, lemon rind, salt and almonds and mix everything well.
Place it on the dough.

Cream
Whisk 5 eggs and remaining sugar and stir in the rest of the butter, corn flour and brandy.
Add some water until the mixture is fluffy and spread it evenly over the curd cheese mixture.
Bake the pie in an oven at 200C for 45 minutes.
Reduce the overh to prevent the cream from burning.

Potato Cake

Ingredients
1kg floury potatoes, boiled and mashed
1/2t salt
200g flour
250 g butter
3 eggs
6 T sugar
1/2t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200C

Method
Mix cinnamon and sugar together and set aside.
Add salt, flour and 100g butter and eggs to cooled mashed potatoes.
Knead potato flour well.
On floured surface, roll dough out thinly.
Place it on a greased baking sheet and lift one edge to form a crust.
Spread 75g of butter flakes on the dough.
Bake in oven at 200C for 20 minutes.
Take out of oven and brush with the rest of the melted butter (25g) and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar

Jam Roll

Ingredients
4 eggs
200g honey
1 pinch baking soda
1t vanilla sugar
200g strawberry jam
100g icing sugar

Preheat oven at 200C.

Method
Grease baking sheet and dust with flour
Line tin.
Separate eggs
whip the egg whites until it forms peaks
Stir egg yolks and add honey, flour and baking soda and vanilla sugar.
Fold in egg yolks.
Place mixture into lined tin.
Bake at 200C for 20 minutes.
Take out from tin and place on a floured baking sheet on top of a towel.
Spread jam on cake and roll it up.
Roll up cake so it forms 1 and 1/2 folds.
Sprinkle with icing sugar or confectioners sugar.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Summer jams

It's stone fruit season and I spent a couple of hours making these jams.
We have a bread maker that also has a jam setting. So when I have 1/2kg of fruit ready for jam making, and 1 hour and a 1/2 later, we have jam. The only ingredients are 1 1/2cups sugar and jam setter.

So I have cherry, apricot and peach jam in the fridge now.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Empanadas

I had empanadas on the brain last week for a family dinner so what you see here is my first go at a very simple recipe made to a deadline. Deadlines are my friend.

Ingredients:
Pastry mix: 2 kg plain flour, 1/2 c oil, 1L warm water, salt.
I added dried thyme in the pastry before I added the oil and water.

Filling mix: 500 gm ground beef, 2 onions sliced, paprika, curry powder. salt, black olives, 5 hard boiled eggs.
The original recipe called for 1kg beef and 5 onions, so I've halved it.

Method:
The day before
Prepare the pasty and wrap it in plastic wrap over night. 
Cook the meat and onions and flavour them. Scoop out the fat before you put the meat filling in the fridge.
Cook the eggs and leave them in their shell over night.

On the day
Set the oven to hot - 180C
Place baking paper on oven slide.
Roll out pasty to size and half fill with meat mix.
Place a slice of boiled egg on the filling and place slices of olives on either side of the egg.
Wet pastry with some water and then fold over pastry and seal the edges.
Place empanadas on oven slide and glaze with water.
Cook empanadas until brown. If the fat begins to sizzle out of the empanadas, take the slide out of the oven and drain the fat off.

Makes 24 decent sized empanadas.

Serve either hot or cold.
Can be frozen for another day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tequila Chanukah Cake

This is a Tequila Chanukah Cake recipe from a dear friend of mine.

Once I make it, I'll post up the pic.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar,
1 tsp. baking powder,
1 cup water,
1 tsp salt ,
1 cup brown sugar,
Lemon juice,
4 large eggs,
Nuts,
1 bottle tequila,
2 cups dried fruit

Method:
  1. Sample a cup of tequila to check quality
  2. Take a large bowl, check the tequila again to be sure it is of the highest quality then Repeat.
  3. Turn on the electric mixer.
  4. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
  6. At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK. Try another cup just in case
  7. Turn off the mixerer thingy.
  8. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
  9. Pick the fruit up off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it.
  10. Mix on the turner.
  11. If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver .
  12. Sample the tequila to test for tonsisticity.
  13. Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.
  14. Check the tequila.
  15. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
  16. Add one table.
  17. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
  18. Greash the oven.
  19. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
  20. Don't forget to beat off the turner.
  21. Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
  22. Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat..... :)
Approved by the international tequila board of drinking and safety and the country women's cooks - alcohol chapter or something like that!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Biryani by DH

We love visiting local market stalls and DH picked up a lime chutney from a market in Canberra and he's been wanting to make an Indian meal for a while. I bought this enamel pan from Aldi recently and DH has been using this for lots of his recipes. This biryani dish was one of them. 
The poppadoms (bought from a local Indian grocer), the mango chutney and lime chutney made more authentic for us.
DH did add a chicken curry onto the menu for the night so you could say we had a smallish banquet.

The biryani masala paste from the same local indian grocer was the basis for this dish.

Here's the recipe on the label.
Recipe: For 1/2 kg rice, add required quantity of water, 200g cut vegetables (of your choice) required salt, 3 tsp ghee, 3tsp Priya Biryani masala paste and cook. Mix well and serve hot.
Optional: If desired add few stems of coriander leaves and mint leaves.
DH added pieces of leftover roast lamb.
Don't knock it until you've tried it. DH added 3 tablespoons of the paste so it really did taste like the real deal.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lemon slice

This is what I was trying to achieve in June when I first tested Mum's lemon slice recipe. This version received 2 thumbs up on Sunday and a request for the recipe so I think I've nailed it by using a foil rectangle tray with lid that I bought at Woolies.

I'm stoked.

Battered zucchini flowers

I can only give you part of this recipe because the cheese/mint filling was already inserted into the frozen filled zucchini flowers when I was helping GM.

The batter uses half flour and half cornflour and the liquid is beer. Only use enough beer to make the batter smooth. Drink the remaining beer. Don't waste it!

Use a small saucepan with frying oil to lightly fry the batter dunked zucchini flowers and drain them on paper towel.
Serve warm with lemon juice. How else would you dress a Greek dish? (rhetorical question) :))

Impossible pie

Here's another one of Mum's 1990s recipe that could make a comeback.

Ingredients
4 eggs
1/2 c butter or margarine
1/2c plain flour
2c milk
1c sugar
1c coconut
2t vanilla essence

Method
  1. Blend all the ingredients together.
  2. Pour into a greased pyrex pie dish.
  3. Bake at 180c for 1 hour or until the centre is firm.
The flour settles at the base to form a crust.
The coconut forms the top crust and the centre form an egg custard. Mmm custard.

Koulourakia

Now below are the ingredients for Koulourakia that Mum used. Once I test this out with a Tess Mallos recipe, I'll post up the recipe review for you.

Ingredients:
5 eggs
1c milk
1c oil
125g butter
1c sugar
1t baking powder
1 nip ouzo
sesame soaked and dried for garnish

Logmathes- cypriot donut balls

This is my aunty's signature dish. I've tried this recipe once but I need another go at it.

Ingredients:
3c plain flour
4c potato flour or deb
2 c cornflour
yeast

Method:
Mix yeast in milk and sugar.
  • Add the yeast to flour mix

  • Add water until smooth paste

  • Allow to stand for 1 hour.

  • Fry in ball shapes using wet hands to form ball shape through your thumb and index finger. Or just use a wet dessert spoon. It's easier.

  • Serve dusted with sugar and cinnamon. If you're keen, dunk the donut balls in syrup when hot.

  • Chick pea rissoles

    Chick pea rissoles are a staphe leading up to Easter.

    Ingredients
    250gm chick peas
    4 c onion, garlic, mint parsley mixture chopped
    1t bicarb soda
    4c self raising flour
    1 1/2c water


    Method
    1. Soak chick peas over night.
    2. Crush chic kpeas and remove outer shell
    3. Mix ingredients together
    4. Form rissole balls
    5. Shallow fry
    6. Serve with lemon juice and tsatsiki

    Caramel slice

    Here's one I know DH will love because of the chocolate and caramel.

    Base layer:
    1c self raising flour
    1c brown sugar
    1c coconut
    100g melted butter
    1. Melt butter and mix in dry ingredients
    2. Spread into a greased slice tin.
    3. Bake in a moderate oven for 10 minutes

    Caramel layer:
    1 tin condensed milk
    1T butter
    2T golden syrup
    1. Place all ingredients in saucepan and slowly bring to the boil.
    2. Spread caramel layer over the base layer and bake for 10 minutes.
    3. Allow to cool

    Chocolate layer:
    1/2 c drinking chocolate
    100g copha
    1. Melt copha and mix in chocloate
    2. Spread over the caramel layer and allow to set in the fridge.

    Carrot cake

    This is a regular cake Mum used to make in the 1990's.

    Ingredients:
    3c plain flour
    2t baking powder
    1t bicarb of soda
    1t cinnamon
    1t nutmeg
    1/2t garam masala powder
    3 eggs
    1c sugar
    1 1/2c sunflower oil
    vanilla essence
    pinch salt
    1c sultanas
    1/2c walnuts chopped
    3c grated zucchini or carrots

    Method:
    1. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until creamy.
    2. Add oil and mix.
    3. Sift flour and other ingredients into the mixture.
    4. Cook in the oven at 350 deg F

    Icing:
    125gm philly cheese
    1T butter
    2c icing sugar
    vanilla essence

    Beat until creamy and frost the cake when the cake is cold.

    Meat croquettes

    This is what Mum puts into meat croquettes.
    Ingredients:
    3 T butter
    5 T flour
    1c beef stock
    250g cold cooked lean veal shredded
    1T salt
    freshly ground pepper
    dash of nutmeg
    1t worstershire sauce
    1c breadcrumbs
    2 egg whites
    oil for frying
    Parsley to garnish

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Easter bread - tsoureki

    This sweet bread is part of the traditional midnight supper early on Easter Sunday morning after the Resurrection Service. The three dough ropes plaited together symbolise the Holy Trinity; the red eggs symbolise the blood shed by Christ. It is best made on the day of serving but most people buy it or a generous Mum or Aunty will make one for you. It is delicious toasted after that and like all breads, can be frozen for use after Easter.
     
    Makes one loaf. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan-forced).
    Ingredients:
    1c milk
    2t dried yeast
    1t caster sugar
    1/2c plain flour
    150g butter
    2 eggs
    1T zest orange
    1/2t aniseed or mahlepi and masticha mix for a more authentic taste
    1/2t salt
    1/3c caster sugar
    3c plain flour
    2 egg yolks
    2T milk
     
    Method:
    1. Place one cup of milk in a bowl, sprinkle in two teaspoons (7 grams) of dried yeast and one teaspoon caster sugar and whisk until the yeast is dissolved. Stir in half a cup of sifted flour, cover and stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until the mixture has doubled.
    2. Stir in 150 grams melted butter, two lightly beaten eggs, the finely grated zest of one orange, two teaspoons of aniseed (or two teaspoons mahlepi and half a teaspoon of masticha), half a teaspoon of salt and a further one-third cup of caster sugar, then gradually stir in a further three cups sifted plain flour to form a dough.
    3. Gently knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (about one-and-a-half hours).
    4. Turn out and knead for one to two minutes.
    5. Cut the dough into three even pieces and roll each piece into a 40 centimetre long cylinder, plait the lengths together, then shape into a wreath, pinching the ends to join.
    6. Place on a lined baking tray.
    7. Press three red eggs firmly into the wreath. Don't add these eggs if you're making this outside of Easter.
    8. Stand in a warm place until well risen (about 45 minutes).
    9. Brush the bread with a combined egg yolk and two tablespoons milk, then bake for 10 minutes.
    10. Reduce the heat to 180C (160C fan-forced) and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

    Baba ghannouj - eggplant dip

    You can buy this dip ready made in any supermarket for $2 to $3, but if you want to make your own and eggplants are in season, try this recipe.

    When I made my first batch I couldn't believe it was so easy and yummy.

    Ingredients:
    1 eggplant medium sized
    harrisa or greek oregano (rigani)
    1/4 c lemon juice
    1/4 tahini
    2 cloves crushed garlic
    salt to taste
    1T olive oil

    Method:
    1. Roast the eggplant in the oven on a baking tray or flat tray for 30 minutes at medium heat. Rub the eggplant with your favourite herb. I use harrisa or greek oregano, depending on who my guests will be.
    2. Peel off skin while hot and remove stem and end. I tend to leave the skin for more texture, so I'm not a real baba ghannouj purist.
    3. Place the eggplant into a blender with lemon juice, tahini, garlic and salt.
    Check the taste and add more lemon juice or some olive oil to mellow out the taste. I like it tart, so I add more lemon juice.
    This dip can be made days ahead and the flavour does develop further overnight.

    Tess Mallos - thank you

    When the late Tess Mallos published her book,The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook, this was Mum's main reference book she used for Greek cooking. This book has a good flaouna recipe that Mum used every year as part of our Easter tradition. This recipe is still made by experience and passed on to their families through hands on learning with no real recipe to follow. I'm still trying to work on a savoury cheese bread/cake that Mum used to make with haloumi cheese.
    I recently bought Tess's book via Amazon because I couldn't find it locally, and this is my go-to book for Greek and middle eastern cooking. I'm so thankful Tess was able to publish this book in the late 70's because it really is an complete reference book IMHO. She did a fabulous job for those of us who weren't able to learn how their Mums and Aunties made the fabulous traditional food away from their homelands, while they made a life for themselves and their families in a new emerging country, like Australia.

    Here's one recipe that has to be made when watermelon is in season:

    Glyko Karpouzi or watermelon rind preserve

    Ingredients:
    1k watermelon rind
    water
    3 c sugar
    2 small pieces cinnamon bark
    strips of lemon peel
    2T lemon juice
    1/4c honey

    Method:
    1. Remove all traces of pink from the watermelon rind. Peel away the green skin. Cut firm white flesh into 2 to 3cm cubes.
    2. Places cubes in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour or until the rind is transluscent. Drain.
    3. Place 3 cups water in pan with sugar, cinnamon bark, lemon peel, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and hone. Stir over heat until sugar dissolves and bring to the boil. Skimmy the residue out as it forms.
    4. Add drained watermelon rind, return to the boil and boil gently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and leave overnight.
    5. Return to the boil over medium heat and boil until the syrup is thick when tested on a cold saucer. Remove cinnamon and lemon peel.
    6. Add remaining lemon juice and boil for 1 minute, then ladel into warm sterilizes jars. Seal when cold.
    7. Serve with a glass of cold water and some freshly made Greek coffee.

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    Picnic memories - Kolokithopita (filo zucchini pie)

    When the family gets together, and I mean the whole family, there are some dishes that always go down well with every generation. This is one of them and it's typically made in a large rectangle baking tray.

    The beauty of this is recipe you can make this ahead of time and still look as fresh as a daisy when the family arrives for that long weekend lunch.

    This is also one of those favourite dishes that reminds me of when our parents used to take us on weekend picnics with all of their friends and their young families and everyone brought their signature dishes. As kids, we just played all day but we were really well fed. No one went home hungry. I should post up some b/w pics from the family archives or that could be too embarrasing.

    Ingredients 
    • 1 packet filo pastry 
    • 7 medium zucchini (about 900g), coarsely grated (use flat leafed spinach when it's in season)
    • 1 t salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 eggs
    • 200g feta cheese grated
    • 100g haloumi cheese grated
    • ¼ c coarse burghul
    • 1 bunch mint, chopped
    • ½ c melted unsalted butter
    • milk to brush over the top of the filo
    • sesame seeds
    Preheat the oven to 180C fan, 200C regular oven.

    Method:
    1. You will need a large pie dish or rectangle baking pan. Brush it with melted unsalted butter.
    2. To make the filling, toss the grated zucchini with the teaspoon of salt and leave in a colander to drain for at least an hour. Give it a shake and toss from time to time. Then take handfuls of the zucchini and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, or wring it out in a tea towel.
    3. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl with plenty of pepper. Stir in the feta, mozzarella, rice or burghul and mint. Then add the zucchini and keep the mixture in the fridge until required.
    4. To assemble the pie, lay 10 sheets of filo on a tea towel, cover them with a dry tea towel and then with a damp tea towel. Keep the filo covered as you work to prevent it becoming dry.
    5. Use a wide pastry brush to melted unsalted butter on the filo sheets and work as quickly as you can.
    6. Arrange 5 sheets individually brushed into the baking dish so that the ends hang over the sides.
    7. Tip the zucchini mixture into the filo-lined dish and spread out evenly. Fold the overhang in over the filling. Brush the remaining sheets of filo with unsalted butter as before and place over the filling.
    8. Brush melted butter on top. Tuck the surplus filo snuggly in around the pie.
    9. Score the top couple of sheets of filo with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern or into segments where the pie is to be cut later. Make air vents by plunging the knife right through the top layers a few times. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. 
    10. Bake the pie on a tray in the middle of the oven for one hour or until crisp and golden. Keep an eye on your first version so that it doesn't burn.
    11. Rest the kolokithopita for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Cut into slices and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Upside-down caramel pear cake

    This cake is easy to make and looks mouth watering. The sticky brown caramel glazes the pears and seeps into the cake, making it moist and delicious. I love it best served warm from the oven with ice-cream or vanilla sauce (code for custard).
    I'm aiming to make this in a couple of week's time, before winter ends.

    Ingredients
    Serves 6

    • 1 c sugar
    • 1/3 c water
    • 3 firm pears
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/3 c raw sugar
    • 1/2 t vanilla essence
    • Zest of one orange
    • Zest of one lemon
    • 100g unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 c self-raising flour
    Method
    1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 170C (190C conventional).
    2. Grease a 20-centimetre cake tin with removable base and line the bottom with baking paper.
    3. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and warm gently until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and cook until the liquid is a light caramel colour.
    4. Pour into the tin and swirl around to cover the base.
    5. Peel, core and quarter pears and arrange on top of the caramel, with points facing towards the centre.
    6. Beat eggs with raw sugar, vanilla, orange and lemon zest.
    7. Add melted butter. Mix in flour.
    8. Place spoonfuls of batter over the top of the pears and gently spread, so as not to disturb the pears.
    9. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cake is set in the centre.
    10. Remove from oven and turn out on to a plate while the cake is still hot.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/cuisine/baking/recipe/upside-down-caramel-pear-cake-20111019-1m6kp.html#ixzz1rc75G3hj

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Taramosalata (fish roe dip)

    What's a meze plate without tarama? Exactly. so it was about time I made my first batch. And this will be the first of many batches in the future.


    Ingredients:
    100g tarama (find a greek deli that stocks this)
    1/2 loaf of day old bread
    1 grated onion
    garlic clove crushed
    1 c olive oil
    juice of 2 lemons


    Method:
    Soak the bread in cold water then squeeze dry.
    Grate onion and squeeze out the juice
    Place everything in the blender adding the oil and juice a little at a time.
    Add extra water if it's too thick. Add extra lemon juice for a sharper flavour. Add extra oil for a mellower taste.

    My first batch needs more bread and a bit more oil. I didn't add any oil to the first batch, but I will before I serve it.

    The Tess Mallos recipe suggests adding an egg yolk or a whole egg. I'll leave that to you to consider adding when you make this yourself.

    Serve with lamb bbq, or crusty bread, or on a meze plate with olives, celery, cucumber, tzatziki dip and houmos.

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    Real Koupes

    We had arranged to have dinner with friends at their house and I agreed to make something Cypriot, so I decided Koupes would be worthwhile testing on us. Our friends really loved them served as an appetiser with lots of lemon juice and so there were none to take home. I made more for us the very next day.

    The Italians do a snack called aranacini. The Greeks do a similar snack called Koupes using cracked wheat instead of rice. Mum would make this during lent when we were supposed to avoid meat and she used a cooked mushroom filling.
    Ingredients:
    3 cups water
    2 cups cracked wheat
    2 teaspoons of baking powder
    1/2 cup plain flour
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley
    Method:

    1. Soak the wheat in water and let it sit for 2 hours.
    2. The mix all the ingredients together. I added oregano, salt and some curry powder to the wheat mix.
    3. Make the mixture into balls and fill each ball with any mince filling or a cooked mushroom filling.
    4. Deep fry or bake the balls until brown and serve with lemon!
    5. You'll get about 12 hand sized Koupes with this recipe. 
    As you can see, I shallow fried these and kept turned them with two forks.
     Because of the oil, I drained these twice before serving them.


    Sunday, July 15, 2012

    Aussie classic American-style pancakes

    We normally make pancakes on a Sunday morning using the Commonsense Cookery Book recipe - 1 c flour, 1 egg, 1 pinch salt and 1 1/4 c milk.

    This morning DH decided to make Classic American-style pancakes from David Herbert's recipes in yesterday's The Weekend Australian Magazine (page 30).
    The main changes he made to the recipe is skipped adding  the melted butter, only added 1 T sugar, added 1 egg only and substituted wholemeal flour for plain flour. And he usually added bananas to the mixture - my favourite. He added bananas for this version.
    Ingredients:
    1 c plain flour
    1 t baking powder
    2 T caster sugar
    2 eggs lightly beaten
    3/4 c milk
    20g butter melted (plus extra to grease pan)
    Method:
    1. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
    2. In a separate bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk and melted butter.
    3. Pour wet ingredients into the centre of the dry ingredients and mix until smooth batter forms, adding extra milk if needed.
    4. Let batter stand for 10 mins.
    5. Head a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
    6. Lightly grease pan with butter,.
    7. Ladel batter into pan and cook for about 1 minute or until bubbles appear on the pancake and the underside is golden.
    8. Using a spatula, flip pancake and cook for a further 45 - 60 seconds before turning out.
    Makes 6 - 8.

    They were definitely heavier than the Commonsense Cookbook recipe. DH liked this recipe.