I’ve made this a few times now and it is really delicious – although it is still really cold in London, this dish reminds me of summers in Greece 🙂 I love the fact it is really delicious, easy to make, and uses up various vegetables that I usually have to hand. Top tip: use over-ripe tomatoes for this dish and not tinned tomatoes, my local shop sells off ripe tomatoes cheaply and it really changes the taste to a naturally sweet one. Be liberal with the olive oil and surprisingly this goes really well with Mujendra., This is a longevity favorite on the Greek island of Ikaria, where locals live 10-15 years longer than us here in the UK!Continue reading “Soufiko: Delicious Vegetable Stew”
Mount Athos Chick Peas and Aubergines
Winter is here and the cost of living in the UK is rising rapidly, so it’s time to find some cheap but filling and tasty recipes that are suitable for these colder days. I have been fascinated by the monks of Mount Athos and their way of life, to me they live a remote but idyllic life, praising God and living off the land, and eating healthy, nutritious meals. They are great chefs and feed pilgrims and monks every day with fruits and vegetables that they have grown under the Mediterranean sun. This recipe is taken from their website and there are many others that you might want to investigate.Continue reading “Mount Athos Chick Peas and Aubergines”
Greek Walnut Cake (Petimezopita)
Right now, my home smells like Autumn; it smells of cinnamon, cloves, and orange and a distant memory I can’t quite grasp. This walnut cake is resting and cooling (the hardest part of the process!) This is a delicious Greek cake made with grape molasses and olive oil so no nasty refined sugars. All credit for this goes to an excellent Greek lady called Deppy whose website is Greek Cooking Made Easy I love her plant-based recipes (although she features all Greek recipes) and this is a winner! It’s fairly simple and I had all the ingredients in my store cupboard – the mix of spices makes this irresistible!
Black Eye Pea Salad
My absolute new favourite (don’t tell the others!) With the cost of living sky-rocketing and time to cook and plan evaporating – I needed something that requires little preparation and could last in the fridge for a few days and of course was nourishing and healthy. God really has given us all we need to live a healthy life and these little beans are full of goodness and benefits; they are great for your heart, and your blood pressure, they are full of protein, can help combat anemia, and keeps your bones strong! I use my pressure cooker for the dried beans for about 10 minutes but you could also soak them overnight and cook in a saucepan with water or use tinned, whichever is easiest for you.Continue reading “Black Eye Pea Salad”
Pourgouri (Bulgur Wheat)
I think this dish may be more Cypriot than Greek but it belongs in this section the most 🙂 I am discovering more about Cypriot cuisine and the different cultures that have influenced the herbs and spices used in Cypriot cooking. I love bulgur wheat (or cracked wheat) and to make this dish even simpler, my local Mediterranean supermarket sells bulgur with vermicelli noodles mixed in. This is an amazing side dish and seems to get better over a few days. It also has only a few ingredients which are pretty much store cupboard staples.Continue reading “Pourgouri (Bulgur Wheat)”
I first tried this delicious, garlicky dip on a trip to Santorini and I loved it immediately. I guess you could compare it a little to humous, it is smooth and comforting and lovely served with hot pitta bread. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are going on a date as the garlic packs a punch! Made with a few simple ingredients, with the star being yellow split peas (not fava beans – go figure!) it is a staple on a lot of the Greek islands and is served as one of many meze dishes. It’s been around for thousands of years, so if you haven’t heard of it – where have you been?! 🙂 Also this is soooo cheap! – you will thank me!Continue reading “Fava Dip”
Ancient Breakfast Varvara
I was drawn to this recipe after watching My Greek Odyssey It didn’t sound like something that would work and then I saw Peter Maneas, the presenter demolish a bowl of this with gusto! This dish has its roots in ancient Greece and was a breakfast dish (they certainly knew how to eat well in ancient times), some Greek islands serve it as a dessert also. Named after St. Barbara (Varvara) this dish is traditionally prepared the night before the saints day along with a prayer for the health of children. Although it takes a little bit of prep I have found a quick way to cook it and you WILL thank me for this recipe – a big batch made on the weekend will last you a few days. Please use organic barley, not pearl barley. I now make this every week and my husband calls it ‘miracle food’ as it aids digestion, fills you up (for hours) and is very healthy!Continue reading “Ancient Breakfast Varvara”
Greek Artichoke Stew
I absolutely love this dish – it’s comforting and tastes delicious. The sweetness of the leeks and peas along with the mild scent of dill is a winning combination. I found frozen artichoke bottoms in my local shop (I have no clue what to do with the intact fresh ones!) I had this first in Crete and although wasn’t sitting on a sunny veranda with the sound of crickets – it still tasted amazing and brought back great memories. Artichokes are full of nutrients and antioxidants, plus protein and fibre – so they pack a longevity punch! This is simple to make and cost-effective.Continue reading “Greek Artichoke Stew”
I found this very simple olive bread recipe from watching My Greek Oddysey – ok this show which documents Australian Greek, Peter Manias navigating the Greek islands in his super yacht got me through the long months of dingy English weather and working from home! Considering the superyacht part, he seems a down to earth guy who is really enthusiastic and passionate about his homeland so he has my vote 🙂 The lovely, cuddly chef Kyriako throws this bread together very easily, and apart from the fact it has to rise a few times, its really easy to make but a word of caution – its very, very moreish and needs to be put out of sight or you will eat the lot! It is vegan and pretty cheap so can become part of your store cupboard staples. This recipe is not light and fluffy but they digest well and can be stored in the freezer for when you have guests.
A lovely, light but satisfying lunch dish made with courgettes/zucchini. You can eat a good plateful without feeling guilty! Courgettes have a low GI and are great for people who have diabetes as they won’t have much of an effect on blood glucose levels. Courgettes are also a good source of potassium, vitamin C and folic acid. The tomatoes add a long list of nutrients, especially when cooked – add in fresh dill, mint and parsley and this is a longevity winner – and best of all it is great for the waistline – no after-lunch slump with this one!Continue reading “Stuffed Courgettes”
Plant Based Pastitsio
This was a dish I loved when I was a meat eater (many years ago) And finally a version with no dairy and no meat! You never need to be in a flap again when your non-meat eating friends come for lunch 🙂 The pasta used in this dish is readily available in most supermarkets now and the dish is very easy to make. A friend of mine in Rhodes used to make a vegetarian version of this which was amazing also. This recipe comes from one of my favourite Greek Chefs – Akis Petrezikis – who seems to be Greece’s answer to Jamile Oliver!
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Spinach and Leek Phyllo Pie
This is a completly vegan version of a Greek favourite (I also have a recipe on this site for individual spinach and feta pies) and one to bring out for the festive season. The leeks give this pie a lovely sweet taste and it is very easy to put together – making you look like a masterchef! The pie is equally good hot or cold and has my favourite combo of dill and mint. It is also good as a snack with a cup of coffee mid-morning 🙂
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Fasolada (Bean Soup)
Let’s face it. Summer is pretty much over here in the UK. My thoughts are turning to soothing comfort food. I needed something comforting the other day and I remembered this simple bean soup that uses the best of seasonal vegetables and delivers in flavour and nutrition. I haven’t been so organised lately, long working hours and a family to keep on track has taken up a lot of my time. I am going to make another batch of this rich and thick soup for the week, so I know I have a bowl of goodness waiting for me at lunchtime. Just remember to soak your beans in cold water the night before you plan to make it.
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Koulourakia (Greek Cookies)
These are vegan, healthy and easy to make – although I had an epic fail the first time I made them! The recipe for these delicious Greek biscuits came from Kyria Georgia, our wonderful holiday landlady from Aroni in Chania, Crete. She brought these upstairs to us fresh from the oven (she came every other day with one of her fabulous home-cooked dishes :-)) needless to say – they were demolished very quickly! These are my favourite cookies to have with my mid-morning coffee on my balcony and think about my next trip to Greece 🙂 The original recipe featured ammonia bicarbonate (this is really old school Greek and makes the biscuits extra crispy), however, the strength of the one I ordered must have been industrial as it tasted like petrol! I have adapted the recipe a bit – but these came out really well and were fun to make! Continue reading “Koulourakia (Greek Cookies)”
Most people are used to eating Beef Stifado but this is just as tasty (with the same spices etc) but the meat is replaced with mushrooms. Its best to use a really firm mushroom such as chestnut or portobello so they keep their firmness through the cooking process. I like this served with rice and a little tzatziki on the side! Continue reading “Mushroom Stifado”
Veggie Gamopilafo (Wedding Rice)
Ok – so this looks kind of plain! BUT……it is so tasty and easy to make. Thank you to Kyria Katerina from Stavros, Chania for introducing me to Cretan Wedding Rice! Just when I thought I knew about Greek food up popped another surprise. We were served this rice with traditional Cretan bread and garlic, fresh olives, feta and salad! delicious 🙂 This rice is quite wet almost like risotto – I have adapted of course as it is most often served or cooked with meat and meat stock. Continue reading “Veggie Gamopilafo (Wedding Rice)”
Greek Butter Beans (Gigantes)
This is a staple at any Greek taverna – it is almost impossible to find giant butter (Lima) beans in the UK but standard butter beans will do. It is always worth using dried beans (soaked overnight), the taste and texture are very good but if you are in a hurry you can use tinned butter beans which are also good and cheap!. This humble bean (very much overlooked in the UK) is great for heart health, diabetes prevention, increased energy levels, enhanced digestion and good blood circulation – again I stand in awe of the Greeks and their ability to take basic ingredients and make a delicious meal for a very small cost. You can buy this dish (Gigantes plaki) in a tin – but once you have made them yourself there will be no turning back! The other benefit of eating beans like this regularly is that they fill you up, making you less likely to snack on other things 🙂
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Spinach and Feta Pies
This is my take on my favourite guilty pleasure for breakfast when ever I am in Greece. The first thing I do is find the local bakery and suss out how good the spinach pie is! My absolute favourite is the village style spinach pie (spanakopita) made in a massive round baking tin and fresh out of the oven – I have never really cracked the art of using phyllo pastry – a bit fiddly for me but when at home in London these are the next best thing. It’s not often I include any dairy in my recipes but I will make an exception for a high quality feta !
Tangy White Bean Salad
As the sun slowly starts to put in an appearance it’s time to start moving away from winter comfort food and embrace spring! (Even if we can’t physically get out much at the moment 🙂 ) I need easy recipes that are filling but still deliver on taste. A few days of anything processed or skipping meals and I start to feel run-down. It’s super tasty and you can add in whatever you please to bulk it out – though it’s pretty filling. All of the ingredients are available, and with a zingy dressing – it’s a great, time-saving lunch.
We all have a bit more time on our hands at the moment so it is a perfect time to have a go at some things we don’t normally have time for. I don’t mind admitting that I am rubbish at making bread 🙂 but this Greek Lentern bread is perfect as it is not meant to rise very much (which is great for me as my bread never does!) It’s very similar to focaccia and is a flat style loaf covered in sesame seeds. Traditionally eaten on Clean Monday this is a lovely, simple recipe (you can tell I am missing Greece!)
Kolokotes – Sweet Pumpkin pie thingys!
With all of this doom and gloom about Covid-19, I wanted to post some recipes that you can actually get the ingredients for! and that, of course, are healthy, tasty, cheap and nutritious. With most people now working from home in the UK we might have a little more time to cook and prepare food (well, I have both kids at home now so not really!) These Cypriot delights are great for during Lent and have definitely grown on me over the years – they are a sweet little parcel with squash, bulgur, sultanas and cinnamon – all good ingredients. The Cypriots know a thing or two about making the most of available ingredients and these are a real Greek/Arabic fusion – delightful! My 5 year old just told me ‘these are soooo good Mum’ little does he know what the ingredients are mwah haha!
**You prepare the filling at least 2 hours before assembling**
Tomato & Orzo Soup (Manestra)
I am always on the lookout for cheap, flavoursome and healthy dishes and this is a winner! The weather in London right now is pants – so I fancy something warming and that doesn’t take much thought – but of course, delivers on flavour and health benefits. I never tried this when I lived in Greece but its full of the flavours of the Mediterranean! (who knew even tinned tomatoes are good for you!)
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Easy Peasy Pancakes
These pancakes are great for kids and can be thrown together really easily. You can add any number of little extras; chopped bananas, blueberries, figs, strawberries etc. If you don’t want to use honey, you can use maple syrup or agave nectar. This is a great little recipe if you have guests staying over and want to make a delicious breakfast.
I am all about not wasting food – it is a throwback from my upbringing – if you grew up and money was tight then you learnt to use all food in the fridge and cupboards and be creative! I always end up with some leftover tomatoes in my fridge that have gone a little soft so this recipe is perfect for using them up and getting a quick and tasty lunch or dinner. The Greeks have made an art form of using what’s in season and making a few ingredients taste amazing – poor mans food is my kind of food!
Lemon, Oregano potatoes in the Oven (Patates sto Fourno)
A real favourite of mine – these have the real flavour of Greece – oregano and fresh lemon 🙂 Like a lot of Greek dishes, every home serves them slightly differently but the basic elements stay the same. This dish is really easy and will make you look like a chef! Unlike their British roast potato equivalent – these are slightly crispy on the edges and also soft and lemony.
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Vegan Fruit Cake – Fanouropita
This lovely spiced fruit cake is a guilt-free pleasure! The recipe makes up to a fairly hefty sized cake – It didn’t last very long I’m afraid 😦 my boys devoured it – helped by my husband. (I may have had a small slice !)
It’s pretty easy to throw together and your kitchen will smell amazing while it’s cooking. The fact that it’s pretty healthy to eat is an added bonus.
Tourlou – Mixed up Veg!
I love, love this dish! It has my favourite flavours of dill and mint and is filling (I may have mentioned I have a truckers appetite!) I’m on a mission to prove that eating plant based and healthily is not expensive and doesn’t have to be time consuming. We all have to work and run a home etc – so we need easy, go to dishes that are nourishing to our bodies – and this is one of them! Another Greek – throw it all in the pot combo…..
Black Eye Peas and Spinach
This is a very cost-effective, tasty dish full of iron, anti-oxidants and fibre. I probably ate my own body weight of this last week! However, due to the filling nature of the peas, you don’t need to serve it with anything – no rice or bulgur – unless you are starving! This is the sort of dish that is great to have when friends come over – it’s easy to make and you can leave it simmering on the hob.
***The peas need to be soaked overnight and boiled for an hour but it’s worth it and it keeps in the fridge for a good few days.****
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Aubergine Salad (Melitazonsalata)
I have always avoided making this dish, it looked complicated and a bit of a faff! but I recently went on holiday to Crete and my friends amazing mum showed me how to make it. It’s great with fresh bread as a dip or as a side dish but I also use it as a replacement for butter in sandwiches – filled with crispy salad.
Spinach Rice (Spanakorizo)
This is a great dish for getting some spinach in your diet, it can be eaten as a dish on its own or as a side dish with fish or a salad. I only use brown rice now, white rice and whole-wheat rice make my stomach bloated and again have been bleached, with a lot of the goodness taken out. Brown rice takes slightly longer to cook but is much better for you and has more protein and fibre than its white counterpart which has its bran and germ removed (why would you do that?!!! take out the bits that are good for you?) Continue reading “Spinach Rice (Spanakorizo)”
One of my favourite dishes for the summer and it gets better after a day or so! I know I love all things Greek but Cyprus potatoes are the ONLY ones for this dish 🙂 I much prefer this to the claggy mayonnaise variety. Continue reading “Potato Salad”
Fresh Beans in Tomato Sauce – (Fasolia)
What amazes me about some Greek dishes, is how a few ingredients can taste so wonderful! This dish is one of those – it’s sweet and thick and delicious. It’s cheap, easy to make and most of all its healthy. This is a staple in any Greek home, I often swap the above beans for the flatter type – either works equally well.
I am a fan of using whatever is in the fridge or needs using up – so to make the dish more filling I will sometimes add a few chunks of potato, red pepper and carrot.
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