Best of Greek foodblogs on the net

Well, there are countless foodblogs out there. Some have gorgeous images, some have gorgeous recipes, some have an amazing blogger and some truly combine everything. I have to admit sometimes I completely disregard the looks for the recipe. But the guys below combine the best of both worlds, amazing, original recipes and very good photography. And did I mention? It’s all Greek…

So here is where I spent my time :

http://ellysaysopa.com/

http://www.pandespani.com/en/

http://cookmegreek.blogspot.gr/

This is one for Greek speakers, just in case anyone pops by; it specialises in traditional Cretan cuisine

http://cretangastronomy.blogspot.gr/

And perhaps best for last, a travel writer in Athens:

http://mygreecemytravels.com/

You will be able to find these links pinned on my side bar too. I hope you enjoy browsing.

Quince and a spoon

I was out in the market again, where in the hussle and bustle my gaze landed on a yellowy pile of plump fruit. I had to ignore it and move on as the auntie behind was pushing her way towards a crate of beets. But five steps further, there was another pile. My eyes lit up and my heart started racing, there they were: quinces!!!

I was elated because, I could now make my favourite jam! For me, quince is the best, with apricot a close second followed by forest fruit and orange marmalade. OK, I like fruit preserves, a lot! Perhaps more than one should.

quinceonlog

There is an explanation for this jammy obsession, it’s not just me, it’s a Greek thing. We have a very special style of preserve called spoon sweet. It’s more of a preserve than a jam, with neatly chopped pieces of fruit in a light syrup. This is the most traditional Greek treat you could ever have – when chocolate was nowhere close to Mediterranean shores we preserved fruit. To this day, we still use our surplus fruit for sweets and liqueurs. The lady of the house always lays out such treats for her guests: a tiny serving of spoon sweet and a refreshing glass of water. It’s the epitome of homemade Greek food and every self-respecting grandma, or foodie, makes spoon sweets by the kilo.

As I mentioned earlier I also have a soft spot for preserves. So now with just a few dollops left in my last jar of apricot jam and with quinces coming into season, I decided to make some quince spoon sweet.

quincespoonsweet

What you need:

  • 3 Quinces, approx 1.3kg when peeled and cored
  • 1kg of sugar*
  • 1 lemon, for its juice
  • 100 gr of almonds, blanched
  • 3 leaves of apple geranium, of you cannot find any replace with a hint of vanilla essence

*granulated sugar is fine, preserving sugar normally has added pectin and for quince it is not necessary as the fruit has high pectin levels.

catquince

What to do:

Clean and peel your fruit. Quince can be a nightmare to handle if unripe, so let them ripen (don’t overdo it though) before preparing if need be. Cut them into sticks of 1 cm width max and try to keep the sizes roughly the same thickness, it will help with cooking.

Whilst chopping, place the peeled fruit in water with a bit of lemon juice, it will prevent the flesh from blackening.

quinceinthepot

Now once the quinces are chopped, place a layer of them in your pot and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat the process until all your sugar and fruit has been added. Cover with water and add the lemon juice. Bring your pot to a boil and leave for 8-10 minutes. At this stage, you might need to skim any foam that appears on the surface. Lower the fire to a medium heat for a further 20 minutes and remove from the hob.

My family recipe dictates boiling in two stages; this gives your quinces a rich red colour. Whether you choose to wait or carry on straight away, you will need roughly another 30 minutes’ boiling on a medium heat. Remember to add the apple geranium leaves or vanilla and your almonds during this second stage.

applegeraniumleaves_armaroriza

Checking when your quince spoon sweet is set:

You can test the syrup to check when it’s set while in the pot. Dip a wooden spoon in the pot, scoop up some syrup and let it drop back down. As you do this check how the jelly is forming: before it has fully set it will run off the spoon, but when the last drops are firm and gelatinous, not runny, you are ready.

Remember to sterilise your jars:

It’s a really easy process: Wash your jars in warm soapy water, rinse and let them dry. Avoid drying with a fluffy towel as it might leave residue. Preheat your oven at 160 C max (gas mark 3, 325 oF) and place the dry jars for 10 minutes. Another tip, probably self-evident but worth remembering, avoid adding warm jam to cool jars, it could shatter the glass. I normally pot my jam when both are slightly warm.

Tip:

Traditional jams and spoon sweets can be stored for up to 3 years if sealed properly and stored in a cool, dry place. Although I am afraid you will not resist keeping them for that long. And once opened they should be kept in the fridge.

quince_spoonsweet_

Tiropitakia, tiny cheese pies

Samosas are a lovely treat, there is hardly a time I had visited an Indian restaurant without ordering some. I am so used having them fried, I was pleasantly surprised when I found the baked beetroot and feta samosas on Chilli and mint. And guess what, these tiny treats are very popular in Greece, especially baked but they are known under a different name: tiropitakia, first comes the name of the filling and then –pitakia for tiny pies. They are so commonplace, from bakery to Sunday lunch, I had almost forgotten about them.

tiropitakia

But how come India shares  such an intricate and yummy little dish with Greece? After all we are miles and miles away. Curiosity prevailed and looking into it a little deeper I realised samosas are one of the successful time travellers. After all they are tiny and anything tiny travels well. Samosas originated in 10th century Persia.  Their first mention is by Abolfazl Beyhaqi (995-1077), an  Iranian historian mentioned it in his history, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi. Middle-eastern traders took them all over the place, Samosas found their way to Egypt, central Asia and even West China where people took them to a whole different level (that’s dumplings). Unfortunately though, they disappeared from Iran, somewhere in the 16th century as the Oxford food companion informs us.

Still they are found at the heart of middle-eastern cooking and further afield, known as sanbusaj in Arab countries, sambosa in Afghanistan, samosa in India, samboosa in Tajikistan, samsa by Turkic-speaking nations, sambusa in parts of Iran, and chamuça in Goa, Mozambique and Portugal. That’s one well travelled parcel! More than a millennium of deliciousness and a dozen countries can be counted on the tiny parcels with intricate filling. Somehow the portable goodies found their way in the Greek kitchen and stayed. We do love a pie, and here is the proof. O  ur variation of fillings varies widely but tiropitakia is a traditional one. Very simple and truly irresistible.

What you will need

  • 500 gr fillo pastry
  • 300 gr feta cheese
  • 100 gr soft white cheese, I used anthotiro
  • 150 gruyere, any melting cheese will do
  • 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of dill finely chopped
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

It makes approx 50 pieces

tiropitakia ingredients

What to do:

For the filling

Crumble your feta cheese and grate the gruyere. Add them both in a large bowl with your soft cheese. Crack in two eggs and mix well. Stir in the freshly chopped herbs. Add some pepper but go easy on the salt as feta cheese normally has enough, you could even skip salt for this one. You are ready to wrap!

tiropitakia

Wrapping

Cut the fillo pastry in lengths of approx 6 cm. Place a spoonful on each stripe of pastry and roll it up until you run out of pastry.

tiropitakia_wrapping

Baking

Preheat the oven on 180 oC. Make sure you brush the little parcels with a bit of olive oil. Place your tray in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

tiropitakia

tiropitaki bite

Tiropitakia are best enjoyed warm and with company. Many thanks to chilli & mint for the inspiration!

Have fun sharing them!

Pastitsio

One truly wonderful pasta bake. I couldn’t resist sharing this one as published in eatyourselfgreek .

The pastitsio heritage comes to us from neighbouring Italy, where it’s normally called pasticcio di carne, a meat pie much like the beloved lasagne. Pastitsio also means a mess and of course Greeks could not adopt a dish without messing with it. So our pastitsio incorporates all the goodness of pasta and meat sauce, with a typically Greek hint of all spice and cinnamon. All topped with an extra thick white sauce and, of course a generous layer of cheese.

Continue reading

Dear foodie,

I have often wondered who would stumble upon this little foodblog.

It’s a blog mainly known to a few friends who have asked for recipes. All of them so different, a co-worker who is travelling back to the last holidays taste, a mum of three who is looking for nutritious and delicious, a Mediterranean food aficionado, a desperate home cook looking for last minute ideas.  A journal to share a tiny bit of what I do in the kitchen, a bit of fun, a bit of comfort and a bit of nourishment. Because food means nothing unless you share it. And the more we are, the merrier the kitchen adventures.

So  here is what I will be slurping on on a cold day like today:

And this is what I dream of, when snowy weather lurks outside

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Stroll on the beach before the rain #floisvos

A post shared by Eugenia Makrogianneli (@eatyourselfgreek) on

with love from Athens ❤