Ekmek Kataifi – Greek Pastry Topped with Custard and Whipped Cream

A few years ago on Crete a Greek friend offered us this wonderful cake and she gently shared her recipe. I still had the notes and finally now I decided to write this in my blog. Her recipe is a sugar-reduced one, as most of the recipes requires double quantity of syrup, I also noticed that she reduced the fat of the cream adding beaten egg white. If you don’t feel safe eating raw eggs please skip it or double the cream quantity!

Perhaps you noticed that the name “Ekmek Kataifi” doesn’t sound Greek: historical this recipe was a bread pudding, created during the Ottoman empire and served during the Ramadan time combined with kaimak (a creamy cheese similar to mascarpone).

Note: sometimes you in Turkish shops you can buy already roasted kataifi in the shape of a round cake; in this cake skip the first two steps.

Ekmek Kataifi – Greek Pastry Topped with Custard and Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Credit :Artandkitchen

Ingredients

  • Base

    • 250 g frozen kataifi pastry
    • 50 g butter, melted

    Syrup (may be doubled if you wish)

    • 100 g sugar
    • 50 ml water
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon mastic, powder (optional)

    For the Custard

    • 3 tablespoons fine semolina
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 70 g sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 500 ml milk

    Whipped cream

    • 100 ml heavy cream, chilled
    • 1 egg white, from very fresh egg (skip and double the quantity of heavy cream if preferred)
    • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

    Topping

    • roasted slivered almonds or pistachios, for serving
    • 8 candied cherries (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 °C.
  2. To begin making the base. Make the Kataifi pastry as fluffy as possible; spread it on the Springform (of about 24 cm) and brush with the melted butter. Toast the Kataifi strands until golden brown, this takes about 30-40 minutes.
  3. In the meanwhile, prepare the syrup by boiling the sugar with the water in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes. You can also add some mastic powder. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and spoon the hot syrup over the toasted pastry base.
  4. Combine semolina, cornstarch and half of the sugar in small bowl; whisk in egg yolks and a few tablespoons of cold milk; whisk to remove any lumps. In another pot (or simply in the microwave) heat the milk with the rest of the sugar. Before this comes to boil, remove this from the heat and add it to the egg mixture stirring constantly; Place the saucepan over medium heat and let the cream thicken, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let cool down until lukewarm.
  5. Spread the custard evenly over Kataifi. Let it cool to room temperature, cover with cling film and put in the fridge. Leave best overnight as so that the tastes will bind better.
  6. Make the whipped cream just before serving: in a clean bowl beat egg white into stiff peaks, add sugar and beat again until glossy. In another bowl, preferably chilled, beat chilled cream. Gently fold beaten egg whites into the whipped cream and spread over the cold cream.
  7. Sprinkle with roasted slivered almonds, top with cherry and serve best with a cup of real Greek coffee!

 

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Okras with Vegetables from the Oven

The plant and its seed pods are also known as “lady’s fingers” and in Greece this dish is called “Bamies sto fourno” (Μπάμιες στο φούρνο). The Greek name come from the Arabic name, bamyeh.

While in central Europe, we can get this fresh vegetable almost only in Turkish shops, in Greece we can find it in almost all supermarkets and farmer markets!

Okras could turn slimy ant to prevent this we should cook it whole, after tossing it with salt and vinegar and marinating for at least 30 minutes.

In Greece this dish is very popular ad for the recipe the quantity of oil is at least 3 fold of what I suggest her with my recipe.

Okras with Vegetables from the Oven

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

You need

  • 1 kg okra, trimmed and washed
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red peppers, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, diced into 1-2 cm pieces
  • 2 strips orange zest (about 5-5 square centimeters J )
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, coriander or dill chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Trim the stems off the okra, and place in a large bowl. Add the vinegar, toss and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Drain the okra, and rinse thoroughly. Place these in an oven safe baking mold.
  2. Preheat the oven at 180°C.
  3. In the meantime heat the oil in a skillet, add onion, garlic and red peppers. Fry until fragrant. Combine water and tomato paste. Add this to the skillet as well as the tomatoes and orange zest. Heat thoroughly. Add herbs and adjust salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the sauce over the okra, cover with foil or lid and place it for 1 hour and 30 min in the oven. The last 15 min remove the lid to allow the food to get a bit of color.

Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

This year we had a very warm summer and the garden gave us a lot delicious figs, which we shared with friends.

However, it was only during our holidays on Crete after noticing that most of the figs fall on the floor and, as I hate food waste, I decided to try to dry some figs and prepare a great souvenir of the summer in a jar.

The good thing we had for this, beside the figs of course was the sun; the strong Greek sun is best to preserve these figs and for this reason, I searched in the internet how I should proceed.

To make them more special, I decided to modify an Italian recipe (from the *Puglie* region) and so I started to collect ripe but still firm green and black figs and to dry them in the sun!

Figs can be dried halved or cut in two pieces; I opted to cut them into two halves as the effect of the sun would be stronger drying the figs quickly and the rays would destroy all possible parasites.

The best way to dry them would be on a grid, but since I did not have this, I used my normal baking try with a black baking foil, which attracted the sun and kept the heat; in two days, the figs were dry enough, some of them almost to dry! J

If you don’t have the opportunity to collect and dry the figs, you should opt for the dry figs from the store and halve them with a scissor taking care to keep them partially attached.

These figs are an unusual addition to the holiday table and make a unique Christmas gift from the kitchen!

Dried Figs stuffed with Almonds and Orange Zest

  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

  • 50 dried figs, butterflied
  • 1 orange, peel only removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into small pieces
  • 50 almonds
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch o cinnamon
  • 10-20 bay leaves

Procedure

  1. Add a piece of orange peel on one side of the butterflied fig.
  2. Add an almond on each it and cover with the other side. Press them well together.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C/350°F, Check on the color and temperature as cooking time may vary from oven to oven!
  4. In the meantime, combine the powdered sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Switch off the oven, take out the figs out, dust with sugar and place them in the oven for other 5 minutes.
  6. In order to store them for a long time, place the still warm figs into sterilized jars layered and with several bay leaves between the layers for added flavor. Store the jar in a cool dry place.

Tip1: After sun drying the figs, some of them resulted very dry, too dry for this preparation, for this reason I placed them in bowl, sprinkled them with water (about tablespoons for 5 cups of dried figs) covered them, and placed in the microwave for 2 two minutes. After resting for about 10 minutes they were ready for this preparation.

Tip2: Quartered walnuts and orange zest by lemon or tangerine zest may replace Almonds!

Author: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Dolmades me Avgolemono – Stuffend Wine Leaves with Egg-Lemon Sauce

Spring, sun, flowers, herbs and missing Crete!

During my walk through the garden I noticed that the fist wine leaves were almost big enough to be used for one of my favourite Greek dishes: dolmadakias (diminutives of dolmades)! Now in early spring the leaves are very light, tender and even if even still small, I decided to try to make this without meat (lamb or beef

As the same times I had some asparagus on hand, I decided to prepare also the egg-lemons sauce, which is perfect for both preparations!

Usually for this recipe, we use pine nuts, but as did not have such of them just now at home, I decided to uses some previously roasted pumpkin seeds; and WOW! This was real great!

I collected only about 30 leaves about 10-12 cm wide (yes real small, but tender!) and these made 3-4 cm sized dolamadakias.

Note: this dish often served lukewarm and the lemon leaves would taste even better the next day.

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  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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You need:

Leaves:

  • 30 young tender fresh grape leaves (double the filling and the sauce if you have big leaves), washed and stem removed

Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 cup vegetal broth (or simply the hot water you used to prepare the leaves + salt)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, copped
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped roasted pine nuts (or roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/2 lemon, grated peel of
  • 1 cup water (I used drained liquid form the stuffed leaves +  the blanching water for the leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional lemon juice

Procedures

  1. Bring about 1 liter of water to boil and place the leaves in hot water. Drain the leaves after 3 minutes (preserve one cup of water). Set aside and don’t discard the water.
  2. Fry the onion in the oil just until translucent, add the rice and the broth. Reduce to simmer.
  3. Add the herbs and seed, cook until the water is adsorbed for about 6-8 minutes, the rice will not be cooked through, but this just fine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place a small amount of this filling (about 1 teaspoon or more if the leaves are big) on the backside of the leaf near the stem and then close it. For this step, I first fold the left and right side of the leaf toward the center and I roll it up starting from the side of the stem (like the spring rolls).
  5. Place one tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of you pot, and then place the stuffed leaves one by one, near each other, opening side down so that they don’t move. If you have more leaves you some leaves to cover the bottom of the pot or (even better) a few thin sliced potatoes (addition to your meal)!
  6. Try to make two layers of the leaves in the pot (size depends on the leaves and the pot!)
  7. Grate le lemon zest, set aside; juice the lemon and set this aside as well.
  8. Place parts of the peel or additional lemon slices over the stuffed leaves, cover with the water (add to the water previously salt to taste), add about 1 third of the lemon juice as well.
  9. Cover with a small plate the stuffed leaves, so that they don’t move while cooking. Cover with the lid and simmer for about 40 minutes (adding some more water if needed). Drain out the liquid and use it for the sauce.
  10. If you have rice leftovers, cook them in a small saucepot with water as a risotto until done.
  11. For the egg-lemon sauce blend together the egg, the lemon juice the lemon zest, the drained liquid from the stuffed leaves, the cornstarch and the olive oil.
  12. Very slowly heat the sauce in a small saucepot until it thickens (do not let it boil but add more water if needed). Adjust salt and pepper. If you need add more lemon juice to taste.
  13. Serve the stuffed leaves with this sauce.

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

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Stuffed Zucchini Flowers- Kolokytholouloutha Yemista

 

 

Stuffed-Zucchini-Flowers

This Greek stuffed zucchini blossoms recipe (Kolokytholouloutha Yemista/Κολοκυθολούλουδα γεμιστά) makes a delightful appetizer and the recipe is similar preparation wine leaves.

A friend of me gave me her zucchini flowers, but winter and summer squash are perfect as well. If picking your own fresh blossoms, pick early in the morning do so in the morning when they have just bloomed or buy it in the morning at the farmer market. Remove the pistil inside of the blossom as it is bitter.

As usually there are many different recipes of this dish, some of them don’t ask you to fry the onion prior filling, I tried both variation and both are delicious as well.

I hope you enjoy this stuffed zucchini blossoms recipe!

Remember: When picking zucchini blossoms, do so in the morning when they have just bloomed or buy it in the morning at the farmer market. Remove the pistil inside of the blossom as it is bitter.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers- Kolokytholouloutha Yemista

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/Stuffed-Zucchini-Flowers

You need

  • 30 zucchini flowers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 cup rice, as Carolina
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zucchini or potatoes (peeled) slices to cover the bottom of your pot, optional
  • 2 cups water, warm
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Procedure

  1. Trim the bottom of the flowers, remove pistil and remove any small outer leaves around the blossom. Place in a bowl with lukewarm for 10 minutes. Rinse with fresh water set them upside-down to dry.
  2. Fry onion and garlic in a wide skillet until translucent.
  3. Add rice, tomatoes and water. Simmer until the water is adsorbed.
  4. Add parsley, mint and half one quarter cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well.
  5. Cover the bottom of your cooking pot with zucchini or potatoes slices if the bottom of your pot is too thin in order to avoid burning.
  6. Gently open the flower and use a spoon to fill them and close with the petals to seal the filling. Don’t overfill them!
  7. Place the filled flowers on the lined pot.
  8. Add broth and drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Place an inverted place on the flower to fix them and cover with a lid.
  10. Cook at low temperature until liquid is completely adsorbed. Switch off the heat and let cool down a bit. You may also place use a baking mold, cover as described ad bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for about 40 minutes (switch off after 30 minutes).
  11. Served at room temperature with Greek yogurt.

Harbour of Chania

Harbour-of-Chania
I love travelling and I always had this habit of falling in love with the places that I have seen and visited.

On Crete I fall in love with the sea, the skylines, the rocks, the dry vegetation, the smell of the herbs of the fields and in the lonely landscapes.

This time I felt in love can fall in love the spectacular sunset in Chania Harbor after the rain. The wind was blowing away the clouds and the rain; at the fist moment we only could see some strong light coming though the now thinner clouds, the reflections in the sea and in the clouds itself became so amazing that I had to take my camera and try to catch this magical moments.

Even just now, looking again that photos, I’m missing Crete and I would be love to be stay there and stop the time!