Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

So many incredible things happen in the world, by accident.  Fortuitous accidents in medicine have led to the discovery of quinine, the small pox vaccination and x-rays.  Artists like Da Vinci and Cozens searched for inspiration in the dirt on walls and streaks on stones; deliberate use of accidental imperfections which helped shape an entire art movement and created masterpieces.  In fashion, Calvin Klein got his start because a coat buyer got off the elevator on the wrong floor and stepped into Klein’s workroom.  He then proceeded to place a $50,000 order for coats.  Seriously!

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Hilopites soup (Χυλοπίτες σούπα)

Hilopites soup (Χυλοπίτες σούπα)

Hilopites soup (Χυλοπίτες σούπα)

 

December is so busy!  The kids are gearing up for mid-year exams, and the Christmas holidays are certainly keeping us on our no-time-for-a-pedicure toes.  Between work parties, Christmas decorating, holiday shopping, and of course, baking melomakarona, kourabiethes and koulourakia, there is hardly enough time in the day.  Regular life does not end; work, school, feeding our families don’t take a break for Christmas. It may sound as though we are complaining…but we’re really not.  We are simply realists, and we accept that sometimes, something’s gotta give.  That’s when super simple recipes, like this hilopites soup, come in to save the day!

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Kourabiethes (Kουραμπιέδες)

Kourabiethes (Kουραμπιέδες)

Kourabiethes (Kουραμπιέδες)

 

Who doesn’t dream about a white Christmas? We certainly do! Thankfully, living in Canada means that most years, our dream comes true.  It is rare that December 25th rolls around without a blanket of beautiful, white, fluffy snow blanketing everything!  If you have never made snow angels on Christmas morning, we really hope that you get to one day!  Our parents grew up in Greece however, a country not known for frosty winters and snow storms.  So, in their villages, the whitest and fluffiest thing they could hope for at Christmas time, were kourabiethes.

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Grilled octopus

Grilled octopus

Grilled octopus

 

Here it is….our first entry in Our Kouppes, the space we have carved into Mia Kouppa to share our own recipes.  As we mentioned when we introduced Our Kouppes, many of the recipes you find here will be inspired by the food that we grew up with, and this grilled octopus is definitely that!  We have vivid memories of summers in Greece, where we would see freshly caught octopus drying in the sun by the port, and sun-kissed fishermen eager to sell their bounty to locals and local restaurants.

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Our Kouppes

Mia Kouppa

So, we’ve been thinking.  This website was initially intended to be a place where we could preserve, and then share with all of you, our parents’ traditional Greek recipes.  Our goal, simple; to fill in the gaps, and answer the questions that most children of Greek immigrant parents (actually all immigrant parents) seem to have, including: “How much, really, is mia kouppa (one cup)  flour?” or “What do you mean, add as much water as it takes?”.  We set out to cook with our parents, document their recipes, measure out their ingredients, and take careful notes of each step and all directions.  At the same time, we have captured their kitchen wisdom, even that which is quite nonsensical, and we have been sharing that too.  Along with recipes, step by step photos, some videos, and helpful hints, we also share stories and memories which resonate with so many of our readers.  Mia Kouppa has been a true labour of love, that has received a lot of love!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your support and encouragement.

But along the way, a funny thing has happened.  Now that we are seasoned food bloggers (pun intended), we find ourselves eating meals using recipes that we have created, and thinking, “This is really good.  Too bad we can’t share this recipe on Mia Kouppa”.  A few delicious desserts, fancy appetizers and elegant entrées later, we realized…hold on a second! We can actually do whatever we want!  This is the beauty of being your own blogging boss!

And so, here we are.  The initial, and principal, purpose of Mia Kouppa remains the same; our parents’ kitchen will be our main source of inspiration and our parents remain the stars.  But, just as we have created space to share (and decipher) recipes from other Greek kitchens, through our feature of  More Kouppes, we will also begin sharing some of our own creations, using the heading Our Kouppes (cute, don’t you think?!).  Many of our recipes will be influenced by the food we grew up with. Others will be inspired by our love of various cuisines, our avid (and slightly obsessive) inquiry into all things edible and potable, and our city, which allows us to experience some of the best restaurant food out there.  We hope that you are as excited as we are to get to know us a little better, through Our Kouppes.

Chickpea soup (Ρεβιθόσουπα)

Chickpea soup (Ρεβιθόσουπα)

Chickpea soup (Ρεβιθόσουπα)

 

Most of the recipes we have shared thus far come from our childhood, but our parents’ cooking has evolved.  As years rolled by they would introduce new meals into their repertoire and onto our family table.  This chickpea soup for example, despite being a staple in many Greek homes, was not something that we had as little children.  In fact, we think we were both teenagers when our parents first served us a bowlful of this delicious meal.  This led to a pretty significant “Huh?!” moment.

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Roast lamb with potatoes (Αρνί στο φούρνο με πατάτες)

Greek Roast lamb with potatoes

Roast lamb with potatoes (Αρνί στο φούρνο με πατάτες)

 

Most Greeks love lamb, and even those who don’t appreciate its unique, almost game-y flavour will appreciate that they are in the minority of Greeks.  Even people who abstain from eating meat will likely acknowledge that lamb is a staple in traditional Greek cooking.  Whether it is an entire lamb roasting for Easter, or a rack of lamb on the barbecue,  a lamb-based meal usually means that there is something to celebrate; maybe a birthday, a nameday, or a Friday…we should always try to celebrate Friday.

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