Trahana soup with chicken (Σούπα τραχανά με κοτόπουλο)

Trahana soup with chicken

An Greek alternative to chicken noodle soup

Cold winter months, bone-chilling rainy days, and work weeks so long that they make you feel beaten down, are all made better with a nice bowl of comfort.  In many families, that often means chicken noodle soup, and although we would never dispute the claim this popular soup can cure many ills, we would like to add another option to the mix.  This trahana soup with chicken was the chicken noodle soup of our childhoods;  the meal we were presented with when under the weather, stressed from school or just needing a quick way to be nourished and satisfied.

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Stewed rooster with okra and potatoes (Κόκορας κοκκινιστό με μπάμιες και πατάτες)

Stewed rooster with okra and potatoes

A poultry dish loaded with flavour

Yes, we eat rooster.  And you know what?  We think you should to!  Although we recognize that rooster might seem to be an odd choice of poultry for many of you, we really want to convince you that in fact, it makes perfect sense.

But first, a little bird biology.  If you are thinking to yourself, “Yeah, thanks Mia Kouppa… but no thanks…I’ll stick to eating chicken”, guess what?  Rooster IS chicken.  That’s right.  You see, what you (and we), usually refer to as chicken is in fact hen; the female version of chicken that is most commonly found in grocery stores and markets.  Roosters are male chickens.

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Halloumi fries with a citrus lime mint dipping sauce

Halloumi fries with a citrus lime mint dipping sauce

Halloumi sticks with a sweet, spicy and tangy dipping sauce

We grew up eating so much cheese, one could imagine that we might be sick of it. But really, how could anyone tire of the endless variety of wonderful Greek cheeses, and the countless ways they can be enjoyed.  Oh sure, we would sometimes find a block of orange cheddar in the refrigerator, but we were much more likely to find feta, kefalotiri, kefalograviera, mizithra and halloumi; Greek cheese heaven.

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Pizza

PIzza

We’re not really sure where this recipe came from.  True, it comes from our parents’ kitchen, but before that is anyone’s guess.  We also don’t know where the pizza inspiration came from.  Growing up, homemade pizza was not something that we remember having in our home, and then one day, on a day that we don’t really remember, our parents announced that they had made pizza…and there was no looking back.

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Oven-baked chicken and rice (Κοτόπουλο με ρύζι στο φούρνο)

Oven-baked chicken and rice

A complete and delicious meal of lemon chicken and vegetable studded rice

For us, this is the ultimate comfort food; a meal where the ingredients cook together slowly so that the flavours meld and develop, while you sit back and spend quality time with family and friends as things get perfect in the oven.  This oven-baked chicken and rice dish is that kind of food.  Although there is some active stove top work to do before you can pop everything into the oven and forget it, the work is minimal, and easy.  The result, is most definitely worth it.

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Chicken kokkinisto with pasta (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με μακαρόνια)

Chicken kokkinisto with pasta

Simple ingredients slow-cooked to create the perfect Greek comfort food

There is a whole world of Greek food called kokkinista (κοκκινιστά), and we love them all.  The term kokkinista means reddened, and the concept behind these dishes is simple; take a protein or vegetable, cook it slowly in a rich tomato sauce, serve it over something that can help sop up this lovely sauce, and realize that great food does not need to be fancy or complicated.

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Greek mountain tea cake (Κέικ με τσάι του βουνού)

Greek mountain tea cake

A great cake infused with  Greek flavour

Although we enjoy it year round, the winter months are when we really appreciate a nice warm cup of Greek mountain tea or τσάι του βουνού (tsai tou vounou).  This lovely tea made with a genus of flowering plants called Sideritis is sometimes referred to as ironwort or shepherd’s tea.  It is identified by little yellow flowers, silver tinged leaves and light green buds and is usually sold in Greek markets in dried branches or stems.

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Croque Kyria

Croque Kyria

A Croque-Madame, Greek-style!

This recipe draws its inspiration from the classic French sandwich called croque madame, itself a variation of the croque monsieur. Their name is based on the French verb croquer, which means “to bite” or “to crunch”.   And happy eaters have been biting and crunching for a long time; the croque monsieur was first served in Paris in 1910 and it’s earliest mention in literature is seemingly in volume two of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time in 1918.

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Upside down apricot and molasses cake

Upside down apricot and molasses cake

A classic cake which tastes of gingerbread and happiness

Upside down apricot and molasses cake

 

There is something so old-fashioned about an upside-down cake; whenever we make this dessert we feel that we should wear long, flowery dresses with embroidered aprons and then serve it with Salada in vintage tea cups and conversation about good books and family values.  We’re not actually sure when the first upside-down cake was made, but we’re pretty sure it was a long time ago and that it created quite a happy commotion.

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Stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta (Σέσκουλα γιαχνί με λαχανικά και φέτα)

Stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta (Σέσκουλα γιαχνί με λαχανικά και φέτα)

A perfect mess of vegetables that tastes better than you could hope

Feeling somewhat bloated and heavy after the holidays?  Resolved to eating healthier, including more vegetables in your diet, and to limiting processed foods?  Committed to cutting out all sweets, and eating only food which serves a vitamin and mineral fuelled purpose?  Well, we’re here to help!  And to remind you that we have a whole category of dessert recipes like galaktoboureko, baklava and koulourakia, because cutting out all sweets is dumb (unless your doctor tells you to cut out all sweets, in which case it’s very, very smart).

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