Buttery shortbread cookies flavoured with mastiha and mahlepi
Our relationship with leftovers is complicated. Well, not complicated exactly…just different. One of us has a tendency to treat leftovers like a scourge occupying every limited fridge space, while the other one of us experiences physical pangs of guilt if every last bit of food isn’t used up, somehow. This duality makes for some pretty interesting cooking moments. For instance, any recipe which only uses egg yolks means that one of us is pouring egg whites into the compost, while the other decides that it’s egg white omelets for breakfast the next morning. A bit of dough remaining after all of the tyropites have been made means dough being tossed in the bin for one, and fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for the other. You get the picture.
So sorry if you’ve been planning on starting a diet, or are working hard at eliminating sweets and other reasons to live from your life. If you’re committed to this, and have little to no will power, then we suggest you stop reading now, and head on over here. Quickly. If you’re pretty sure that you can keep reading, for interests sake, and yet remain committed to your new ways, then we suggest you skim this post and try to avoid the photos. If you feel yourself weakening, hurry on over here. If however, you have decided that diets are for duds, and that life is too short to avoid deliciousness, have we got a treat for you!
A delicious meal of fresh herbs, orzo and chickpeas
If you’re looking for a dish to remind you that spring is here, and that the cold winter months are behind you, then this is it. A simple recipe using orzo and loads of fresh herbs, the colour, smell and the flavour of this herbed orzo make it clear that sunny days are here…or at least, coming soon.
The fresh taste of this herbed orzo dish is enough to entice you to make it over and over again. But, an added bonus is that it is quick, easy, economical (super economical if you happen to have your own herb garden) and vegan, making it perfect for meatless Mondays, period of Orthodox lent, and any other time you want a plant-based meal. The addition of chickpeas ensures that the dish is full of protein and that it is satisfying.
A delicious and beautiful way to present blood oranges
One of us was fortunate enough to spend part of our honeymoon in Morocco, in what will soon be 20 years ago! We still remember that trip so well, the souks, the snake charmers, the welcoming and lovely people…and the food. The food in Morocco was nothing less than phenomenal. From the tagines, to the couscous, and the homemade nougat in the Jemaa el-Fnaa, we happily ate our way through weeks of North African adventure. Over the years we have often tried to recreate some of the delicious meals we had while in Morocco. After much trial and error we had some great success, like this lamb tagine, but other recreations allude us (we still haven’t mastered pastilla, although this recipe looks promising and we just might try that!)
Homemade phyllo and spinach filling, perfect for Lent, and anytime
Growing up we lived close to our grade school, and so lunches were eaten at home after a short walk down one street and one lane. Our mother, who worked at different periods either at home, or in the evenings, was available to meet us at the school and walk the short distance home with us. Once there we would very occasionally be treated to our parents’ newly discovered convenience food; the TV dinner. We loved those surprise lunches, from the compartmentalized courses to the odd looking sauces and vegetables which were less than vibrant. We especially loved returning to school and, on those days only, asking our friends “what did you have for lunch?”, knowing that they would probably ask us the same. Then, we could nonchalantly, but with a quiet glee, say, “Oh, you know, a TV dinner”. Our non-Greek friends would nod their heads with approval and understanding. Our Greek friends would look bewildered.
Chocolate and strawberry bites, which could easily be called brownies
Don’t you just love it when you can convince yourself that dessert is healthy…or at least, not horribly bad for you?! We do! and that is exactly what we do with these chocolate and strawberry cookies. Not only are these two-bite cookies, which could just as easily be called brownies, vegan (automatically healthy right??!!) but they are also incredibly easy to whip together and contain a secret ingredient which makes them that much more lovely. Who doesn’t love a recipe with a secret ingredient?
A semolina based vegan dessert flavoured with apples and raspberry
This is an example of what happens when you take basic principles, and then let your imagination run free. The basic principle here is halva-making. Semolina based halva (not to be confused with the tahini based dessert which goes by the same name) is really versatile, and once you understand the basic premise of how to put one together, it becomes very easy to make it your own. We have already shared with you our parents’ basic halva recipe, flavoured with orange and studded with raisins. It’s delicious and it’s a very popular dessert during periods of lent (halva is both dairy and egg free). We’ve also shared with you a vegan chocolate halva, which is a bit more decadent, because, chocolate. But the halva story does not end there.
There’s something about pasta! Not only are pasta dishes typically delicious (yeah for carbs!), but they are often quick to pull together and so satisfying that a small portion is enough to fill you up. (Having said that, larger portions are equally lovely!) When we need a meal in a hurry, we tend to stick to Greek pasta staples like spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra or manestra.
A syrup cake made with phyllo and infused with orange flavour
As far as desserts go, this is a weird one. Phyllo, which is a staple in Greek cooking both in savoury and sweet recipes, is usually used to hold things together. Think the spinach in spanakopita or the creamy custard in bougatsa, delicious fillings wrapped in phyllo. Phyllo used this way is lovely, convenient, and typical. Although intimidating at first, working with phyllo in these recipes is easy when you get the hang of it. Still, you always have to be careful not to dry it out or tear it. Truth be told, phyllo can be a little finicky.