An Italian-inspired dessert full of summer strawberry goodness
Have you ever heard of philotomo? Even if you have never heard the word, if you have had the joy of visiting Greece, or known any Greeks, you have experienced it we’re sure. We’ve wanted to write about philotomo for a while, but have been hesitant because we suspect that anyone unfamiliar with the term would not be able to appreciate its significance by simply reading about it. Alas, that’s all we can do for now, so we’ll do our best. We’ll also somehow link it to this strawberry ricotta cake with olive oil, we promise!
A dairy-free coffee cake loaded with blueberries, almond flavour and a subtle hint of orange
It’s not quite blueberry picking season here in Quebec; that activity usually begins in August, but we like to plan ahead. Having experienced days under the hot sun, with legs stiff from squatting down for hours plucking berries off of low bushes, we know that it can be exhilarating, but overwhelming to face baskets of blueberries, with no clear idea what to do with them all. This blueberry almond cake is one delicious option.
Want to taste a slice of Greece? This focaccia, topped with tomatoes, herb-infused olive oil, Kalamata olives and feta will help you get there! Not bad for an Italian flatbread!!
Focaccia is quickly becoming one of our favourite things to prepare and eat. Once you find the perfect dough recipe (and this one might be it), you have a blank canvas to work with! Top the focaccia dough with anything your heart and palate desires, and you can create a personalized focaccia to suit any taste.
If you’re looking for a basic, delightful, slightly tangy snacking cake, this is it. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, and nothing else required. Although fancier cakes are often welcome, sometimes you want a cake that can easily pass for breakfast and we think that this one does.
It’s always nerve-wracking exciting to allow a bundt cake to cool and to then flip the pan over and see a thing of beauty emerge. That is, if the cake comes out in one piece. No matter how delicious your cake has the potential to be, if you don’t grease your pan thoroughly and carefully, you could wind up with a bit of a disaster. Don’t believe us? You should, we speak from experience.
Delicious muffins filled with dry fruits and bursting with citrus flavour
Our mother used to make a citrus bundt cake when we were young and she would puree an entire orange, peel and all, and then add it to the batter. One day we had a neighbourhood friend over while she was getting ready to bake this cake and we all decided to keep her company in the kitchen; our motivation being to lick the batter from the bowl and spoon before they got tossed in the sink for washing. As we settled in to watch her progress, we were surprised by our friend’s reaction to watching her blend the orange. She leaned over and whispered, “You’re not supposed to eat the peel!”.
A traditional savoury crepe-like recipe from the Peloponnese
We have previously posted photos on our Facebook page of our dad making plakopites. Reading through the comments, we heard from so many people who were asking (begging) for the recipe, so we anticipate that this is going to be a pretty popular post. Most individuals told us that they remembered their parents or their grand-parents making these savoury crepe-like treats, which are typically served in a pile with grated mizithra and a bit of olive oil between each one. Many of the comments also suggested that this was a recipe people had forgotten about; plakopites are pretty regional, common in the Peloponnese, and very old-school fare.
A surprising and delightful vegan alternative to smoked salmon
Several weeks ago we received a complimentary review copy of The Buddhist Chef, 100 simple, feel-good vegan recipes written by Jean-Philippe Cyr, the creator of The Buddhist Chef. Published by Penguin Random House Canada, this book arrived at exactly the right time. We have just begun the Orthodox Nativity Fast, during which time we essentially eat a vegan diet (although there are certain seafood which are permissible during the fast). We were hoping that this book would offer new ideas and inspiration, and it did not disappoint.
Fried dough, sometimes called Greek-style pancakes, topped with honey
How fitting that we are posting this recipe for tiganites, sometimes referred to as Greek pancakes, in early November. Fitting, because November is when much of the olive harvesting in Greece is occurring. Our mother remembers that when the men of the village set out to begin their long and hard days of manually picking olives from the trees, they were sent off with their satchels loaded with tiganites. These disks of fried dough helped to sustain them and nourish them for the day. Tiganites, she explained, were a great option when options were limited as they are made from ingredients that even the poorest family likely had on hand.
If you’ve been following Mia Kouppa since the beginning you’ll know that most of our recipes are inspired by our parents and their humble, authentic, and delicious traditional Greek cooking. Of course, our parents don’t use actual recipes and so our job has been to painstakingly and with great attention to detail, measure, document, photograph, video and share their wonderful way with food. We know that we owe much, if not most, of our success to them and we are so grateful.
A crispy crust and a perfect crumb of cheese, herbs and citrus
Bread is life. We don’t care how many diets exist which denounce bread as an evil scourge on waistlines, we love it. For us, bread is what makes a meal complete, like when we make green beans with potatoes and use bread to sop up all of the delicious sauces. Or when we finish our horiatiki salad and use bread to soak up the liquid left behind; olive oil, oregano, the juices from the tomatoes and little crumbs of feta. Divine. Life is too short to be denied carbs.