Grilled lamb chops

Perfect recipe for marinated and grilled lamb chops for any occasion.

Perfect recipe for marinated and grilled lamb chops for any occasion.

Παϊδάκια αρνίσια στη σχάρα. Lamb is really a special occasion meal in our family. Perhaps this because it is so closely associated with our Pascha (Orthodox Easter) celebration (which you can read about here), and also because it tends to be a pricey meat protein option. In any case, when lamb is on the menu, you just know that both the meal and the gathering will be amazing.

Although there is a general assumption that Greeks eat a lot of lamb, in our experience this isn’t really the case. In Greece, pork tends to be a more popular meat choice because of its availability and affordability. Also, pork is delicious and makes some of the best souvlakia. Furthermore, many Greeks also follow Orthodox lent and fasting periods, during which the diet is primarily plant-based. All this means that lamb is enjoyed, but not as frequently as you might imagine.

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Rainbow Jell-O mould dessert

A colourful dessert made with a variety of Jell-O flavours

A colourful dessert made with a variety of Jell-O flavours

This, dear friends, is a dessert you can be proud of, and we think that it is the perfect recipe to help kick off Pride Month. What better way to celebrate diversity in harmony than with this multi-coloured, multi-layered, multi-flavoured dessert? The fact that this rainbow Jell-O mould dessert is shiny and flashy is a bonus.

The first time that we made this dessert was for a Father’s Day family gathering years ago, and Pride was the furthest thing from our minds. Our main motivation for putting this together was because our dad is a huge Jell-O fan, and we wanted to Wow him. It was only later, when we revealed our Jell-O mould (or mold to our American friends) by placing it next to the baklava and bougatsa that the link was made. As it was June, the youngest grandchild, 10 or 11 at the time, beamed with pride believing that we purposefully chose to show support for the LGBTQ+ community while also celebrating Papou. She was quite impressed, but we had to come clean and admit that this was simply a coincidence. Every June since then however we laugh at that story, usually while making our rainbow Jell-O mould to mark Pride Month.

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Prime rib roast

The best prime rib roast recipe for any special occasion.

The best prime rib roast recipe for any special occasion.

If you have a special occasion coming up, or if you just want to indulge in a fancy meal (you deserve it!) we have the perfect recipe for you. Our prime rib roast is a celebratory meal and we often serve it for family birthday dinners, Father’s Day, Christmas lunch, or any other event that we feel is worthy of it, like a weekend!

What is prime rib, actually?

This is the portion of beef which is cut from the primal rib between ribs 6 – 12. It is also called standing rib roast. This alternate name is used because prime rib is often roasted standing on the rib bones. Although a prime rib includes the section of beef between ribs 6 – 12, it doesn’t have to; it can be a smaller subsection of this.

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Tsoureki Paximadia or Tsoureki Biscotti

Greek biscotti, or paximadia, made with tsoureki bread and dipped in chocolate and sprinkles

Greek biscotti, or paximadia, made with tsoureki bread and dipped in chocolate and sprinkles

Παξιμάδια τσουρεκιού. The common adage “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade” (or avgolemono soup) is pretty good advice. The sentiment can be extended to so many things, including tsoureki. If you have read the post that accompanies our tsoureki recipe you’ll know that although our recipe is now fail-proof and delicious, it wasn’t always so. We have survived many disappointing tsourekia, with some being too dense, undercooked, or simply blah. Having been raised in a household where “waste nothing” was a very important mantra, we could never just dump our tsourekia in the trash (except for the one we called “The Tsourocki”….read more about that disaster in the tsoureki post).

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Potato salad with smoked herring

A traditional Greek potato salad with smoked herring from Messinia

A traditional Greek potato salad with smoked herring from Messinia

Σαλάτα με πατάτες και καπνιστή ρέγγα. Our parents are from Messinia, a region found in the south western part of the Peloponnese. The capital is Kalamata and it is a marvelous part of the country. Soaring mountain ranges, fertile flatlands and forests, picturesque villages, citadels, vineyards and orchards are some of what make Messenia such a rich and glorious land.

Visitors have learned that there is much that this area has to offer and tourism plays an increasingly large role in the economy. Still, this fertile area is an agricultural wonderland and crops remain the most important industry for the region. Some of the main products are olive oil, Kalamata olives, oranges, sultana raisins and figs.

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Maple glazed smoked ham

A maple, brown sugar and Dijon glazed ham served with a pineapple salsa

A maple, brown sugar and Dijon glazed ham served with a pineapple salsa

If you’ve been with us for a while then you know that both of us are married to men who are not Greek. Although they have both embraced our Greek culture, religion, heritage, customs, language and traditions, they are xeni (the Greek way of say not Greek). Both men are a beautiful medley of English, Irish and Scottish descent and with a Canadian lineage that goes back a few generations at least.

John is Billie’s husband, and he is a gem. As a child he spent a lot of his time with his maternal grandparents, Viola and Eldon, surrounded by love, kindness and food that his grandma served with pride. This was a very traditional home where the man of the house worked and the woman kept the home pristine and comfortable, and every night dinner was a committed affair. The table was always set perfectly, manners were paramount, and meals began with a prayer and thanks. John relished the time he spent with his grandparents and thrived under their care. Sleepovers with grandpa and grandma were the highlight of young John’s week. It’s no wonder that when John and Billie were married, Viola and Eldon were the two people who walked him down the aisle. They were so proud.

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Skordalia (Σκορδαλιά)

Skordalia; Greek garlic spread

Greek garlic mashed potatoes or potato spread

Is it a puree? Is it mashed potatoes? Is it a spread? We’re not really sure what the best word is to describe skordalia. So, instead of trying to label skordalia, let’s just describe it. This is a recipe that mixes boiled and mashed potatoes with a lot (like, A LOT) of mashed garlic, vinegar and oil. Skordalia is creamy, tangy, definitely garlicky, and one of those recipes that we always think we should make more often.

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Mia Kouppa Great Lent Meal Plan 2021

A FREE downloadable resource to take you from Clean Monday to Orthodox Easter which includes a Meal Plan and additional Lenten Recipes

Great Lent Meal Plan 2021, Mia Kouppa

Download your FREE Great Lent Meal Plan 2021 and your FREE additional Great Lent Recipes here:

This is most certainly our favourite time of the year. The period of Great Lent which precedes Orthodox Pascha, along with the weeks of Kreatini (Meatfare) and then Tyrini (Cheesefare) which come before it are opportunities for renewal, spiritual growth and a deepening connection with our faith.

The choice on how to live during Great Lent is a personal one. There are certainly “rules” which are dictated by our faith, but situations, contexts, beliefs and capabilities vary and so anyone who is interested discussing their own personal reality is encouraged to speak to their parish priest or spiritual father.

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Heart shaped sugar cookies

Heart shaped sugar cookies

Festive sugar cookies perfect for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day always makes us smile, not because we happen to each be married to wonderful guys that make love fun (although that is wonderful) but because growing up we were always our parents’ Valentines.

Every February 14th (and sometimes on February 15th when the chocolate hearts and pink stuffed bears were on sale) our parents would surprise us with Valentine treats. As young kids, we were thrilled. Along with the gifts we were given, our parents would also purchase for us large Valentine’s Day books filled with cards that we would punch out of the cardboard pages (remember those?) We would spend hours deciding which classmate would get which card, and which card we would save for our Ma and Ba.

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Vasilopita cupcakes

Vasilopita cupcakes

Unconventional vasilopita for an unconventional year

Purists and traditionalists may cringe at this post, and we’re prepared for the fall out. We know that there are certain things that are sacred and should not be tampered with. Like garlic in tzatziki or bechamel on pastitsio. We get it, we really do!

But let’s face it guys, 2020 has been a very unusual and unconventional year and 2021 is starting off that way as well. In our part of the world we are in the midst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications are huge. Restaurants remain closed except for take-out, retail shops are now closed, schools are either closed or via distance learning, and gatherings of any kind are prohibited. For those who prefer to ring in the new year in the comfort of their bed, sleeping, this is great! For many others, this sucks – big time!

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