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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Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce that is not from a can…. you can do it!

We believe that there are three types of cranberry sauce people in the world. The first are those who like to open up a can and plop the contents onto a dish to be sliced and served.  We are not those people, although we 100% respect and adore that many canned cranberry sauce friends tell us that the sight of the unmolded can of sauce, complete with rings from the can, reminds them of home and their childhoods.  You know, we are all for that! The second class of cranberry sauce people are those who realize that making fresh cranberry sauce may be the easiest culinary feat possible, and so they do.  We have become those people, but the truth is, for most of our lives, we fell into category three.  This last group of sad, deprived folks are those who never knew of cranberry sauce growing up, because holiday turkey was lamb and it was served with tzatziki.

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Orange and cranberry olive oil cake

Orange and cranberry olive oil cake

An elegant cake that is perfect for breakfast, snacking or dessert

Orange and cranberry olive oil cake

 

We love to bake with olive oil.  In part this is because growing up, our parents very rarely used butter in their cooking or baked goods.  This was not because butter is not delicious, but because of our mom’s dietary restrictions and the underlying philosophy that despite the fact that butter may makes things better, olive oil makes them best.  The other reason that we love baking with olive oil is that sometimes we find ourselves out of butter, but we can’t remember a day when we looked around our kitchens and discovered we were all out of olive oil.  Lucky, for sure.

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Christopsomo (Χριστόψωμο)

Christopsomo

A layered Christmas bread with the most unbelievable texture and flavour

Christmas traditions certainly vary across cultures, regions and families; some are embedded within religious traditions while others are developed through years of “that’s just the way we do things”.  One tradition which our family shares with many other Orthodox families is the baking of the traditional christopsomo, which literally translates to Christ’s bread.  This bread is typically baked on Christmas Eve and eaten on Christmas Day and is replete with symbolism and meaning.

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