Tsoureki bread pudding

Tsoureki bread pudding

Tsoureki bread pudding

 

Greek Pascha is the holiday which keeps on giving…leftovers.  One of the things that our Easter season seems to leave us with plenty of is tsoureki, and we’re thrilled.  It seems that most Greek homes bake a huge number of these sweet loaves during this holiday season, many of which are then are gifted to family and friends.  If you are Greek however, you usually end up receiving as many tsourekia as you give away; you end up breaking even!  Good problems to have!

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Greek-style hard boiled eggs

Greek style hard boiled eggs

There are a few things we can always count on for Easter Monday, the day after Orthodox Pascha.  The first is the realization that another year has gone by, and we are overcome with gratitude to have been able to celebrate our important holiday with our family and friends.  The second is being reminded that an extensive fast and abstinence from meat, dairy and eggs, which ends with a day spent eating pretty much only meat, dairy and eggs, is rough.  Delicious, but rough.  And finally, we’ll note that regardless of how much we ate, there are leftovers for days!

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Lagana (Λαγάνα)

Lagana (Λαγάνα)

Lagana (Λαγάνα), a traditional bread eaten on Clean Monday.

 

This is probably one of our favourite times of year.  In Greece, carnival season is ending and Monday marks the beginning of lent for Greek Orthodox Easter (Pascha).  Although we live in Canada, and there are no such Carnivals, we do what we can to keep with some of the Greek traditions and customs.  Many people have abstained from eating meat this past week and will now continue to abstain from meat, eggs and dairy until Easter Sunday.  Whether you are fasting entirely, partially, or not at all, is of course a personal decision.  Throughout our lives, for various reasons, we have fasted in the ways which were most appropriate for us at the time.  One thing that has always remained constant however is that on Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday), we eat lagana.

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Cheesecake (Τσεισκέικ)

Cheesecake topped with strawberries and cherries

Cheesecake topped with strawberries and cherries

 

We are so excited to introduce you to our mom’s sister, Θεία Βούλα (Thea Voula).  The second oldest in a family of four (our mom is the eldest), our Θεία Βούλα is currently the only one of our mother’s siblings living in Canada; luckily only about a ten minute drive from where we all live. Θεία Βούλα is a powerhouse who certainly knows how to command a room.  Her laughter is infectious and is rooted deep in her belly.  She wears her heart on her sleeve and her hugs are epic, enveloping you in an embrace which is at once fiercely tight and, at the same time, gently protective.  Like our mom, and many other women of their generation, Θεία Βούλα epitomizes strength.  Life was not always easy; she worked hard and long hours to make ends meet while raising her family, all while integrating into a new society and country.  This is a brave, inspiring woman.

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