Semolina halva with petimezi

Semolina halva with petimezi, or grape syrup, is a perfect vegan Greek dessert

Semolina halva with petimezi, or grape syrup, is a perfect vegan Greek dessert


Σιμιγδαλένιος χαλβάς με πετιμέζι. We are so excited to share this recipe with you! We realize that it’s the first recipe we post using the very special Greek ingredient called petimezi (peh-tee-MEH-zee) , or grape syrup / molasses. Petimezi is pure, concentrated grape juice made from grape must and is perhaps the world’s oldest sweetener. It is a delight!

We love to get creative with halva. Once you get the basic recipe down, you can get very creative with the extra ingredients that will make your halva unique and special. This recipe is inspired by another dessert made using petimezi called moustalevria, a thick pudding made of grape must. Moustalevria is oven served with walnuts and sesame seeds, and so we have incorporated those two ingredients here as well. We hope that you love our semolina halva with petimezi as much as we do!

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Greek stuffed calamari

Baked squid stuffed with rice and herbs and baked in a tomato sauce.

Baked squid stuffed with rice and herbs and baked in a tomato sauce.


Καλαμάρια γεμιστά με ρύζι. Greek stuffed calamari is a spectacular meal. If you have never had stuffed calamari we strongly encourage you to give this recipe a try. Calamari were made for stuffing. With their long, hollow (once cleaned) and supple body (which is technically called a mantle), you can easily fill them with an assortment of good stuff. In this Greek stuffed calamari recipe we use rice, some vegetables and herbs to create a wonderful lenten meal.

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Seafood salad

Seafood salad

A creamy salad made with crab-flavoured seafood and mixed vegetables

This is a tale of two sisters. One sister has, for years, been bringing this seafood salad to every family gathering, holiday celebration and casual potluck. It is her signature dish. “What shall I bring?” she asks, and the answer is usually “Oh, why don’t you bring your delicious seafood salad?”. She agrees and everyone is happy, even the second sister. Sister #2 anticipates this amazing salad while she is busy making a moussaka or galaktoboureko as her contribution; a little tired and maybe frazzled, she is excited to know that there will be seafood salad on the table.

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Spinach and feta pork roll-ups (Χοιρινό με σπανάκι και φέτα)

Spinach and feta pork roll-ups

Pork roll-ups filled with Greek flavours!

Sometimes our parents like to get fancy. Lovers of food and cooking, to this day they still enjoy watching Greek and non-Greek cooking shows (Akis is a favourite) and perusing through recipes that they find in the local Greek paper or behind those daily calendars that they get from church or our local Greek supermarket. Of course, they don’t actually follow the recipes that they happen upon, because let’s face it, that’s not how they function. Instead they get inspired, and over the years have come up with some pretty delicious and even unexpected things. We remember their sudden interest in Asian cuisine and the resultant homemade egg rolls. We have no idea how or why they decided to make egg rolls, but once they did, egg rolls and their accompanying jarred plum sauce became staples at every family gathering. Their popularity resulted in our aunts and koubari and other family friends making egg rolls too and so there you had it; a buffet table filled with dolmades, moussaka, keftedes, and egg rolls. Of course.

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Zucchini salad (Κολοκυθοσαλάτα)

Zucchini salad

A simple salad of boiled summer squash dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar

We love everything about fall. The colours, the warm knit sweaters, the cool crisp air, the fact that you can call it fall or autumn. We love that everyone is busy pumpkin-spicing everything, and baking all manner of apple wonderfulness. But, we love summer too and despite the fact that it’s October and Canadian Thanksgiving is right around the corner, we’ll hang on to summer just a little while longer if you don’t mind.

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Fide soup (Fithe soup) (Σούπα φιδέ)

Fide soup

A simple pasta soup made with thin noodles and flavoured with a touch of olive oil

Growing up Greek, our chicken noodle soup was called fide. To be honest, it was a little different than your traditional chicken noodle soup; for one thing, it had no chicken. It also had no chicken broth, no vegetables and no herbs. In fact, fide (also spelled fithe) is nothing more than a noodle soup, cooked in water, flavoured with olive oil, sometimes sprinkled with a bit of mizithra, and ready to comfort every bit of your soul.

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Spanakopita no. 2 (Σπανακόπιτα no. 2)

Spanakopita no. 2

Home made phyllo dough filled with spinach, herbs and feta

Spanakopita no. 2

 

Summer is almost over! How can that be?! As always, the months when school is out, the days are at their longest, and the sun smiles down warmly, pass all too quickly.  We try to hold on to the season by enjoying every moment left and by looking back at our June picnics, July getaways and August pool parties and barbecues, recognizing that although quick, our summer was blessedly full.

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Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

Shrimp saganaki

Shrimp cooked in a rich and spicy tomato sauce with ouzo and feta

Shrimp saganaki

In Greek cooking there are a whole slew of dishes which are categorized as saganaki.  One of the most popular is cheese saganaki, that meze of fried cheese set aflame with the help of a little ouzo or Metaxa, which causes restaurant patrons to exclaim Opa! in delighted unison.  The term saganaki actually refers to the small, two-handled frying pan in which the food is cooked called a sagani, a derivative of the Turkish word sahan, which means copper dish.  Remember long ago when we told you that Mia Kouppa would also make you smarter?  You’re welcome.

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Greek nachos

Greek nachos

All your favourite nacho elements, with a kick of Greek

Greek nachos

A vice that we both share is our love for chips.  Potato chips, corn chips, nacho chips, we devour them all.  When we were young one of our favourite junk food snacks was taking a bowl of regular potato chips (Humpty Dumpty brand was preferred) and dousing them with white vinegar.  Home made salt and vinegar chips! We were clearly meant for recipe developing.  As our taste buds matured and we became more refined, we moved on to other things…like nacho chips, bottled salsa and creamy, is-it-really-cheese?, jarred nacho cheese sauce.  Glorious!

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Vegan spanakopita (Νηστίσιμη σπανακόπιτα)

Vegan spanakopita

Homemade phyllo and spinach filling, perfect for Lent, and anytime

Vegan spanakopita

 

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.

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