Spinach and potato stew (Σπανάκι με πατάτες)

Spinach and potato stew

A hearty vegan stew made with potatoes and greens in a tomato based sauce

This spinach and potato stew, also called Bonamatsi (Μποναμάτσι), is a dish common in the northern part of Greece, and not necessarily where our parents our from. Still, this was a meal that we would occasionally have growing up, particularly on fasting days. In fact, it was most often served in the days before Christmas, probably because a bowl of bonamatsi was filling and warming, perfect for the December in Canada. Holiday fasting periods aside, this was also a dish often made on Fridays, competing with the other simple vegan meal, fakes. By Friday, we now understand that our parents were relying on simple and straightforward meals to end the work week with.

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Baklava baked brie

Baklava baked brie

A baked brie topped with walnuts, pistachios and honey, wrapped in phyllo pastry, baked and then soaked with flavoured syrup.

This week, it’s all about cheese! Carnival season is in full swing in Greece and as we head into the period of Great Lent, a time of fasting before Pascha (Orthodox Easter), this week is considered to be somewhat of a bridge between pre-lent and lent.

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The H.L.T. or Halloumi, lettuce and tomato sandwich

Halloumi, lettuce and tomato sandwich

A vegetarian take on the classic B.L.T. made with salty and squeaky halloumi cheese

Have you heard of halloumi? If you haven’t, then we are happy to help you make it’s acquaintance! Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese traditionally made of sheep and goat’s milk, and although it is now enjoyed in many parts of the world, it really is most popular in Cyprus and Greece. Because of it’s very high melting temperature, it is a great grilling and frying cheese. It maintains it’s shape when cooked so no melting cheese mess with halloumi! Instead what you get is a crispy exterior and a soft, melt-y interior.

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Chicken wings with a feta dipping sauce

Chicken wings with a feta dipping sauce

Baked wings inspired by Greek flavours and served with a tangy and spicy feta dipping sauce

When we go to the movies, we want popcorn. When we attend a Greek wedding, we hope for diples. And when we’re watching the game, any game actually, we want wings. Sports and chicken wings go hand in hand. Any sport, and any kind of chicken wing, are a perfect, winning, combination.

We love all sorts of wings, and we especially love them when they are crispy, but not greasy. With this recipe, we have just that; crispy wings that are baked instead of fried, and served with a feta dipping sauce. Whenever we serve these chicken wings and dip, we score big points!

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Hilopites with chicken (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με χυλοπίτες)

Hilopites with chicken

Greek noodles and chicken prepared in a delicious tomato sauce

Have you ever had square pasta? Like small little squares of egg noodles that are delicate and full of flavour? If you’re Greek, or have ever visited a Greek home, we think that the answer might be (should be) Yes!

Hilopites are the small, square-shaped egg noodles that we grew up with. In fact, we have very vivid memories of our parents gathering with aunts and uncles and dear friends, spending the day making hilopites from scratch. Flour, water (or was it milk?), salt, eggs all worked together and transformed to make long strips of noodles that were then cut by hand into perfectly imperfect squares.

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Turkey and cranberry kataifi parcels

Turkey and cranberry kataifi parcels

Roasted turkey and cranberry sauce packaged in buttery kataifi pastry

So technically speaking, this is not a traditional Greek recipe and it is not something that our parents ever made. In fact, for most large gatherings and holidays it was lamb on the menu instead of turkey, and if we were in the mood for poultry, rooster made an appearance. Our parents also never made cranberry sauce; in fact they only ever tried it when we started to make it ourselves. The North American festive holiday meal of roasted turkey, complete with stuffing, gravy and homemade cranberry sauce became our purview once we began to host celebratory dinners in our homes.

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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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Potato Salad (Πατατοσαλάτα)

Potato Salad

A light and delicious potato salad full of wonderful textures and flavours

We went to a lot of picnics when we were kids. In late spring, summer and early fall, when the weather was inviting, our family would spend Saturdays on the mountain. If you’re from Montreal, you know that the mountain refers to Mount Royal. Declared a heritage site by municipal authorities and the Government of Quebec, the mountain covers 10 square kilometers, right in the heart of Montreal.

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Tiganites (Τηγανίτες)

Tiganites

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.

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Neopolitan marble cake (Κέικ βανίλια με σοκολάτα και φράουλες)

Neopolitan marble cake

A pretty cake with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry swirls

Our childhood’s were predictable in many ways. Sundays were for church, summers were enjoyed in Greece or Cape Cod, and weekends were spent with friends and family. When it came to food, there were things we could expect as well. We knew that Fridays meant fakes for supper, that we would be expected to help forage for wild dandelion greens, and that ice cream would be neopolitan.

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