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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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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Vegan chocolate and strawberry cookies

Vegan chocolate and strawberry cookies

Vegan chocolate and strawberry cookies are delicious little bites, which could easily be called brownies

Vegan chocolate and strawberry cookies

Don’t you just love it when you can convince yourself that dessert is healthy…or at least, not horribly bad for you?!  We do! and that is exactly what we do with these vegan chocolate and strawberry cookies.  Not only are these two-bite cookies (which could just as easily be called brownies)vegan (automatically healthy right??!!), but they are also incredibly easy to whip together.  Also fun, they contain a secret ingredient which makes them that much more lovely.  Who doesn’t love a recipe with a secret ingredient?

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Koulourakia with orange (Νηστίσιμα κουλουράκια με πορτοκάλι)

Koulourakia with orange (Νηστίσιμα κουλουράκια με πορτοκάλι)

Koulourakia with orange are a Greek vegan cookie, perfect for dunking!

Our parents make so many types of koulourakia (Greek for cookies that are great for dunking into coffee or milk) that it is almost hard to keep track of them all.  To help differentiate one koulouraki from the other, they often refer to a key ingredient.  So here, we present to you koulourakia with orange…because, you guessed it, they contain a fair bit of orange juice.  They also often refer to different koulourakia by the person who prefers them over all others.  So these, along with being koulourakia with orange, are also affectionately referred to as “Georgia’s favourite”.

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Eggplant stew (Μελιτζάνες στιφάδο)

Eggplant stew (Μελιτζάνες στιφάδο)

Eggplant stew (Μελιτζάνες στιφάδο)

 

Several weeks ago we shared a favourite childhood meal, rabbit stew.  We knew  that this recipe would be met with some strong reactions; eating rabbit is clearly not for everyone.  Although we totally understand and respect this, we felt that it was a shame that not everyone would taste the wonderful flavours of this stew…rabbit aside.  Then we remembered that sometimes our parents would replace the rabbit with eggplant!  And we laughed, because we realized that this too could be met with some strong reactions; eggplant is not the most popular ingredient out there.

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Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread that is loaded with bananas, and flavour.

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

So many incredible things happen in the world, by accident.  Fortuitous accidents in medicine have led to the discovery of quinine, the smallpox vaccination and x-rays.  Artists like Da Vinci and Cozens searched for inspiration in the dirt on walls and streaks on stones; deliberate use of accidental imperfections which helped shape an entire art movement and created masterpieces.  In fashion, Calvin Klein got his start because a coat buyer got off the elevator on the wrong floor and stepped into Klein’s workroom.  He then proceeded to place a $50,000 order for coats.  Seriously!

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Stuffed zucchini flowers ( Λουλουδάκια γεμιστά)

Stuffed zucchini flowers or blossoms are a vegan summer delight filled with rice, herbs and vegetables

Stuffed zucchini flowers or blossoms are a vegan summer delight filled with rice, herbs and vegetables

Our gardens grow an abundance of zucchini.  This is not necessarily the result of amazing gardening skills (although our parents can grow pretty much anything that can be planted); it is simply a testament to the un-finickiness of zucchini plants.  And so, in the summer zucchini takes over our fridges and counters.  Thankfully, we have many delicious ways of using them up, like making zucchini chips, or cooking them on the grill.

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Grilled zucchini (Κολοκυθάκια στη σχάρα)

Grilled zucchini

Like many Greeks, we are a gardening family.  In our experience, it is rare to find a Greek who has access to even a little bit of land, who doesn’t then use it to plant some sort of vegetable or herb.  Even when all that is available is a balcony, eggplants and tomatoes find themselves growing in pots, next to the basil. Gardening is a lovely heritage, and although our parents are the master green thumbs, we do pretty well ourselves; we had wonderful mentors after all.

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Green beans with potatoes (Φασολάκια λαδερά με πατάτες)

Green Beans with Potatoes

Vegan Greek green bean stew with potatoes

Some meal preparations lend themselves to teamwork.  Our mother would make this simple, wholesome and economical dish of green beans and potatoes about once every couple of weeks, and each time she would invite us to join her, as she prepared the beans for cooking.  We would sit with her at the kitchen table (which was, of course, covered in plastic) faced with a bowl full of green beans.  One by one, we would take the beans, and carefully snip off each end.  The trimmed ends would collect in a pile on the table, and the beans would be placed in a colander, to later be washed.

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Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)

Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)A plant-based version of the classic Greek recipe, Pastitsio.

Welcome to More Kouppes, and to our first guest (meaning, not our parents’) Greek recipe! When we decided to share favourite meals from families which were not our own, we knew that we would focus on recipes we had either heard people raving about (Oh man, my mom’s spanakopita is like, The Best!), or food that we had been lucky enough to eat, and love.  Immediately we knew that this vegan pastichio would top the list.  A few times a year, during periods of lent, this dairy, egg and meat-free pastichio unexpectedly appears and replaces the brown bagged lunch of peanut butter or hummus. What a delicious surprise!  The sad sandwich gets tossed, and the day is immediately better.  The woman behind this delicious, and unexpected real meal, is Κυρία Αργυρώ (Mrs. Argyro), and her lenten pastichio is so, so, SO good!

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