Sunday, May 1, 2022

Tsoureki french toast waffles

Hope you’ve all had a lovely Easter with your loved ones and have enjoyed some beautiful, savory and sweet treats. Greek Orthodox Easter was only last week so I still have some leftover tsoureki and koulourakia, and had been thinking of ways to use them up.

 



I came up with this idea just a few days ago; tsoureki french toast waffles. I’ve done tsoureki french toast before, but since I love waffles, I thought, hey, why not just soak the tsoureki as I would normally do for french toast, but instead of frying it, why not toast it in the waffle maker? Much lighter and much quicker to make. Lo and behold, the tsoureki french toast waffle was born, and it was amazing. Of course you could use any other sweet bread you have on hand, like brioche or challah, if you don’t have Greek tsoureki.

 


 

Tsoureki french toast waffles

The recipe goes like this.

In a high-sided, shallow dish, add a couple of eggs and whisk well together with about 50 ml whole milk and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or extract. Take your tsoureki slices, I use about 7 or 8 but it also depends on how stale/dry your tsoureki is (the dryer the tsoureki, the more liquid it will absorb), cut on the thicker side so it absorbs a bit more of the liquid. Leave the slices in the liquid for a little while to absorb as much as they can, being careful though, because you don’t want the tsoureki to get too soggy or it may fall apart as it is a more delicate bread than say, sourdough. Then place the slices on your preheated waffle iron/maker and toast them.

Enjoy hot/warm with a big spoonful of Greek honey (wild thyme or acorn are my faves). Petimezi (Greek grape molasses), carob molasses or date syrup would work great too.

Enjoy!!

 

  

Monday, March 21, 2022

Pizza muffins (for toddlers and adults alike)

I’ve been making these muffins for Aris since he was about 15 months old. Every time, I tried to make them taste better and this is the final version.

Filled with all the good stuff, they not only appeal to my now 2 and a half year old son, but to me as well. Granted, I eat them with Sriracha and sometimes with a side of crispy chilli oil for dipping, but that’s me.

Hope your little one, and you, enjoy them!

 


 

 

 Pizza muffins, toddler approved

 

Yield: 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

3 large eggs

50 g extra virgin olive oil (yes, it’s grams not ml / don’t measure in ml because it’s a different quantity)

2 tsp hulled hemp seeds

Pinch of sea salt

Good pinch of Greek dried oregano

Good pinch of onion powder

Pinch of garlic powder

¼ tsp sweet paprika

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

Black pepper, 3-4 turns of the pepper mill

50 g courgette, coarsely grated (don’t squeeze out the juices)

30 g peeled carrot, finely grated (don’t squeeze out the juices)

20 g fresh spinach leaves, finely chopped

50 g Emmental cheese (or Greek Graviera cheese), grated (if you are making these only for adults, add another 50 g cheese)

110 g grape tomatoes, chopped (you can use cherry tomatoes as well although they have a higher water content)

125 g all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

 

Special equipment: muffin pan. I use silicone muffin cases. If you have the classic one, then lightly butter the cups and flour them, tapping out excess flour.

 

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

In a medium-sized bowl, add the eggs and olive oil and whisk with a wire whisk until well combined. Add the hemp seeds, the salt and all the spices and whisk to combine. Add the grated courgette and carrot and whisk. Add the chopped spinach and the grated cheese and mix with a spatula. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix. Finally, add the flour and baking powder and mix well, making sure there are no streaks of flour in the mixture.

Divide the mixture equally among 12 muffin cups and bake for 30-35 minutes and until they have taken a nice golden brown color.

Leave to cool before removing from the pan. They’re more delicious fresh but you can certainly keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 2-3 weeks, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then put in freezer/refrigerator appropriate bags.

I always heat them in the microwave when using from the fridge or freezer until piping hot. Don’t cut them to cool them down quicker because they will dry up and become tough.

 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Bergamot drizzle cake

In Greece, bergamot is synonymous with our famous bergamot spoon sweet, a preserve using the peel of the fruit, but even though I love eating citrus fruits, I’ve never been a fan of citrus peel preserves or marmalades. Whenever I come across bergamots, I prefer using them in cakes or in savory dishes. 

 


 

This time, I chose to use this gloriously heady citrus fruit in a drizzle cake. It was an experiment that proved successful, resulting in an utterly scrumptious cake. I baked it once more to test it, and voilà. I’m sharing with you the recipe to make and enjoy.

 


 

The cake is flavored with bergamot zest and once it’s out of the oven, it gets drizzled with a mixture of bergamot juice, bergamot zest and Demerara sugar. This is a raw mixture, not a syrup, and it works beautifully because as the cake cools, the sugar almost crystallizes on top and creates a unique, crunchy texture that contrasts the juicy, moist interior. 

 


 

It’s a deliciously sticky and moist cake that is light and fluffy at the same time. It is, as expected, full of the aroma and flavor of bergamot without it being overwhelming but definitely present. Bergamot is not a shy fruit, it has a bold flavor, and this, after all, is a cake for the lovers of this extraordinary citrus fruit. 

 





Bergamot drizzle cake

You will need 2 bergamots for the cake. Choose bergamots whose skin is somewhat smooth rather than too “bumpy” because they’re easier to grate. Also, you just want the outer yellow-greenish part of the skin. Make sure not to grate any of the pith (the white, inner part) because it’s very bitter and you will taste it in your cake. 

 


 

Yield: 1 cake / 8-10 pieces

 

Ingredients

for the cake
175 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
175 g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 bergamot
Pinch of sea salt
3 medium-sized eggs
100 g all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
75 g ground almonds

for the drizzle
Finely grated zest of 1 bergamot
Juice from 1½ bergamots
100 g Demerara sugar

Special ingredients: loaf pan (22 x 11cm), fine sieve, stand mixer or electric hand-held mixer, baking paper

 

Preparation

for the cake
Butter the bottom and sides of your loaf pan and line it with baking paper that goes up all four sides of the pan.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl), add the butter, the sugar and the bergamot zest, and using the paddle attachment (or your hand-held mixer), beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes.
Add the salt and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition to fully combine them.
Sieve the flour and baking powder straight into the bowl of your stand mixer and fold them in using a spatula. Be gentle as you don’t want to deflate the mixture. Then fold in the ground almonds.
Empty the cake batter into your prepared loaf pan and straighten the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If there are a few crumbs on it, it’s okay.

for the drizzle
In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the drizzle and briefly mix together. You’re not aiming to dissolve the sugar in the juice, but just to combine the ingredients thoroughly. The mixture will be grainy from the sugar.

Once the cake is out of the oven, poke some holes all over the top using a toothpick and pour over half of the drizzle mixture. Wait until the cake absorbs it before adding the rest.
Leave the cake to cool completely in the pan. Then, you can remove it from the pan, but actually, I don’t. I leave it in there. We slice and eat it straight from the pan. Best way to do it.

You can keep it at room temperature, loosely covered, for 4-5 days.

 



 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Persimmon and pomegranate salad with Greek manouri cheese and a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette

I made this salad for lunch the other day, to treat myself.

I’ve been dreaming of making it since before the holidays but never got around to it.

 


 

The day I finally did make it, was a shitty one. It felt like I was failing at everything, most importantly at parenting. Aris was having a difficult day, with tantrums every other hour; he was biting, hitting, screaming, resisting his meals and fighting nap time. I finally got him to sleep, after much negotiation and effort, and I was just about to sit down and take a breath when he woke up.

I was feeling so deflated, tired and frustrated that I could scream. I couldn’t give up on making this salad, though. I was determined to make it —damn it!— and eat it, no matter what.

And so I did.

Persimmon, pomegranate, spinach, baby tomatoes, shallots, Greek manouri cheese (for those unfamiliar with it, it’s a soft, rich and creamy goat’s and/or sheep’s milk cheese), and a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.

I was in heaven for a few minutes. And then it all started again. But guess what? Aris had some of it too.

P.S.1 I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe as I thought it was too simple, but when I shared a photo of the salad on instagram some of you asked me to, so I obliged. 

P.S.2 I just realized this is my first post for 2022! Happy New Year! Wishing health to us all, and lots of good food!

 

 

 

 

 

Persimmon and pomegranate salad with Greek manouri cheese and a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette

I’m sure you know how easy it is to make homemade pomegranate molasses, right?

 

Yield: enough salad for 1 person (with some bread, it is the perfect lunch)


Ingredients

1 persimmon (the elongated kind), not too ripe, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced

Big handful of pomegranate seeds

Handful of whole baby spinach leaves

1 small shallot, finely sliced

5-6 baby tomatoes, halved or quartered lengthwise depending on size

Greek Manouri cheese

for the vinaigrette

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt

White pepper, freshly ground, 5-6 turns of the pepper mill

 

Preparation

Whisk well the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl, or alternatively add all ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Makes more vinaigrette than needed for this salad. Use what is left in other salads or on baked/grilled vegetables for the next couple of days.

Arrange persimmon slices on plate, scatter pomegranate seeds and spinach, arrange tomatoes on top and sprinkle the shallots. Add as much manouri as you want.

Use a spoon to add the vinaigrette. About 1 Tbsp to start and add more if you want. Don’t forget to sprinkle a little salt too.

Enjoy immediately.