Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leek Pie Πρασόπιττα

I am just emerging from the fog of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) where I have been living in many places and times. In an attempt to keep up some Greek reading during MIFF I was reduced to reading some Greek readers in simple Greek that did not require me to be surrounded by dictionaries to get a sense of what I was trying to read. They were good for the train and between films to get a quick Greek fix. But it is certainly true that for me the struggle is usually more worthwhile, and that I prefer struggling with Kavafy and Seferis to reading easy readers.

But there was, indeed, a good thing to come out of this experience. One of the readers featured a couple of recipes and one of them was a leek and cheese pie. This recipe is very different from the one in the reader.  But it made me think of cooking a leek pie as I happened to have some leeks that I had bought for another purpose. And I had ricotta and all the other ingredients.  My leek pie was absolutely delicious!  I made it up as a pie, but you could use the filling for small triangles as well.



2 leeks
375 gr ricotta
200gr fetta
2 handfuls Parmesan
1 egg
1/2 tsp Sambal oelek
2 garlic clove
Phyllo pastry
Olive oil
Poppy seeds


Preheat the oven to 180c
Clean the leeks and slice finely
Peel and crush the garlic
Add Sambal oelek
Place some oil in a frying pan and add leeks, garlic and Sambal oelek
Cook until soft stirring constantly
Meanwhile place the ricotta in a bowl
Crumble the fetta by hand on top and add a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan (or to taste)
Add the egg and stir to combine
When the vegetables are cooked add to the mixture and combine well
Using a pastry brush and olive oil line the bottom of a baking dish with about six layers of phyllo taking care to oil well between each layer
Add the cheese and leek mixture to the phyllo
Fold the phyllo over the mixture and cover with several layers of phyllo brushing with oil between each layer
Fold in the edges and oil the top layer
Sprinkle with poppy seeds
With a sharp knife cut the top of the pie into desired portions. DO NOT cut hrough the bottom of the pie
Cook for 45 minutes in 180c oven until top is crisp and golden
Leave to rest for 2-3 minutes after cooking
Then with a sharp knife cut the portions through to the bottom of the pie
Serve with salad.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kefir and chia pudding


This post is for my friend Maria and is my current favourite breakfast!  And it is well worth the five minutes it takes to prepare the night before. It really is quite similar to some other chia puddings that I have posted about where I have used Greek (i.e. strained) yoghurt, but in this one I am using kefir. I love the combinations of the flavours with kefir, tahini, chia seeds, figs and raspberries.  But you can do the recipe with any combination of fruit or dried fruit.  Do what feels good to you or use what you have in the house! The critical elements are the kefir, the tahini and the chia seeds.  The rest is up to you. And with the kefir, use as much or as little as you want. Less kefir will lead to a more solid pudding, and more will obviously lead to a thinner one.



3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
2 dried figs
6 raspberries (fresh or frozen)
100-150 mls kefir


Place chia seeds in bowl which will be used for breakfast
Add tahini to bowl
Roughly chop the figs and place in bowl
Add raspberries to bowl
Mix all ingredients thoroughly
Add kefir to bowl and mix well
Place in refrigerator overnight
Eat for breakfast and enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Pork balls in avgolemono

Yes, it's meatballs again! Surprise, surprise!  When I was in Athens recently on a couple of occasions I had lovely meatballs in avgolemono at Mouries, one of  the local restaurants in Pangrati near where I was studying Greek. I don't think these meatballs bear much relation to those of Mouries, except for the avgolemono, but the pork, and the sage, and the avgolemono are all flavours I associate with Greece.


500 gr minced pork
2 spring onions
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 teaspoons dry sage
Black pepper
Olive oil
1-2 lemons
2 eggs
1.5 cups chicken stock


Place minced pork in mixing bowl
Chop spring onions finely and add to pork
Crush garlic cloves and add to mixture
Add dried sage and black pepper to mixture
Combine the mixture thoroughly using hands
Using a spoon form small meatballs
Heat olive oil in a pan and quickly seal the meatballs in batch
Place in an pan which can be heated on the stove-top
Bring stock to the boil and reduce heat to simmer
Squeeze lemon and strain juice
Beat eggs for a couple of minutes
Add the lemon juice carefully while continuing to beat
Then add the hot stock in droplets still continuing to beat
Add the egg and lemon mixture to the pan with the meatballs and combine
Heat until the mixture thickens.
Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tahini chia pudding

What a yummy breakfast! I love tahini and was so excited to see a reference to using it with chia seeds to make a pudding that I went straight out to buy some almond milk to experiment. The tahini goes fabulously with the chia seeds and almond milk and the berries and mixed fruit add tiny morsels of other flavours. This was made with what my hand alighted upon in the kitchen (apart from the almond milk) so I'll be making other experiments.


3 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs tahini
150 mls unsweetened almond milk
6 mixed frozen berries
1 tbs mixed dry fruit


Add almond milk to a bowl and mix in chia seeds
Add tahini and stir through
Add frozen berries and stir through
Sprinkle dry fruit on top
Place in refrigerator overnight
Eat and enjoy for breakfast!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#blog12daysxmas Day 6 Μπριζόλες χοιρινές

Or in other words Greek pork chops. I love Greek grilled meat: souvlakia, chops,  meatballs. Usually I just prepare the meat by flinging it in some olive oil and oregano, maybe some garlic too. It sits for a while and it goes on the grill.

However, this year for Christmas someone gave me some Creaming Seeds Spice Co. Greek Seasoning. This consists of oregano, rosemary, garlic, sea salt, black peppercorns, onion, marjoram and lemon myrtle. So the flavour is a bit more complicated than my normal Greek grills. 

I tried it out with some pork chops and the result was delicious. I ate mine with salad and potatoes and ate the remainder cold for lunch over the next few days.


4 pork chops
2 tsp Greek seasoning
Olive oil


Sprinkle chops with Greek seasoning and splash on some olive oil
Leave to marinate for 15-20 minutes (or longer)
Heat the grill
Place the chops on the grill
Baste with the marinade
Grill both sides until cooked basting with the marinade from time to time
Enjoy with salad and potatoes

Monday, December 29, 2014

#blog12daysxmas Day 5 Vera's shortbread

This year was our second Christmas after my mother's death and just before Christmas I suddenly thought it would be nice to cook the shortbread she had always made and give some to my siblings.  

In the weeks leading up to Christmas every year my mother's kitchen was always a frenzy as she churned out Christmas cakes, mince tarts and shortbread for the three of us and our workplaces and friends and relatives. 

I was using her recipe which she had written down years ago when she had an old gas oven with no thermostat and her recipe didn't include many details such as how long the shortbread needed to be cooked. The critical things were the ingredients as she knew exactly what she was doing and how long it would take. 

I had made the recipe before, both with my mother and also by myself, but as I pondered how to write out enough details for someone else to understand the recipe so that I could blog it, I also fell to wondering if, as I thought I remembered, it had been her mother's recipe. I certainly remembered eating my grandmother's version of the shortbread.  Or it had been passed from even further back in the family?

Who would know? There was really only one place I could look. I have in my possession part of a hand-written recipe book that belonged to my grandmother's aunt, Lucy Agnes Collie. Would she have cooked shortbread using the same recipe and, more importantly, would it be in the part of her recipe book that survived?

Indeed the recipe was in Auntie Luce's recipe book and giving more detail than my mother's recipe did. But the interesting thing about the recipe was the name: "Vera's Shortbread". So it had not come down from generations ago but was a recipe from a generation after Auntie Luce from her niece Vera. Vera Hall was my maternal grandmother's sister. I am sure that my grandmother had also cooked this same shortbread as I remember having it. But she must have got it from her sister. So it was a recipe shared around the family at that time and like many others handwritten out in their recipe books.

I am sure the story is mainly of interest to the family, but I made a couple of batches of shortbread and how to make it came back to me once I started! I enjoyed making it and exploring its origins. You too can make "Vera's Shortbread" if you wish.


4 oz caster sugar
8 oz butter
14 oz plain flour 


Pre-heat oven to 150c
Cream the sugar and butter
Fold in the flour gradually
Butter baking tray
Turn out mixture onto floured surface
Roll like a roly-poly
Cut slices about 1/2 inches
Place leaving space between on the buttered tray
Press fork into surface to decorate
Cook in oven until just starting to change colour (15-20 minutes)
They should still be soft but will harden while cooling
Remove from oven and place to cool on wire racks

Friday, December 5, 2014

Lemon and orange chicken

Last week when with the help of a friend I was cleaning out and sorting a high kitchen cupboard where I store preserves I discovered I had a jar with some syrup from a jar of Stephanie's Spiced Oranges.  I have used it in the past for basting roast chicken and talked of doing that again.  However, this time I chose to cook some chicken Maryland individual pieces rather than a whole chicken.  And the result was delicious!


2 portions of chicken Maryland
1 dessertspoon citron salt
6 dessertspoons of spiced oranges syrup


Preheat oven to 210c.
Arrange the chicken in a baking dish
Sprinkle with citron salt
Roast for 30 minutes
Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon over the spiced orange syrup
Return to oven and roast for another 20 minutes.

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