Merry Christmas and Recipes from my e-Cookbooks


During the Christmas period, I indulge into using more butter than I use throughout the whole year. But then what would Christmas be without making cookies and other desserts? After six months of diet I have learned to restrain myself and until today I have only tried a small piece from each to see how they taste.

As Socrates said “Everything in moderation”. So let’s all keep this in mind and enjoy the holidays!

A cake I have been making since I was single is Christmas Fruit Cake. I cannot imagine Christmas without it. However, each year I find myself doing something different. This year I made it with citrus flavour. I used some of my spoon sweets in it.  I added bergamot, orange, lemon, bitter orange and kumkuat fruit preserves. I also added my four citrus marmalade before the almond paste and orange liqueur.

This year I experimented by making a batch of some “unconventional” kourabiedes.   It’s not the icing sugar and cocoa powder you see outside but it’s what is inside which makes them unconventional.   My children who tried them said that although unusual, they were awesome.

Making a bigger dose of Kourabiedes from my Cookbook.

This year Melomakarona were made the classic way.

I also made some traditional Amygdalota, which is a no bake Almond Cookie, wrapped in icing sugar but also some wrapped in dark chocolate.

The recipes (or similar recipes) of the Christmas Cake, Orange liqueur, Fruit preserves, Four citrus Marmalade, Amygdalota Μelomakarona and Kourabiedes are included in my e-cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of  Cyprus, Kopiaste! Volume 2.  All the above recipes, except the Four Citrus Marmalade are also included in the printed cookbook.

I also made some chocolate star shaped cookies using some of my Spoon Sweets (fruit preserves) to add a Christmas touch.

 

Spoon Sweets (Fruit Preserves) for my cakes

 

Chocolate Fruit Preserve Cookies

 

Choco Orange cookies

 

Wishing you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

Video with easy way to roll out Phyllo and make Kotopita (Chicken Galette)

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Kotopita is one of many types of meat pites. This particular pie is made with a horiatiko (village) phyllo pastry crust, which is very easy to handle and roll. I make kotopita with different kinds of fillings and two similar recipes are included in Volume 2 of my e-cookbook.

You can serve this Kotopita during the holidays as a starter. If you like you can make smaller ones. Grease your muffin tins with olive oil, line it with phyllo, add the filling and cheese on top and form into mini galettes.

The previous video, where I made Spanakopita, was in English but it wasn’t fair for the readers of my Greek blog, so this time I preferred not to speak but to add subtitles in both languages.

Kotopita (Chicken Galette, Recipe by Ivy

Horiatiko Phyllo

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams (1.10 lbs) all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup tepid water plus 2 tbsp
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup halloumi or graviera cheese

Kotopita filling:

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: about 45 minutes

Makes: 6 – 8 depending on size

  • 250 grams (8.80 oz) grated graviera or halloumi (divided). Some in phyllo, some in bechamel sauce and the remaining on top
  • Sesame seeds

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams (1.10 lbs) chicken breasts, boiled, skinned and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup frozen corn, boiled for 10 minutes
  • 1 cup bell peppers (yellow, red, orange, green), julienned
  • ¼ cup, finely chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp spice mixture
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika

Bechamel sauce:

  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup graviera or halloumi

Potato and pumpkin puree

This is optional. I had some leftover Potato and pumpkin puree but you can add only some grated cheese one top.

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk

Directions:

Prepare the dough.

Sift the flour and mix in the salt. Put the flour in a large bowl and pour in the oil. Using your fingertips rub the oil until the flour has absorbed the oil. Add the egg and mix. Finally add the water gradually (more or less water may be necessary). Mix until the dough is soft but not sticky on your hands. Place on a floured surface and knead for a few minutes.

You can also make the dough in your stand mixer. Attach the dough paddle. Put all the ingredients, except water, in the mixer bowl and mix on low speed. Gradually add water until the dough is ready and does not stick on the walls of the bowl. Test with your fingers to see if it is sticky. If it is, add more flour. Set aside to rest.

Boil chicken for 30 minutes and when it cools, cut into small pieces.

To make the Bechamel sauce, heat the milk and set aside.

Beat the egg, mixing with a fork and set aside.

In a saucepan heat the olive oil and add the flour and mix thoroughly to make a roux. Add salt and nutmeg.

Add the warm milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and creamy. Remove from the heat.

Gradually add the beaten egg, a little at a time slowly, but stirring constantly until it is incorporated. Mix in the cheese.

Add the chicken, the parsley, the corn and bell peppers. Add salt, pepper, paprika and seasoning and mix.

Knead the dough for a few minutes and divide it into 6 – 8 pieces. Form them into a ball, dusting each piec with flour.

Flatten the disc and using a dowel rod roll out the dough. Flour your working surface and the dough regularly, each time rotating it and sometimes turning it over.

Place a 20 cm / 8 inch diametre plate on top and cut a round circle. Add 2 heaped spoonfuls of chicken filling in the centre. Then add the puree and finally some grated cheese to cover the filling.

Fold the outer parts of the galette into the centre, forming a round galette.

Line a large baking tin with parchment paper and place the galettes.

Beat the egg with a fork and mix in the milk. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C / 350o F, for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and set aside for 10-15 minutes to cool before serving.

The special offer with 25% discount is still valid for all the readers of my blog until the 31st December, 2011 . You can use Code JB99K for Volume 1 and Code EP93W for Volume 2.

Last but not least, if you would like to buy the Cookbook in print and are worried that it will not reach you in time, well if you buy it directly from me paying via Paypal, I will also send you the two e-cookbooks, free of charge, within a few hours. Please contact me by e-mail at ivyliac AT gmail DOT com or through the contact page.

If you buy the book or e-cookbook, a review is always welcome.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

Special Offer for my Cookbooks and Video: How to make Phyllo from Scratch and Spanakopita

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I am very excited that yesterday I made my first video. It was nothing planned but it was one of those rare days that I was alone at home. I had already done the preparation of the dough and filling for Spanakopita, when the idea of making a video popped up.

I know that there are a lot of mistakes in this video and my friends on facebook gave me some good advice for next time, if ever I decide to do this again, and if I do, I hope next time to do a better job.

What I did was set the tripod on the only free space available in the kitchen and focus on the working area. As you see from the picture, the stand mixer is where the fruit are and right behind me is the kitchen table.

In order to speak to the camera I had to lower down my body and also later on, while rolling the dough I had to put my back to the camera as otherwise I could not reach the pasta attachment.

As I said, it was not planned and the dough I had made was more than it takes for one spanakopita as I wanted to use the rest to make some Spicy Sausage Rolls (that will have to wait for a future recipe).

Nevertheless, with all the technical mistakes in it, I think that you will understand how to make a good Greek Spanakopita.

Spanakopita Strifti, from my Cookbook but also, included in my e-cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste, Volume 2

Spanakopitta (or spanakopita) is the most popular Greek pie, made with spinach, aromatic herbs and feta cheese. Other types of cheeses, like anari or myzithra, which are soft whey cheeses, similar to ricotta can be combined.

How to make Phyllo

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Resting time: 30 minutes

Rolling phyllo: 30 minutes, depending on your skills

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams (1.10 lbs) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 200 ml water (about 1 cup)

Spanakopita Strifti

Preparation time: 60 minutes

Baking time: 45 – 60 minutes

Serves: 6 – 9 (as a main dish) or 18 as a snack

Ingredients:

  • Dough (as above)
  • Olive oil for brushing (about 1 cup)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 kilo (2.20 lbs) fresh or frozen spinach
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dill, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 300 grams (0.65 lbs) feta, crumbled
  • 3 large eggs
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour and mix in the salt. Put the flour in a large bowl and pour in the oil. Using your fingertips rub the oil until the flour has absorbed the oil. Add vinegar and then water gradually (more or less water may be necessary). Mix until the dough is soft but not sticky on your hands. Place on a floured surface and knead for a few minutes.
  2. You can also make the dough in your stand mixer. Attach the dough paddle. Put all the ingredients, except water, in the mixer bowl and mix on low speed. Gradually add water until the dough is ready and does not stick on the walls of the bowl. Test with your fingers to see if it is sticky. If it is, add more flour.
  3. After your dough is ready, you should leave it to rest for half an hour. This resting time is necessary for the gluten to develop and make the dough elastic. If gluten does not develop properly, you will roll out the dough and then it will shrink again.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Shape them into balls and then press to flatten. While working with the dough, flour your working surface regularly with flour, unless you are working on a non-stick mat. Also dust the dough regularly so that it will not stick.
  5. Always keep the remaining dough covered, so that it does not dry.
  6. Depending on your pasta machine, it is usually numbered from 1 – 6 and on some other attachments on stand mixers like mine, the machines are numbered from 1 – 9.
  7. Set your pasta machine to the smallest number which is number 1. Each time you roll it out, dust it again with flour and continue the same procedure increasing the numbers, until you get the desired thickness
  8. Meantime, wash the spinach, removing the stems or any damaged leaves and dry. Frozen spinach reduces the time of preparation considerably but defrost before using. Squeeze it with your hands to remove all fluids. Alternatively, if fresh spinach is used, when still wet you can put them in a big saucepan, without any additional water, and bring to a soft boil for about 5 minutes, until it wilts. It will become soft and its volume will be reduced. Place it in a colander to cool down and when it can be handled, drain any water by squeezing it. In both cases,cut it into smaller pieces.
  9. Preheat oven to 180o C / 350ο F.
  10. Place the spinach in a large bowl and add ¼ cup of the olive oil, the onions and herbs, as well as the eggs, feta and spices and mix well.
  11. Grease a 30 x 40 cm (12 x 15.75”) or 30 cm – 12” baking tin with olive oil. The remaining olive oil will be used to brush the phyllo.
  12. Divide the dough into six parts and roll out a thin phyllo.
  13. Place on your working surface and cut it in the middle. Join the two pieces to make a bigger square or rectangle piece and brush it generously with olive oil.
  14. Put some filling on one edge. Roll, once to cover filling and press the two sides so that the filling will not come out. While rolling brush it with olive oil and when done, twist the two ends towards opposite direction. This will stretch the dough and make it even bigger. Place in an oiled baking tin one roll next to the other.
  15. Brush on top generously with olive oil.
  16. Bake for about 1 hour or until golden on top.

Hope you enjoyed the video and please let me know what you think:)

 Special Offer for my Readers:

Volume 1 includes a selection of the best Greek-Cypriot savory dishes, mezedes, side dishes and salads. This goes to Jamie, of Life’s a Feast.

Volume 2, includes Breads, bread products, Pies, Snacks, Preserves and a lot of Desserts. This goes to Rosa, of Rosa’s Yummy Yums.

The special offer with 25% discount is still valid for all the readers of my blog until the 31st December, 2011 . You can use Code JB99K for Volume 1 and Code EP93W for Volume 2.

Last but not least, if you would like to buy the Cookbook in print and are worried that it will not reach you in time, well if you buy it directly from me paying via Paypal, I will also send you the two e-cookbooks within a few hours. Please contact me by e-mail at ivyliac AT gmail DOT com or through the contact page.

If you win or buy the book or e-cookbooks, a review is always welcome.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

Happy Holidays and Giveaway of e-cookbooks


With Christmas just two weeks away, I would like to thanks my readers with a giveaway of each volume of my e-cookbooks.

The books are available on the following formats for you to choose:

Online Reading (HTML, good for sampling in web browser)

Online Reading (JavaScript, experimental, buggy)

Kindle (.mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps)

Epub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others)

PDF (good for reading on PC, or for home printing)

RTF (readable on most word processors)

LRF (Use only for older model Sony Readers that don’t support .epub)

Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)

Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting)

Plain Text (view) (viewable as web page)

Volume 1 includes over 100 of the best Greek-Cypriot savory dishes, mezedes, side dishes and salads.

Volume 2, you will find Breads, bread products, Pies, Snacks and a lot of Desserts.

Now, how do you win the book?

1. Follow Kopiaste by subscribing to this blog. If you’re on Facebook, ‘Like‘ Kopiaste.. to Greek Hospitality.

2. Share this post on any social network. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, anything goes. Just use your imagination.

3. Blog about it on your blog. Why not let as many friends who love Greek-Cypriot recipes know about the book’s giveaway and what you like about the book.

4. Last, leave a comment on Kopiaste to let me know what you did. Your comment here also counts as one entry.

Every separate post you make counts as an entry for the book, so share it a ton!

I will pick 2 winners at random, on Friday the 16th of December. Make sure to check back here to see if you won!

If you don’t win the book and still want to buy it, I am offering you a 25% discount. You can use Code JB99K for Volume 1 and Code EP93W for Volume 2. Both offers are valid until 31st December, 2011, so why not send it as a gift to your friends as well or offer it as a giveaway on your blog, while it lasts. I promise you won’t regret it… 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,