My Greek Cookbook Giveaway / Κλήρωση του Ελληνικού Βιβλίου Μου


Για Ελληνικά πιο κάτω

My Cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste, has finally been translated into Greek and published on Smashwords.

The Greek title of my cookbook is “Kopiaste stin Kouzina mou”, which means Welcome to my Kitchen.

If you can read Greek or have Greek friends who would like to win it, please leave your comment on my Greek blog.

collage cyprus mezedes

Κατά καιρούς πολλές από τις αναγνώστριες του blog μου με ρωτούσαν μέσω e-mail εάν το βιβλίο μου κυκλοφορεί και στα Ελληνικά.  Δυστυχώς δεν έχω βρει εκδότη για να έχετε το βιβλίο τυπωμένο αλλά τα ηλεκτρονικά βιβλία όλο και πιο πολύ πάνε να αντικαταστήσουν τα τυπωμένα γιατί:

α)  Πρώτο και κύριο το ηλεκτρονικό βιβλίο είναι πολύ πιο φθηνό από το τυπωμένο.

β)  Δεν χρειάζεται να βγείτε από το σπίτι σας να πάτε να το αγοράσετε.

γ)  Δεν σκίζεται, δεν χάνεται, δεν λερώνεται

δ)  Το κουβαλάτε εύκολα μαζί σας είτε στο κινητό σας ή στον υπολογιστή σας.

ε)   Έχετε την δυνατότητα να επιλέξετε το μέγεθος της γραμματοσειράς που θέλετε, για να σας διευκολύνει στο διάβασμα.

στ)  Όλο το βιβλίο έχει συνδέσμους (links) όπου έκολα μπορείτε να πάτε στην παραπομπή που έχει στη συνταγή.

ζ)  Δεν χρειάζεται να αγοράσετε ειδικό λογισμικό για να το κατεβάσετε.

Περισσότερα στο “Κοπιάστε στην Κουζίνα μου”.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi /Κοπιάστε και Καλή Όρεξη! ,

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Avocado Tzatziki and Mezedes


Μετάφραση της συνταγής στο τέλος

Mezes plural mezedes are the small plates of food served with wine, ouzo, zivania, tsikoudia in Greece, since it is customary to eat something while you drink.  In my cookbook I have a chapter with lots of mezedes but here are some meze dishes I made recently.

Snails, called saliggaria (σαλιγκάρια), chochlii or kohlii (Χ(κ)οχλιοί) in Crete,  karaoloi (καράολοι) in Cyprus belong to the class of gastropoda.

Some people may be grossed by the idea of eating snails but snails are mollusks, which are a group of animals that have a hard shell and are similar to clams or oysters, which I am sure a lot of you have tried and liked.  Snails should not be confused with slugs as they are not the same animal, although both are gastropods.  Read more about snails as well as Snails in Tomato Sauce with Feta here.

Lagana is a delicious Greek flatbread, the predecessor of focaccia, which is usually baked  on the first day of Lent of the Orthodox Easter.   You can find the recipe of Lagana with sun-dried tomatoes and garlicky olives here.

Hoummous is part of Cypriot mezedes and the classic recipe is included in my cookbook.  My twist to the classic recipe is adding roasted butternut squash and garlicky olives.  You can find the recipe here.

I prepared these delicacies with products sent to me by GreekFoodShop.  A lot of Greek/Cypriot products are not sold abroad so now yo can order these products online and make your own mezedes.

I wanted to try the extra virgin olive oil raw in other mezedes and have experimented with a few recipes.   A good quality extra virgin olive oil makes a  huge difference when used raw as you can really enjoy its fruity taste.

Avocado Tzatziki, recipe by Ivy

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice and some zest

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

A dash of freshly grated black pepper

200 ml Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

50 grams feta cheese

Directions:

Scoop the avocadoes into a food processor.  Add the olive oil, yoghurt, feta, coriander, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, juice of lime or lemon and zest and mix until creamy.

Taste and adjust.

Τζατζίκι από Αβοκάντοσυνταγή της Ήβης

Υλικά:

1 γινωμένο αβοκάντο

1 σκελίδα σκόρδο

2 κουταλιές έξτρα παρθένο ελαιόλαδο

2 κουταλιές κόλιανδρο, ψιλοκομμένο

2 κουταλιές φρέσκο μοσχολέμονο ή χυμό λεμονιού και το ξύσμα του

1/2 κουταλάκι χοντρό αλάτι

Φρεσκοτριμμένο μαύρο πιπέρι

200 ml γιαούρτι στραγγιστό

1 κουταλιά της σούπας μουστάρδα Dijon

50 γραμμάρια φέτα

Εκτέλεση:

Με ένα κουτάλι βγάζουμε το αβοκάντο στο μούλτι.  Προσθέτουμε το ελαιόλαδο, το γιαούρτι, τη φέτα, τον κόλιανδρο, τη μουστάρδα, το σκόρδο, αλάτι και πιπέρι, το χυμό μοσχολέμονου ή λεμονιού και το ξύσμα και ανακατεύουμε μέχρι να γίνει μια κρέμα.

Δοκιμάζουμε και προσαρμόζουμε.

Καλή Όρεξη!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

Kollyva: wheat berries dessert?


On March 3rd was my mother-in-law’s 40 days “Mnemosyno”.     (A mnemosyno is a special service held in the Orthodox Church for the repose of the souls of the dead).  “Kollyva”, which are prepared by the closest of kin of the deceased, are given at mnemosyna. Boiled barley wheat berries, usually sweetened, are highly symbolic and represent the soul of the deceased and symbolize everlasting life. Wheat represents the life cycle of death and regeneration.  You may read more details about this, in my original post.

 View from Nafplio

We left from Athens early on Saturday morning and passed from Nafplion and Assini as we had some things to deal regarding our house and then went to Sparti.  Although it was a beautiful, sunny weekend, it was very cold and there was snow everywhere.

Taygettus Mountain (Sparti)

We arrived there, around 2 p.m. and after lunch at 4 p.m. there was a service at the graveside.  After a short service by the priest, “kollyva” were offered to those attending.  (The picture is of kollyva I made during Psychosavvato, a few weeks before.  Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the ones offered at he mnemosyno which were bought from a confectionery shop at Sparta, decorated with silver dragees).    The store bought ones do look much prettier but tastewise, the ones I make are by far better, at least that’s what those who have tasted mine, told me.

This time I made them slightly different than the recipe in my cookbook.  I boiled the wheat berries with orange peel, a bay leaf and anise seeds.  I also added fresh coriander and a mixture of spices and powdered cookies.

Apart from the religious, ritual background behind this food, this is really something which you should try.  You can find the recipe in my cookbook  Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste,  page 132, as well as in Volume 2 of the e-cookbook.

It is listed under desserts because it is sweet (but not overly sweet) and very delicious and it is such a pity we only make this during such unpleasant occasions.  It is healthy and you can eat it any time of the day as a dessert, for breakfast or as a snack.

As is the custom, there is a gathering either at home but usually at a “kafeneio” (coffee shop) where Greek coffee, brandy and paximadia (sweet rusks) are offered to those attending the service.

On Sunday the memorial service takes place at church, after the divine liturgy, where kollyva are also offered when the service is over and close relatives and friends are invited for lunch.

On Saturday evening, after the visit to the coffee shop, we went back home and for several hours we (my three sister-in-laws and I) had to make the preparation for the food to be served the next day at my brother-in-law’s taverna, for about 60 people.   13 kilos of fresh octopus was washed, cleaned, cut and cooked.  1 kilo of taramas was made into Taramosalata and lots of cabbage was cut into very thin slices to make salads the following day.  The only thing which was cooked on Sunday was 12 kilos of spaghetti which was served together with the braised octopus.

My husband was not feeling very well.   He went and lied down but the pain increased and after a couple of hours it was intolerable.    He had an acute pain in the abdomen which spread towards the chest and his back.  My son and I took him to the hospital around 10 p.m.  

After lots of blood tests, a cardiograph and X-rays, there was no sign that there was any problem with his heart so a surgeon was called to examine him as well.  He was injected with a pain relief and after more tests, it was diagnozed that he gallbladder was irritated and had to stay in hospital for treatment.

My son was traveling Monday morning for England so my husband did not want to stay in Sparta.  After signing that he was being released on his own will, we finally went back home at 04:30 a.m.

Unfortunately we missed the church service and mnemosyno.  We woke up around 9 o’clock and had to find a drug store to buy pain relief pills which the doctor had prescribed before leaving the hospital.

We went to the taverna as all relatives were concerned, as by then they were informed that we passed the evening in the ER.

Unfortunately I was not in the mood of taking pictures and after lunch we returned to Athens.  My son left on Monday and an appointment was fixed with the doctor on Monday afternoon.  He wanted him at the hospital first thing on Tuesday morning where he was hospitalized for a week, until Monday morning, where he was treated with antibiotics and other medicine.

He is now on a strict low-fat diet and on the 24th April he has a new appointment for a new assessment and probably he will undergo surgery.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

How to self publish your e-books on Amazon


My first attemps to convert my Cookbook into an e-book was not easy. I started on Amazon Kindle but found the instructions very complicated. There was too much information there, which gave me a headache each time I started reading it.

After reading many tutorials and forum threads, someone mentioned on the Amazon forum that there is a great tutorial on Smashwords and they were absolutely right. If you follow their instructions it is 100% guaranteed that you will succeed to publish your e-book.

However Amazon is AMAZON!!!!, if you know what I mean and who wouldn’t want to be visible on one of the biggest sites on the web?

I know I did and I finally made it a couple of days ago and now my e-cookbooks are available on all Amazon stores!!

If you want to self publish here is a synopsis of what I have learned during the course of self publishing my e-cookbook Volume 1 and Volume 2 and if the information provided is incomplete, you can also download and find more information on the Kindle Publishing Guide:

A. Prepare your manuscript

  • Make a list of all the recipes you want to include. Arrange them either in alphabetical order or sort them into categories.
  • Add the recipes from your files or blog.
  • When done, highlight everything with Control A to copy content. Open Notepad and left shift or Control V to paste content. This will remove any formats or links.
  • Open a new word document and Save As .doc (not docx)
  • Prepare a Table of Content and add links.
  • Do not add page numbers, headers or footers or symbols.
  • Use Styles to format your document. Do not use a font size bigger than 14.
  • Do not use more than one line breaks. If you want to change a line do not press enter more than once.
  • After each recipe use a Page Break and add a link to your Table of Content.

B. Adding photos

  • Do not copy paste a picture but add each picture from Insert / Picture.
  • Do not resize it by dragging the picture from the corners. Resize your photos on Photoshop, Picassa or Gimp. The image should be a minimum 500 pixels wide and 1280 pixels high.
  • In the member’s area of the Kindle Desktop Publishing website there is a tutorial for formatting your manuscript document. Read through that document and follow the directions to make sure that your e-book displays properly.
  • Make sure that you carefully edit and proofread your book’s manuscript before you upload it.
  • Prepare you Book Cover.

C. Create a free account on the Kindle Desktop Publishing platform

Go to KDP/Amazon and sign up for a free publisher account.

D. Create your profile

Create your profile on Author Central

E. Publish your e-book

Write a concise and compelling description of your e-book and upload it to the Kindle Store. Last step: set your price, “Save and Publish” and if you have done everything correct you are now an AA, no not that kind of AA but an Amazon Author.

I used to think that you needed a Kindle device to read Kindle e-books but found out after publishing that you can download Kindle Cloud, which is a free application where you can read kindle books on your browser, even if you are not online.

Hope my article was useful to you but if you need more help, do not hesitate to contact me.

On a last note, if you have already purchased my book in print, my e-book on Smashwords or you have won a copy or it was sent to you as a gift or if you intend to buy one in the future, PLEASE write a sincere review.  You know that reviews are helpful to potential buyers, so please take a minute and write your review either on AMAZON or on SMASHWORDS.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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,

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

Aside


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,

The e-book has finally been published


First of all Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate today.

I know it’s been a very long time since my last post and I haven’t been around for several reasons.

It’s been almost a year since I published my cookbook “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” and I wish to thank all of you for buying it. If you liked it, you may consider sending it as a gift to your friends and family who like Greek food.

I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from people who have bought it but also a lot of e-mails from younger people, asking me if I could make it into an e-book.

I written in the past about my efforts which were unsuccessful and after several efforts I gave up.   During the summer, it was so hot I did not even consider spending hours and hours on the computer but last mont I decided to give it a last try.  After google searching I found out about Smashwords.

Evidently they have a very good tutorial and after several attemps of uploading it there, it was rejected several times but I persisted and following their instructions I had to start it all over again.  The recipes are still the same but all the formatting had to be done from scratch.

I finally made it and it was accepted!!!

The maximum capacity allowed for an e-book on Smashwords is 5 MB and my cookbook was way above that size. I didn’t want to remove any of the recipes included in cookbook and since I had more to add, I decided to divided into two volumes.

Volume 1, includes over 100 recipes: Mezedes, Side Dishes and Main Dishes.

Volume 2, includes over 130 receipes: Bread, Pies, Snacks and Desserts

The first volume was enriched by more traditional recipes, which due to the high cost on Createspace, I could not add.

The second volume was also enriched by recipes not posted in the printed book but I’ve also added lots of my cakes, spoon sweets, marmalades etc.

The best part is that you can download a free sample from each book, , in many formats: online reading (html or Java script), kindle, epub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others), pdf, rtf, lrf, palm doc, etc.).  All you have to do is follow the respective links given above.

You can see all the recipes included in the Table of Content and the best part is you get a free sample of some recipes.

Hope to hear your views of what you think about it.

Welcome, Kopiaste!



My name is Ivy Liacopoulou and I am from Cyprus.   I have published my first cookbook with my family recipes, which is called “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste”.     Mint & Cinnamon are predominant flavours in almost all Cypriot savoury dishes and Cinnamon & Blossom water in most of our desserts.    For those of you who do not know Greek, “kopiaste” is a polite way of inviting somebody to come in and literally means “make an effort to” but it is also synonymous to “welcome”.

We say “kopiaste” when we want to invite someone in our house, to share our food with or when we open our house to friends and invite them to come in and make themselves at home and offer them a cup of Greek Coffee and a sweet, as an act of hospitality.

So in my way I am inviting you to step inside my “virtual kitchen” through my cookbook, to taste my recipes as I will share with you all my recipes and all my “little” secrets.

If you are like me, uninspired by cookbooks that devoid of originality and authenticity, often poor victims of meddling editing and mega publishers pressuring tactics, and hungry for a true cookbook with authentic Cypriot recipes, then this book is for you. You may be a novice or an experienced cook, but “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” with its clutter free instructions and clean, pleasant images will definitely assist and delight you.

The recipes are written both in the U.S. and the metric system and substitutes are given for local ingredients. Cypriots are Orthodox and almost half of the year is fasting period, so a lot of the recipes are nistisima (vegan).

Mediterranean food is delicious, easy, inexpensive and, of course, healthy. In the cookbook you will find a lot of recipes, which reflect on the simplicity of the Mediterranean style of eating, ranging from the classic makaronia tou fourniou (pastitsio) and moussakas, sheftalia, ravioles, koupepia, bourekia, flaounes, kolokotes, daktyla, loukoumia (delights), mahalepi, to more complicated recipes such as bombari, zalatina, pastitsia (almond cookies), shiamishi, loukoumia tou gamou and more.

I have included a small sample of my own recipes as well, always based on the traditional principles of the Mediterranean diet, such as louvanosalata, a dip with yellow split peas, galeos marinatos (marinated tope fish), moussakas and pastitsio nistimo (vegan), sykotakia me lahanika (chicken giblets with vegetables), caramelized spiced dry fruit in Commandaria wine.

The cookbook is not only addressed to the lovers of Greek food in general but is also a handbook to all the Greeks of “diaspora” who will not only get back to the simple hearty fare of their childhood by recreating the recipes of their ancestors but will also come closer to their culture and heritage.

Order your copy now!