Archive for May, 2010

Okra, home made bread, half fried half baked and pasta bake with garides saganaki

May 21, 2010

I love cooking for friends, so despite the workload I’ve been facing recently, I took a little time off and started cooking a meal consisting of a starter dish and bread, I’d never made before and just started creating in my mind as I went along with it. As the weather was warm and reminded me of summers in Greece, I decided to go for okra.

Okra us a superhealth food, but hardly a dish you easily find in restaurants in Greece

Okra is a superhealth food, but hardly a dish you easily find in restaurants in Greece

I was a bit unsure of the success okra would have at my small dinner party, in Greece you’d hardly serve this dish for dinner nor find it in restaurants, but only during lunch time and especially at places serving more home-cooked food than fine dining. But the nutritients in this dish and the medicinal properties okra has really makes this simple dish deserve a wider acceptance than it gets.

It’s made usually in a stew with herbs and tomato sauce, with meat or chicken or vegetarian. I remember last time I cooked bamies, the Greek word for okra. It was at my Greek Cookery Class a year ago, when I for the first time had one vegan person attending the class. And as I try to cater for all, I was put on the spot! What to cook for a class this time? No milk, no goat’s milk, no cheese etc. And then I remembered, one of the vegetables so few people know how to cook, so I introduced okra to the class. We made two versions of the dish, one with chicken and one without. I was surprised to see what success this dish was, who would’ve imagined?

So yesterday, I had that in mind, hoping my guests would like the stew with okra. But just in case, I made a hearty and rich starter with aubergines, pasta and garides saganaki baked in the oven!

Garides saganaki - prawn saganaki is a starter eaten on its won with bread. But I finished cooking it in the oven with the pasta and aubergines, in order to make it a more filling starter.

The bottom of the dish has some pre-baked aubergine slices, then pasta, prawns and topped with the sauce of the garides (=prawn) saganaki to keep both pasta and prawns moist after baking it in the oven.

On top of that, I made some dough for bread, but lacking time to bake it in the oven, I thought it’d be quicker to fry the bread in the pan first and finish off baking it for a few minutes in the oven.

It looks like halloumi grande... but it's actually bread fried in the pan from dough to this

The bread turned out so delicious that I ended up eating one whole piece just off the pan. Fairly easy to make, but so easy to burn, so at times the whole kitchen was flooded with smoke…

Garides saganaki with pasta bake, fried and baked home-made bread and salad

Three fairly simple dishes, which took some time to cook. The trick with most Greek cooking is that it is not so difficult to make, you just need the patience for it!

Kali orexi – Enjoy your meal! And if you’re inspired to try some of the authentic home-cooked Greek cuisine, I look forward to cooking for you at my Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club on the 5th June https://greekcookeryclass.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/greekfoodlovers-supper-club-saturday-5-june-2010/

Email to sign up: greekcookeryclass(at)gmail.com

Credits: My garides saganaki is usually a dish I prepare on it’s own or serve as a main with pasta, which is not a Greek way to eat it. But this time I was inspired to make a pasta bake with aubergines inspired from kalofagas’ blog where he used mince, pasta and aubergines for his baked dish. I took the idea of baking the food and added my pasta, aubergines and garides saganaki to create the garides saganaki pasta bake. If you want to check out a great Greek food blog visit kalofagas on http://kalofagas.ca/lang/el/2010/05/19/makaronopita-with-eggplant-μακαρονόπιτα-με-μελιτζανες/

All pictures and text ©Greekfoodlover 2010

Advertisements

Jamie Oliver does Athens review

May 19, 2010

I’ve was thrilled to find out via twitter about Jamie Oliver doing Greece. What dishes would he make and more importantly how would he make them, was really what made me search online and find the link showing the programme for us who have no TV sets!

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamie-does/4od#3070154

A shame he went to Athens though when there are so many better options to go for great Greek food, but what I found as I was tweeting along as I was watching his culinary adventures in the Greek capital was that Jamie and I share one thing, the love for Greece and Greek food.

But it’s always more interesting to see a non-Greek person’s take on Greek food and have them have a go at it, what do they do to the ingredients and the traditional recipes?

So here is what I found and commented on my twitter www.twitter.com/Greekfoodlover

Funnily enough Jamie Oliver’s programme starts with a gypsy song I’ve played many times on my DJ nights in London… maybe Jamie has been incognito and watched me DJ?! It’s by Shantel, German DJ and musician whose immense love for Eastern European and Greek music outgrew his electronic music and DJing as a young man. Here is the tune on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKT9rpcXeX4

The song’s called Mahalageasca!

But back to why I was watching Jamie, the Greek food of course.

First dish we see Jamie prepare is very similar to what we did in my Greekcookeryclass last night 18 May! Check our pix onwww.facebook.com/GreekCookery

And most dishes he prepared and cooked we have actually made in the Greek Cookery Class that I run each month in London. The roasted peppers, kebabs, souvlakia and tzatziki, check check and check again. But hang on a second, wild mint in the tzatziki? And vinegar? Oh dear, and OH NO!

Wild mint, this is what we drink at home when we say mint tea! Way to go Jamie for finding this ingredient, but we don’t use mint in tzatziki! But the killer was seeing vinegar in tzatziki. However, we have a great saying in Greek, peri orexeos, kolokythopita! It means you make your pumpkin pie in any way your appetite and feeling wants you to! So no right way, no wrong way!

I loved how he spoke a little bit about history and all this talk about the Acropolis from Jamie… will he mention the ElginMarbles? No way, too touchy a subject of course and the Queen might not let him back into the country afterwards. Nevertheless, he did mention that the barbeque used for the yummy pork souvlakia (=skewers) was more ancient than the Acropolis.

In comparison to Jamie’s dish and my Greek Cookery Class, we made our own pitta bread in the class.

Jamie moved on to making a pistachio and honey cake which he was stabbing to get the syrup through and into interesting but probably not the most aesthetic thing to do. There are ways to get the syrup into a sponge, but Jamie chose to stab his way through and served the cake with a dollop of yoghurt and strawberries. This is probably what I find as an English translation of a dish, but works probably fairly well. Adding yoghurt instead of cream is definitely a healthier option and the yoghurt will take the edge off the sweet sensation of the rich honey flavours and make it milder.

And speaking of yoghurt, Jamie Oliver did say loud and clear that the best yoghurt in the world is Greek Yoghurt!

And even if I don’t put any dill in the Greek Salad like Jamie did in his version of it, he gets some Greek Yoghurt points for using oregano and a whole block of feta cheese on there! And it was fantastic seeing him dance hasaposerviko, even though he later said the dancing of Essex is far superior, very funny moves but really! Kudos for doing it on national tv.

Fishsoup made by seawater, potatoes, fish and tomatoes was an eye-opener as I’ve never seen seawater being an ingredient in a dish. Well done Jamie Oliver for portraying a culinary trip to Greece and showcasing some of the foods you get in Greece along with talking about some of the extra fine ingredients Greece is well known for.

If you’re keen to cook more Greek food in London, follow and join my fan group on www.facebook.com/GreekCookery

and if you’re lazy and don’t feel like cooking but want to have some of the best Greek home-cooked food available in London, sign up for my Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club on Saturday 5 June 2010, 6:30-10pm. For £35 you’ll get meze for starters with dolma, tzatziki, home-baked bread and meatballs, the yummiest moussaka you’ve ever had with a fresh and delicious Greek Salad and finally if you’ve got room, a selection of Greek desserts. All foods are prepared by me with recipes going back to my grandmothers! Book your slot via email on greekcookeryclass(at)gmail.com

Hoping to see you on the 5 June! Your chef and hostess Elisavet who’s been featured on Foodepedia, Red Magazine and has been selected amongst hundreds of applicants to take part at ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish competition and qualified with a Greek Dish, is looking forward to showcasing some of the best Greek dishes you’d ever set your taste buds in!


Garlic Trail

May 19, 2010

There are some foods that are smelly and they stay with you like a stalker! Even though, I use garlic in cooking, I don’t like the smell it leaves behind when I eat it raw. So yesterday, when we had our Greek Cookery Class (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=179311&id=99478232600) two of the participants were making tzatziki. The famous Greek yoghurt dip with lots of garlic in it http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2981345&id=99478232600 was one of the side dishes we prepared in the 31st Greek Cookery Class yesterday.

This is one of the most known and adored sides or dips when it comes to Greek cuisine, and what we do in the class usually, is that I let the participants making the tzatziki decide how much or little garlic to use. This time, the two tzatzikia we made had 2 different strengths in garlic. One had a very strong garlicky taste, almost leaving a slight burning sensation on your tongue and definitely killing any cold and the other tzatziki was a bit milder.

Nevertheless, the aftermath of the tzatziki is that no matter how tasty it is and fills your pitta bread really nicely together with the soutzoukakia and fresh tomatoes and peppers, it leaves a garlic trail that is impossible to erase. image

Once a participant to the Greek Cookery Class asked me, what can we do to eliminate the garlic taste afterwards? I replied nothing, leave the garlic out is what you can do, but then the tzatziki is not a tzatziki anymore, but something else.

You can try eating lots of apples, chewing on parsley leaves and stalks, chewing and swallowing cloves and drinking lots of water, but the garlic smell will still leave a small trail behind!

So just remember that garlic is good for you! It’s got antibacterial qualities, prevents heart disease and high cholesterol, well the list is so long I could go on for pages…

The Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club on 5th June will definitely have some tzatziki, for full menu and details how to book your slot visit: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116686141705705&ref=mf

PS you don’t have to eat the tzatziki if you don’t want to:)

Supper Club with home cooked Greek food

May 19, 2010

It’s been a fantastic and challenging year to teach Greek Cookery Class and with over 30 classes, who’d have thought it would get this far? Doing different dishes every time and having both new customers and lots of repeat customers, every class has been a joy to teach, because everyone who comes in makes it so much fun!

In the most recent classes we’ve had Fage sponsoring us with Greek Total Yoghurt and O’Sheas of Knightsbridge with top quality meat for the stifado and meatball/soutzoukakia classes.

But now I’m taking a short break before announcing the next Greek Cookery Class, for two reasons. Next month I’ll be competing for ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish with a Greek dish and I’ll be running my first Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club in London. So I need to focus all my energy on cooking on tv in a competition…. (gulp) and preparing a lovely menu of home cooked Greek food for my first Supperclub in London. But soon enough the next Greek Cookery Class date will be announced.

In the meantime the menu for my Greekfoodlovers’ Supperclub is here:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116686141705705&ref=mf

Come and join us for the best home-cooked Greek food London has to offer

Greek Cookery Class 18 May

May 19, 2010

Pictures uploaded from last night’s class on www.facebook.com/GreekCookery A big thank you to our 2 lovely and generous sponsors Fage for the Greek Total Yoghurt and to London’s premium number one butcher O’Shea’s Butchers of Knightsbridge (http://osheasbutchers.com) for providing us with fantastic quality mince!

We had an evening full of cooking, eating, socialsing and having a great time.

Here’s our menu:

Giaourtlou, with meatballs, and aubergine meatballs (veggie option), tzatziki, fresh vegetables, home-made pitta bread, oregano bread with tanomenon sorva soup and lots of great company.

Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club Saturday 5 June 2010

May 15, 2010

I’ve been running Greek Cookery Class successfully for over a year now have had my classes featured in both Red Magazine

Greek Cookery Class featured in Red Magazine

and on Foodepdia.

http://www.foodepedia.co.uk/interviews/2010/feb/elisavet.htm

While I love teaching my Greek Cookery Classes on how to make delicious and home-cooked Greek food, using quality ingredients that are easily found in London, I still have one question from those come in and cook and eat with us at the classes. Where in London do you eat good Greek food apart from Greek Cookery Class?

So I’m launching the Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club on Saturday 5 June with the purpose to give you one of the best Greek meals London has to offer. I’ll be cooking for you and the menu:

Dinner Menu

Starters: Dolma, tzatziki, meatball, bread

Main Course: Moussaka and Greek Salad

Desserts: Selection of Greek Desserts

Greek Tea or Coffee

Please note that all food is homecooked, even the bread, no prefab and no ready made meals!

On Saturday 5th June 2010 from 6:30 to 10pm you can come and eat delicious home-cooked Greek food made by me, at an informal and friendly setting surrounded by other Greek food lovers. You bring your own drink and you won’t have to wash the dishes afterwards.

Veggie option available, any other dietary needs, please request on booking as I try my best to cater for all. As usual you can book for more people than yourself. You’ll be sitting around large tables and able to enjoy the company of others if you only book one slot.

Price: £35 (includes all food and service charge) Advanced payment only!

Contact: Book and payment via greekcookeryclass(at)gmail.com

First come first served, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Location: between Liverpool Street and Old Street stations, exact address disclosed upon payment.

Looking forward to having you eat at the Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club 5th June 2010.

There are also pictures from our 30 previous classes and parties on

http://www.facebook.com/GreekCookery and you can follow us on www.twitter.com/Greekfoodlover