Archive for December, 2010

Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and The City loves Greek food and Greece!

December 17, 2010

Could this be true? Well according to the interview she did recently on promoting the new Sex and The City movie 2 for this year, the character playing Carrie simply adores Greece and its food. Watch her say which her favourite Greek dishes are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xvMk8CyEw0&feature=player_embedded

All the dishes she mentions in her interview, we’ve either cooked in a Greek Cookery Class or I’ve cooked and served them in a Greek Supper Club.

But what surprised me the most is that she notices the difference between the authentic Greek food and the fact that she is knowledgeable about dishes that even Greeks don’t know about, like fava.

Fava at Greek Cookery Class

Fava at Greek Cookery Class

I personally tasted fava early this year for the first time in London, when a Greek chef from Crete – Tonya Karandinou – visited the UK to showcase some real Greek food from her region. And I’ve been hooked since. I went to Thessaloniki on a couple of occasions and was ordering fava and then back in London I thought let’s introduce this dish to the Greek Cookery Class. So we’ve cooked it once in a class, it takes about 2 hours of stirring and giving all the attention to the fava. But it’s worth it. I also made it as one of the 5-6 starters at my last Greek Supper Club, where the guests loved it.

For those who have not tried fava, it’s like houmous, but much tastier. The fava bean in itself, apart from being tasty when prepared and cooked the right way, has a lot of nutritients and benefits as well for our body and health.

 

Horta, is greens, those things Greek ladies in Greece pick up in their gardens and boil gently and add some lemon juice and Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil to. We made this as a starter once in a Greek Cookery Class as well and some students thought it looked like a Japanese dish. Others were less impressed with the looks of the dish. None of the fava or horta have the perfect look, but their taste is way superior compared to their humble appearance.

And as for Sarah Jessica Parker’s love for the real Greek salad, that’s becoming hard to get back anywhere outside Greece, and even in Greece where the feta cheese is sometimes sprinkled over as if it were oregano…

Greek Salad at the first Greek Supper Club ever!

As the year’s coming to an end, I hope more of you will find time to spend the last days of 2010 to cook those dishes you love for yourselves and those around you. The best spice and herb you can add to any dish, is to eat it in company!

I’ll be cooking both at Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Christmas is a smaller party for family and dear ones, but New Year’s Eve will be the final Greek Supper Club for 2010. The menu includes a lot of Greek dishes and desserts and somewhere in there we also have added a Swedish surprise, renskav, reindeer with roasted parsnips…

The full menu is in my blog NYE Supper Club and also on Total Greek Yoghurt’s website as they’ve been a regular sponsor of my Greek Cookery Class and Greek Supper Club events with their yoghurt.

To book a space for the supper club on New Year’s Eve here in London, get in touch on greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com

And a Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all the Greek and other food lovers out there!

 

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Roast pork with apricots, prunes and quince

December 7, 2010

For years now I find it difficult to follow recipes, I can read and I understand them, but sometimes I just can’t be bothered. Especially when I cook for myself that is, I just try to remember. So when I was composing the menu and trying to find what courses I would include for my NYE Supper Club I was thinking of two things.

Which dishes are most popular and the yummiest when it comes to Greek food and secondly but more importantly, what do my Greek relatives and Greek family have for dinner on New Year’s Eve. I know in some parts of Greece, turkey is on the menu! I’m not talking politics, but food, the big bird turkey! My family, however, has not had the turkey tradition at all, it’s mostly been pork, lamb and other creations my mum would cook, always with a free mind. So no New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day lunches and dinners have ever been the same!

So I digged out this idea of roast pork with prunes and discussed the recipe with my mum and a cousin. They both liked it and my cousin added that apricots and prunes and pork are kolasi…. hell! But Hell meaning a good thing, it’s so tasty in other words we call it hell. It doesn’t make sense in English but in Greek it does.

I bought my pork, apricots and prunes and found a couple of quince fruits in my fruit basked at home so I decided to add them as well. A few years ago some friends from Thessaloniki cooked pork with quince and I thought the pork with three types of fruit appealed to me as an idea. Would it work as a complete dish?

What better way than to try it. So I put some salt and pepper on the leg of pork, just a small part of the leg. Poured some olive oil over, (Greek Extra Virgin) and oregano and scattered the dried apricots and prunes around. I cut the quince in wedges and added that too, a tiny splash of water in the tray, some mustard and lemon mixed with some olive oil to baste the pork while baking and then I kept myself busy making a karydopitta (Greek walnut cake) so I would not be staring at the oven all the time.

As the piece of meat was only just about 1 kilo, it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to roast.

Once it came out of the oven, I left it to cool and settle for 15 minutes and cut thin thin slices of the pork and added some prunes, apricots and quince to the plate with a small dollop of mustard.

Kali orexi!

That’s the part of the cooking process, thinking about what I want to do, discussing the recipe idea from my head with those around me and then execution and as I look around what’s more in the kitchen, I add it in the dish.

We’ve got pork on the menu for the NYE Supper Club in London http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=180439125306114&index=1 and now having tested my idea, this will be what I’ll be cooking for my guests on the last day of the year, together with a big selection of salads and mezedes for starters.

I hope you can join us and if not what will you be eating for New Year’s?

Three people to thank for your food!

December 2, 2010

In Sweden after finishing a meal, the most polite thing to do is to say Tack för maten! Thanks for the food! In Greek I don’t think we use any  particular expression like that but we show our gratitude to the meal, the lunch or dinner by emptying our plates and going for seconds, or even thirds for us with a big appetite!

Stuffed tomato - gemista with stuffed onions

Stuffed tomato - gemista and stuffed onions

Of course we say thank you in Greece as well, don’t get me wrong, but just not so explicitly.

As a kid, I remember my grandfather would always carry groceries home, but he’d never cook any food. I never asked him if he could cook, but even if he did, the kitchen was and is my grandmother’s kingdom. Granddad would carry the ingredients home and grandma would cook, as simple as that. And she wouldn’t want anyone in her kitchen really.

And so after a big meal, or a small meal, when everyone was full and satisfied, my grandfather would say the most wonderful and all inclusive thank you there is:

Table is set, mussles saganaki and garlic bread on the sides and spanakotyropitta in the middle

Table is set, mussles saganaki and garlic bread on the sides and spanakotyropitta in the middle

I thank the person who brought home the ingredients, the person who cooked the meal and I also thank those who ate the food!

©Elisavet Sotiriadou 2010