Archive for the ‘Greece’ Category

Greek Cookery Class – Lahanodolmades and special treat with vine leaves from Drama!

May 23, 2011

There is a lot of preparation that goes into making lahanodolmades, or sarmadakia as we call them in my family. This is a dish you rarely find in a restaurant and this is a dish that I love so much that I wouldn’t want anyone else to cook it for me, in case they got it wrong.

So when my amazing students who had never done this Greek dish ever before made these cabbage leaf dolmades, I was so impressed!

We had to remove the stem carefully to free up the leaves from our six cabbages. This step is quite time consuming along with softening the leaves in simmering water, so the cabbages where prepared and only one was left for everyone to practice on. The hardest thing and most technical bit is rolling the leaves and making them just about right in terms of how tight and loose they’ve got to be. But not only do we have to prepare the cabbage leaves, we also have to make the filling with rice, mince and herbs and spices.

Chopping the herbs finely always causes students to ask how finely, but the question that most of the Greek Cookery Class participants were asking was how to chop without bruising the herbs?

Some might notice here that even though I’m talking about cabbages, you can spot some vine leaves in the cabbage crowd. You’re right! Because we had some extra filling we got out some vine dolma from the freezer. Those little vine leaves originate from Drama, where my grandma picked them last year from her garden and prepared them for me. So without any more cabbage, these came to our rescue as a special extra treat so not to waste the remaining filling.

We also made the famous augolemono sauce based on lots of lemons and eggs, augolemono is found in soups like giouvarlakia and magiritsa but also in frikasse.

And bread and a few more sides.

Sitting down around the table to eat is the most appreciated and fun bit of each Greek Cookery Class. Everyone is getting ready to taste the foods they’ve been cooking and after all the hard work – satisfaction and a full stomach! What is better than that? One thing actually, the class might be over but as everyone leaves they get to bring home a generous doggy bag of the food!

Next class is on 1 June, it will be an all vegan class! That means no animal products! But that does not mean we’re going to be making salads only and eating raw food!

Bookings are as usual via greekcookeryclass(AT)

For those of you too lazy to cook and only interested in eating the food, then join our Mousaka special Greek Supper Club this Sunday 29 May.

Full menu and further details here:

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 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?

Greek food at Riverside studios – London Saturday 20 Nov

November 15, 2010

Everybody is aware of Ancient Greeks and its importance for the arts and culture! But what is going on in the Greek arts world today?

This you can find out at Ekon Festival which is its third year and continues to present us with Greek contemporary art and music. This year it’s hosted at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith London and because we Greeks love our food, yes you didn’t think I was going to blog about something without mentioning the magic word, your ticket will include Greek nibbles as well in the price.

The chef behind Greek Cookery Class and Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Clubhas prepared a menu of three things for you to nibble, the famous tyropittakia made with Greek feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil and Greek Yoghurt, melomakarona for those with a sweet tooth and Greek meatballs you simply cannot stop yourself from eating.

For details on the programme visit:

To buy tickets get in touch with Riverside Studios:

Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club – Sunday 5 December

November 15, 2010

I’ve been running Greek Cookery Class for 1,5 years and I never really thought this adventure of introducing and teaching how to make Greek food to non-Greeks would come this far. But it has! And I’m proud of all the students of all ages, and from all over the world who find such interest in cooking, are so excited about learning and so focussed in achieving to create all the Greek dishes I make them cook. It’s a pleasure to watch them work hard, but it’s also a wonderful experience to see and to taste the food they make, especially when it tastes as if I’ve made it myself!

Making the Pontic soup Tanomenon Sorva

Making the Pontic soup Tanomenon Sorva

Food and eating is such a big part of Greek culture, to eat together and gather around food and spend time around the table with family, friends and acquaintances is one of the most important things we ought to do every day.

Making spanakotyropitta

Making spanakotyropitta

A few months ago, I started my Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Club, where I cook and my guests come and eat, as opposed to the Greek Cookery Class where we all cook and eat together, sometimes wash the dishes together and always get a generous doggy bag to take home for lunch or dinner the day after.

Greekfoodlovers' Supper Club October

Greekfoodlovers' Supper Club October

We’re approaching the end of the year and so my last Greek Supper Club will be held on Sunday 5 December, with some of the best Greek food London has to offer. Do you want to join? If so don’t miss out to book as there are only limited spaces available and the details are below:

Menu (yes you get all of these dishes):

Starters: Lagana bread, olives, fava, tzatziki and sweet red peppers with feta cheese.

Main: Pastitsio (Greek lasagna with the hose-looking pasta) served with a cauliflower and caper salad on the side.

Desserts: Secret selection of Greek home-made desserts.

All of this at the price of £35 per person and the portions are Greek i.e. generous!

For veg option or other dietary needs, request on booking.

Advanced payment only.

First come first served, so please book early to avoid disappointment!! I had to turn down 3 people last time so book in time as space is limited.

Book via: greekcookeryclass(AT)

I also offer personalised gift vouchers if you want to give the supperclub as a present to your loved ones.

For pictures and info and to get a feel of what we’re up to visit: to see our previous 40 classes and Greekfoodlovers’ Supper Clubs

Press and testimonials:

Your chef Elisavet, devoted to Greek food, has received much acclaim for her traditional home-cooking style. Elisavet has been featured in Red Magazine (June 2010), Foodepedia and ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish where Michelin starred chef John Burton Race said her lagana bread is “absolutely first class” and the prawn dish she cooked live on ITV was “cooked to perfection!” Also Eating East has given her food and supper club 4**** stars out of 5 in their review: and Business Traveller US magazine lists both her Greek Supper Club and Greek Cookery Class among London’s top alternative dining places. Finally, Elisavet is the first cook to teach Greek Cooking lessons at Divertimenti Cookery School in London.

A big and warm thank you to everyone who’s joined either the Greek Cookery Classes and/or the Supper Club so far and also a big thank you to Total Greek Yoghurt for sponsoring me with yoghurt each time for the cooking and for gifts to my students!

Thank you and hope to see you soon!

PS The next Greek Cookery Class is scheduled for the 23 November and you can book via the same address.

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

Email to sign up: greekcookeryclass(at)

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 onμακαρονόπιτα-με-μελιτζανες/

All pictures and text ©Greekfoodlover 2010

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!

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

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:

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

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

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)

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!