Archive for the ‘Making bread’ 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)gmail.com

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: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=113154532102938

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