Posts Tagged ‘Greek Dinner’

Mousaka making at the Greek Cookery Class

February 1, 2012

There is a reason why I rarely teach mousaka in the class, it’s very time-consuming, tiring for the students mainly and it tests your patience. But also the hard work makes it difficult for me to find a second to take pictures of what the students cook and what they achieve.

For this class we used just over 2,5 kilos of aubergines per tray and we made two trays of mousaka.

You can use potatoes as well, it’s making the cooking slightly easier but then you lose some of the taste the aubergines give to the dish. So we started with slicing, salting and draining over five kilos of aubergines, to make the frying process easier.

While the classes started as a fun thing and a way of introducing the real Greek food back into the London scene, they have also taken a slightly more serious approach in that I do talk about how to eat and cook healthier as well. As I said both in the beginning and at the end of this class, mousaka is not something we should eat every month…. With all the cheese and milk and eggs that go in it, and all the fried aubergines, its taste is divine for sure, but it should probably be a treat for maybe once in a while. And though frying is to be avoided generally, if you are going to fry something, do use a really good extra virgin olive oil, as it stands a better chance to avoid giving you too much smoke to inhale or burning your food. Opposite to what a lot of people believe, it is the healthiest oil to use when frying. However, if we are cooking a dish like mousaka, we might as well get it right, with all its glory and forget about the health aspects for just this once.

The other step for the mousaka is to make the mince. This is probably the easiest bit, you just have to be careful to have a mince sauce which is not too runny, or it will ruin your layout of the mousaka and drip through to the bottom of your tray.

We do a sandwich of aubergine slices with the mince in the middle before continuing to the final step, which is the hardest and most feared by many, making the Greek béchamel sauce, which is poured over the last layer of aubergines.

But before the béchamel, we need to refuel. I had baked some bread ahead of the class to offer it with some extra virgin olive oil but I had also made a Greek favourite dessert, mpougatsa, (=μπουγάτσα) a semolina custard like cream between crispy fyllo pastry sheets that is served with icing sugar and cinnamon, or syrup when it’s also known as galaktoboureko.

And here below are the individual portions that were served during the cooking session to keep everyone going for a little while longer.

 

On top of the mpougatsa, one of my students, all the way from Spain, brought some Spanish authentic jamón to share with the class. So I served it with some extra virgin olive oil and the home baked spelt bread with nuts and seeds. Thank you Mauro for the unexpected gift!

Just like it’s important to have a thick mince sauce, it’s crucial to have a thick and smooth béchamel. Thick so it won’t slide through your layers of mince and aubergine and burn at the bottom of tray with your mousaka dish and smooth, well who wants lumps of flour balls in their mouth? Therefore, it’s important to get started with a creamy base of flour and butter before adding the milk and the rest of the ingredients. Also, there’s a lot of whisking going on, for a very long time.

Apart from the mousaka we made two salads as well, one with rocket leaves, orange wedges and extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice plus some sprinkled almond flakes on top and then a fresh beetroot salad with yoghurt, walnuts and fresh garlic.

When you’re so busy cooking a demanding dish, it is nice to make something that requires less effort as side dishes. Besides, serving a rich dish like mousaka requires simple and light and refreshing dishes to go with.

Everyone had two portions of mousaka after the cookery class which lasted a few hours and everyone also got to take home a big portion of the dish. My sponsor Total Greek Yoghurt also offered pots of yoghurt for each participant to take home in a cooling goodie bag.

Thank you Total Greek Yoghurt, Fage and Kenwood for sponsoring the classes with your products.

And a big warm thank you to all the students who joined and join the classes to learn how to cook some of the lovely food Greek cuisine has to offer, both known and unknown dishes.

What’s really exciting is this email I received a couple of days ago from one of my students saying he had invited his family over and cooked the dishes he learnt at the course and chose to make the mousaka as the main! I was very proud and happy at the same time, because the classes are about cooking together and eating together, but also about taking home the skills you’ve learnt and making the dishes again to your loved ones!

For more pictures, updates and info on classes join the mailing list on greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com and keep an eye out on www.facebook.com/GreekCookery

Greekfoodlovers’ all vegan Supperclub Friday 2 March 2012

January 20, 2012

The Supperclub is where I’ll be cooking all the food and you’ll be sitting down eating a feast of Greek vegan mezedes and Gigantes among other Greek delicacies. This is for meat eaters as well, don’t be worried by the “vegan” label. A lot of Greek dishes are traditionally vegetarian and vegan as Greek cuisine uses vegetables and pulses in cooking. Just a generation ago or so, our parents and grandparents were not eating meat that frequently, it was something for the big religious holidays, like Easter and Christmas. So this meal will focus on bringing out some of the most signature vegan dishes Greek cuisine has to offer. We’ll start at 7pm and finish the dinner at about 9:45pm when you can continue your Friday night around Shoreditch’s many bars and clubs, if you please. So if you want to spend an evening with authentic Greek food and good company, this is the place where you can eat and socialize around the same table! The cost for the supperclub is £45 per person and you get all of the following on your plates:

Meze for Starters:
Fava
Dolmades
Aubergine dip
Pereski (pontic Greek dish, potato and onion filling baked in fyllo pastry)
Home-baked bread
Kalamata Olives

Main:
Gigantes – butter beans
served with Crispy fried courgette and a salad

Desserts:
Baklava and more sweet Greek surprises

Portions are Greek and generous, all dishes are home made. BYOB! Only extra virgin olive oil is used, no margarines or other substitute fats!! Limited spaces so if you want to book for your party or just yourself, get in touch to arrange for your payment. Let me know of any food allergy upon booking, but at least 5 days in advance in order to arrange for an alternative. The menu is mostly gluten free as well, only the bread and the pereski contain gluten and the baklava, but alternative options can be catered for if necessary. Also the vegan menu is open to meat eaters and vegetarians, it’s just a meal without animal products!!


The supperclub is held close to Liverpool Street/Old Street stations. Location details only to paying customers and closer to the date of each event.

Pre-payment only.

The supperclub is informal, good fun and you get to meet people who share the love of food and eating together. To sign up, email me back with your name and anyone else you’d like to sign up on the email below. But it’s absolutely fine to just book yourself in, as many people do join my events on their own!

greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com

First come first served, so please book early to avoid disappointment!! 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 us to see our previous 50++ classes and Greek Supper Clubs on:
www.facebook.com/GreekCookery and check under photos or visit the https://greekcookeryclass.wordpress.com/

Press and testimonials:

Your chef Elisavet, devoted to Greek food, has received much acclaim for her traditional home-cooking style. Elisavet’s food has been served at Riverside Studios in London for a Greek festival and she 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: http://www.eatingeast.co.uk/2010/09/22/greek-foodlovers-supper-club-2/

Elle Decoration magazine (September 2011) recommends Greek Cookery Classes as the authentic Greek cuisine experience and Business Traveller US magazine lists both her Greek Supper Club and Greek Cookery Class among London’s top alternative dining places. Elisavet is also the first cook to teach Greek Cooking lessons at Divertimenti Cookery and Leith’s Cookery Schools in London and recently her piece on Greek food in Greece was published in The Guardian.

Private events can be arranged as well, for your work, family and/or friends. Get in touch for separate dates and prices for bringing the Greek Supperclub or cooking class experience to your home or bringing your party to us, or hiring the chef for your private dinner party. Catering is another service offered for your special occasions or office meetings and gatherings.

A thank you to Kenwood for sponsoring with their products.