Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Greekfoodlovers’ New Year’s Eve Supperclub – December 31 Dec 2013

December 23, 2013

We’re bringing back the popular Greekfoodlover’s New Year’s Eve Supper Club on 31 December, where I’ll be cooking all the food and you’ll be sitting down eating a feast of Greek mezedes and lots of other Greek delicacies at our dinner on New Year’s Eve. We’ll start at 7:30pm and finish after midnight when you can continue celebrating somewhere else if you wish to go on partying.

So if you want to spend an evening with great Greek food and good company, this is the place where you can eat and socialise on New Year’s Eve without being rushed off your seat! The cost for the supperclub is £50 per person, menu will have an all vegan option or meat option, please advice upon booking. The finer details have not been set yet, but there will be 3 starters, a salad, a main and 2-3 desserts, including the traditional Greek Vasilopita and melomakarona! Price is £50 per person, portions are Greek and generous and all dishes are home made!

BYOB! Limited space so if you want to book for your party or just yourself, get in touch soon to arrange for your payment. (Vegan and vegetarian options available, let me know upon booking, gluten free option as well though some of the traditional desserts are not gluten free). All meat, dairy and eggs although I cook a lot without dairy and eggs are free range and organic, all flour is organic too, and the majority of the ingredients including vegetables and spices.

This is the perfect NYE dinner where you can arrive on your own, as no one sits by themselves or bring your partner and friends too! We all sit together around a big table, in an intimate and warm Greek atmosphere!

Book space via greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

View pictures of our previous Greekfoodlovers’ NYE Supperclub here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150208094562601&set=pb.99478232600.-2207520000.1387809973.&type=3&theater

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Greek Cookery Class – first session of the Jan course 2012

January 9, 2012

New year and new classes!! After running cookery classes teaching Greek food for almost three years, what started as a simple cooking class, evolved into me hosting and cooking for supperclubs and private dinners and birthday parties, teaching at other cookery schools like Divertimenti and Leith’s and finally starting my own little Greek Cookery Class Course.

Gigantes

On the first class of 2012 we made Gigantes, fasolia – butter beans – from Florina! For the first time we had more boys than girls in the class, it’s pure coincidence I am sure! The cliché that boys prefer to eat rather than cook and that girls want to learn cooking might not be true after all!

Comparing the butter beans you get in most big supermarkets in London/UK with the real deal, Gigantes or giant beans from Greece, the price is the first thing that hits you, they’re more expensive, but they’re worth the price as they taste much better and also look much better.

Gigantes - Butter Beans

Gigantes - Butter Beans

One place to buy the Greek butter beans that we call gigantes is in Bayswater, there’s a small little shop on Moscow Road called Athenian Grocery! So if you plan to cook this dish it’s worth using Greek beans, instead of normal butter beans. And since we’re talking about Florina, we also baked piperies Florinis, red long sweet peppers for one of our salads.

Nothing goes better with beans than some home-baked bread, but being busy with cooking all the dishes for the class, there was no time for the students to get into bread making as well. So I prepared that in advance, and baked bread using white spelt flour, wholemeal spelt flour, sea salt and of course Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Home baked spelt bread

Home baked spelt bread

During a long cooking session we’re all being teased and tempted by all the smells from the food slowly simmering away. So at some point we had a 5 minute break and a tasting with some bread and Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Greece but also some pieces of the vegan banana bread cake I had made the day before.

Banana bread cake - vegan

Banana bread cake - vegan

There was no plan to make this class vegan, but realising we’re so soon after Christmas and New Year’s when most people have been stuffing themselves with all sorts of goodies, meats, cheeses and chocolates, I thought it’d be a good idea to introduce an all vegan meal, where the olive oil plays a very important role.

I prefer the olive oil (extra virgin always) to any margarines or spreads containing some small amount of olive oil, not only is the pure olive oil healthier it also tastes so much better. In my opinion, most spreads (not including the real 100% butter) leave an aftertaste which is not very pleasant.

Aside from the beans, the class also made pereski, this is a pontic dish that my mother and her mother always made as a starter or light snack for meals including soups or beans. Pereski is usually made with a dough that you then use to make little pies that you stuff with a mix of potato, onions and herbs, before you deep fry them in olive oil! But we used phyllo pastry for the pereski and we baked them in the oven instead of frying them in loads of olive oil.

Preparing the filling for pereski - onions, boiled and mashed potato and spices.

Preparing the filling for pereski - onions, boiled and mashed potato and spices.

As I told the class, this is hardly an item you’ll find on the menu in a restaurant. Usually, only a grandmother – the Greek giagia – will be making those and offering to her guests and mainly family. Having said that there is a small little restaurant in Thessaloniki, serving Pontic and Cretan dishes!! So they might still have it on their menu.

Pereski

Pereski

Finally, we made a simple salad of winter vegetables, Politiki Salata, it’s a salad whose name refers to the big city Poli, Constantinople or Istanbul as it’s now called. The salad from the Town, Poli, consists of cabbage, carrots and celery and a dressing of olive oil and vinegar.

Chopping, slicing and grating the ingredients for the Politiki Salad

Chopping, slicing and grating the ingredients for the Politiki Salad

And here it is ready, garnished with some piperies florinis:

Politiki salata

Politiki salata

Next week we’re doing Kleftiko!

A thank you goes out to Kenwood, whose blender was used to grind the nuts used in the banana bread cake.

If you are interested in booking yourself in for a course or joining a supperclub, contact me to be put on the mailing list for future events.

Or read more details on the classes for January and how to join here: https://greekcookeryclass.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/greek-cookery-class-three-sessions-in-january-for-gigantes-beans-kleftiko-and-mousaka/

 

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?

Healthy eating – Greek Cookery Class Vegan session – and NYE Greek Supper Club

November 28, 2010

What’s healthy eating usually varies from cook to cook and person to person. Some use no fat or low fat, some use light products, some eat only from the organic shops. All in all we all have a vague idea of what we ought to cut out on and how to make healthier meals. But some of us have no clue!

There are some simple ways to try to eat healthy every day, for example by having fruit and vegetables as snacks and in our meals. Most of us who love our meat, find it hard to compose a meal without it, we think and even feel that there is no way we’re going to get full without meat on the table. It’s probably a psychological thing. I’m not trying to turn anyone into a vegetarian, or vegan, but now that Christmas and New Year’s are around the corner a lot of us will get so full and stuffed on all the delicacies on the table that even the thought of a fresh salad will be a pleasant meal to look forward to after the season’s lunches and dinners.

So I’ve decided to run a Greek Cookery Class with only vegan dishes just before the holidays kick in. It’s no substitutes nor using chemical things instead of eggs and cheese and it’s not just plain salads either. It’s Greek traditional food and some sides that will make you realize that vegan food is tasty and yummy.

Also, in Greece, there is a fasting before the holidays when religious and non-religious people follow a strict diet where they have no meat, dairy or eggs for 40 days before Christmas, as a way to cleanse their body ahead of the big feast.

Another way of healthy eating, is to cook the food ourselves so we know what’s going in the pans and pots and the dishes we’re creating! Also, while we’re cooking our food, our body prepares for digesting it a nutritionist recently told me, something that won’t happen when opening a plastic tray of ready made meals that go for seconds in the microwave.

So do join us for the last Greek Cookery Class this year and for details http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177633412248541 or email greekcookeryclass(AT)gmail.com to sign up.

If you’re still the busy or lazy type who prefers to be cooked for, then we’ve got the Greek Supper Club coming up in a week’s time on Sun 5 Dec and the details for menu and how to book are on http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173111016039309 or email the above address.

And for the last dinner of the year, there’s going to be a New Year’s Eve Greek Supper Club as well on 31 Dec with a menu full of Greek delicacies and some Swedish surprises as well! Get in touch to book your space, it’s limited to 12 people only, and for those who want to have a great dinner with lovely company and conversation and food.

Whether alone or in company everyone is welcome, because food tastes better when you eat in the company of others!

Greek Supper Club London

 

 

Three Greek food clichés

November 22, 2010

Is it true that all Greeks love olives? Add feta cheese everywhere? And finally do all Greeks smash plates?

I love these cliches, because they make me laugh!

If there are two things I don’t like eating, it’s just those two mentioned above, feta and olives… I can handle them, I can cook with them and I can cook them, but to eat them raw is not something I enjoy. There’ve been moments when my Greekness has been questioned due to this inclination of mine, not to eat olives or feta. My own father ignores the fact that I don’t eat olives, especially as his mother used to make her own olive oil and olives.

My Greek food with feta pies, meatballs and melomakarona at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith London

So each time around the dinner table he’ll ask someone to pass around the olives my way, as if he doesn’t remember that I don’t eat them and acts as surprised as anyone else at me hearing that I won’t have any olives this time either! Hahahahaha

As I’m planning the menu and ingredients for the next Greek Cookery Class on 23 November, I realise that for a second Greek Cookery Class in a row the feta cheese is excluded. It’s pure coincidence, as I’ve had classes where we’ve done everything possible with feta, melted it, baked it, cubed it, added it raw to a salad, but we’re going feta free for a couple of sessions. There’s more to Greek food than feta cheese and there’s also more cheeses to try out than feta. One of my absolute favourites is the Greek hard cheese called Kefalotyri. It’s a PDO (as EU recognises a product of designated origin) meaning that no other country can produce this cheese under the same name. Just as no one else in the world can produce Cognac or Champagne. Kefalotyri is like a Greek version of the Sardinian pecorino cheese! Tastes delicious grated over pasta dishes and the Greek giouvetsi, or yiouvetsi.

But the fact is that Greece produces as many cheeses as our fellow European country France! So when you next visit Greece, make sure to try more cheeses than the obvious feta!

My next Greek Cookery Class on 23 November will be followed by one more Greek Cookery Class this year, date to be announced soon, and that class will be totally vegan. Traditionally, most of the Greek cuisine is based around vegetables and greens, and people in the old days ate very little meat and very rarely. So I’m planning an all wonderful feast of Greek vegan tasty dishes!

Also two more supper clubs before 2010 departs. One Greek Supper Club on Sun 5 Dec and one New Year’s Eve Greek Supper Club on 31 Dec.

Details for the 5 Dec are on www.facebook.com/GreekCookery and the menu for the 31 NYE dinner party will be up later this week.

Have a lovely week and looking forward to cooking with you soon or at least having the pleasure of feeding you with Greek delicacies!

PS. If you want, bring your plates for the 31 Dec and we can smash them together…. just kidding, who smashes plates anyway?

Tahini and Buckwheat

June 22, 2010

I’m venturing into super healthy food this week. So today I decided to make my own tahini! I had no recipe, but took three cups of sesame seeds and one cup of extra virgin Greek olive oil, blended it in the food processor and there it was. My homemade tahini. I added a pinch of honey, as it tends to go to the bitter side of things and then I wondered, what do with it?

I found buckwheat in my cupboard and decided to have it for lunch with the tahini added as extra flavour on top. So I made my buckwheat with coriander, ginger, spring onions, spinach and added some herbs and spices and olive oil with lemon juice towards the end. A few thick drops of tahini over it and I had a warm buckwheat dish which is great on its own, or served as a side. I added some pine nuts and cardamom on top as well and was fairly surprised at how filling, delicious and nutritious this easy to make dish is.

Healthy and nutritious meal to be served on its own or as a side!

Buckwheat, spring onions and spinach with herbs, spices and lemon and olive oil

Most of all, this is a dairy and gluten free dish, great for vegans as well!

Afterwards, I diced some kiwi and put it in a small ramekin dressed in tahini and some nuts and seeds and lemon juice and put in the freezer to cool, for a quick small late afternoon snack.

Kiwi with nuts and tahini

My next Greek Cookery Class is on 1 July where we do the more traditional Greek dishes. For more details and info on booking for the class and also for pictures from our previous classes please visit: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=123712634334991&ref=mf

©E Sotiriadou 2010