Friday, April 29, 2011

Tahinopita (A Cypriot Lenten Pie)

This recipe was prepared before Easter and the reason for that was Ivy’s Liacopoulou cookbook, “Mint, Cinnamon and Blossom Water”, which I bought a few months ago. A book with flavours of Cyprus, my country.

The traditional Tahinopita we make in Cyprus is layers of homemade phyllo and in between each phyllo there is the tahini mixture with caster sugar and cinnamon. I had organic molasses at home, so I decided to replace sugar with molasses. The result was equally delicious…

To make tahinopita, I prepared a yeast dough which I rolled out with a rolling pin. I then added the tahini mixture in which I added organic molasses, then shaped the bread and let it rise. I baked them according to Ivy’s recipe and let them aside to cool completely.


I recommend “Mint, Cinnamon and Blossom Water” to everybody. This cookbook is a MUST HAVE. Since I am a Cypriot, I thought I knew everything but Ivy proved me wrong. Every single recipe written in that cookbook is unique and delicious. You can find a link to this book in the right side of my blog. I am sure you will be very pleased with this cookbook as well!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Strawberry Mousse (eggless)


Thanks to my father, in my garden I have a lot of organic vegetables and fruits. Strawberries are one of those.

Because of Easter I thought of creating a light dessert that would follow the rich Easter lunch. A strawberry mousse seemed ideal, but again I did not want to use any raw eggs, sugar or a lot of fresh cream. As I always do I opened the refrigerator and I saw yogurt, an ingredient that I use almost everywhere, and then I opened my kitchen food cupboard and there were the gelatin and fructose sugar.

In my mind the strawberry mousse was almost ready. The only trouble was the quantity of ingredients that I should use in order to achieve the best result.

What I did was to taste each step before I moved on to the next one. At the beginning I added to the strawberries only ½ a cup of fructose sugar but then I thought that it was not enough so I added another ½ a cup. Actually this was the only adjustment I did to this dessert. The other ingredient measurements were perfect.
I thought about adding decoration to it, but then I thought that less is more so as you can see from the photos no extra calories were added to it :-).

This was one of the easiest desserts I ever made. The next time I might add some decoration to it as well. We will see…

Here is the recipe and the instructions on how to make it.

Strawberry Mousse (eggless)
Ingredients
300gr digestive biscuits
40gr unsalted butter
300gr fresh strawberries
350gr Greek yogurt
350gr fresh cream
1 cup fructose sugar
1 vanilla sachet
1 gelatin sachet (10gr)
50ml lukewarm water


Preparation Method
1. In a food processor, process biscuits until fine. Add butter and process until combined.
2. Process mixture over base of a round tin (25cm round tin), and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Dissolve gelatin in lukewarm water; set aside.
4. In a food processor, process the strawberries, vanilla and fructose sugar; add the yogurt.
5. With an electric mixer beat fresh cream for a few minutes; add the strawberry mixture and gelatin. Continue mixing until well combined.
6. Pour strawberry mixture on top of the biscuit base and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Sheppard’s Pie – Vegan

Sheppard’s Pie is one of my favorite dishes. Since now we are in fasting period I decided to change the recipe into a vegan one. The result was pretty good considering the fact that I did not use any butter or cheese in it.
My first thought was to name this recipe Sheppard’s Rainbow because of all these colors, but then I thought that spring includes everything so I named this recipe Spring Sheppard’s Pie.

Below you can see in detail photos of this dish. It is quite easy to make so if you like vegetables give it a try. I am sure you will like it.
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Peel the potatotoes.

 Cut mushrooms into small quarters. 

 In a deep fry pan lightly fry separately the zucchini, the carrots, and then the mushrooms with the onion.

In the same fry pan add together the mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, onion, sweet corn, red beans and the tomato juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Allow to boil for a few minutes until there is no liquid in the fry pan left. Then add the chopped parsley.

Lay the vegetable mixture on top of the mashed potatoes.

 Then, on top of the vegetable mixture lay the other half of mashed potatoes, sprinkle some tablespoons of olive oil, and bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC, for 20 minutes.


Serve hot or cold with a salad of your choice.

Spring Sheppard's Pie - Vegan
Ingredients
3kg potatoes
1kg mushrooms
4 zucchini
2 carrots
1 large onion
250gr canned sweet corn
200gr canned red beans
½ cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)
4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1cup fresh tomato juice
1 vegetable stock
1 cup of soya milk
Salt
Pepper

Preparation Method
1. Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces. In a large sauce pan dissolve the vegetable stock in hot water, add salt and pepper. Then add the potato pieces and boil until they are very well cooked.
2. Mash the potatoes; add the soya milk and mix well.
3. Divide the potato mixture into to two equal portions; lay the 1st portion in a Pyrex oven pan and set aside. Cover the other half with a clean film.
4. Cut the mushrooms, zucchini, carrots and onion into small quarters.
5. In a deep fry pan lightly fry separately the zucchini, the carrots, and then the mushrooms with the onion.
6. In the same fry pan add together the mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, onion, sweet corn, red beans and the tomato juice. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to boil for a few minutes until there is no liquid in the fry pan left. Then add the chopped parsley.
7. Lay the vegetable mixture on top of the mashed potatoes.
8. Then, on top of the vegetable mixture lay the other half of mashed potatoes, sprinkle some tablespoons of olive oil, and bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC, for 20 minutes.
9. Serve hot or cold with a fresh salad of your choice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flaounα – Cypriot Traditional Easter Cheese Treat


Flaouna – Cypriot Traditional Easter Cheese Treat

Flaouna is a traditional Cypriot treat that we bake few days before Easter. The main ingredient is cheese. The recipe varies from region to region. For example in Limassol and Paphos we use salty type of cheese but in other towns like Ammoxostos they use unsalted cheese and they add to the dough sugar and raisins.

The other particularity of Flaouna is that each family has its own traditional recipe. For example my mother uses exactly the same ingredients as her mother did, my mother-in-law follows what her mother used to do and I guess I will do the same when I decide that it's time for me to get involved with this tradition.

From what I know the ingredients that my mother uses are: flour, cheese, eggs, prozimi (special type of fresh yeast), salt, mastic, mahlep, nutmeg and fresh mint.

The process starts days ago when my mother first prepares prozimi. Then, one day before the flaouna making, the cheese dough has to be prepared and allow to rest for several hours. The second day the “feast” begins. My mother, father, grand mother, aunty and however is available at the time has a role to play. I prefer not to get involved much, because it is a huge family process that has to end up giving the best results, so keeping a distance it is the wiser think to do :-).

In the photo you can see flaouna or flaounes (in plural), a cheese bread and an olive bread that my mother baked today. There are flaounes where raisins were added to the dough as well. She was very proud for the result and I am very proud for her success!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shiamali Cypriot Version - Traditional Dessert Category

This recipe is posted especially for the “Creative Concoctions #3”, an event which is held in  Kopiaste.. to Greek Hospitality.

This is a traditional dessert that does not need any special kitchen equipment for its preparation.  It is extremely easy to make and delicious in taste. This recipe was adopted by Συνταγές για όλα τα γούστα

The original recipe did not include the orange zest in neither mixture nor syrup. But believe me, by adding orange zest you will give this sweet an extraordinary amazing smell. 
The other change that I made was the addition of the crashed almonds on top of the sweet before baking it. We all found this addition very nice as well, but you can omit that if you like.
Below you can find all steps of the recipe. I hope you enjoy...!

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Shiamali Ingredients: 2 cups of fine semolina, 200gr Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup caster sugar, ½ cup vegetable oil, 2 small eggs, 1½ tsp Baking Powder, 1 vanilla sugar, 2 tbls orange blossom water, ¼ tsp of mastic powder, 1 tsp of orange zest, ½ cup almonds (crashed).

 
Syrup Ingredients: 1½ cup water, 1½ cup caster sugar, 1½ tbsp orange blossom water, 1½ cinnamon stick, 3 lemon drops, ½ tsp lemon zest, ½ tsp orange zest.

Syrup Preparation

Mix all syrup ingredients together in a small saucepan and allow to boil for 13- 15 minutes. 

In a large bowl whisk well the eggs. Then add the following ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition: sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, mastic powder, orange blossom water, yogurt, semolina, baking powder, orange zest.

Spread vegetable fat in a round Pyrex; then pour shiamali mixture in it.

Add the crashed almonds on top of shiamali and bake.

Here you can find the recipe in detail:
Cypriot Shiamali Version - Traditional Dessert Category
Shiamali Ingredients
2 cups of fine semolina
200gr Greek yogurt
1/3 cup caster sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 small eggs
1 vanilla sugar
¼ tsp of mastic powder
1 tsp of orange zest
½ cup almonds (crashed)

Syrup Ingredients
1½ cup water
1½ cup caster sugar
1½ tbsp orange blossom water
1½ cinnamon stick
3 lemon drops
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp orange zest

Preparation Method
Syrup Preparation
1) Mix all syrup ingredients together in a small saucepan and allow to boil for 13- 15 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

Shiamali Preparation
1) In a large bowl whisk well the eggs. Then add the following ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition:
sugar,
vegetable oil,
vanilla,
mastic powder,
orange blossom water
yogurt
semolina,
baking powder,
orange zest.
2) Spread vegetable fat in a round Pyrex; then pour shiamali mixture in it.
3) Add the crashed almonds on top of shiamali.
4) Bake in a preheated oven at 175ºC for 45 minutes until it becomes golden brown.
5) Remove Pyrex from the oven and cut shiamali into triangles.
6) Pour immediately the syrup on top of the baked shiamali, before removing any piece from the Pyrex. Let aside until the syrup is well absorbed.
7) Allow to cool completely before serving.

 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lebanese Maamoul Biscuits (Mamoul Biscuits)

This recipe was given to me by a Lebanese family member. I made some small changes to it and I divided the original recipe by 4. As I was told, maamouls are usually made in Lebanon as an Easter dessert. In Cyprus we offer them as a treat to weddings.
There are different variations: with walnut filling, pistachio filling or date filling. According to my taste all three are delicious!!!!!!!!
This was my first attempt of making them, and to be honest, I did not refrigerate them before baking, so their shape after baking was a bit like a UFO instead of a maamoul :-).
Below you can find photos of all the steps. I hope that you will find it easy to make. Good luck!!
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1st Day
 With an electric mixer beat the butter with the icing sugar until light and fluffy.

 Sift flour, semolina and mahlepi together.

 Add them to the butter and combine.


Add the rose water and the orange blossom water and mix well.

 Allow to rest at room temperature over night.
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2nd Day
Mix all filling ingredients together and let aside to rest for ½ an hour.


 With a tablespoon form dough balls; cover with a clean film.

Form a well into the biscuit dough.

Then fill it with the pistachio ball.



 Cover the pistachio filling with the biscuit dough.



Use the maamoul special equipment to form the shape that you like.

Press the dough well into the equipment, so as to take the proper shape.

 Place them on an oven tray, 5cm apart from each other.

 Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the biscuits from the oven tray to a wire rack.
 Maamoul Biscuits(Makes 28 biscuits)


Biscuit Ingredients
250gr all purpose flour
250gr fine semolina
225gr unsalted butter (at room temperature)
100gr icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon of mahlep powder
1 tablespoon of rose water
1 tablespoon of orange blossom water 

Filling Ingredients
2 cups of raw pistachio nuts
¼ cup of caster sugar
1 tsp of rose water
1 tsp of water with bitter orange flavor
¼ cup of water (room temperature)

Biscuit Preparation
1st Day:
1. With an electric mixer beat the butter with the icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Sift flour, semolina and mahlep together; add them to the butter and combine.
3. Add the rose water and the orange blossom water and mix well.
4. Allow to rest at room temperature over night, covered with clean film.

2nd Day:
1. Mix all filling ingredients together and let aside to rest for ½ an hour.
2. With a teaspoon form small pistachio balls; cover with a clean film.
3. With a tablespoon do the same with the biscuit dough.
4. Form a well into the biscuit dough and then fill it with the pistachio ball; then cover the pistachio filling with the biscuit dough.
5. Use the maamoul special equipment to form the shape that you like. If you do not have this equipment you can bake them in any form that you like.
6. Refrigerate for ½ an hour; place them on an oven tray 5cm apart from each other. 
7. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and bake maamoul for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the biscuits become golden brown.
8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the biscuits from the oven tray to a wire rack.

Dream of Cakes

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