Sunday, March 29, 2009

Halvas(Semolina Cake)

This is a very traditional Greek and Cypriot cake. There are a lot of different versions of Halvas, some bake it in the oven, some use raisins instead of almonds, some prefer to mix olive oil and sunflower oil....This is the saucepan version, with almonds. It is a very popular cake especially during fasting period.


  • 2 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 3 cups of semolina
  • 5 3/4 cups of warm water
  • 5 tbsp of rosewater
  • 1/2 cup of almond nuts (skinless and cut in small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower oil


Put sugar and warm water in a small saucepan and stir well until dissolved. Remove from heat and add rosewater. In another saucepan (preferable with a non sticky bottom), put oil and almonds and fry until they become slightly brown in color. Add semolina and mix continuously for one minute, while on heat. Then remove from heat, add syrup (the water, sugar and rosewater mixture), mix and put on heat. Stir well with a wooden spoon until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and put in a Pyrex. Take a wet wooden spoon and flaten the top of the cake until it looks really shiny! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I love meat. Everybody that knows me, knows that. Today I am posting one of my favourite meat dishes. It is very simple to prepare and it is one of the most popular, if not the most popular meat dishes in Cyprus.
It is also the the No.1 take-out/take-away food on the Island and is what hamburgers are to the USA. When people don't order souvlakia for take-out, most will prepare souvlakia over the weekend and invite friends or family over to enjoy this delicious food. Even though everybody prepares souvlakia in a slightly different way, the overall preparation is pretty much the same. My secret is adding the spice Sumac, that gives the souvlakia just that slightly different taste than the norm, and I also marinate them for a few hours in a mixture of soy sauce and olive oil.

  • 1.5 kg of pork belly cut into bite size cubes
  • 2 tomatoes cut into cubes
  • 2 large green peppers cut into cube
  • 1 large onion cut into pieces
  • 1 eggplant cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp sumac spice
  • salt according to taste

  • In a bowl mix cubed meat, olive oil and sauce sauce.
  • Then sprinkle sumac all over the meat and again mix well.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  • Put the meat on skewers with onion, eggplant, peppers or tomatoe in between the meat and cook over charcoal for 15-20 minutes.
  • Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley and some lemon juice if you wish.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sesame Wine Rusks

An extremely easy recipe to make and very tasty as well!


  • 1 kg of self raising flour
  • 250 ml of dry red wine
  • 250 ml of sunflower oil
  • 250 ml of vegetable shortening
  • 250 ml of sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon (powder)
  • 1 tsp of cloves
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 cup of sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients but the sesame seeds in a bowl, knead the dough very well and then make dough into small rings (6 -7 cm diameter) or any other shape or size you like and finally dip them into the sesame seeds (on one side only).
Then place them onto a baking tray and bake them in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes are over, reduce heat by 10 degrees Celsius every five minutes until you reach 170 degrees Celsius. Remove from the oven, let them cool and treat your guests along with tea or coffee.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ofto Kleftiko

There is absolutely no way you visit a traditional Cypriot or Greek taverna, and not find O
fto Kleftiko on the menu.
It is a delicacy, a very popular dish, along with souvlaki, sieftalies,ntolmadakia(koubebia) etc.
Kleftiko is actually a form of cooking, in which the raw ingredients are put into a hole in the ground, sealed with mud and slow fired for about 6 hours.
Having cooked for so many hours, the meat becomes very tender. Nowadays, Ofto Kleftiko is wrapped in special paper or aluminum foil, cooked in clay ovens, (found in almost every yard in the villages of Cyprus), or in clay pots. Mostly served with potatoes, which become super soft
and tasty being cooked in the juices of the meat.

  • 2 kg of lamb
  • 1 large onion, cut in small pieces
  • 1-2 sticks of cinnamon
  • salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 tbl spoons of brandy


Cut meat in large pieces and place them in a clay pot or pyrex. Add salt and brandy, mix them well, add bay leaves, onion and cinnamon sticks, pour 5 tbl spoons of water and cook in oven at 200 Celsius, for approximately 1,5 hours. Open lid in the last 5-10 minutes to allow meat to get a roasty look.

Bulgur rice (Pilafi)

Bulgur (pligouri in Greek) is a cereal food made from several different wheat species, but most often from durum wheat. Bulgur is a common ingredient in Turkish, Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean dishes. It has a high nutriotional value which makes it a good substitute for rice. In Cyprus, bulgur is also used to make koupes and it is the base for Trahana soup.


(serves 5-6 people)

  • 2 cups of bulgur
  • 5 tbl spoons of vermicelli (very thin macaroni-optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1,5 cup of tomatoes, grated
  • 1 tea spoon of salt
  • 10 tbl spoons of olive oil
  • 1 chicken stock (if vegan, put veggie stock)
  • 4 cups of cold water


Put olive oil in a pot, add bulgur, onion and vermicelli, stir it a bit, then add tomatoes, salt, chicken stock and water, stir it well and cook in medium fire for about 10-15 minutes until water is totally absorbed. Make sure to stir often, otherwise the pilaf will stick to the bottom of the pot.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chick peas in red sauce

Chick peas (revithia in Greek) is another delicious vegan plate for the Fasting Period.
peas are better known by their name "garbanzo beans".
Most are familiar with chick peas as either used whole in salads, or ground up to make the popular Middle Eastern dish "hummus".
are also a frequent ingredient in Indian dishes. (India is actually the world leader in chick pea production.)
There are two kinds of chick peas, desi which has small darker seeds and a rough coat, cultivated mostly in the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia, Mexico and Iran and the kabuli, which has lighter color, larger seeds and a smoother coat and mainly grows in Southern Europe, Northern Africa , Afghanistan and Chile.
Nutritionally, chick peas are an excellent source of fibre and protein and recommended for diabetics.
(Source: Wikipedia)


  • 2 cups of chick peas (soaked in cold water overnight)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pack of tomato juice
  • 1 tbl salt
  • 1/4 glass olive oil
  • 2 large potatoes cut in quarters
  • lemon juice (half lemon)
  • celery, chopped

Put chick peas in a large pot, cover them with cold water and let them cook until they become crunchy.
Add potatoes, onion and celery and let them cook until potatoes become soft (Add more water if needed).
When potatoes are ready, add tomato juice and olive oil and let them cook for 10-15 minutes in medium fire.
Five minutes before taking pot off fire, add lemon juice and salt, stir and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Take pot off fire, let it cool down a bit and serve.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cheese Potatoes


8 potatoes cut in rolls (about 1 cm in thickness)
1 clove of garlic ( mashed
100 gr salted butter
100 gr grated cheese (soft)
2 glasses of milk


Mix potatoes with salt, pepper and garlic
Place them in pyrex, one next to another, melt butter and pour it on top along with milk.
Put aluminum foil on top and cook in oven at 195-200 degrees Celsius for about one hour and 20 minutes.

Take them out, make sure milk is totally absorbed and then put cheese on top.
Let cheese melt before serving.

Vegan Rusks (Nistisima Koulourakia)

A little bit about Greek Orthodox religion...

Clean or Green Monday, in Greek called Kathara Deftera, marks the beginning of the Great Lent, known as the Sarakosti, the forty days of fasting which leads to April 19, the Greek Orthodox Easter. It is called "clean" because it marks the start of the Lent period during which our bodies and spirits are "cleansed" to prepare for accepting the Resurrection.
Clean Monday is a public holiday in Cyprus and Greece, a day of great celebration.
Those who strictly follow the fasting of the Great Lent, do not eat meat or any products derived from animals, such as eggs, milk, cheese etc. The Great Lent is also a very good opportunity to cleanse our bodies from all the "toxins" and turn to greens and legumes. Greek and Cypriot cuisine offers an amazing variety of fasting dishes, called Nistisima. For today, enjoy the Vegan Rusks. Easy to make and very delicious!


1 packet of self-raising flour
3 tsp of baking powder
250 ml of sugar
250 ml of ouzo (the famous Greek drink)
250 ml of oil
250 ml of fresh orange juice
2 tbsp of aniseed (slightly crushed)


Mix all ingredients in a big bowl and knead until you have dough of consistent elasticity.
Cut them into bite-sized pieces (see picture) and place on a baking sheet in preheated oven at 190 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
Make sure that after ten minutes, you spray the little rusks lightly with water and turn down the heat 15 degrees Celsius.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Baklavadakia (Mini Baklava)

  • 1 packet of phylo (ready dough)
  • 100 gr of crushed almonds
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp rosewater
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil (6-8 tbsp)
Ingredients for syrup

  • 1 3/4 glass sugar
  • 2 glasses of water
  • 4 tbsp of rosewater
Method for syrup
  • Mix water and sugar in a small pan
  • Warm it up for 5 mins and then add rosewater
Method for Baklavadakia
  • Take one phylo and brush it separately with sunflower oil (only the one side)
  • Add cinnamon, almonds, rosewater and sugar in a bowl and mix well
  • Pour one tea spoon of the above mixture in the edge of the phylo in one line and roll it like a cigar and then make it into a spiral (see picture)
  • Using the same method, add rest of the mixture in all phylo and then place the spiral baklava in an oiled pan
  • Brush them with sunflower and cook in oven, in 185 C, for 20-25 mins until they become golden colored
  • Take them out and immediately pour syrup on top (make sure syrup is cold)
  • Cover them with a towel for 10 mins to ensure syrup is soaked and then serve

Stella's Shrimp

  • 1 kg of tiger shrimps
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlics cut into small pieces
  • 3 tomatoes ( grated)
  • 1 cube maggie (vegetable)
  • 6 tbsp white wine
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped finely)
  • 150g feta cheese

  • wash shrimps with mixture of warm water and vinegar.
  • dry them off with a kitchen towel and then put into a pyrex dish.
  • pour olive oil over the shrimps, garlic, oregano, mint and parsley.
  • crumble the maggie cube and sprinkle over the shrimps, then the tomatoe and finally crumble the feta and pour over the shrimps.
  • pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees, cover the pyrex with aluminum foil and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies

  • 150g bitter chocolate
  • 110g butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 200g chocolate chips
  • sea salt (optional)

  • Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  • Melt butter and bitter chocolate in another bowl, then add vanilla.
  • Combine eggs and sugar in another bowl, and whisk fo about 3 minutes.
  • Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and mix well.
  • Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Don't over mix it.
  • Fold in the chololate chips.
  • Drop tablespoon size of the mixture on a parchment paper lined baking tray 4 cm apart and sprinkle a little sea salt over.
  • Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees Celcius and bake for about 12 minutes.

Green Tea Cookies

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 110g butter
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp green tea (powdered)

  • Whisk the caster sugar and powdered green tea well together, and then add butter (room temp.) and mix until smooth.
  • Add flour and mix well.
  • Add the yolks and stir until incorporated.
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes and preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Remove dough from fridge and roll out to 2.5 cm thickness and use cookie cutter to cut out cookie shapes.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.