The family recipes I am sharing are of Greek dishes that appear in My Big Greek Family.

Recipes

Spanakopitta

Spinach and feta cheese in filo pastry

 

Ingredients

 

500g filo pastry

200ml cooking oil (corn oil/sunflower oil)

1 medium-sized finely chopped onion

2 leeks

800g spinach

½ bunch ( ½ mug) parsley

½ bunch ( ½ mug) mint

½ bunch ( ½ mug) dill

1 level teaspoon cinnamon

1 level teaspoon ground black pepper

200g feta cheese

100g finest bulgur wheat

3 eggs

 

Method

 

Wash the spinach and place in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the spinach, leave for about two minutes and then place in a colander to drain all the water. Chop the spinach, washed leeks, parsley, mint, dill and keep separate. Heat 100ml of the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until softened. Then add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes at a medium heat. Next add the parsley, mint and dill and cook for a further couple of minutes and finally add the spinach and cover with lid to cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the bulgur wheat, gently stir and switch off the hob, covering the saucepan so that the bulgur wheat absorbs the excess liquid. Leave for about 30 minutes. 

Crack three eggs, but remove one of the yolks into a separate bowl to use later.

Beat the eggs and add to the spinach in saucepan. Then crumble in the feta cheese and next add the pepper and cinnamon, stirring all the ingredients.

Lightly grease an oven tray (approx. 41cm x 33cm). The remainder of the oil will be used to brush sheets of filo pastry.

Line the baking tray with a sheet of filo pastry, folding any excess pastry on the side to form a uniform shape. Then add another sheet of filo pastry, brushing it lightly with oil. Continue layering the filo pastry and lightly brushing each sheet until you have used half the filo pastry. Next add the spinach filling, evenly spreading it over the layered filo pastry. Then go back to layering the filo pastry, brushing each sheet with oil until you reach the last sheet. Brush the last sheet of filo pastry with the beaten egg yolk you have kept to the side. Finally, take a sharp knife and cut the spanakopitta to make 30 square or rectangular portions. 

Place in a preheated oven: 150℃ for about 20 minutes and then reduce heat to 125℃ for a further 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool a little before serving.

 

Tzatziki

Yoghurt dip

 

Ingredients

 

500g thick Greek yoghurt

1 medium sized cucumber (unpeeled)

2 tablespoons wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon dried mint

 Salt to taste 

 

Method

 

Scoop the yoghurt into a bowl. Finely dice the cucumber and add to the yoghurt. 

Grate the garlic and stir into the yoghurt. The amount of garlic used can vary according to taste. Then stir in the wine vinegar, dried mint and salt. 

Garnish with fresh mint. Often served with warm pitta bread.

Afelia 

Pork with coriander and wine

 

Ingredients

 

1kg pork cut into 1½ inch pieces

400ml dry red wine

1 level tablespoon crushed coriander seeds

¾ teaspoon ground cumin 

100ml cooking oil (sunflower oil/ corn oil)

1 level teaspoon ground black pepper

Salt to taste

 

 

Method

 

Take a glass bowl, add the pork, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and pour over the wine. Seal the bowl with cling-film and place in the fridge to marinate. Key to this recipe is marinating the pork in all the spices and wine overnight (or longer, as my mother frequently leaves it for 24 hours to marinate). Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the pork, leaving behind the wine liquid in the bowl. Once the pork has slightly browned add the wine liquid and when it starts bubbling, reduce the heat. Cover with lid and allow the meat to slowly cook for about forty-five minutes – or until tender. You may wish to remove lid towards the end of the cooking time to reduce liquid. 

 

Potatoes cooked with spices and wine

Great accompaniment to Afelia

 

Ingredients

 

1.5kg medium sized potatoes

500ml cooking oil (corn oil/sunflower oil)

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

1 level tablespoon crushed coriander seeds

Salt to taste

150ml dry red wine

 

 

Method

 

Peel and wash the potatoes. Pierce with a knife. Add the oil into the saucepan with a pinch of salt and heat the oil. Then add the potatoes, but lower the heat so that the potatoes can gently brown to form a crispy crust and at the same time soften on the inside. Carefully turn the potatoes as they are browning and half–cover saucepan with a lid. Cooking time is approximately one hour. Once the potatoes have cooked, carefully pour out the oil and add the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and wine. Cover with lid and leave to cook at a low heat for a few minutes so that the potatoes soak in the wine. Then place in a dish and serve.

 

Olive and Halloumi mini loaves

Makes 10 mini loaves - 5 olive and 5 halloumi

 

Ingredients

 

1.5kg (3lb) plain flour

1½ oz. (43g) fresh yeast or 1 sachet dry yeast

1 bunch (1 mug) fresh dill 

1 bunch (1 mug) fresh mint 

1 bunch (1 mug) fresh coriander 

1 bunch spring onion (optional)

2 medium sized onions 

200ml olive oil

300ml lukewarm water

1 teaspoon salt (optional because halloumi and olives contain salt)

300g black-pitted olives 

1 halloumi cheese (250g) cut into cubes 

 

Method

 

Dissolve yeast in 100ml of lukewarm water. In a separate bowl add the finely chopped dill, coriander, spring onion, mint and onions. Pour in the olive oil. Add the dissolved yeast into the fresh herb mixture and then add the flour (and salt if desired). Gradually add the remaining lukewarm water as you knead the mixture well to form a dough. Cover bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place for about an hour or until risen.

Separate the dough equally into two bowls. In one of the bowls add the pitted black olives and knead to ensure that the olives are evenly spread. In the other bowl add the halloumi cheese and again knead to evenly spread the pieces of halloumi.

Lightly dust two oven trays with flour. Place the olive dough onto a floured surface and divide into five portions. Then take each one and form into the shape of a mini loaf, and place onto the oven tray. Repeat the process with the halloumi dough until 10 mini loaves are formed and ready for baking.

Bake in a preheated oven (175 ℃) for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and trays. Cover the mini loaves with a tea towel for about 15 minutes. 

 

Gourabiethes

Greek biscuits with almonds

 

Ingredients

 

500g Trex (pure vegetable fat)

400ml (2 cups) corn oil/sunflower oil

250g (2 cups) icing sugar 

4 egg yolks

2 level tablespoons baking powder

4 tablespoons Cognac

1 level teaspoon vanilla sugar

Juice of one orange

3 tablespoons rosewater (optional)

200g (1½ cups) coarsely chopped almonds

1.5kg self-raising flour (sifted)

Icing sugar to coat biscuits at the end

 

 

 

Method

 

Whisk the vegetable fat and 250g icing sugar until it is a smooth and creamy texture. Add the oil, whisking as you go along, then the beaten egg yolks, orange juice, cognac, vanilla essence and rosewater. Stir in the nuts and gradually the sifted flour and baking powder. This will form into a consistency that you can knead to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Leave to rest for about 30 minutes.

To make the biscuits, take a section of the mixture, roll it out and cut diagonally so that pieces are about 2inches wide and 1inch high. Continue making the biscuits, placing them in a lightly greased baking tray as you go along.

Pre-heat oven to 150℃ and bake for about 30 minutes or until a light-golden brown. Switch off oven and allow biscuits to remain in oven until they have cooled down.

Finally, take each individual biscuit and dip into a bowl of icing sugar until completely covered. Store in an air-tight container and they will keep for a number of weeks.

 

More recipes...

 

I look forward to sharing more of my family recipes with you. Please enter your email address to receive my newsletter with exclusive family recipes and up to date news about My Big Greek Family. 

 

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Gourabiethes