Monday, 12 March 2012

Weekend cooking - Greek cuisine

I thoroughly enjoy entertaining, and on this occasion it was time to revisit my Greek cuisine cooking.  For a stress-free lunch for 4, I chose some of my favourite recipes, not only because they are based on fresh and tasty ingredients, but also because they are very easy to make and (with my proper time management) take very little time:

For starters, there were courgette (zucchini) and feta cheese "fritters" with tzatziki. One word of warning:  I actually cook light.  So, instead of frying, I prefer to bake (no tons of oil necessary).  And because I can be lazy, instead of zillions of little fritters, I bake a huge one in the pan, and then cut up in pieces (thanks mom -  she taught me this recipe). 


600g grated courgettes (let the water sip out for about half an hour, or stir fry for a while, let cool afterwards)
300g cheese - I got half crumbled feta and half grated emmental
5 eggs
salt/pepper, thyme, a little mint, paprika
--mix all together, oil spray a baking tray, pour mixture in, oil spray top.  Bake at 180oC for about 20-30 minutes.


These are served with tzatziki, which in my recipe book is 500ml of thick (Greek) yoghurt, 1 grated cucumber, olive oil, dill, salt/pepper and a little mint at the end -- no garlic!


Moving on, the ever present moussaka.  I know, this is rumoured to be one of the most difficult dishes, with days of preparation, secret recipes for each step and cries at the end of cooking... Not with me.  I want an easy life - hence the variation:  instead of actually grilling the aubergines myself, I buy them ready sliced/grilled/frozen.    I start with a layer of potato slices (raw, they will cook in the oven), a layer of the frozen aubergine slices (they too will cook), a layer of bolognese sauce, and a layer of bechamel - done.  Another innovation of mine (!), is that I never cook on the day I have people over.  For this dish, for example, I made the bolognese and the bechamel 1-2 days in advance and kept refrigerated and then the evening before, I assembled everything, baked for about half an hour and presto!  Magnificent moussaka, ready to be kept (don't try to eat it on the spot, it will be piping hot and will melt away).  

As to sides, one tomato salad, one green lettuce salad - easy peasy!

And finally for dessert, a recipe given to me by the mother of two of my closest friends, ravani with coconut.  Ahem... this is certainly not light.  It's full of coconut and syrup but it's soooo delicious.  A tiny bit of heaven, only to be complemented, if absolutely necessary, with vanilla ice cream.


125g softened butter
3/4 cup each flour and sugar
1/4 cup milk, 2 eggs
150g grated coconut
1 vanilla 
--Mix all together, pour in a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 180oC for 30 min.  Take out of oven, cut cross-wise.  Boil syrup of 3/4 cup each sugar and water, pour over hot ravani.  Let cool, springle with more grated coconut.

We had small servings of everything, with the result that while we enjoyed several of the typical Greek cuisine flavours, we were not overpowered by them.  We kept talking and laughing for at least an hour after we were done with eating...




This post is my entry into Weekend Cooking, a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. thanks! As you see, I'm trying to reach your level... (not going to happen any time soon...)

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  2. What a great meal! I love your baked fritters. I hate frying (too messy, and all that fat/oil) so I'm going to give your version a try.

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    Replies
    1. Best of luck - I hope you like them!

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  3. Very yummy! Thanks! here's y recipe for Irish Boxty

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  4. That all sounds amazing! Seriously, I'll be making all of it. Can you also teach me how to make a bechamel sauce? :-)

    The zuchini 'fritters' are genius.

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    Replies
    1. many thanks Joanna! Sure, bechamel is very easy -- everyone has their own favourite way of making it

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  5. I would be so blown away if someone invited me over and served this!! Thanks for the moussaka tips too :)

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    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  6. Danai15/3/12

    Looking at those pictures I get hungry!!!

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  7. I think my stomach just growled! This meal looks fabulous!!!
    Your fritters look so good.. with tzatziki? YUM!

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    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it!

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