I belong to two bookclubs: one discussing classic literature, where soft drinks/tea and nibbles are the order of the day, and one discussing modern literature, where a potluck dinner is served. For the latter one, then, I was hosting the The lady in Gold book discussion and this is what I had prepared for a casual buffet dinner:
- A bell pepper and feta quiche
- A spicy spinach quiche
adapted from the Pie and Pastry Bible
300g spinach (I used frozen, which I let thaw)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 eggs, 1 split
100g shredded cheese
Fry onion and garlic in medium heat until translucent. Add spinach, cook as per instructions of packet. Leave to cool. In the meantime, pre-bake the pastry. Roll out the pastry in a pie dish, line with aluminium foil and spread baking beans (in my case, regular beans which have been used so often, they are made of stone now...). Bake at 200 degrees C for about 10 minutes, remove foil, brush egg white (from the 1 split egg). Beat remaining eggs with milk, mustard, cheese and, once cool, the spinach mixture. Spread in pie dish and bake for about 20 minutes. Done!
- Melomakarona (honey cookies with walnuts)
adapted from keeptalkinggreece
This is a typical Greek Christmas cookie
1/2l peanut oil
150g white sugar
1/2tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp baking soda
1 1/2tsp baking powder
zest from 2 oranges
100ml + 40ml orange juice
1Kg all-purpose flour
1tbsp lemon juice
100gr chopped walnuts
Preheat oven at 150 degrees C at fan. Have all ingredients ready - this will ease your baking enormously! In a huge bowl (this is 1Kg of flour...) mix oil with sugar. Mix baking soda first with 40ml orange juice, add to mixture. Add cinnamon, baking powder and the 100ml of orange juice. I used the my hand-held mixer at low speed to mix everything. Start adding flour, a little at a time, making sure you mix everything before adding more. At the very end, work the dough a bit with the hands, so as to make sure that everything is nicely mixed!
I made relatively small cookies: about the size of a walnut, roll round and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. From this dough I got 60 cookies in two trays, which I then baked together in the oven for about 30 minutes.
While the cookies are baking, make the syrup. Boil honey, water and lemon juice and then keep warm at low heat.
Once the cookies are done, you have to plunge them in the syrup, while they are still warm! I put them first face down for about 1 minute, then turn over for another minute. Take them out with a slotted spoon and place on a (huge) serving plate. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Continue coating cookies with syrup until all are done.
These were my contributions to the dinner, accompanied by salads, nibbles and more dessert from the other members of the club - What a great way to enjoy a convivial dinner while discussing literature!