Thursday, 31 January 2013


i've thought about peirnili on and off since i first ate them in thessaloniki when i was 24..up until then i hadn't seen them before and even though i've been back to greece several times since i haven't come across them husband and i were introduced to them by an army colleague of my husband's and his wife who were from thessaloniki..on one of the few weekends when my husband and his colleague had weekend leave at the same time we caught the train from edessa where they were based to thessaloniki where we stayed for two nights..on the first night our friends arranged for us to go to a restaurant where they served the peirnili..i recall being quite excited by the time we got to the restaurant because they had described them to us in mouth watering detail..

it's taken me a long time to get around to having a go at making them because i have an endless list of recipes i want to try for the first time or recreate..when i looked for a recipe i found none in my greek cook books and very few on the internet and those that i did find all had similar fillings..i have a hazy recollection of eating different versions of them on that memorable night..i think one had a spicy minced meat filling..but after so long maybe my memory is playing tricks on me..regardless..that minced meat filling is calling me and i'm listening..

recipe adapted from here

ingredients dough

400 gms white bread making flour
100 gms wholemeal flour
50 gms butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon (tsp) yeast
1/2 tbs honey
1 1/2 tablespoons salt (i use murray river salt)
approximately 200 mls cold milk

ingredients filling

2 1/2 cups grated kasseri
16 very thin rashers of smoky bacon
2 tsp oregano
extra butter


~ mix the two flours with the yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer and rub in the butter
~ add the egg, honey and enough milk to form a soft dough
~ rest for 10 minutes
~ add salt and knead briefly
~ rest for 10 minutes 
~ knead again briefly and then remove the bowl from the mixer
~ cover the dough with oiled cling film and leave to prove until doubled
~ remove the dough from the bowl and knead without flour or oil until the dough is pliable and no longer sticky 
~ divide into 8 pieces and rest for 10 minutes
~ roll each piece of dough into an oval
~ sprinkle the centres with oregano and then add the kasseri and top with bacon
~ with the dough horizontal take the top right corner and the bottom left corner and press the dough to the centre
~ then bring the remaining corners to the centre and pinch the dough to create a boat shape
~ dot each 'boat' with three pea sized pieces of butter
~ place on a baking paper lined baking tray and rest for 15-20 minutes
~ bake at 220 deg c (bread baking function) for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melting and the dough is cooked
~ serve warm

comment: i didn't have high expectations of my first attempt at making peirnili but i was pleasantly surprised how well they turned out and how good they tasted..i'm now imagining other fillings..

this post submitted to yeastspotting

post publication note: i've just realised that peirnili are very similar to (if not the same) as turkish pide although i've never seen them look quite like peirnili here in melbourne and i've been to several turkish bakeries along sydney road (a hub of turkish cuisine)..funny how understandings happen sometimes..

Saturday, 26 January 2013


or briami is an adaptable and no nonsense but delicious and nutritious greek dish made with summer's a great recipe for the home vegetable gardener because you can add more or less of a particular ingredient according to availability..for instance today i had only one ripe capsicum and one eggplant but lots of zucchini so i adjusted the ingredients to suit what i had on can be served warm or cold as a stand alone dish with bread and feta cheese or tzatziki or with meat, poultry or seafood as a vegetable accompaniment..

tourlou (greek baked vegetables)


1 onion sliced thin
3-5 medium potatoes* cut small
1 medium eggplant* cut into medium cubes
1 red capsicum* cut into strips
2-3 medium zucchini* cut into rounds
1/2 medium carrot cut into small cubes
250 gms tomatoes* cut small
3-4 garlic cloves cut fine*
2 tablespoons parsley* cut fine
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes*#
1/2 tbs sugar
salt and pepper 
1/4 cup olive oil**
1/2 cup boiling water


~ place half of the olive oil in the base of a shallow baking dish and add all of the ingredients except for parsley
~ mix the vegetables well and sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with remaining olive oil
~ pour in boiling water and cover with foil
~ bake at 175 deg c for an hour
~ remove foil, mix gently and continue to cook until the vegetables are cooked and well browned

notes: *   homegrown vegetables
          ** most greek cooks would use more olive still might seem quite a lot but when i scrimp on                     the oil i don't think it tastes as good
           #  not a traditional ingredient

kali evthomatha (have a good week)!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

afternoon tea..

a wonderful three hours was spent on this lovely melbourne afternoon drinking tea, eating scones and talking with a dear friend..

my daughter gave me the chook but everything else i've purchased from op shops..
even the delicate japanese serviettes (in a sealed packet)!

it almost felt like favourite season..what's yours? x

Sunday, 20 January 2013


trahana is similar to pasta in that flour is mixed with a binding agent and the resulting dough is shaped, dried and stored for future use..dried trahana is typically used in soups, spinach pies and boiled like porridge and served with feta and a drizzle of olive has a long history of having been made in greece but the same or similar versions of it are made in turkey, albania, bulgaria, iran, serbia and iraq..

i first ate trahana when i was mother in law made the porridge version for me for breakfast many times and i remember really enjoying it.. i had the opportunity to make the dried trahana myself when i was living in the north of greece after discussing it with our land lady..i would have happily made it on my own following her recipe but most greek women of her generation don't use recipes and it's easier to learn a recipe by watching them cook..i don't remember exactly how i made it back then so i had to look on the internet for recipes but there are few recipes available for making the trahana itself although there are many that use it as an ingredient..when i next go to greece i plan to do a bit of trahana sleuthing..


recipe adapted from here


2 large eggs
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 (or more or less) cups plain flour
1 1/2 (or more or less) cups fine semolina


~ in a large bowl beat eggs, salt and yoghurt
~ add enough flour and semolina to make a pliable dough
~ turn the dough out of the bowl and knead briefly
~ divide the dough into egg sized pieces
~ roll each piece into thin disks
~ place the disks onto clean tea towels, cover with another tea towel and leave to dry for about 24 hours
~ turn the disks and continue to dry until the dough crumbles 
~ once ready crumble the dough into small pieces (as pictured above)
~ place back on the tea towel, cover and allow to completely dry
~ when dry store in a cloth bag or in an airtight jar 

have a happy week..x

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

purslane and ricotta quiche

i haven't made a quiche in years but today i was inspired to make one because i wanted to experiment with cooking with purslane....quiches used to be de rigueur a couple of decades ago but they now seem quite old fashioned, however, after having revisited the culinary past i've decided to cook them more regularly..

purslane has been growing luxuriantly in my garden this always appears here and there but this year it's taken over my former garlic patch and it's begging to be taken more seriously than merely as a small player in a mixed green salad..after doing a bit of digging around on the internet i learned that purslane is high in alpha linolenic acid or omega-3 and it's also high in other nutrients and in terms of culinary use i found out that it can be used like spinach.. it seems it really does deserve to be taken more seriously..

purslane and ricotta quiche
tea with hazel

 pastry ingredients 

250 gms plain flour
125 gms cold butter cut into cubes
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) salt
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
iced water with a squeeze of lemon juice

filling ingredients

3 cups purslane sprigs (discard the larger stems) washed
1 large onion sliced thin
200 gms ricotta
100 gms feta crumbled
1/4 cup grated parmesan and aged cheddar
4 eggs 
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 to 3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
olive oil

pastry method

~ put flour, salt, chilli, cheese and butter into the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
~ using the pulse function add enough iced water until the mix starts to hold together
~ remove the dough from the bowl and knead the dough briefly until it forms a ball
~ form into a flat round, wrap in cling film and refrigerate while making the filling

filling method and making the quiche

~ steam purslane until just wilted and then spread onto a tea towel to cool and to absorb any residual moisture
~ saute the onion until softened and just browning on the edges and then remove to a plate to cool
~ roll out pastry to fit a 22 cm quiche tin with a removable base, place the pastry in the tin removing excess pastry and place the pastry lined tin in the fridge until the filling is ready
~ beat eggs with salt, pepper and eggs
~ add milk and cheeses and mix to incorporate
~ place the purslane and onion over the pastry and pour over the egg and cheese mix
~ bake at 190 deg c for 35-45 minutes or until the custard is set and the top is well browned


as i said earlier this recipe was pure experimentation but it's one that had a positive outcome because it's a flavoursome quiche that i will make again..and i can almost feel all the nutrients doing me a power of good..

Saturday, 12 January 2013

green beans with olive oil (fasolakia me lathi)

last winter i prepared 3 new vegetable garden beds in the southerly aspect of my garden because i'd had several disappointing summer crops from my very exposed north facing of the beds required some initial assistance in the form of jack hammers and man power but the other two i readied myself..seventeen hours of hard graft was devoted to the second of the beds which produced 5 large bags of kikuyu (an invasive lawn) and several buckets of archaelogical artifacts in the form of broken tiles and bricks, skeletal remains, broken jewellery and bits of unidentifiable plastic..the last of the plots was the easiest of the three to prepare because i'd layered newspaper and mulch on the grass several months earlier which made the digging easier..

i've planted 3 types of beans, climbing beans, bush beans and borlotti beans, in my new vegetable garden and for the first time i've made sure to plant successive crops to prolong production....since just after christmas i've been harvesting a few of the climbing beans each day but during the last week production has increased dramatically and i've been picking about 250 gms to 500 gms a day..

many of the dishes i learned to make while living in greece rarely feature on menus in greek restaurants here in of these, green beans in olive oil or fasolakia me lathi, is a favourite of my children and mine..sometimes other ingredients are added such as meat or potatoes which is how i made the recipe today..

green beans with olive oil (fasolakia me lathi)


2 tablespoons (tbs) olive oil
1 large onion sliced thin
2 garlic* cloves cut fine
500 gms skinned tomatoes** chopped
10 small potatoes* (optional)
1200 gms green beans*
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) chilli flakes*
3 tbs parsley* cut fine
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper


~ remove the ends of the beans and leave whole or cut to preferred size
~ heat oil in a large saucepan and add onion and garlic and cook until soft
~ add potatoes, beans, tomato, chilli, pepper and sugar and cover and cook over a moderate heat until the beans and potato are tender
~ add salt to taste and stir well
~ serve hot or cold with a drizzle of extra olive oil and parsley sprinkled over


*   home grown produce
** i used 700 mls home bottled tomato puree