CROSTATA

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Crostata or jam tart is my idea of comfort food. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of having this as a child. Sweet and gooey with lashings of custard!  Of course crostata is eaten without custard but to each his own right? However I did serve this with whipped cream and that is just as tasty.
PASTRY
225g  cold butter,cut in cubes
450g  flour
4 large egg yolks
170g  sugar
1tsp  baking powder
1tsp  vanilla
zest of half a lemon
splash of brandy

Preheat your oven to 350F
Prepare your tin by greasing it with a little butter. For this recipe I used a 26cm sized tin..
Mix the butter and flour until you have a sand grain consistency.
Add the yolks,lemon zest,vanilla and baking powder. Mix well and add the brandy to finish. Mix until it just comes together and wrap in clingfilm. Let rest in fridge for an hour or so. When you remove the dough from the fridge cut off about a quarter of it and set aside. Roll out the remainder of the dough and drape over the buttered tin. Gently ease into the tin. Cut off excess. Roll out the rest of the dough and with a dough cutter cut out strips.

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JAM
400g jam of your choice. Here I used a combination of raspberry and apricot.
1tsp  rosewater.
Mix together. Spread over the pastry shell evenly. With the cut strips criss cross over the tart and brush with eggwash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake for about 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

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SPOON SWEETS

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If you grew up in a Cypriot household you would know what these are. Glyko or spoon sweets were always available for when guests would drop by. Usually they were offered along with a Greek coffee and a glass of water on the side.img_5235

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Small vegetables or fruit can be used. Everything from small eggplants to thick orange peel and everything in between. Here I have used quince which I love. They can be quite pricey but to make two jars  just two were used.
Start with peeling the quince and make sure you have a bowl of cold water with lemon juice ready to put the them into. Core and slice each into six pieces. In a saucepan add equal amounts of sugar and water along with a stick of cinnamon and a few cloves. Once the sugar has dissolved add the quince. Simmer for about twenty minutes until just soft.Reduce to  a syrup. Take off the heat and allow to cool right down. Once cooled add to jars that have been sterilised. They will keep like this for a few months, if they last that long! Enjoy!

Other fruits that can be used.

Cherries, Bitter orange peel, Apples just to name a few.                                                                                                                                                    img_5252

Simple summer salad

IMG_2028This salad brings back a lot of memories as my mum made it when my aunts would come over for a chat during the week. Usually she made this in the summer months when it was hot outside but to be honest it is good anytime of the year. My mum and aunts were very close and would get together a couple of times a week over lunch and coffee. They would rotate homes and would spend many an afternoon talking (gossiping), eating and enjoying the day. Sometimes they would go shopping or maybe even go to a local coffee shop for a few hours. However most often than not sitting around the kitchen table was their preferred choice.

This salad was made most of the time as it was easy but substantial as well. Very simple and no real recipe but something I like to make every once in a while along with a cup of Greek coffee to bring back good times and wonderful memories.

2-3 roasted beets or pickled from a jar.

New potatoes, about  3-4

Handful of lettuce, any will do.

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1-2 roughly cut tomatoes

Half a cut cucumber

2-3 spring onions chopped

Small handful feta cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper.

If using fresh beets scrub and cut into smallish pieces. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes or until soft throughout.

Meanwhile boil the potatoes until just soft. Chop the vegetables and in a bowl add them along with the potatoes which have been halved along with the the beetroot. A good sprinkle of the fets cheese.

Make a vinaigrette with the olive oil and lemon juice. Toss thoughout the salad and season.

Tip: Add the vinaigrette while the potatoes and beets are still warm so they absorb all of the lovely dressing

CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE WITH ORANGE AND SEASALT

This is a luscious deep cake with wonderful rich flavours that emphasize the chocolate and take it to another level. Coffee and rummy marmalade jam are added to the batter. The finished cake is coated with a blanket of melted 90% chocolate and then topped with candied orange slices that have been  dipped in the melted chocolate. Sprinkled with good sea salt is the finishing touch! Even though I call this a cake it really has more of a brownie consistency in that it is dense and moist in the middle.

CANDIED ORANGE SLICES
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
In a pan add equal amounts of sugar and water and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the orange slices and on a low heat simmer for approx. one hour.

CAKE
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup espresso
3 large eggs
3/4 cup melted butter

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and the cocoa.To this add one egg and whisk on a low-speed. This is followed by the baking powder,salt and the rest of the eggs, coffee and rum marmalade.Whisk until you have lovely light batter. Transfer to a prepared loaf pan or a 9×13 tin.
Put into a preheated oven set at 375F. Bake for 45-50 minutes until cooked through.

MELTED 90% CHOCOLATE
SEA SALT

Drain the orange slices and dip into melted chocolate.Put aside to cool.
With the rest of the melted chocolate drizzle over the cooled cake. Lay the orange slices onto the cake and sprinkle with the sea salt.

BREAD TOPPERS

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Easy bread toppers! I have included just two ideas here but of course the possibles are endless!


CAREMILIZED ONIONS AND ROASTED EGGPLANT

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Start with caramelizing your onions. Slice them finely and add to a pan with a little olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and let simmer until the onion soften. Finish off with a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar and mix to combine.IMG_0329IMG_0306.Cut the eggplant and place onto baking sheet. Add sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss altogether. Roast in a preheated oven at 375 F until browned and soft. Place the onions onto the bread. Add the roasted eggplant onto the onions and if you like drizzle with a little more balsamic vinager.

SOFT CHEESE WITH PEAR, WALNUTS AND HONEY

Spread a really good soft cheese of your liking onto the bread. Finely slice the pear and add to the cheese. Top with a few walnuts and drizzle with honey.

Enjoy!

Make sure to check out our video on this as well!