Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Honoring the Greek Cusine

It has been a few days since my last post as I have been running around trying to keep the kids busy in this cold weather. It was not bad at all!! We made few crafts…magazine’s anyone…lol…it’s my new discovery material. I shall be posting my accomplishments with directions soon…it is so much fun to do with children and almost zero cost.
As for my very much ambitious to try recipes list for January…well…it seems that am falling behind especially with our plan to take a family vacation next week; no complaints here!! Nonetheless, I have tackled my old books and found 3 Greek recipes (not on the list) that I decided to try all at once for lunch and dessert. I made Potato and Lamb Kufta or meatballs(Rissoles in Greece), Spinach with rice and served it with a cucumber and yogurt mint salad. Dessert was  a lemony coconut semolina cake; something very close to “Harisa” (the Arabic semolina dessert but with a lemony twist). We enjoyed it and it was truly easy to put a whole meal together...enjoy!
Potato and Lamb Kufta (Rissoles)
Ingredients:
1 large potato, peeled and grated
1 large onion, grated
500g minced lamb meat
1 table spoon red vinegar
1 table spoon tomato paste
1 egg, whisked
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tea spoon dried oregano
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
½ tea spoon black pepper
Salt to taste
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup olive oil
Directions:
In a large bowl mix together potato, onion, meat, vinegar, tomato paste, egg, bread crumbs, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix it well together. Chill covered in the fridge for one hour.
Shape meat into the shape you like, I made them into fingers.
Put olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat making sure not to overheat. Dredge each piece of meat in flour and fry on both sides till cooked through. Keep all done ones in a warm oven till you are done with the rest.
Spinach Rice Pilaf
Ingredients:
90g butter
2 cups short or long grain rice (I used short); soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
2 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 table spoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
500g of fresh spinach leaves, well washed and chopped
2 green onions chopped
Directions:
In a pan, put olive oil and add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes till they are translucent. Add spinach and sprinkle with some salt and pepper, cover and let it cook down before you add the green onions.
In the mean time prepare rice by melting butter in a pan, add rice, salt and chicken stock. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and cover till it is cooked all the way through (about 15-20 minutes)
When both rice and spinach are done, use a fork to separate rice grains and mix well with spinach. Serve hot.

Lemony Coconut Semolina cake
Ingredients:
250g butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tea spoon vanilla powder
1 cup fine semolina
¾ cup grated unsweetened coconut
11/4 cup self rising flour
Lemon syrup
¾ cup sugar
1 cup water
One lemon thinly sliced
Directions:
Prepare the lemon sugar syrup by mixing sugar and water in a pan till sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil and add the lemon slices and let it simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Let it cool.
Preheat oven to 180 c or 350 F. Grease a round pan (23 cm in diameter) with butter and flour.
Beat butter with sugar for around 5 minutes till light and fluffy. Add eggs gradually and beat well. Add vanilla, semolina and beat for another 2 minutes. Add coconut and flour and mix in a wooden spoon till combined and smooth. The mix will be thick. Spoon in the greased pan and bake for around 35-40 minutes till a tooth pick come out clean.
Let it rest for a minute in the pan, run a knife around it and take out from the pan on a cooling rack.
Pour cold sugar syrup over the hot cake and let it cool completely. Garnish with lemon slices.
(Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to take a photo of this delicious and super easy cake but I took a picture from the book…it was very much similar but without the flowers)

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