Quince spoon sweet

One of my favourite spoon sweets is the one made with quince. The quince is not normally eaten raw as they are hard, too tart and not very pleasant.  However, once cooked and sweetened it transforms into a beautiful red color, and becomes, I think, irresistible.

The spoon sweet is not the only way to eat quince of course.  You can poach them with vanilla and cinnamon and serve with Greek yogurt, you can make a quince tart as you would an apple tart by simply substituting the apple with quince, quince jam, quince compote and roasted as you would apples and served with roast meats such as pork.

They are ready for eating in late autumn…I love this time of the year.  You may be lucky enough to have a quince tree in your garden but, if not, the markets have plenty right now.

Here is my recipe for my much-loved spoon sweet…

Quince spoon sweet

1 kilo quince
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups water
1 kilo castor sugar

Peel and grate the quince roughly and place into a saucepan with the water and lemon.  Simmer until the quince is soft and the water has almost been absorbed.

I love the rich color the quince turns once cooked.

Pour in the sugar, combine careully and allow to stand overnight.

In the morning place back onto a low heat and simmer until the quince is cooked, translucent and the syrup has thickened.  Pour into sterilized jars and allow to cool. 

Store in the refrigerator.

Soups to nourish the soul

I have a great love for the rustic soups of Greece.  They are usually simply prepared with few good quality ingredients but always nourishing and flavoursome.

There are many varieties of soup in the Greek kitchen, ranging from hearty bean soups to my favourite, the soothing flavours of an avgolemono soup.

For me, a bowl of soup, is not only comforting, soothing and nourishing it is also a gesture of love.

Here is my recipe for Yiouverlakia soup…meatballs cooked in a broth and finished off with an egg and lemon sauce.

A perfect winter warmer to nourish the soul.

Yiouverlakia soup

500 grams minced beef
1 small onion, finely diced
1/3 cup medium grain rice
2 tablespons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon mint or dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
50 grams butter

egg and lemon sauce

In a large bowl, combine mince, onion, half the rice, herbs and seasonings.  Shape this mixture into small balls.

Pour 1 litre water into a large saucepan and add butter.  Bring to the boil.  Slowly add the meatballs into the boiling water, together with the remaining rice.  Simmer until cooked.

Make the egg and lemon sauce and add to the soup.

Season to taste, garnish with a sprig of parsley is you like and serve hot.

Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce)

2 eggs
juice of 1 lemon
juice from the soup stock

Lightly beat the egg whites in a small bowl, add the yolks and beat a little more then add lemon juice gradually.

Slowly add a little stock into the egg and lemon mixture, beating all the time.  Add a little more stock, continue mixing.

Pour the egg and lemon sauce into your soup or over your dish, stirring well so it doesn’t curdle.

Homemade filo pastry

Homemade filo pastry made into delicious savoury pies (pita) is something that I love to make and am still working on mastering, the delicate and light paper thin sheets.  I remember watching my mother, who was a master at this art, pulling at the pastry from each end over a table covered with a tablecloth until the pastry was silky and transparent.  Many have said that women from Northern Greece make the best pitas…I am not going to argue with that.

My filo recipe is basic and easy to make and work with.  There are many variations depending on which part of Greece you come from and each household may have their own version.  Some recipes add yogurt, others eggs but always olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice.

For many the idea of making your own filo pastry is frightening…but have a go as it can be very satisfying.  For those of you who have electric kitchen mixers and would like to use it, you can use you dough hook, that will also work.

Here is my recipe…

Homemade filo

500 grams bakers flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup warm water

Sift the flour and place into a large mixing bowl with the salt, sugar and baking powder.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil, vinegar and warm water.  Mix the flour into the liquid mixture slowly,  you can add more water if you need to.

Knead the mixture into a soft and elastic dough.  Make a ball with the dough, leave in the bowl, cover with a cloth and allow to rest for at least an hour.

When ready to use divide the dough into small balls and roll out into sheets using a long thin rolling pin.  Keep rolling all directions until you have made a large round very fine sheet.  When using these sheets brush with a little melted butter and olive oil between sheets.

To make pita filo which separates during baking, stack three or four balls of dough on each other brushed with a little melted butter together with olive oil.  Roll this stack into a sheet.

Ready now for your favourite fillings.

Join me for a magical foodie tour to Greece

Hi Everyone,

Join me  for the ultimate gourmet foodie tour to Greece.

It will be 10 glorious days of luxurious foodie indulgence, traditional Greek culture and living the Mediterranean lifestyle that we love so much.

The tour begins in Athens where we will explore the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus and the Ancient Agora.  We will visit the colorful central marketplace of Athens, tasting local delicacies along the way.

The magical island of Crete is next where we will stay in a traditional style villa, living like a local.  Visits to local wineries, shopping for the freshest local produce to be prepared later for that night’s dinner.  We will also spend some time in Chania, the town centre, exploring and dining at the breathtaking seaside tavernas in the old port.

We finish with stunning luxurious accommodation in Santorini.  We will be visiting local wineries, cooking with local chefs, enjoying shopping, restaurants, magical blue waters, cobblestone laneways, sun and a breathtaking sunset.

We hope that you return home inspired and rejuvenated.

For more information you can contact me via email or

Jaqui at Touchdown tours,
Email : travel@touchdowntours.com.au
Toll free: 1800 657 441
Telephone: (03) 9482 5215

Hope to see you in Athens in September.

Mary x

Baking tsourekia

It is days like today that stir up so many emotions.  I am baking tsourekia and the house is filled with exotic aromas of mahlepi.  I am always so surprised, and really shouldn’t be, as to how something as simple as baking or a taste or smell can take you back to another place and time.

It is my mother that I am thinking of today as I make my tsourekia…we always spent the day together in the kitchen, as well as my sister and father, after all he was the baker in the family.  I would watch my mother and take instruction not realizing that one day I would be the one giving instruction and being watched by my own children.

It has been almost 10 years now that my parents have passed but I miss them every day, especially on days like these.

These are the memories that I hold close to my heart.

Find my recipe in the recipes section!

Red eggs for Easter

Red eggs for Easter are dyed on Holy Thursday..so today I bought a packet of red powdered dye and some eggs ready for tomorrow mornings ritual of dying the eggs.

My mother loved to decorate a few of the eggs using a leaf from her garden and using it as a stencil.  She would place the leaf on a clean egg and place it into some stocking, tie it tightly and slowly immerse it in the red dye.  When ready she would remove the leaves and a lovely leaf pattern would emerge.

I now, as my mother did, polish my red eggs with a little olive oil in some cloth, place them in a bowl and then they take their place on my kitchen table.

I love these traditions.