People tend to think of Greek food as all hummus, kebabs and moussaka but this is just not the case. I have been talking to three Greek olive oil growers and producers about how they use their oils and have chosen three recipes to show a different and more adventurous side to Greek cooking.
Stuffed Courgette Flowers
This recipe comes from Sam and Iris at Efthimiadi estate in northern Greece and uses their award winning Eliris extra virgin olive oil. Do not be put off by the length of the list of ingredients. It is well worth the effort.
- 10 courgette flowers, washed gently to remove any dirt or bugs
- Eliris extra virgin olive oil for deep-frying
- 80g feta cheese
- 80g kefalograviera or parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 1tbsp chopped mint
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 heaped tbsp. plain flour
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Ice cold beer or sparkling water
Heat the oil to about 180C. Prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a basin. Fill the courgette flowers with 3 teaspoons of the cheese mix, twist the tips of the petals for secure the filling.
Make the batter by placing the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Give it a whisk with a fork to remove any lumps. Slowly add the chosen liquid, stirring all the time to give a consistency of single cream.
Bulgur, Walnut and Spinach Pilaf with Roast Tomatoes
This recipe from Chef Theodore Kyriakou, who created the Real Greek chain of restaurants, was first posted on the Odysea olive oil website and any of the extra virgin oils featured here can be used.
- 150ml olive oil
- 200g bulgur
- 300g onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g butter, cut into small pieces and keep it refrigerated
- 400ml hot chicken stock
- 100g walnuts, crushed
- 250g spinach, washed and finely shredded
- 200g sun drenched tomatoes
- 70g mint, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and black pepper
In a heavy bottomed casserole, sauté the chopped onions with the olive oil. When the onion is soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
Tip the bulgur wheat into the casserole; pour in the stock, and season. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let the bulgur simmer in the stock for about 15 minutes. All the stock will have been absorbed by then. Spread over the bulgur surface the butter pieces, sprinkle the crushed walnuts and cinnamon, cover the pot and let the bulgur sit to fluff up for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Fluff with a fork the bulgur wheat, layer it in a shallow bowl, and sprinkle on half of the mint, then the shredded spinach, and tomatoes, then the rest of the mint. Drizzle with some lemon and serve.
Olive Oil, Raisin and Walnut Cake
This lovely cake recipe comes from Argris Bouras who set up and runs the family estate of Eleones in the Halkidiki region of Northern Greece. Argris says that the recipe is her mother’s and that it is often served for breakfast, but it is equally good served with coffee or tea. It uses the family’s Eleones extra virgin olive oil which is pressed from the local Hondroelia olive. The original recipe has more sugar in it than given here but I like to keep my recipes as low in sugar as possible.
- 200g sugar
- 353ml orange juice
- 822g plain flour
- 5g baking powder
- 353ml Eleones extra virgin olive oil
- 235g chopped walnuts
- 235g raisins
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Sift the flour and baking powder in a bowl containing the olive oil and carefully stir together to make a smooth mixture. Stir in the sugared orange juice. Next stir in the walnuts, raisins, cinnamon and cloves and finish mixing with your hands. Grease a ring baking tin and spoon the cake mixture into the tin. Smooth down with a spoon.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, checking with a skewer after 50 minutes. If the skewer comes out clean remove the cake from the oven. If it does not, cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
To enjoy more delicious recipes using extra virgin olive oil look at my book Remarkable Recipes: from the people who really know about olive oil – the producers. It is available via Paypal off my website or on Amazon.