Thursday 5 May 2011

My Greek Easter experience, at last!

So once again my excitement over eating food prevailed and I failed to take pictures of all the food I had in Greece. In any case I got some...

The holiday started with a walk to the shops in Nea Erythrea – a suburb with a fantastic number of cake shops and patisseries! Our first stop was at Nana Yoti , a patisserie that my husband and I fell in love with for their Cointreau mousse. We bought two individual pots: the infamous Cointreau and a chocolate mousse with crème brulee. The Cointreau unfortunately did not live up to its legend. The chocolate biscuit base was good, but the Cointreau mousse and the chocolate topping did not have a depth of flavour we were used to. The texture was great, but it just wasn't as good as I remembered... The chocolate mousse with crème brulee was also underwhelming, the mousse being too dense and the brulee filling not enough to make an impact – also don't let the name 'brulee' fool you: its basically a thick custard filling. Still, I would actually go back and give it another try. I 've loved it for so long and it could have been a bad day in the office for Nana!

The next day I went to Kifissia to the sight of a café I used to go in my late teens and which is now the home of Hamptons Cupcakes We only bought two cupcakes, to my relief. Once we got to the till I ended up paying 6.40 euros!!!! For two tiny cupcakes! Back home and with high expectations the cupcakes failed the family tasting: both the red velvet and the carrot cupcakes were too dense and the flavour was bland. The frosting was good, but I feel that 6.40 euros is too much to pay for some cream cheese and sugar​!

On Easter day I completely forgot to take any pictures of the half lamb (7kg) that my mum roasted in two different ways, or of the fantastic artichoke pastichio my nona made(layers of bechamel, artichoke, minced beef in tomato sauce and some more bechamel, then baked in the oven), or of the lemon tart, or anything else on the table. I only found some pictures of the traditional dyed, boiled red eggs and the barbecued lamb cutlets marinated in lemon and oregano. The eggs are used for a little competition before they are eaten. Each guest picks a red egg (the darker the colour the stronger I find it is) and then you hit top against top and bottom against bottom of each egg. Whichever egg survives is the winning egg! All I can say is that the food and the 'parea' (roughly translating into 'company') were great and it was a lovely Easter day! 

The next worthy thing we eat was some bougatsa (a traditional pastry mainly eaten in the north of Greece made of filo pastry and a cheese, meat, spinach or custard filling) in the Exarcheia area of Athens. We got it from 'Thermaikou Geyseis' were they sell the bougatsa by the kilo! This time we went for the savoury ones and tried the cheese one and the mince meat one. I did not expect to enjoy the meat one, but I think it was my favourite – even better than the sweet custard one! The filo was still perfectly crispy and full of buttery flavour. The filling was very thin, but with lovely flavour. Highly recommended and a cheap meal at 10 euros per kilo!

Finally one of the last meals we had at home included a 'naked' tiropita (by 'naked' it means there is no pastry) and some delicious gemista (stuffed tomatoes, peppers and aubergines). The tiropita (cheesepie) was perfectly fluffy and cheesy and I could have picked at it all night! The gemista were full of flavour, stuffed with rice, tomato, pine nuts and herbs. Gemista can often feel heavy and oily, but my nona's recipe and my brother's execution made for a lighter version. I am planning to add the recipes once I cook them myself – I m hoping sooner rather than later – as I don't want to add too many recipes of things I haven't tested myself!

Too much food talk and not enough food at home! I 'm hungry...

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