I personally am not a huge fan of all the Greek syrup sweets, most of the time they are just too sweet. Having said that though, I do like the occasional syrup cake. The two most popular are Ravani and Karydopita (walnut cake). Ravani, that you see here, is a simple semolina cake lightly infused with either lemon or orange zest. Two versions I have grown to love are a coconut Ravani or a cinnamon one, like below!
I can’t believe it is almost November, and even almost 2012! Where has the time gone?
Now that school has begun, the days fly by and Monday to Friday seems to come and go faster than I can keep up with. Thankfully though, life is really good right now. Amidst all the turmoil this country is facing and the extreme austerity measures we are forced to adapt to, we still feel very blessed. We are still being taken care of on a daily basis: we have shelter, food, work, health, love, and an abundance of so many more daily joys!
Thank you for your continued patience in my erratic posting, things have been very much overwhelming for me this past week or so and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The first wedding was really beautiful and a great success, tomorrow I am leaving for the second wedding (where I am matron of honor for my best friend from high school). I am so excited for my two great friends to enter into the wonderful roller coaster ride world of marriage; I am a HUGE fan of finding and marrying your best friend and spending the rest of your life loving and learning to love them!
Well, summer weather here in Lesvos was in full force this weekend and instead of being home and writing the updated blog post that I needed to be, I was swimming in the sea and eating ice cream with my husband. The sea was cold, really cold, at first but after a few minutes my body adjusted and it was spectacular!!! Summer is really one of the best times to be in Greece, and I only have 10 more days of my Greek summer because I am heading to the USA in exactly 10 days! I will (unfortunately) be flying solo, my hubby will still have school and will not be able to join until (maybe) July – I am NOT too excited about that part though. Thank God for skype!!!
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, and although Greeks don’t really celebrate birthdays, THIS American girl surely does!!! V requested strawberry cake but there were no strawberries to be found yet on the island, maybe in a couple of weeks. Instead, I made a double layer walnut cake and filled it with his favorite vanilla creme (instant and hassle free)!
There is a (mostly) wonderful custom here in Greece that anytime you visit someone’s house, you should “arrive with your hands full and leave with your hands empty”! Basically, you should always bring something when visiting anyone, even if they are family. The exception to this is rule is only if you have already been to visit before in the previous days and took something with you then. Typical gifts are a box of delicious sweets, a bottle of wine, some flowers, or maybe even something you have prepared yourself.
2 cups coarse semolina
1/2 – 1 cup nuts: walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, ect, chopped finely or processed quickly
Cinnamon and a few nuts for topping
I will be making this again when we are expecting some guests, it is a bit dangerous to leave around the house when there are only two of you!
I would like to introduce you to brown rice pudding, Rizogalo is usually made with white rice, but this recipe was made using brown rice. More fiber, a more dense and chewy bite, and all around a more wholesome flavor.
Anyway, my first encounter with loukoumades was at night when we were walking along the beach and we shared some just freshly made. I was taken away by just the smell of the honey and cinnamon, not to mention the crushed walnuts that also intrigued me. My first bit was melt in your mouth with every flavor and sweetness joining together to create a firework display in my mouth. I immediately began to count that there were only 4 left, which meant someone would get 1 more than the other person. As we shared this newly discovered delicacy, I savored each bite. I patiently waited until the end, and then I pretended to be done at which V insisted that I have the last one. Let’s just say that I didn’t put up much of a fight and that is when I knew I found someone pretty dang special!!! The last time I had that enlightenment was in high school and my now best friend Debbie came over to my house for the weekend and I actually shared my un-opened food with her. It sounds ridiculous now, but I used to hide all my favorite foods, mainly from my older brother. So, when I was willing to share something new and untainted, I knew she would be a friend for life!
Milk Pie dusted with cinnamon.
This is a delicious, filling, and popular Greek sweet.
It couldn’t be easier to make, and it always welcomes a crowd!
Try this out sometime. Recipe:
5 cups milk (at least 2% but whole is preferred)
1 cup sugar
1 cup semolina (fine)
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
1-2 tsp. vanilla
Puff pastry or phyllo optional for bottom crust
Preheat oven to 350. Heat milk over heavy bottom saucepan on medium heat, adding butter until melted and simmering. Add sugar and semolina, stirring constantly with whisk until dissolved completely and thickens. Remove from heat, whisk for a few minutes to slightly cool, and then continually stream in eggs and vanilla while continuing to stir quickly.
This is a very simple recipe made of semolina (like a cream of wheat), sugar, and a little oil. It is simple and sweet, and usually blanched almonds or pine nuts are added, but here I used chopped walnuts.
There are two types of halvas, this one made with semolina and another one made from sesame seeds and sometimes cocoa. It is very common in greek culture and quite filling too.