Thursday, July 4, 2013

Love in a delightful birthday party

Summer calendar is full enough to keep me away from my base, Athens.
Being busy with travelling I hardly have time to think that all my friends left me alone in the big city. Went back to their native places, or abroad to work and/or study.
Well, fortunately I can follow or visit some of them.

Destination: Crete. Purpose: Vicky's Birthday Party.

Vicky (on the right, smiling with her heart) is such a tease.
Surreal screenwriter, enthousiastic film professional, free spirit, artistic by nature.
We celebrate her birthday at Antonella's (the batman girl) lovely house.
It was a gleeful night with family,
parents, boyfriends, best friends and a bright dog, Pedro.

Big hugs, happy faces, real pleasure meeting with a long aftertaste.

The guest of honor was Christoph, Vicky's boyfriend from Switzerland, who is, apart from handsome and hyper-polite, a promising pastry chef.
He made for his girl a unique six-layer b-day cake.

The miraculous cake consisted of a buttery sable bisquit, a delicate chocolate sponge, a thick chocolate ganache, a fluffy chocolate mousse, red fresh strawberries ans a rich vanilla topping cream put as snatchy waves, resembling a naughty sea with wooden floating paper ships!

We had pizza's, fresh tomato salads, satay chicken on teriyaki sauce, a delicious strand filled with veggies and meat and Pimm's original to "chin- chin" and to celebrate both Vicky's day and her new start to Amsterdam September coming.
Cheers to all!

ps. I dedicate this post to the b-day girl, wishing her all the best.
Big thanx for the photos, guys.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fooding around Brussels

I only knew Brussels for the EU Parliament, Committee,
belgian beers and european, white-collar workers.
In the past months I visited Belguim for a gastronomic
event taking place in the Parliament.

I had the chance to get to know a little bit of the other side of the coin: what Brussels taste like.

First stop was Le pain Quotidien in Sablon.
Fresh bread, soury goat cheese, dried tomato, basil pesto, olive oil.
A little of le goût de la Méditerranée in center Europe.

Passing to the other side, I entered Wittamer finest pastry shop.
The reason of my visit was straight and clear: eclair au chocolat.

Sticky chocolate glaze, soft, flufy pastry, thick and smooth chocolate filling.
Strong and acid aftertaste of the fruity notes of the grand cru chocolate.
Très elegant.

Before dinner I went shopping.
Beer shopping.
In Grand Place among others there is a wooden old store, with a huge selection of Belgian beers.

 Apart from handsome, he was polite and willng to help me find the beer
that best matched my taste criteria. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name.
I gave him a smile, he gave me a praline bonbon.

With a sweet flavour filling my mouth, I left la Grand Place heading to Marcolini's "jewellery store", the Haute Chocolaterie of Sablon
The intercontinental chef pâtissier, so famous for his upper class chocolate creations is travelling form Europe to Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Madagascar, Venezuela to find and choose by himself the best cocoa beans.

This is a dark gran cru tablet chocolate from Bahia- Brazil. It is slightly acid, made 78% Forastero cocoa. In their site you can find more of information. 
I enjoyed it with a Taf Rosebud espreso shot and it was divine.

Little do we know about Pierre Marcolini as a person, but, let's admit that we do care much more about his profesional capacity and his edible, tiny visions- his chocolates. 
The originals are handmade and signed.

PS. I dedicate this post to my beloved friends Eli and Michael with all my love for a great new start in the heart of Europe. A votre santé mes amis!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Breakfast is just the beginning

"If only people came with a restart button".
2012 was really tough and heavy. 

Such little time for myself, so many hours spent on traffic jams, meetings, working, thinking, explaining, taking care of others. 
I count the times I had to re-estimate relationships, take over same actions,
re-arrange time, prioritize, fall to zero and climb up again.
All these
intensively, since February. Ten months later I feel that it was enough.

I needed some time alone at a familiar place. 

Me in the kitchen. Food helps me think clearly.
Quiet, strong tea and salty butter. Crispy bread, smooth goat cheese. 
Sour and sweet homemade berries' confiture.
Made myself a breakfast. Procrastination just died. 
A great day just started.
And off I go.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bitter Broken Heart

Some weeks ago I paid a visit to my best friends commune in London; 
after years of wishing and dreaming about roomating 
four of them hopefully managed to live together.  

We had our chances to catch up and reunite our spirits,  
smile and laugh, 
hug and feel each other, 
hear the inner truth revealing itself. 

Turning back home was hard and sad. 
There is only one way for me to exorcise the evil. 


The british capital is always a tickle for my eye's and taste's curiosity, 
so I couldn't help but endure. 
In Spitalfields market I met Montezuma's chocolate. 
 Bitter mouthful and heavy, like lies between adolescents in love. 
This was the raw material for my chocolate fondant. 
Eggs, brown sugar, milk cream and a bitter, so bitter chocolate. 

My heart was broken.  
Unintentionally, but to the point. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Your hand in mine

These are the hands that taught me what is soft and what is hard.
Showed the difference between cold and hot, explained the dos and the don'ts.
I have always had an extravagant relation with my mother's mom.
Pure love and strong misunderstandings haunted my childhood and puberty.

I was sleeping with her until I was 12, spent my summertime vacations till my 17.
She spent with me more days than with her own children, controlled her patience,
re- estimated responsibility and family affairs,
cooked for me so many breakfasts, lunches and dinners, made me gain 29 kilos in 4 months.
This is Mariό.

Last August she had an accident, routine for the elderly.
She is now recovering after a big stroke, trying to figure out life.
Since then she is living with me, because she believes that I take a good care of her. 
Also because she wants to make sure that I cook for her family, like she did, everyday.

She likes eating mostly candies and desserts, is a passionate vegeterian at her 82 and enjoys drinking red wine like there is no tomorrow.
Today she made her first steps, alone, after eight months.
We had to celebrate her victory against imbalance with something concise and full.
Cheers gradma'.

Monday, February 6, 2012

a Silicon Inspiration

I enjoy buying kitchen utensils almost as much as I enjoy buying shoes. 

To make the long story short, with this baking mold, I was thrilled. 
One of my collegues at work (ok, not just a collegue, the absolute working-with-person) bought it for me, just one day after I said I liked it. 
So that I thank and please her, I wanted to make an exeptional recipe. 
Chocolate was the basic ingredient, as always. 

Dozens of recipes passed on my mind. Cakes, brownies, mousses. 
Until it was NYT and a marvellous recipe with Nutella. 

 It's name provoked salivation: Chocolate Hazelnut Panna Cotta
You can follow the link to see the recipe as it was published in NYT, 
or continue reading to make my version, a customised one. 

 9 gelatin leaves, 3 gr. each
80 gr. of chocolate, bitter or milk, finely chopped
300 gr of Nutella
300 gr. cream
1 cup whole milk
seeds of one vanilla stick 

1. In a medium bowl, whisk gelatin with 3 tablespoons cold water. Place chopped chocolate in another medium bowl. In a large bowl, place Nutella.  
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil. Pour half the cream over gelatin mixture and whisk gently to combine; add vanilla seeds. Pour remaining cream over chopped chocolate; whisk until smooth. Combine two mixtures; whisk well.
3. Pour one-third of the gelatin-chocolate mixture over Nutella; beat using an electric mixer on low speed until a smooth paste forms. Pour in remaining mixture and milk; beat until fully combined.

4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into the mold. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until set, about six hours or overnight. 

Chop, melt, boil, mix, whisk, freeze, unmold and share the ones you love. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bakalao or Cod?

The only cod I knew till 5 years before, was the salted one that my grandmother was cooking traditionally on the 25 of March
served with a harsh and lethal pure garlic paste.
hen in Thessaloniki, my boyfriend had prepared for me a delicious meal
consisted of little cods (the entire fish, which seems like tiny shark)
and I was thrilled about how tasteful their flesh was fried.
Then I also taste them on a yummy soup. Marvellous.
After living in northern Spain, I cooked bakalao al pil pil
and learned how to tell apart the two species
(from about 60 that swim in the freezing North Sea).
Bakalao en salazon, full of salt, in fillets or just cod
(what remind me of a baby shark).
Then it was Nobu's famous worldwide Black Cod, for which I can return again and again in Matsuhisa restaurants.  Some days ago, I had a fully step-by- step lesson from a famous chef,
how to cook cod on vapor.  And then I decided I love that fish.

Although I do not usually post recepies, I am giving an amazing-so- deadly- garlic-paste,
so that you can accompany cod in every way you cook it.
Ok, not with soups.

Spicy garlic paste

4 slices of bread, soaked in milk
200 gr of white almonds
4 cloves of garlic (or as many as we want to kill the vampires)
15- 20 saffron fibers soaked in a bowl with 2 tbs water for about an hour
2 raw egg yolks 
200 ml extra virgin olive oil 
75-100 ml white vinegar 
spicy paprikasalt and pepper

Put in the blender almonds, bread,  egg yolks and mix well for 2 min. Add the saffron, paprika and the olive oil. Then vinegar, salt and pepper.
Thick and creamy. A smelly heaven.

The recipe is from Cristoforos Peskias and it was published in Gastronomos, issue 69, January 2012.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Egg is the new black

I hadn't fully realized how much I like eggs. 
As a Greek, raised by grandma, when I think of eggs, almost automatically remember 
my daily over-proteined brunch (the Spanish call it "merenda"), 
with one raw egg, scrambled in a pot with sugar and cocoa powder. 
A thick cream, so sweet and greasy I couldn't swallow. 
Everytime the pot should end, though.

Most restaurants I visited those last months 
had an egg version on their menu- starter, salad or first plate. 
Combined with chives or anoints, salmon or even truffle, 
egg can be the perfect canvas for a chef, 
and at the same time a hyper cheap material for the restaurant owners. 

Mayonnaise, tortilla de patata, oeuf poche benedicte, eggnog, 
or just boiled for 4 minutes with extra pepper - egg can make a rich meal. 
By all means. 

 The photo depicts the reason why I do like them so much. 
Fried in pure butter, with potato chips, thyme, black pepper and salt. 
 And in my case, chef made. 
Special thanx to Alexandros Papandreou, 
who after a 5-hour step- by- step-recipe photoshoot 
was still willing to continue cooking just because we were hungry.