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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 December 2014
14 SATURDAY 20 DECEMBER 2014 The perfect Christmas table Renowned local Greek Australian chefs share their best Christmas food memories and offer recipes to help you put together your very own festive menu NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU AND ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Christmas can be a stressful time of year with events to organise, dinners to get to and presents to buy. But at its core, this festive and joyous time of year is all about the coming together of family and friends, and indulging in delicious food and drink. Neos Kosmos spoke to four Greek Australian chefs around Melbourne about their best Christmas memories and we share with you their menu suggestions for a Christmas feast you (and your guests) will never forget. Kali Orexi! In your opinion, what does the ideal Christmas spread include? Kathy Tsaples (pastry chef and owner of Sweet Greek): The most important element of the ideal Christmas table is for it to be surrounded by beautiful happy people. Family and friends coming together, embracing the spirit of Christmas with love. I also love to decorate the table with my best linen, cutlery, flowers and bowls of nuts. Wine, champagne and jugs of vissinatha (sour cherry) with fresh fruit and mint leaves. But most of all, the ideal Christmas table should include a beautiful platter with the most amazing slow-roasted turkey surrounded by crunchy potatoes baked in olive oil. Chris Katopodis (head chef, Alpha Ouzeri): Turkey stuffed with rice, sultanas and pine nuts. What’s the most memorable Greek dish you’ve had at Christmas? Matt Germanchis (head chef, Pei Modern): The most memorable dish I’ve had is halva and cherries at my grandma’s years ago. Vasilis Mataras (pastry chef, Hellenic Republic): Well that would for sure be my mother’s version of the pork roll with an orange marinade (marinated overnight) and stuffed with prunes, sultanas and mince meat. She used to slowly roast it in the oven so it would be ready by lunch time. Amazing crackling outside and tenderly cooked inside ... real heaven. What’s one the hardest/most annoying aspects of organising a Christmas lunch/dinner? Matt Germanchis: Getting the guests to arrive at the scheduled time! Kathy Tsaples: The most difficult and annoying part of the Christmas soirée is the pressure of deciding what gifts to buy. I love Christmas because it is a time of giving and sharing but I found the idea of having to buy gifts and what to buy very stressful. To eliminate this pressure I now give beautiful food and treats that I make with a bottle of Greek wine and a scented candle. Chris Katopodis: It comes and goes too quickly and I don’t have time to enjoy it as I did when I was younger. Head chef at Pei Modern Matt Germanchis offers his suggestions for the perfect start to any Christmas lunch or dinner. Why did you pick your chosen dishes? “Mum always makes the grilled peppers and I often cook the offal, it’s a nice way to start the day of eating.” Grilled peppers & feta Ingredients: 12 bullhorn peppers (must be a mixture of hot, mild and sweet) 150ml good quality olive oil 3 cloves garlic 1/2 bunch parsley good Greek mountain oregano 300g sheeps’ feta Method: 1. Grill peppers on BBQ until blackened. 2. Place in plastic bag to sweat and remove skin. 3. Marinate with olive oil, garlic, parsley and oregano. 4. Serve with cubes of feta on the side. The idea of this dish is that it’s a Russian roulette with the heat of the peppers. If you get a hot one you have the feta to cool the palate. Fried chicken livers & fig Ingredients: 1kg chicken livers 80ml olive oil 100g bacon 30ml lemon juice 1 sprig rosemary zest of 1 lemon 4 sprigs parsley 4 figs, sliced salt and pepper Method: 1. Cut bacon into cubes and cook in olive oil until crispy. 2. Clean chicken livers of excess fat and sinew. 3. Add the livers to the bacon and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly firm. 4. Add rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper and deglaze with lemon juice and zest. 5. Serve over sliced figs.
13 December 2014
10 January 2015