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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 February 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2015 21 FOOD through the ages hood of the cape covers the head and he wears white woollen pants and white woven socks. His back is stuffed to create the impression of a hump. In one hand he holds a wooden curved shepherd’s stick and in the other a bag with flour or bran, necessary for his encounter with the people on the way to the square. But what is supposed to spread fear is the sound of 50-60 bells that are fastened with wooden hoops through a rope around his waist as in the Koudounati of Naxos. The Geros is accompanied by the Korela, a man dressed in women’s traditional attire from Skyros. The performer who completes the cast is the Frangos, a young man dressed in old ‘European’ clothes. On his waist he has a shepherd’s bell while he teases people who are passing by. There are many festivities all over Greece but the one that stands for me as being the closest to the Dionysian rites is the Apokries of Tyrnavo in Thessaly, northern Greece. The festival in Tyrnavos is one of the most famous carnivals in Greece. Faithful to the old traditions, the people of Tyrnavos still honour the god Dionysus with various festivities. Perhaps the most obviously pagan of these is found under the misleading name ‘cooking the bourani’, a vegetable soup, which is served on Ash Monday every year and brings a lot of Greek and foreign tourists in the area. During the cooking of the soup, the ‘bourani people’ do a lot of teasing with phallic symbols, while phallic objects are paraded through the town. This Apokries celebration in Tyrnavos is wild fun. There are people against it and during the dictatorship of 1969 - 1973 this festival was banned, but the festival has survived and every year, on Ash Monday, the town of Tyrnavos is jam-packed with fun-loving participants and spectators. People of all ages, Greeks and foreigners, participate. The festival began centuries, if not millennia, ago. History is full of festivals associated with fertility symbols. Some archaeologists think that fertility rites are one of the oldest forms of religious rites in Greece. Today Apokria ends on Clean Monday (Καθαρή Δευτέρα) the first day of Lent, which begins the 40day fast until Easter Sunday. On Clean Monday, the koulouma (κούλουμα) are held where everybody goes off to the countryside, eats Lenten food and flies kites. The recipes I’ve included are for those considering fasting during this time. Colour and music is a big part of the festival. NOTE: the almonds and pine nuts can be replaced with walnuts and sultanas. Ingredients: Ingredients: 3 ½ cups flour 2 teaspoons of baking powder 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda 1 cup of sugar 1 cup of olive oil or canola oil ½ cup sultanas ½ cup walnuts or almonds, coarsely crushed ½ cup ouzo or cognac 1 ½ cups of fresh orange juice 1 teaspoon of ground cloves 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 1 tablespoon orange zest Method: 1. Heat oven to 170˚C 2. In a large bowl sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. 3. Make a hole in the centre of the flour and add all the ingredients. 4. Mix well and put in a greased and lined cake tin. 5. Bake in a preheated oven 170˚C for 45 minutes. 6. Cool, turn out and sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon. 7. You might like to replace the cinnamon with nutmeg or even a sprinkle of rosewater. 2 cups thick simigdali (semolina) 1 cup olive oil 2 ½ cups sugar ½ cup honey 4 cups water ¼ cup blanched coarsely ground almonds ¼ cup pine nuts 3 cloves peel of one lemon Method: 1. Boil water, sugar, honey, spices and lemon peel on medium heat for five minutes - take out all spices and peel. 2. Put oil in wide deep pan and heat till smoking and add simigdali stirring all the time with vigour with a wooden spoon as not to lump, till golden brown. 3. Add nuts, continue to stir on very slow heat. 4. Start adding syrup, stirring continuously, and cook on very slow heat till all liquid has been absorbed. 5. Allow cooling covered with a clean tea towel. 6. When still warm put in a form and allow to cool. 7. Turn out and sprinkle with cinnamon and icing sugar. 8. Serve in slices. NOTE: You might like to put the mixture in individual forms. Mushrooms in red wine Taramosalata Ingredients: 500 grams mushrooms 3 tablespoon olive oil 2 onions diced or 4 pickled onions cut in four 2 bay leaves ½ red wine 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh dill 2 tablespoons of finely cut fresh coriander Method: 1. Remove stalks and cut mushrooms in half, clean well. 2. Heat oil on moderate heat. 3. Add onions and sauté. 4. Add mushrooms and stir till soft. 5. Add the bay leaves, wine, lemon juice and bring to the boil, lower heat and cover and cook for 25 minutes. 6. Take out the bay leaves and put in the dill and the coriander, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold. Halva with almonds & pine nuts Nistisimo cake - vegan cake NOTE: The pink tarama has colouring added to it; if you can find it buy the imported yellow tarama that is in a small tin. Ingredients: 110 grams tarama 4 slices of white bread, crusts removed ¼ cup lemon juice 1 cup olive oil 1 small onion finely grated and drained of liquid 1 teaspoon of finely chopped dill (optional) Method: 1. Soak tarama in water for about five minutes to remove some of the salt. 2. Soak bread in water and then squeeze dry. 3. In a blender place tarama, bread, lemon juice, onion, dill and half of the oil and blend till it start to go smooth and paler in colour. 4. On low speed, add the remaining oil slowly and more lemon juice if you prefer it tangy.
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