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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 11 April 2015
FOOD 20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 11 APRIL 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Keeping Easter The multi-tasking Sydney mum behind mummyslifeandstyle.com talks to Neos Kosmos about passing on Pascha traditions to her daughter, and shares some of her favourite recipes PENNY ZALALAS Greek Orthodox Easter would have to be my favourite time of the year. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have been born into a rich culture that cherishes faith, family and food. Since I was a young girl, I have loved Holy Week and have fond childhood memories of this powerful, moving and humbling period that is filled with so many Greek traditions, customs, pride and joy. What separates Greek Easter from the rest of the year for me is knowing that this week is purely dedicated to church and family - starting Palm Sunday and ending Easter Monday - there are no other major plans or events scheduled into our family calendar. And unlike Christmas, which can become chaotic and stressful, I find Easter to be a time of peace, where I can take time out to reflect and understand why this is such a spiritual and meaningful time. My parents were never strict on fasting for 40 days but they always taught my brother and I to do our best. However, we knew during Holy Week there would be no meat, dairy, eggs and on Good Friday, not even olive oil in Mum's home-cooked meals for us. This of course made it all the more fun when Saturday night came around and after midnight mass, we were able to eat as much lamb, tsoureki, koulouria and eggs as we wished. During Holy Week, in Greek households all around the world there are lots of beautiful foods being baked. I remember my yiayia, my mum and all my aunties in my Greek custard pie with strawberries It’s similar to galaktoboureko- but so much easier as there is no filo pastry- and it tastes just as good Ingredients: 60 grams unsalted butter (and extra to grease dish) 4 cups milk 1 cup semolina 1 cup sugar 4 eggs, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice strawberries, to decorate For the syrup: 1 cup water 1 cup sugar 1/2 lemon, juiced Method: 1. Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 22x30cm baking dish. 2. In a large saucepan heat the milk with butter until it boils, stir frequently. 3. Add sugar, beaten eggs, semolina and lemon juice and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens a bit - about 10 minutes. 4. Pour the mixture into greased baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. 5. While the custard is baking, boil water and sugar and lemon juice in a small pot, simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes - syrup should slightly thicken. 6. Take custard out of the oven and pour syrup over the custard and bake for an additional 10 minutes. 7. Allow custard to cool and place fresh strawberries on top. yiayia's kitchen- with their lovely production lines of dyed red eggs, tsourekia and koulouria. My cousins and I would be there watching and helping them make all the delicious Easter treats, which would be served after midnight mass. These are the family traditions and customs I value and want to pass on to our daughter Nikoleta. She is only two-and-a-half; however, this week she has been in the kitchen with Yiayia Niki and mummy - watching, learning and helping us make the dough for the tsourekia and koulouria. Yiayia also had her grandchildren - Nikoleta and my nephews, making some dyed Easter eggs and they loved it. Seeing the smiles on their faces and curiosity in their eyes makes this time of year even more special for me now. And I can't wait for Saturday night, to take Nikoleta to her first midnight mass. I remember, as a child, my parents putting us to bed during the day for a quick nap, so we were refreshed and energetic enough to last for midnight mass and dinner. This is what my husband and I are hoping to do with Nikoleta each year. I figure the wonderful experiences and memories in the long run will far outweighthe lack of sleep for a young child, one night a year - and we do have Greek blood after all - so really, no need to justify late nights here! To paint an even clearer picture of my Easter experiences for you, I should also mention I was very lucky to have been brought up in a large Greek family. My parents live in the same street as my mum's twin sister, her eldest sister and her brother- so there are four siblings in total that live within 200 metres of each other. Not to mention the koumbari and other family friends in between- so all up there are 12 Greek families in the same street - yes, it's like a small Greek village in the south of Sydney. They live 10 minutes away from Sikotakia - rustic chicken livers An easy to prepare spicy and tangy starter to impress your guests Ingredients: 1 kg chicken livers 2 Spanish onions, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped 1/2 cup of red wine olive oil for frying 1 lemon’s juice salt and pepper to taste Method: 1. Trim and wash the chicken livers. 2. Add olive oil to cover base of your skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for an extra minute. 3. Add the chicken livers, parsley, salt and pepper and allow to cook, while frequently turning. After 15 minutes add your wine, cook for another five. 4. Place them in a dish and spread over the lemon juice. Galatopita is a traditional Greek Easter dessert, especialy for Northern Greece. Penny’s added a fruity twist, to make it even more appealing. One of our favourite Greek Easter delicacies.
18 April 2015