Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 6 June 2015
FOOD 20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 6 JUNE 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM A not so Little Magda, a Greek home cook expat, blogs about her culinary adventures, sharing her mouthwatering recipes with the world NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Behind its unassuming façade, Magda's blog, My Little Expat Kitchen, invites you into the world of Greek food, offering a wide variety of recipes accompanied by the most colourful photography. A young Greek woman living away from home, Magda went on a mission to expand the world's view of Greek cooking and share tips for dishes that were easy to master at home. Magda's blog goes way beyond feta and tomato salads, avgolemono soup, gyros, souvlaki and baklava, discovering and unveiling the culture behind the essence of Greek cuisine. "I love the creativity food entails and the effect it has on people, such as the huge smile appearing on their faces when they taste something I have cooked for them," Magda tells Neos Kosmos. "That's why I started this blog; to share recipes and stories about and beyond food with the world." Not only did My Little Expat Kitchen make it on the Greek food blog top ten but was selected by Williams-Sonoma Taste as one of the best food websites. Magda was featured in SAVEUR's Worldwide Feast, amongst the 55 Great Global Food Bloggers. She also came third at The Kitchn's Homies Awards for Best Cooking Blog From Abroad in 2014. "I am a home cook experimenting with ingredients and creating something out of nothing that's both delicious and pretty to look at," she said. "I love flavours, textures, aromas and all that they evoke; memories, feelings, images, cravings." Cooking for Magda is practical, in the sense that it satisfies her nutritional needs as well as her creativity. Having a blog isn't easy, though, as she has to cook, take her own photos and write her stories and recipes in both Greek and English to be able to connect with a wider audience. Meanwhile, she works for an international organisation in the Netherlands, does volunteer work and is also a musician. "It takes time, effort, money and a lot of patience, but I get so much out of it as my blog has a worldwide appeal and it reaches people from many different countries." "It makes me so happy and proud to know that I inspire others to get in the kitchen and cook, whether they are Greek or not." Magda's favourite Greek cuisine is the Politiki, hailing from Constantinople (Istanbul) where her mother was born. It's a type of cooking influenced and shaped by the intermingling of the traditional Greek culinary customs and those of Asia Minor. The flavours make her feel like home. "The extensive use of spices, the utter Rye bread with walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes This is a rye recipe with a soft, dense and moist crumb that keeps the bread fresh for days. For two small loaves Ingredients: 300g whole rye flour, plus extra for kneading 300g strong white bread flour 11g dried instant yeast 1 tbsp sugar 500g Greek yoghurt, full-fat, at room temperature 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing 1 tbsp salt 100ml lukewarm water 5 sun-dried tomatoes (cut in half if too big) + a handful of roughly chopped walnut halves for the second loaf semolina for dusting the pizza stone Special equipment: large bowl, plastic wrap, pizza stone (or baking sheet) for baking the breads, baking paper Method: 1. In a large bowl, add the flours, the yeast and sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon. 2. Make a well in the middle and add the yoghurt, olive oil, salt and water. Mix with your hands until you have a rough dough and then empty it onto a lightly floured surface (use rye flour). Knead well with your hands for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth and firm dough that's slightly sticky. 3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place, allowing dough to proof and double in size. It will take 1½-2 hours to proof, depending how warm the room is. For baking on a baking sheet, preheat oven to 180-185°C. Place a baking pan to the bottom of the oven to add ice cubes later. 4. Once the dough has proofed, take it out of the bowl and knead for a few seconds to deflate it a bit on a clean surface (don't flour the surface). It should feel smooth, soft and not sticky. Cut it in half and shape the first half into a ball. Dust it with some flour if you wish and then, using a sharp knife, slash the top. 5. Take the second half and knead together with the sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts. Shape into a ball, dust it with some flour if you wish and then, using a sharp knife, slash the top. 6. Line it with baking paper and add the balls of dough on top. Immediately add 10-12 large ice cubes inside the pan below the stone, and close right away the oven door. Bake on the low rack of the oven for 40 minutes. 7. Transfer the baking sheet to the middle rack of the oven and bake for a further 25-30 minutes, until the bread has taken on a golden brown colour. 8. Leave the oven door ajar (place a wooden spoon to keep it from closing) and allow the breads to bake for further 5 minutes before you remove them from the oven. This will remove some of the moisture from the bread. * Note: a bread loaf is ready when it makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Fig and mascarpone bruschetta with ham and honey A quick recipe for bruschetta that you can make as an appetiser or serve as a nibble with a chilled glass of wine or a cold beer on a warm, late-summer evening. Ingredients: bread slices (from a loaf of good crusty bread) mascarpone ham slices fresh figs, cut in four or eight pieces fresh thyme leaves extra virgin olive oil light-flavoured, runny honey flaky sea salt (optional) Method: 1. Toast the bread in the oven or in your toaster. 2. Spread enough mascarpone cheese to thickly cover them. 3. Lay either half a slice or a whole slice of ham on top. 4. Add the fig pieces (2-3 pieces for each bruschetta). 5. Sprinkle with some fresh thyme leaves. 6. Drizzle with a little olive oil and some honey. 7. Sprinkle some sea salt on top if you wish. Kali Orexi * Note: Use any kind of cured, boiled or smoked ham you enjoy the taste of. Instead of mascarpone you can also use cream cheese, or for a different flavour profile and if you like its tangy and sharp flavour, goat's cheese. For a vegetarian option, omit the ham and add a sprinkle of good flaky sea salt on top of the bruschetta.
30 May 2015
13 June 2015