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Do you paint like a master? August 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets.
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It’s been said about modern art: “I could have painted that!” Yes, you can!

The web site is a flash program where, with the drag of a mouse, you can make your own drips and blotches of paint in the style of the great American abstract expressionist. You can create your very own “Autumn Rhythm: No. 30, 1950”!

Click the mouse and you can change colors, though there is no option for rubbing cigarette ash into the digital canvas. But it will sign your name just as Picasso wrote his.

The site was created by Greek artist Miltos Manetas (www.manetas.com), who founded an art movement called Neen that encompasses the experimental use of computers, the Internet and other technologies.

JacksonPollock.org isn’t the only web site to transfer the technique of a famous artist to the keyboard. MrPicasso Head.com allows you to create a portrait in Picasso’s style, choosing from a selection of predrawn lips, hair and other facial features. The idea of cubism, after all, was to examine each object independently. Who knew Picasso and Mr. Potato Head shared so much aesthetically?

There is also a web site that generates a seemingly infinite number of Piet Mondrian’s orderly squares: www.4.vc-net.ne.jp/~klivo/soft/mondrian.htm.

All three sites suggest there’s a blatant repetition of elements in the work of these painters. Hopefuly, while impersonating them or any other artists, even if in the most superficial sense, you can still keep both ears and lay off the absinthe.

Download this > Though the phenomenon of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” is finally subsiding, it continues to leave a spawn of covers in its wake.

The latest appears to be the Raconteurs, the Detroit supergroup formed by Jack White, Brendan Benson and several members of the Greenhorns. The rocking Raconteurs version performed at a recent San Francisco concert, can be heard at MP3 blog Stereogum: www.stereogum.com/archives/003005.html.

Baked figs with honey and Greek yoghurt August 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Baked figs with honey and greek yoghurt
Serves 6

12 figs (large)
6oz walnuts and almonds, roughly chopped and toasted
1 tspn sesame seeds – toasted
1/6 tspn ground cinnamon
1/6 tspn ground cloves
tub of Greek yoghurt
6 tspns honey

Put figs in pan, cover with water, bring to boil and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool. Mix nuts, cinnamon, cloves and sesame seeds. Slice off the top of each fig and make a small hole in the centre. Fill with nut mixture and replace lid on top. Place figs in baking tray and bake at 150C for ten minutes. Serve with yoghurt and honey.

Chicken pie (Kotopita) August 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Chicken pie (Kotopita)
Serves 6-8

1.5kg of chicken
chicken stock
450g onions, sliced
150ml (2/3 cup) milk
115g (1 cup) melted butter
3 tsp of lemon juice
115g (1 cup) grated kefalotiri cheese
salt and pepper
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
12 sheets filo pastry
salad leaves, to garnish

Put the chicken in a flameproof casserole dish into which it fits tightly. Pour in enough stock to almost cover the legs. Cover chicken breast with a sheet of buttered greaseproof paper. Cover casserole and simmer for one hour or until chicken is just cooked. Remove chicken from casserole and leave to cool.

Add onions and milk to stock. Boil rapidly uncovered, until liquid is reduced to 300ml (1¼ cups) of thick pulpy onion sauce. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F/Gas 4).

Remove chicken skin. Cut meat into neat pieces and place in a large bowl. Add onion sauce, half the butter, the lemon juice, cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley and eggs. Mix together well. Lightly butter a 20x30cm (8×12 in) roasting tin.

Brush one sheet of pastry with butter and place in a tin, overlapping edges. Brush five more sheets of pastry and layer them on top.

Spread the filling over the pastry. Flap over-lapping pastry over the top. Cut remaining sheets of pastry to fit in. Brush with butter and layer on top. Score top into squares and sprinkle with water. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serve with salad.

Cauliflower baked with tomatoes and feta cheese August 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Cauliflower baked with tomatoes and feta (Kounoupidi Kapama)
Serves 4-6

85ml olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
large pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
75g feta cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5. Then heat two to three tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic for three to four minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the chopped tomatoes, cinnamon and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Stir and simmer, covered, for five minutes.

Add the cauliflower to the tomato mixture, cover, and simmer for a further ten to 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the cauliflower and tomato mixture to a large, shallow dish and drizzle over the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and grated feta. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft and the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

Heat up a bit of Greece and you’re off to a frying start August 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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No matter the final outcome of AEK Athens vs Hearts in Athens and progress to the Champions League, there is little doubt that, as well as football, the rival fans have another thing in common – food.

While Scots love nothing more than throwing anything they can into the fat fryer, the Greeks are just the same. Yet, somehow, they seem to do it with more panache – even when it’s just a slab of cheese fried in olive oil, known more poetically as saganaki.

Then there’s our joint love of creamy dips, pies, meat and, of course, alcohol. Indeed, it makes you wonder if the Scots didn’t originate from some long-lost Greek tribe looking for an ancient football tie and who just happened to bring a copy of Archestratos’s cookery book with them (his was the first in history, written in 330BC).

Of course the main difference is that the Greeks shallow fry rather than deep fry, they use the much healthier olive oil than heavier vegetable oils, and they’re more likely to fry a few slices of courgette or aubergine than a Mars bar. Even their pies are made with fine filo pastry rather than our heavy shortcrust variety, all of which means they can still boast an incredibly healthy diet.

So while those fans who are flying out to follow the Gorgie boys’ fortunes will feel at home in Athens perhaps unwittingly eating a more healthy diet than normal of fried calamari, lamb kebabs and kotopita – that’s chicken pie if it’s all Greek to you – what about those who are left in Edinburgh who want to get into the spirit of things?

Well, you don’t just have to rely on a kebab from the Topkapi. You could try to book a table at one of the city’s two Hellenic restaurants – Santorini’s in Broughton Street or Qupi (Kioupi) in Albert Street.

Both places offer truly authentic Greek food, with Santorini’s focusing more on mezedes – sort of like tapas – which include dolmades (stuffed vine leafs with rice), emam (baked aubergines with shredded onions, tomato sauce and feta cheese) tyropita (crispy filo triangles, filled with feta cheese and peppermint) and soutzoukakia (Smyrna cumin meat balls, baked in a tomato sauce) and Qupi offering mains of lamb kleftico and beef stifado.

Or you could make your own – without it turning into a culinary Greek tragedy. One of the best thing about Hellenic food is that it has so many influences, given the country’s propensity for being invaded by others, so culinary cues come from the Venetians, the Balkans, the Ottomans and the Slavs. Even one of the best known dishes, moussaka, a dish of spiced lamb mince with layers of aubergine, potato and béchamel sauce, is influenced in its origin.

All the influences mean that while Greek food is relatively simple, it is far from bland. Panagiotis Idomeneas – who goes by the easier name of Peter – who runs the Qupi restaurant in Leith, certainly believes that it’s the tastiness of Greek food which is its attraction, and that people shouldn’t be afraid to try making it at home.

Originally from the village of Lindos on Rhodes, he came to Edinburgh after meeting Scots on holiday in the belief that he would have a whole new experience here – and be able to give a Greek flavour to the city’s food culture.

“People like Greek food because it is so tasty,” says the 38-year-old. “They have it on holiday and want to eat it when they get home. Admittedly at the start people who hadn’t been to Greece were a little sceptical but more and more people have been convinced and the restaurant is now very busy.

“We do a lot of casseroles and oven-grilled dishes and we use a lot of tomatoes and aubergines as well as meat like lamb and beef. In fact, aubergine with spinach and goat’s cheese is one of the bestsellers here. Some dishes are more straightforward to cook than others, but it’s certainly worth giving it a try.

“The important thing to remember is that we like to use lots of herbs like oregano and dill and even cinnamon, as well as garlic in the cooking.

“Spinach and cheese pies are also very tasty and easy to make and I think people like the filo pastry as it’s different from Scottish cooking. That can be quite difficult at first but you soon get used to it.”

One of the easiest dishes to make – which would go well with corn chips (or pitta bread for a more authentic taste) and a few beers in front of the TV come the night of the match – is tzatziki, a yoghurt and cucumber dip. Using natural yoghurt, a grated cucumber, a clove of crushed garlic, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of lemon juice, the whole thing can be whipped up in seconds.

As can a Greek salad, which again is just a mix of fresh produce – tomatoes, olives, cucumber, onions, green pepper, feta cheese, olive oil and oregano.

“We won’t be showing the match in the restaurant,” laughs Peter. “I believe that football and food don’t mix. You can watch it in the bar and shout and scream all you want, or you can sit down and eat a good Greek meal – the two together might give you indigestion!”

Cheesecake with Greek yoghurt and dates in red wine syrup August 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Serves 6-8
 
Base
6 digestive biscuits
1/2 cup walnut flour
1/2 cup plain flour
75g butter, melted
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tsp vanilla extract
 
Filling
150g Greek yoghurt
100g cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
Juice of one lemon
 
Syrup
One orange, zested, peeled and sectioned
1 cup water
1/2 cup caster sugar
8 fresh dates
1 Tbsp red wine
 
1. Preheat oven 180C. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin. In a food processor, process the base ingredients then press into tin.
2. Wash processor bowl and process filling ingredients until smooth. Pour onto base and bake approximately 45 minutes until set. Cool then remove from tin.
3. Simmer water and sugar for 10 minutes, add oranges and zest, continue simmering for 5 minutes. Remove oranges, set aside then add wine to syrup. Simmer for a few minutes then turn off. Add dates, turning to coat with syrup. Arrange oranges and dates on top.

Take a trip to Athens, Greece, without leaving Middle Georgia August 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Visit the Metropolis Diner to go Greek in Warner Robins

Take a trip to Athens, Greece, without leaving Middle Georgia, thanks to Metropolis Diner. Serving fine Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, this traditional restaurant brings Greek food and culture to its patrons on Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins.

I was really excited about eating lunch at Metropolis. I heard how good it was supposed to be and hoped it could pass my inspection. We parked behind the restaurant and entered to friendly faces ready to serve us with a hit of Greek culture.

Walking to our table I noticed a room full of pillows. As this interested me, I decided to check it out. Open to anyone without reservations, you can enjoy Greek food while seated on the floor with low-level tables and an array of pillows astray on the floor. I requested to eat among the free-flowing environment of the “Pillow Room,” but it was already taken so I stuck with the dining room.

The dining room had a distinctive feel to it, playing mood-setting music that made you want to get up and belly dance while waiting for your food. A collection of hookahs decorated the place, and the booths were accented with decorative ivy. We were in a moderately sized room that could seat approximately 40 people. Booths lined the walls, and tables were scattered around the dinning room.

The menu may seem different to most, since Greek food is unlike any other, but some of their foods are just plain American classics: french fries and hot wings. We went for some of the more traditional Greek choices. I choose the Greek gyro and a Greek salad, and my mother went with the spanakopitta (spinach pie), and a Greek salad. They also have stuff kids would eat.

The service was decent. They had enough wait staff on hand, and our cups were always full. During both dinner and lunch, the staff is friendly and full of energy.

Our food arrived quickly. My plate was very large, holding a well-sized salad and gyro with fries. My mother’s spinach pie was served hot. The name pretty much says it all – pie with a flaky crust and filled with cooked spinach. She also had a Greek salad piled high on her plate. On top of our Greek salad we each received dolmades, grape leaves wrapped around rice. You definitely have to have a taste for dolmades to enjoy them, but tasting them is all part of the experience.

Another part of the experience is the Friday night entertainment. During dinner on Friday nights, Metropolis Diner has a belly dancer who performs in the dining room.

Full of good times and tradition, Metropolis Diner is every Greek’s home away from home. Oopa!

Metropolis Diner, 2028 Watson Blvd., Warner Robins. Phone: 322-3737. Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m. -10 p.m.