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Celebrate Easter the Greek way > Traditional Recipes IV April 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Flaounes > Traditional Cyprus Easter Pies

Ingredients >
For the dough >
1kg plus 1 cup bread flour
11 g yeast
pinch of salt
2 tsp sugar
6 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mahalepi, ground
½ tsp mastic, ground
For the filling >
½ kg Cyprus Halloumi or Kefalotyri cheese, grated
1 tsp baking powder
11/2 tblsp flour
3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped finely
½ tsp mastic and mahalepi
6 plus 1 eggs
sesame seeds
½ cup sultanas, optional

Method >
To make the yeast dough, mix the yeast with the 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and 2 cups luke warm water. Mix well and leave to rise for about 10 minutes.
In the mixer bowl add the rest of the dough ingredients. Mix in the yeast dough and beat very well. Remove to a bowl, cover and leave to double in size.
In the mean time, make the filling. Mix the cheese well with the flour and baking powder. Fold in the fresh mint, aromatic spices and sultanas if using. Mix in 6 of the eggs, one at a time. Depending on the density of the cheese sometimes you may need to use fewer eggs; the filling shouldn’t be runny.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/300°F/Gas mark 4. Punch down the dough and divide it into 10 pieces or more. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2cm thick. Place 2-3 spoonfuls of filling in the centre of the dough circle. Make square or triangle shaped flaounas. Brush with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden and well cooked at the bottom. Makes 10.


Celebrate Easter the Greek way > Traditional Recipes III April 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Tsoureki > Traditional Greek Easter Bread (option A)
Ingredients >
1kg plus 150g flour
1 sachet (11g) instant yeast
200g butter, melted
250g sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 glass milk
2g mastic
7g mahalepi
Pinch of salt
Pinch vanilla

Method >
To make the yeast dough, put 150g sifted flour in a bowl with the yeast. Mix with ½ a glass of water and leave to rise.
Put half the butter in a mixer bowl and add the sugar, eggs, milk, aromatic spices and salt and mix well. Pour into a saucepan and warm up lightly. Remove from the heat and pour back into the mixer bowl. Stir the yeast dough into the mixture; add the flour and beat well. Pour in the remaining butter and mix to a nice dough.
Cover dough with a towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour to double in size. Punch down and knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 3; plait into 3 tsourekia and place on trays lined with greaseproof paper. Leave to rise until double in size and brush with beaten egg.
Bake in 160°C/300°F/gas mark 2 preheated oven for about 1 hour. Makes 3.

Tsoureki > Traditional Greek Easter Bread (option B)
Ingredients >
2½ kg flour
3 sachets yeast
Some mahlepi
6 eggs
600g milk, warm
750g sugar
400g butter, melted
1 extra egg, beaten
Flaked almonds

Method >
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add 500g of flour and mix to a creamy consistency. Leave covered in a warm place to rise.
In a big bowl, add the rest of the flour, the mahlepi, salt and mix. Beat eggs and sugar together. Beat in the warm milk and add to the yeast mixture and mix. Fold in the flour and knead. Add handfuls of melted butter and knead into the dough. Carry on until all butter has finished. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise.
Plait one or more tsourekia, leave covered to double in size, then brush with egg and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 1 hour in preheated 170C oven.

Celebrate Easter the Greek way > Traditional Recipes II April 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Marinated Roast Lamb > Traditional Greek Easter recipe

Ingredients >
3-4 kg lamb leg
6 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp dry rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
For the potatoes >
3kg fresh small potatoes
1 cup olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
1-2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper
For the Marinade >
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 cup olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper

Method >
To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in one bowl and mix. In a big nylon bag, place the lamb with the marinade and shake well. Leave in the fridge overnight; discard the marinade the next morning.
Place all the dry ingredients for the lamb in a blender and whiz until smooth. With a sharp knife make incisions on the meat and fill in with herb paste. Brush with olive oil and remaining paste.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/300°F/gas mark 4. In a roasting tin, mix the potatoes with the lemon juice, oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Place the leg of lamb over the potatoes. Bake for 2 hours basting meat with the juices during that time. Add some water if necessary; don’t let the roast dry out. Serves 8.

Celebrate Easter the Greek way > Traditional Recipes I April 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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Magiritsa > Traditional Greek soup

Ingredients >
1 lamb liver, finely chopped
½ kg intestines (optional), finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bunches of spring onions, chopped
1-2 bay leaves
½ cup dry white wine
2/3 cup rice
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
3 tbsp dill
3 eggs
2/3 cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Method >
Sauté the liver and intestines with the butter and oil until lightly brown. Add the spring onions and cook for a further 2 minutes. Season well and stir in the bay leaves. Pour in the wine and let it boil for one minute. Pour in enough water to cover everything and simmer for 1 hour.
Stir in the rice, parsley, 2 tablespoons dill and extra water if necessary and cook until rice is ready. Beat the eggs with the lemon juice and gradually incorporate stock from the soup, beating well with each addition. Stir the egg mixture into the soup and season well. Scatter the rest of the dill over the soup.

Pack in the reds April 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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Get the most out of full-bodied reds before it gets too hot

It is simple! It is getting warmer and I still have quite a few full-body reds on my tasting notes. Therefore we move straight on to reds that have been tested recently.

2001 Palivou Estate, Terra Leone, Single Vineyard Selection, Local Peloponnese, Greece, Alcohol Volume 14% > Palivos Estate is located on Ancient Nemea, just steps from the temple of Zeus. George Palivos, a third-generation winemaker, has carefully selected his vineyards in the heart of Nemea for the production of high quality wines. This is a typical Cabernet Sauvignon with a dark garnet colour. There is a luscious red forest fruit on the nose and palate, the blackcurrant dominance is in evidence against a backdrop of spicy oak and fresh mocha. Soft and juicy fruit flavour, well balanced with crisp acidity and light, round tannins. There is a surprising amount of fruit for a five-year-old wine and this is not going anyplace soon and surely it will improve with a few more years in the bottle. Serve at 16 to 18 degrC with savoury cheese and piquant red meat, it was excellent with Beef Wellington.

2004 Skouras, Nemea, Grand Cuvee, O.P.A.P., Peloponnese, Greece, Alcohol Volume 12.5% > An appellation of origin Nemea of high quality, the vineyards stretch across the village of Gimno. This Grand Agiorgitiko grape variety wine is kept in used Alliers barrels for 12 months followed by six months of bottle ageing. Deep red ruby colour, cherry and huckleberry, with hints of sweet oak on the nose, rich damson mid palate with hard edged tannins, frank and intense, full-body. The aftertaste is good, the fruit characters lasting long in the mouth. Food harmony exists with beef stifado where the sweetness of the onions combines with the spices. Excellent with beef a la Provencal with olives and meat balls, soutzoukakia, Greek style. Serve at 18 degrC.

2000 Methy, K&K Vasilikon Winery, Pafos regional, Alcohol Volume 13% > Back to Cyprus, with the third brand wine of Kathikas village K&K winery of the Vasilikon and Ayios Onoufrios fame. A wine produced with patience and quality in mind. After two years of maturing in brand new barrels of French oak and another two years of ageing in the reducing environment of the bottle, this is a clear, very dark red garnet colour. Ripe, black fruit aroma with distinct herbal whiff of the countryside. Full extracted black cherry and blackberry fruit on solid framework of fresh-fruit acidity. Tannins are present, the body lighter than the previous vintage. Accessible now, served at 18 degrC with red meat stews, roast lamb with herb sauce and medium flavour cheese.

Greek Meatballs like you’ve never seen them before April 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Cyprus.
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A London Cypriot has made unlikely stars out of his parents by featuring them making meatballs in a four-minute clip on the internet site YouTube.

The clip of the unusual ‘cookery programme’ with its own unique Cypriot style, has proved hugely popular on YouTube with 6,000 views to date. In fact ‘Greek Meatballs’ has proved so popular that a sequel ‘Stuffed Vine Leaves’ was added on Friday.

The original clip, posted a month ago, features Andreas Theodolou, 76 and his wife Christina, 69, engaging in amusing unscripted and unrehearsed banter in Greek while telling viewers in English how to make meatballs. The couple have lived in the UK since the late sixties and have been together over 50 years, which makes their interaction all the more engaging.

Without giving too much away since the clips are short, after Christina orders Andreas to peel the potatoes he mutters under his breath: “For 30 years she’s been peeling potatoes and now we’re going on YouTube I’ve got to peel them.” In the sequel Andreas dons a helmet, after getting injured in Greek Meatballs, and squeezes lemons to a rap song, while Christina berates him: “Why are you doing all the speaking?”

For those who don’t understand Greek, there are subtitles in English.

The couple’s son Orthodox Theodoulou, 37, said his parents had reached ‘superstar status’ in the Cypriot community in north London and that their social calendar “seems to have filled up slightly”. “It’s changed a lot of things for them,” he said. “People are coming up to them in the street and they are being invited to a lot more social events.”

Theodoulou said he started making short video clips after being made redundant as a journalist, a job he did for 17 years. He said he decided to do film editing and was practising. Theodoulou said his parents needed little persuasion to ‘star’ in Greek Meatballs because they didn’t really know what YouTube was, and had little understanding of the internet. He said getting them to make Stuffed Vine Leaves had been a little trickier after they had seen themselves broadcast for the world. “They were a bit shy about it because they also got a lot of calls from Cyprus,” he said.

Theodoulou said when he was a child the family used to make home movies all the time so it wasn’t anything new for his parents to lark around in the kitchen. Neither of the two videos was rehearsed. He said now that he was filming more clips it was a good chance for him to spend time with his parents, something that was not as easy to do in the past when he was working. “We get to spend three days together,” said Theodoulou who hopes to post ‘cookery programme’ featuring his parents once a month.

The family also visits Cyprus every summer and hope to make a video on the island this year that will also be posted on YouTube.

Greek Meatballs can be watched below, or use the YouTube search box by typing in Orthodoxos, which will bring up both videos.

Multiplex goes arthouse, well kind of April 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Cyprus’ second film festival brings films that have donw well at festivals but might otherwise not be shown here to the big screen

It may not be the Golden Globes, but it’s all about Golden Aphrodite as the red carpet is about to be laid down in Nicosia. All right, it’s not at any glam venue either, just the K-Cineplex. And it goes without saying, not to expect to see Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett strutting their stuff. No, there won’t be any top-notch movie stars, e-entertainment won’t be there to film all the action, and there won’t be any gorgeous ladies and gents pouring out of limousines parading in the latest Versace creation.

Last year, organisers said that the Cyprus International Film Festival (CIFF) aimed to “combine all the glamour of the Cannes Film Festival with the innovative, young, raw, talent of the Sundance Festival.” Raw talent there was, but the glamour of Cannes is seriously up for debate. There was also a lot of talk of international figures in the word of film production showing up, with little of it materialising. Here’s a suggestion, forget about the idea of a swish, black tie event and gear yourself up for a festival that will bring some good movies to your doorstep, well, practically. And if we’re talking about the ‘who’s who’ of the film industry, Spielberg or Scorsese may not be attending, but you will be honoured with the presence of Phaedon Papamichael, acclaimed director of photography and production designer in John Cassavetes’ films.

Organised for the second consecutive year, the festival will be taking place between April 12 and 19, with 140 films screening at K-Cineplex cinema venues in Nicosia, with a special selection of screenings in Larnaca and Limassol. It is the organisers priority to bring new, rising and independent filmmakers, the point is to give up-and-coming film directors from across the world the opportunity to receive recognition. At the same time, they see the festival as a focal point of interaction between local filmmakers and industry executives, using it as an opportunity for networking and exchanging ideas.

So what can you enjoy on the big screen? There’s one issue that should be made clear; many of the films that will be showing have already been released commercially and can be found at your local DVD shop. A little disappointing after all the emphasis on ‘new’ and ‘independent’ films. Why the attention on more commercial hits then? “Because last year the focus was on new and more unheard of productions, and the attendance was poor. We thought we’d give the public a little more of what they want this year,” says event organiser, Petra Terzi.

In all fairness, even serious films buffs last year complained the movies were too ‘obscure’. So the good news this year is that there are lots of films that have made a great impression at international festivals, that wouldn’t otherwise be shown the local cinema. Big film productions from acclaimed directors include Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd, an example of new American cinema, Lars Von Trier’s latest film, The Boss of It All, Sunshine by the director of Trainspotting Danny Boyle, 10 Items or Less staring Morgan Freeman, the Sundance awarded film, A Guide to Recognising Your Saints by Dito Montiel, and the Oscar winning Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro.

There’s also animation, children’s film, video art, music videos. Sports fans will be happy with the documentary on the life and legend of Diego Maradona with Javier Martin Vazquez’s, Loving Maradona, as well as the charming film-portrait of Zinedine Zidane by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno. You’ll also get to watch the Iraqi film, Offside, awarded with the Silver Bear in last year’s Venice Film Festival. As for local filmmakers, Aliki Danezi-Knutsen, whose background includes New York theatre and filmmaking in Africa and Uruguay, is attributed a special section in CIFF, with the screening of Bar, O Dromos Kai ta Portokalia and the music documentary Karavan Sarai.

It’s the new and independent films that will be competing for the Golden Aphrodite Award, with 14 films from across the world taking part in the competition. “The whole event is an important projection of Cypriot cinema,” says Terzi. “Some of the best local films will be chosen to show at the Los Angeles film festival in June.” But it’s more than just film screenings, as two of the most distinguished animators of DreamWorks Animation will present a series of seminars for all those interested in animation art. There will also be a seminar on the adaptation of film works for the theatre and vice versa. Seminars, workshops, concerts and lots of parties will keep festival guests busy in the time outside projection rooms.

We may not be quite ready to say ‘Oscar meet Aphrodite’, but at least an effort is being made to project new independent films, while also enticing the general public with those bigger productions that have made an impression at major worldwide festivals.

Cyprus International Film Festival > With local and foreign film screenings. April 12-19. Screenings at K-Cineplex venues in Nicosia, with a selection of special screenings in Larnaca and Limassol. For full details of screenings, visit www.cyiff.com