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Delicious cod for the Greeks March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes, Greek Food Culture, Special Features.
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In Greece and Cyprus, there are two Sundays in the Easter season when all households cook codfish.

The first is for the religious feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary celebrated on 25th March annualy [also a National Day for Greece, commemorating the Independence Day and the Greek struggle for liberation against the Ottoman empire, started on 25th March 1821] and the second is Palm Sunday, which for this year is celebrated on 20th April, according to the Orthodox Church.

On these days, every household cooks the salted favourite. The pieces of cod are dipped into a batter of flour and water, and deep fried, then served with a garlic spread.

To make the spread, wet white bread, then combine it with lots of garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and blend till creamy.

Sounds delicious, so why not try it? Of course, the excess salt would have to be soaked from the fish overnight.

Greek mini pizza > Recipes March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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These Greek mini pizzas are great for kids’ parties.

Ingredients >
• 8 mini Greek pita pockets
• Extra Virgin Greek Olive oil for brushing pitas
• 1/2-3/4 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese
• 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
• 1/2 cup sliced, pitted Greek Kalamata olives
• 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
• 1/4-1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
• Lemon juice to taste
• Extra Virgin Greek Olive oil to taste
• Red pepper flakes to taste

Procedure >
Turn the oven on to the broiler setting and use a small mixing bowl to assemble the topping. Add the chopped roasted red peppers, sliced Kalamata olives, thinly slice red onions, a handful of chopped fresh mint, a drizzle of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes and mix it up.

Next, brush a little olive oil over the top of the pita rounds, on a baking tray, crumble some Greek feta cheese on top of the pitas and pop them under the broiler to bake. The feta cheese isn’t necessarily going to melt but you want to make sure it’s hot all the way through and to give the pitas a chance to crisp up a little bit.

To finish, top each pita with a spoonful of the red pepper mix and pop it back under the broiler just long enough to warm through. Bon Apetite!

Brew > Have a cocktail with your cuppa March 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia, Food Cyprus, Greek Taste Local.
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An evening spent in a bar that specialises in cups of tea may not sound like your idea of a good night out, but, banish any thoughts of PG Tips and the blue-rinse brigade and, if you’ve not been already, be sure to put the wonderful Brew on your list of bars to visit.

Yes, it has an extraordinary variety of teas (hence the name), but it also has an extensive range of expertly made cocktails, an intriguing selection of light bites and a warm and welcoming ambience that other bars could only wish to have.

Set in Laiki Yitonia, a little gem in the heart of the city, the rabbits’ warren of outside and internal bar areas make Brew one of Nicosia’s prettiest nightspots. During the warm evenings the lovely, intimate tea-lit courtyard is an ideal haven for romantic trysts whilst all year round the inside bar is a perfect place to gather with friends and explore the large variety of drinks and try the tasty salads, sandwiches and soups, such as the exotic sounding carrot, honey and ginger soup, whilst listening to an eclectic mixture of current R&B, dance and indie tracks peppered with a few classics.

The decor is simple but stylish. Aside from a vibrant red wall behind the long glass-topped bar in the main bar area, the rest of the interior is painted white with some floral artwork here and there, with sofas and kafenion style wooden chairs scattered around candle lit tables.

The place is decidedly unpretentious – an increasingly rare attribute for bars in Nicosia. As far as dress is concerned, anything goes – be it sequins, jeans, heels or trainers, it doesn’t matter. And although Brew is the venue for Mixed Olives nights – popular singles events – it lacks that predatory feel of so many other places, instead exuding a relaxed and chilled out atmosphere.

You could spend most of the night perusing the dizzying array of drinks on offer. Whilst tea may not seem initially enticing, one look at the menu, which includes such delights as ‘Octopussy’ – a blend of black teas with vanilla, citrus and lavender, may have you change your mind. There are even teas to combat migraines, menstrual cramps and the flu so there is no excuse for a tummy ache or cold to prevent you from going out.

As tempting as the tea menu was however, I made a beeline for the cocktail list and enjoyed a particularly spicy and zingy Bloody Mary. Some gentle persuasion from Nas, one of the owners, steered me away from ordering a second and opting instead for an interesting sounding mandarin margarita. It was probably one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted. Made with freshly squeezed mandarin juice and with just the right balance of sweet and sour, it was quite simply, delicious.

On a roll, I decided to go out with a bang and ordered as my third and final cocktail of the night, the classic choice of 1980s chavs, a Pink Panther. Imagine. The humble Pink Panther has been promoted from student union rocket fuel to a bona fide cocktail. The mind boggles! The sickly flavour of blackcurrant mixed with cider and lager – inexplicably tasty – brought back recollections of precariously balancing plastic tumblers filled with the potent mixture whilst dancing disastrously to Martha and the Muffins. Before attempting to recreate these embarrassing memories I wisely decided I had had enough and should leave whilst my dignity remained more or less in tact. This was around midnight and the bar was getting lively and filling up with a mixed crowd who were drinking teas, cocktails, beers, wine and whatever took their fancy.

‘Something for everyone’ is a much used and often abused description but in the case of Brew, it really could not be more apt.

Brew, 30b Hippocrates Street, Nicosia, Cyprus, tel 22 100133. Opening hours: 11.30am – 2.00am weekdays, 11.30am – 3.00am weekends.

For further reading > https://grhomeboy.wordpress.com/2007/11/03/a-passion-for-tea-tea-for-one/

Vivartia to bid for Everest March 8, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Vivartia, Greece’s largest food group, said yesterday it would tender for 100% of fast-food chain Everest as part of its 2008 expansion plans.

Everest, with a current market value of 87 million euros, runs a network of 184 fast-food stores in Greece, Cyprus and Romania. Vivartia said it would offer 3.50 euro per share for the fast-food company, a premium of about 15 percent to Thursday’s closing price.

Trading in Everest and Vivartia shares was suspended on Thursday and resumed yesterday. Alkmini, a company set up to bid for Everest, will also make a public offer to buy 100 percent of Olympic Catering, now majority-owned by Everest, for 2.65 euro per share.

Greece’s Vivartia to buy Nonni’s American biscuit firm March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Food Greece.
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Vivartia, Greece’s largest food group, said yesterday it has signed a deal to buy US biscuit and snack-producer Nonni’s for $320 million as part of its expansion plans.

Vivartia, which is present in 30 countries, said it has agreed to buy 100 percent of Nonni’s from US private equity firm Wind Point Partners and Nonni’s board members in a deal expected to be completed by April 1. “The technical know-how offered by the company in combination with its broadened network and commercial potential make Nonni’s a suitable platform to expand in the USA,” Vivartia CEO Spyros Theodoropoulos said in a bourse filing.

Nonni’s offers six production units in the USA and reported 2007 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $32 million on sales of $187 million, Vivartia added.

Australian Greek festival focus on food March 1, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Greek men were preparing fish yesterday at the Hellenic Hall in North Hobart for tomorrow’s Estia Greek Festival.

With a fine 21C predicted, event co-ordinator Alanah Diamantis, of Berriedale, is expecting more than 5000 people will attend the street festival. Festival chairwoman Helen Kalis said the event was getting bigger each year as more people from the wider community became involved. “In the beginning, people would say: ‘What’s Estia?‘ Now they know it means Greek Festival,” she said.

Among the 200 volunteers were Australians with non-Greek backgrounds, she said. “It’s come a long way since it started and is something that we are proud of,” she said. Mrs Diamantis said: “It’s a real way to combine the Australian and Greek cultures and show and educate people about what is on offer.”

Traditional Greek cuisine, music, dancing, art and wine will be highlights of the event, now in its 15th year. With food this year’s theme, the committee has published traditional recipes in the festival program.

While the street party tomorrow is a highlight, the festival continues until March 28 and other events include:

  • A soccer match between Italian and Greek teams at Sandy Bay’s Sandown Park on Monday March 10 from 1pm.
  • A Taverna Night at the Hellenic Hall, with live Greek music by Bouzouki Boys, Saturday March 15, 7.30pm, $40 a head.
  • A fashion parade at the Hellenic Hall on March 28 at 8pm, $25 for adults, $15 for children under 16 and under-10 free.
  • For information and bookings, call 0400 823 105.

Greek Festival > West Palm Beach March 1, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora Festivals.
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Discover the tradition and culture of Greece at this 33rd annual festival presented by the Greek community of St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church at Southern Boulevard and Flagler Drive (at the foot of the Southern Boulevard Bridge) in West Palm Beach.

Enjoy the artistry and rhythm of the award-winning “Heart of Greece” dancers as they perform in full traditional dress; live orchestra for dancing by the Hellenics Band (Bouzouki music); Greek dance lessons (learn Zorba’s Dance); enjoy homemade Greek delicacies and authentic cuisine; Greek beverages such as Ouzo and Metaxa (in the Taverna); delicious pastries and Greek coffee in the bakery and coffee shop; and Greek imports featuring some of the newest jewelry, arts and crafts, paintings and specialty boutique items. 

Location > West Palm Beach venue, West Palm Beach  FL  33401
Sat, 3/1 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sun, 3/2 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Cost: Adults $4 donation; children under 12 w/adult free
Info: (561) 833 6387