Russian Cheese Blini

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces farmers cheese (ricotta works too)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup extra flour to coat the pancakes before frying
  • Vegetable oil or light olive oil for frying (3 tablespoons for each batch)

Method

  1. Combine, farmers cheese with egg and vanilla extract until incorporated well. Add in sugar, salt and 5-6 tablespoons flour and wix well. Add extra flour if you think it’s still too wet or sticky.
  2. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter and drop it into flour. Coat both sides with flour and give it a small pancake shape. Repeat this until you finish all the batter.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Fry the pancakes in batches until both sides are golden, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Serve warm with sour cream and jam.

 

CHRISTOPSOMO

Ingredients

15g/1/2 oz fresh yeast OR 2 teaspoons dried yeast
180ml/ 6 fl oz/ 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
450g/ 1-lb / 4 cups white bread flour
2 eggs
75g / 3 oz / 6 tbspn caster sugar
2.5 ml / 1/2 tspn salt
75g / 3oz / 6 tbspn butter, softened

grated rind of 1/2 an orange
5ml / 1 tspn ground cinnamon
1.5ml / 1/4 tsp ground cloves

pinch of ground aniseed
8 walnut halves

1 egg white, beaten, for glazing

You can replace the ground aniseed with 1 teaspoon of ouzo.

Method

In a large Mixing Bowl add the yeast and the milk and stir until the yeast has dissolved.

Stir in just 115g/ 4oz / 1 cup of the flour.

Using a wooden spoon, stir to make a thin batter.

Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add this to the yeast mixture and beat in.

Gradually add the rest of the flour and salt and beat in.

Beat in the softened butter, then knead until it becomes a soft, but not sticky dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Put the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and place in a warm place to rise until it doubles in size (about an hour).

Place on a floured surface and knead a few times to knock back.

Cut off a small piece of dough – enough to create 2 ropes for decoration.

Cover and set aside.

Stretch the dough out into an oblong shape and sprinkle the orange rind, ground cinnamon and cloves over the dough.

Bring the sides up and over to cover the flavourings, then gently knead the dough until the orange and spices are evenly blended through the dough.

Shape the dough into a round bread shape.

Lightly grease a Baking Sheet and place the bread on it.

Take the spare dough you cut off earlier and knead the aniseed into it.

Cut this dough in half and shape into 2 long ropes.

Make a cut in the ends of the rope lengthways about 2-3 inches/ 7 cm.

Make a cross on top of the bread with the ropes.

Curl each split end into a circle, in opposite directions.

Place a walnut half into the middle of these circles.

Cover the dough with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 190 oC, 375 oF, Gas 5.

Using a Pastry Brush, glaze the dough with the beaten egg white.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

Place the baked Christmas bread on a wire Cooling Rack to cool completely.

 

Melitzanosalata – Aubergine Puree Salad

Ingredients
2-3 large aubergines
2 cloves garlic; crushed with salt
1 medium onion, grated
2 tablespoons tahini paste
juice of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon paprika
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Method
First ‘burn’ the aubergines! To achieve the proper smokey flavour, the aubergines need to be grilled, either over a barbeque or under the grill until the glossy black skin begins to burn. Finish cooking the aubergines in the oven if necessary as they must be cooked through.

Peel away the skin and put the aubergine flesh and other ingredients into a liquidiser.

Now add olive oil to taste. The puree needs to taste rich but not over oily.

Garnish with chopped parsley and black olives.

Bara Brith

Ingredients

  • 6oz currants
  • 6oz sultanas
  • 8oz light muscovado sugar
  • 10 fl oz strong, hot tea
  • 10 oz self-raising flour
  • 1egg, beaten

Method

  • Measure the fruit and sugar into a bowl, pour over the hot tea and leave overnight.
  • Lightly grease and base line a 2 lb tin with greaseproof paper. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C / 300 degrees F / Gas 2.
  • Stir the flour and egg into the fruit mixture, mix thoroughly then turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  • Bake in the oven for about 1½ – 1¾ hours or until well risen and firm.

Crunchy Top Lemon Cake

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. soft margarine
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 6oz self-raising flour
  • 1 tsb baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon

for the crunchy topping;

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 oz caster sugar

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F/ Gas 4. Lightly grease and base-line a 7 inch deep round cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Measure al the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat well until smooth. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes.
  • Whilst the cake is baking, make the crunchy topping. Measure the lemon juice and sugar into a bowl and stir until blended.
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, spread the lemon paste over the top whilst the cake is still hot.
  • Leave in the tin until cold, then turn out and remove the paper.

Christopsomo – Greek Christmas Bread

 

Greek Christmas bread Christopsomo

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two 1/4-ounce sachets)
  • 8 cups plain bread flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 2 teaspoons ground anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for bowl
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon whole milk, for egg wash
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Method

  • Sprinkle yeast, 1 cup flour, and 1/4 cup sugar over milk in a medium bowl. Cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

  • Combine remaining 7 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups sugar, the anise seeds, salt and  orange zest, . Make a well in center of mixture, and add milk mixture, melted butter, and eggs. Mix together ingredients using your hands. Once combined, turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth and supple, about 15 minutes.

  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  • Butter two pans. Knead down the dough, divide in half, and place into a  prepared pan. Cover with a cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. With a small amount, make  Crosses for the bread and place on the top of the loaf.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush egg wash over tops of loaves, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pans, and remove bread. Let cool completely on wire rack.