Those who know me in person also know my love for fresh food and cooking. By fresh food I do not only mean fresh fruit, meat, fish, vegetables, but also to create sauces, dips, etc from fresh ingredients rather than use ready made sauces, pasta, bread.
I’ve decided, therefore, to start a series of cooking blogs, to give you some of my favourite and also ‘tried & tested’ recipes. Most of them are traditional Greek dishes; others are taken from various people/recipes. Some have been my own creations at times of starvation and limited supplies in the fridge!
To maximise the taste of these dishes, try at first to stick to the instructions but, more importantly, to the ingredients. For example, if the recipe says ‘juice of one lemon’ then get a lemon and squeeze its juice out! Don’t use bottled juice (it tastes foul and includes chemicals) or lemonade!!! (yes, that has happened too).
I have also included plenty of photos to try and give you an idea of the process. Something like a point of reference when in doubt.
I wanted to start with a very easy recipe, but have decided instead to start with the recipe of my favourite traditional Greek Xmas cookies (getting so close to Xmas). They are delicious, relatively easy to make and kids can join in the fun (during the second part of the process).
They are called Melomakarona (Honey Macaroons).
Here we go then and good luck!!
For the cookies:
530gr extra virgin olive oil
50gr melted butter
400gr freshly squeezed orange juice (don’t you dare buy bottled OJ!!)
1 glass sugar
1 wine glass of cognac (don’t worry, the alcohol evaporates during cooking)
1/3 tsp ground cloves
2/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Zest of 1 large orange
1200gr plain flour (sifted)
For the syrup:
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange peel
Also, 500gr of coarsely chopped walnuts
1. Use an electric whisk to whisk the oil and sugar together for about 2-3min.
2. Add the remaining cookie ingredients to the mix, apart from the flour.
3. Stir well.
4. Stir in the flour (IMPORTANT: Do not mix the whole mixture a lot, as it will ‘sweat’ the oil out. Just mix it briefly up to the point where the dough does not stick to your fingers).
5. Shape the dough into small finger size pieces and place them on a baking tray.
6. Preheat the oven and cook at 170C until golden.
7. Prepare the syrup by putting all ingredients apart from the honey into a pan and bring it slowly to the boil, stirring constantly.
8. Lower the heat as low as it can go (so that the syrup is kept hot but not boiling) and stir in the honey.
9. Dip the cookies in the syrup for a few seconds and then place them on a tray to cool down. Sprinkle a bit of coarsely chopped walnuts on top.
NOTE: If you dip the cookies in the syrup while they are still warm, then they will end up soft and will melt in the mouth. If you dip them after they have cooled down the middle will still be crunchy.