It’s that time of year down under and winter is settling in. The common cold is making it’s way around households, workplaces, kindergartens, schools and day care centres. Never fear, the cold buster drink is here!
I got this home recipe off an athlete friend about ten years ago and it’s been my go to anytime I’ve felt a tickle in my throat, or if a bug is going around or generally just when I’ve felt run down and vulnerable to catching ‘something’. It may take some getting used to but I’ve actually grown to like this sweet ‘n’ sour tonic with floating pieces of crunchy, spicy raw ginger.
– 1 tablespoon Manuka Honey
– 1-1.5 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
– 1 cup boiling water
– Fresh ginger slices
It’s very simple to prepare. Just place the Manuka honey, vinegar and fresh ginger slices (I use the potato peeler to get my slices) in a mug and top with boiling water. Stir it up and its ready to go.
You only need to search online for a few minutes to discover the numerous health benefits these ingredients contain (see links below). It’s no surprise this little concoction works wonders. I always travel with Manuka Honey as its not easy to find overseas but the other ingredients are commonly found.
Read more about:
* Manuka Honey – the ‘healing honey’ contains anti-bacterial properties and is indigenous to New Zealand. Manuka honey is made by bees that feed on the flowers of the manuka bush, also known as the tea tree, in New Zealand. Opt for organic if you can.
* Apple Cider Vinegar has numerous health benefits. It truly is a superfluid. Opt for organic if you can.
* Ginger is well know for its medicinal properties one being to soothe a nasty cough.
Flaounes are definitely a must for our family during the Easter holidays. And I’m not talking our immediate family, I’m talking EVERYONE. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles and any visiting guests that happen to pass by. The making of these cheesy, minty pastries was traditionally led by my Yiayia, but since she passed away early this year, the ladies of our family have made it our own to continue the tradition.
Supplying our large family (who all love these Easter treats) is a bit of a mission so it would be crazy to try it alone. You should have about 5 people helping out (or even more depending on how big your workspace is). Soon enough you’ll be lost in chatter and laughter and won’t even realise you’ve made a mountain of Flaounes.
This recipe will make around 50 pastries but in our family, we aim for about 100 or more and normally would double this recipe. The key is to have all the prep work done in advance and then the process is fairly straight forward.
I recently learnt that you can buy Flaounes in cafes in Cyprus all year round…so it’s fair to say, you don’t need to wait for Easter to give these a go. There are many recipes and family variations, especially on how you fold them. We’ve even started to make them in muffin tins which look beautiful and stay moist.
So hands washed, aprons on and let’s get started! xx
1.25kg plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground finely masticha*
1 teaspoon ground mechlepi*
¼ teaspoon finely ground salt
400g unsalted butter, chopped into little cubes
1 cup water
½ cup milk
60g fresh yeast or 3 sachets of dried yeast
125ml milk warmed
1 teaspoon sugar
750g cheddar cheese finely grated
750g pecorino cheese finely grated
800g haloumi cheese finely grated
1 cup semolina
2 tablespoon dried mint leaves or a large handful of fresh mint
½ teaspoon ground machlepi*
¼ teaspoon masticha*
2 teaspoons baking powder
300g sesame seeds (brought to a boil, then strained and spread on a tea towel)
4 eggs lightly beaten
*Masticha (also known as mastic) is the hardened resin from a small evergreen tree found on the Greek island of Chios. It is used to flavor Greek and Cypriot baked goods, sweets, drinks and ice-cream.
*Mechlepi (also known as mahleb) is a spice made from ground cherry pits. It is available in small pips so you grind to a fine powder or you can purchase the powdered form of Mechlepi. I buy the ready ground. Both of these spices should not be replaced and you’ll usually find them in a greek, italian or middle eastern deli.
Measure all of your ingredients and have them ready prior to starting. The first step is to start your filling before the pastry because it’s got to rest for up to 2hrs.
- Get a very large mixing bowl (or two). Remember once you add the yeast, your mixture will double in size.
- Place the warm milk, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Stir until the yeast is combined.
- Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to double in size. (about 15 minutes)
- Place all the cheeses, mint, spices, semolina, into the bowl and mix until all the ingredients are combined well. We normally use our hands!
- Add the eggs and yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- The mixture should be soft and smooth. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let stand until double in size. Generally, this may take 1.5-2hours so it’s a good time for a coffee and a snack!
- Add the baking powder just before you’re ready to start the assembly and mix thoroughly.
While the filling is proving you can get started on the pastry.
- Sift the flour, machlepi, masticha, salt, baking powder into a large bowl.
- Rub the unsalted butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles crumbs.
- Add the eggs, water, and milk.
- With your hands, mix the dough until it is soft, smooth and elastic.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes (or longer is fine)
- Roll out the pastry to no thicker than 3mm.
- Using a large glass or pastry cutter cut into rounds around 10cm.
- Dip one side of the pastry lightly in the sesame seeds.
- On the opposite side, place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the centre of the round.
- Fold each side to make a square shape or any shape you desire. In any case, you want to leave a small section of the filling exposed. Place each Flaoua on a baking tray lined with paper or non-stick spray.
- Glaze the flaouna with the lightly beaten egg.
- Bake in a preheated oven and 200°C for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Don’t open the oven door whilst cooking otherwise your flaounes will flatten.
- Let them cool on a cooling rack.
Enjoy fresh out of the oven. Flaounes also freeze really well, so they’re a good snack to have ready to go and you can just zap them in the oven or microwave. Happy Easter!
Christmas has been and gone and it doesn’t take long for the shopping aisles to be full of easter treats. Easter always reminds me of my Yiayia and the procession of traditional Easter pastries we would prepare in the lead up and during Easter for the whole family to enjoy.
In memory of my Yiayia who passed away this year, I’m going share some of her Easter recipes and continue the tradition of baking them with my family so that they may live on for some generations to come.
This is Yiayia’s koulouria recipe which she always had available on her kitchen table for us to munch on – amongst many other treats. We would always make a big batch together before Easter with aunts and cousins ready with sleeves rolled up to help our Yiayia.
This recipe is scaled down and will make approximately 2 baking trays worth of koulouria.
I cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
5-6 cups self raising flour +extra for kneading
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Sesame seeds for rolling
1. Prepare the sesame seeds by bringing to a boil in a medium saucepan. Drain them and set them aside.
2. Mix sugar and oil in a bowl until combined
3. Add the eggs, mixing until combined
4. Add the milk, mixing until combined.
5. Mix in the spices
6. Start stirring through the flour one cup at a time until mixture forms a soft dough. Turn the dough on a floured surface and knead adding as much flour as it will take to reach a soft silky dough that no longer sticks to your fingers.
7. Spread the drained sesame seeds on a clean tea towel and line the baking trays with paper. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
8. Break of pieces of the dough and roll into skinny logs. We make our Koulouria about 10cm long and 1-2cm in circumference.
9. Roll individually in sesame seeds and place on the baking tray.
10. Bake for approximately 20mins or until golden in colour. Turn the oven down to low 120°C and double bake the koulouria until dry and crispy – the way we like to enjoy them!
These are quite basic to prepare but it’s handy to have a few hands on deck if you’re making loads of them to feed a large family like mine! Besides, it’s more fun that way and a good opportunity to gasbag and catch up. Enjoy xx
These raw energy balls have been my go to snack for the last couple of months and are so easy to make. They are the perfect pregnancy snack packed with delicious natural goodness not to mention great for the whole family. I personally like them straight out of the fridge and they keep for at least a week in sealed container.
2 cups nuts – any nuts will do. I generally use a combination of walnuts, cashews, almond meal, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 cups Medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tbls coconut oil
In a food processor, process the nuts with the coconut. Add the dates, vanilla, coconut oil and salt. Process until combined. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 10mins before rolling individually into balls. Coat in chia seeds and coconut and store in the fridge.
Makes about 25.
I have been eating so much of this Cypriot Grain Salad lately. It’s so delicious, nutrient dense and filling. There’s a few variations out there but this one I stole from my Aunty Androulla and I think it’s one of the best around!
1 bunch coriander
1/2 bunch parsley chopped
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 cup freekah (or cracked wheat)
1/2 cup puy lentils ( you can also use a whole can of brown lentils drained)
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
2 tablespoons toasted pinenuts
2 tablespoons baby capers
1/2 cup currants
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds toasted and lightly ground
1 tablespoon honey
1. Blanch freekah and puy lentils separately in boiling water until just cooked. Drain well and allow to cool.
2. Mix the yogurt, cumin and honey until combined. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl place coriander, parsley, red onion, freekah, lentils,toasted nuts, capers, currants, lemon juice, and olive oil. Mix well.
4. Season to taste
5. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate and set aside.
6. Place the salad in serving dish and top with cumin yogurt.
7. Sprinkle fresh pomegranate seeds on top.
The only thing you need to do now is enjoy this healthy, delicious and nutritious treat! It goes with just about everything and is a great salad to graze on. It keeps for a week in the fridge too xxxx
I made this salad up whilst entertaining over the weekend and it was quite delicious! I think it’s perfect for summer gatherings and bbq’s and it’s super easy and nutritious too.
It’s one of my no measure throw together creations (hence no quantities) so you basically just want to have a nice balance of all the beautiful colourful ingredients.
- Israeli Couscous (or Quinoa would work nicely too)
- Sweet Potato
- Cherry tomatoes
- Dried Cranberries
- Flaked or slivered almonds -lightly toasted (pine nuts would also work)
- Lemon Juice
- Maple syrup (or honey)
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
Preheat your oven to 180C and line a a baking tray with baking paper.
Cook the Israeli couscous as per packet instructions. I added some cumin to the water whilst cooking to give it a hint of Morocco. Drain and cool.
Wash and slice the Kale thinly. Chop a onion and garlic and sauté in a pan with the kale and some olive oil. Turn off the heat and leave to cool when the kale has wilted and the onion is translucent.
Chop the sweet potato into cubes and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay it on the baking tray and roast in oven till tender and golden. Throw in your cherry tomatoes with about 10mins to go to lightly roast them too. Leave to cool.
Chop some cucumber and deseed the pomegranate. Toast some flaked almonds.
Prepare the dressing by adding olive oil, lemon juice, a dash of maple syrup, chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Throw all the ingredients (once cooled) into a salad bowl and mix well. Add dried cranberries and toasted almonds as well as dressing and toss to combine.
All that’s left to do is enjoy this refreshing, crunchy and delicious salad!