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melomakarona-greek-recipe
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Melomakarona – A Greek Treat

The best part of the festive season is getting together with friends and family. So why not prepare a special treat of Greek Melomakarona, you will all love the result.

For the syrup
7 cups sugar
8 cups water
2 cups honey
2 cinnamon sticks
2 wide strips of orange peel

For the Dough:
5 cups pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup coarsely ground walnuts
zest of 1 orange
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove

Wet Ingredients
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cups sugar

Beat until melted
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. honey

Add baking soda into a glass with orange juice
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 tsp. baking soda

Ground walnut topping
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups of ground walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground clove

Pre-heated 350F oven

  1. For the syrup, add all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil and lower to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, take off the heat and allow to cool.
  2.  Into a large bowl, add your wet ingredients (except for baking soda and orange juice). Mix for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Combine the flour with the other dry ingredients. Once sugar is dissolved, add the baking soda/orange juice mixture then add dry to wet ingredients. Use you hands to mix the dough.
  4. Using your hands, roll the dough into small balls (about the size of apricots), then form them into quenelle shapes.
  5. Take your box grater (the side used to zest) and place a cookie on top of it. Press the cookie down a bit to form a grid pattern on the top of the cookie. Repeat this process for all the cookies.
  6. Place your cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated oven (middle rack) for 30 minutes.
  7. Using a large slotted spoon or Spider, drop the hot cookies in batches into the cool syrup for 10 minutes to absorb the syrup then flip for 3 minutes on the other side. Reserve on a cooling rack and repeat until all the cookies are dunked in syrup.
  8. For the topping, add the above ingredients in a bowl mix well with a spoon. Brush each cookie with the remaining syrup and then sprinkle each cookie top with the walnut topping. Allow to cool.
  9. Store in a cool, dry container for up to a month.
    Share and Enjoy
Turkish Cuisine - Stuffed Vine Leaves

Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves

Sarma refers to a dish that can be prepared with grape, cabbage, or chard leaves. The term sarma derives from the Turkish verb “sarmak,” which means to wrap or to roll. It can be prepared with rice and spices (vegetarian) or with rice and ground meat.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb pickled grape leaves, pickled in brine then washed and drained
  • 4 medium onions, diced
  • 2 cups rice, washed under cold water and drained
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup dried currant
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint flakes
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of

Preparation:

Step 1: Dice the onions and sauté with 1/4 cup of olive oil. When they turn translucent, add the pine nuts and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add rice and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until the rice is translucent. Add the spices (dried mint, cinnamon, lemon salt, black pepper, dried currants, sugar and allspice) and chopped parsley. After another quick stir, add 1/2 cup of boiling water and simmer on low medium heat for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice mixture. Take off heat and let cool.

vine-leaves

How to roll vine leaves – a fun experience

Step 2: Place the vine leaf on a flat surface with the veins face up and remove the stem. Place 1 tsp of the rice filling at the bottom were the stem was. Fold the edges over the filling and then roll from the bottom up wrapping the rice. Repeat the process until you have used up all the rice mixture. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with the broken and ripped vine leaves. About 3-4 layers deep. Place the sarma in the pot seam down ensuring there are no gaps so that they don’t unravel during the cooking process. Then lay down another 3-4 layers of ripped vine leaves. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, juice of half a lemon and 2 cups of boiling water, cover with a plate upside down (so that the sarmas don’t move around in boiling water) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until all the water is absorbed (roughly 45-60 minutes). Transfer to your serving dish and let cool.

helva-800

Almond Helva – Badem Helvasi

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter
  • 2 tablespoons blanched almonds
  • 1 cup strong plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon rose water

Melt the butter in a round-bottomed pan. Add the almonds to the flour and cook on a very low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the almonds and flour have turned golden brown. A good helva needs to cook for at least 60 minutes. Put the sugar  and water on to heat in a saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat two minutes after it has come to a boil and pour on to the cooked flour mixture in its pan and stir. Once it has stopped sticking to the pan, cover and leave on a very low heat for 15 minutes. Spoon the helva into a dish, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon, sprinkle with rose water and serve hot.

Bon Appetit – Afiyet Olsun