Sunday, 23 March 2014

Semolina halva with chocolate

During the Great Lent in Greece, the people who fast, are not supposed to eat meat, dairy and fish with some exceptions like the Annunciation and Palm Sunday that they eat fish. During the Great week some people don't even consume olive oil.
So, because of these rules, people have adjusted their diets and there are a lot of different dishes and desserts that make them not to miss anything. One of those desserts is semolina halva that, well, of course people consume during the year too,because it is one of our traditional desserts. 
It is a sweet made in a saucepan and then turned over in forms, like cakes. Simple to make if you pay attention to it the whole time.The most common recipe for it, is called 1-2-3-4. That means 1 cup oil, 2 cups semolina, 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water. It usually contains cinnamon, cloves, pine nuts and blanched almonds and sometimes raisins too. Everybody makes their favourite version, adding or removing ingredients.
This halva recipe is different from the classic recipe. The sugar is reduced and it contains chocolate and cinnamon instead of the traditional nuts and raisins. I was looking for a recipe with less sugar and found this recipe on this blog where you can find a lot of delicious mostly Greek recipes. I changed some things and well, I think it has a great balance of flavours. So , go ahead and give it a try.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Yesterday it was Fat Tuesday or as it is known in French: Mardi Gras. Here in Sweden the ultimate treat on Fat Tuesday is semla, a sweet cardamom bread roll, filled with almond paste and cream. It is supposed that you eat a semla on Fat Tuesday and every Tuesday until Easter. It is so delicious, even King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died after consuming too many in the 1700's.
Every year before Fat Tuesday, bakeries, cafes and supermarkets are filled with semlor, but I couldn't resist making my own. Try it and you will not be disappointed. Accompany it with a cup of hot coffee or tea, or you can eat it like in the old times in a hetvägg, that is in a plate with hot milk around it. You will enjoy it any way you eat it.
So, here is the recipe I used:

Monday, 3 March 2014

Lagana And Koulouri

Today, it was Clean Monday or as we say it in Greece Kathara Deutera. It is the first day of the Great Lent and the beginning of the 40 day fast that lasts until Easter. Clean Monday in Greece is a public holiday and people usually go out on picnics and fly kites. The traditional food for this day is: taramosalata (a delicious dip made from fish roe), shellfish, beans and other legumes, vegetables, olives, halvas and of course lagana. Lagana is a flatbread consumed on Clean Monday that looks a bit like foccacia. You cannot celebrate Clean Monday without this on your table. You usually eat it with taramosalata, olives or with tahini halva or well with anything you like. It is a bread after all. This recipe that I used was enough to make 2 breads so I made one lagana with the half and with the other half I made koulouri which is a circular bread with sesame, similar to bagel in appearance just thinner. Something very similar to it is the Turkish simit. Anyway koulouri is something very nice and healthy to accompany your coffee or eat for breakfast on its own or with cheese or jam or whatever you like. It is very common in Greece and it exists in every bakery. So, here is the recipe: