A Greek Feast

A Greek feast

There’s an unabashed generosity about every aspect of Greek recipes and entertaining. That intrinsic thoughtfulness and love is infused throughout the offerings of Helena and Vikki Moursellas, identical twins who learned to cook from their Greek grandmother. The pair have gone on to share their deep passion for the cuisine and it’s hard not to be caught up in the allure of the tantalising recipes in their newest offering Peináo: a Greek Feast For All.

To whet your appetite, we’re sharing two delicious recipes: The OG Greek Salata, which is perfect for quick, simple, and astonishingly flavourful RV meal, and the luscious Citrus Revani, perfectly timed for the glut of lemons on every citrus tree around Aotearoa.

Citrus Revani

A feast for 8–10

This recipe is three generations old – it belongs to our great-grandmother, Vaso. Traditionally, this recipe is not baked with citrus slices on top, but we have added our touch to make it a little more modern. We’ve used blood oranges but orange and lemon also work nicely.

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 230g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 180g (61/2oz) fine semolina
  • 90g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated blood orange zest
  • 2 small blood oranges, finely sliced
    Citrus syrup
  • 230g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 5 cloves
  • 6 strips of lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange or blood orange juice

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm (8in x 12in) baking tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
  • To make the citrus syrup, place the ingredients and 125ml (1/2 cup) of water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until a syrup forms. Set aside to cool.
  • Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attached and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the semolina, desiccated coconut, flour, baking powder, butter, vanilla and blood orange zest and whisk until the ingredients are completely combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tina and arrange the blood orange slices on top. Bake for 45–50 minutes, until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Pour the cooled syrup over the hot cake and set aside for 15 minutes before serving. This will allow the syrup to absorb through the cake. You can also serve the cake with hot syrup poured over the top – simply reheat the syrup for a few minutes.
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The OG Greek saláta

A Greek Feast

A feast for 4

If we had to live off one salad for the rest of our lives, it would be Greek saláta. No table in Greece is complete without this classic salad and every island has their own interpretation that often includes a few extra ingredients, such as caperberry leaves or golden pepperoncini. This is our version – don’t forget to mop up all those beautiful juices with some fresh bread.


Ingredients

  • 200g (7oz) cucumber, cut into 1cm (½in) chunks
  • 300g (10½oz) truss tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow bullhorn (banana) pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 100g (3½oz) pitted kalamata olives
  • 50g (1¾oz) caperberries, drained, plus 1 tablespoon caperberry leaves
  • 75g (2½oz) golden Greek pepperoncini, drained (optional)
  • 250g (9oz) Greek feta, crumbled oregano leaves, to serve

Oregano and lemon dressing

  • 80ml (¹⁄₃ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons mashed Jammy garlic (recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt flakes

For the oregano and lemon dressing, place the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, olives, caperberries and golden pepperoncini in a large bowl, then add the dressing and toss to combine. Transfer the salad to a large serving plate, top with the feta, caperberry leaves and a few oregano leaves, and serve.

Prep is your best friend

The dressing can be made the day before and stored in the fridge.

Jammy garlic recipe

  • 3 whole garlic bulbs
  • 185ml (¾ cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus 1½ tablespoons extra

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Using a sharp knife, slice the very top off the garlic bulbs, to expose the cloves. Place the garlic bulbs on a large piece of foil and drizzle with the 1½ tablespoons of olive oil. Wrap the garlic tightly in the foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the garlic is jammy and the kitchen smells heavenly.
  • Squeeze the garlic bulbs to release their jammy goodness, then use a fork to mash the garlic into a paste. Set aside to cool, then transfer the mashed garlic to a small jar and cover with the 185ml (¾ cup) of oil. Seal with a lid and store on your kitchen bench for up to 1 month.
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Peináo by Helena Moursellas & Vikki Moursellas, published by Smith Street Books, distributed by Thames & Hudson Australia, AUD$55, available now.

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