Traditional Recipes of Ithaca
Although there are lots of great Greek recipes which you can find in the many cookbooks sold around the tourist shops on Ithaki, traditional Ithacan recipes are a little harder to come by. People are reluctant to part with their recipes, or maybe it's because many are not written, but merely practiced over time. Recipes are passed down through the generations. I will endeavour to pry loose those apron strings to get an authentic look at Ithacan cooking.
Ithacan families revolve around food. All the annual celebrations start or end with a big feast. Eating in Greece is not merely about consuming, it's a tradition of sharing the enjoyment of food, from the preparation to the eating.
1kg honey, 1 kg sugar, 1 1/2 gls of oil, 12 gls water,1 kg ground rice.
Place all ingredients (except rice) in a pot and bring to the boil. Add the rice slowly making sure it does not go lumpy. With a wooden spoon, constantly stir the mixture until the colour resembles honey. Pour the mixture in an oil greased tray and bake in a moderate oven for aprox 1 hour. In the meantime make the syrup.
2 gls water, 1/2 gls sugar, 1/2 gls honey.
Method: Bring all the ingredients to the boil, simmer for 3 minutes and remove from heat. While the rovani is still hot, pour over the syrup, wait till it cools down before you slice. Enjoy. Thanks to Poppy Pagoulatou and Tasia Vasilopoulou.
Dough mixed with sesame seeds and raisins, baked in the oven and before served it is soaked with "pikimezi".
For Flaouna Mixture:
1 kg flaouna cheese
2 pkts hallomi
400g 1 pkt cheddar cheese
1 pkt semolina (small)
2½ glasses (500g) plain flour
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves
20g dried yeast (said 2pkts)
1-2 pkts raisins(small)or to taste
½ cups of sugar (optional, I don’t put sugar as I put so many raisins)
½ bottle of mehlepi
1 bottle of mastiki
5 tsp ground cinnamon
12 eggs plus 1 egg to crack and smear over the top of the mixture.
For the dough:
1kg plain flour
¾ glass (00ml) olive oil
1x 500ml tub natural yoghurt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mehlepi
1 tsp ground mastic
1 tsp salt
First make the Flauona mix. Grate the two cheeses – we usually do this the day before to dry them out.
Chop the mint leaves. Grind the mastic with a pestle and mortar adding a little sugar to prevent it from sticking.
Crack all but 1 egg into a large bowl and beat, then add the semolina, flour, sugar, mint, yeast, cheese, cinnamon and last but not least the raisins. Mix well with hands and flatten out in the bowl. Then crack on the last egg, smearing over the top of mixture, leaving to soak in.
Now for the dough: to the flour add the salt, mehlepi and ground mastic.
Mix using the palms of your hands and add olive oil and yogurt.
Slowly add water to make a dough consistency, knead well for 5-10 minutes.
Separate into 4 balls, cover and leave to stand for 20 minutes in a warm place.
Roll out pastry into a square, add a heaped amount of the flaouna mixture, fold into a square around the mixture, press the corners down with a fork
Place flaouna on lightly greased baking tray. Glaze with a beaten egg that has had a little sugar added to make it a more golden colour, make sure the egg yolk does not run as this will make the flaouna stick to the backing tray
Leave flaounes to stand for 10 mins before placing in the oven.
Cook in clay oven for about 20-25 minutes. Standard oven – 180c for the first 15 mins and then lower to 180 c for 10-15 mins. Very important DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR at all for the first 20 minutes as this will make the flaouna sink.
I kg white fish, 1/2 gls vinegar or to taste, 4-5 cloves of garlic sliced , 1 tbsp rosemary 250 grams black raisins, 1/2 cup oil for frying
Clean and scale the fish, salt and leave for 1 hour. Dust fish with flour and fry till cooked. In clean oil, Stir-fry the sliced garlic, then add the vinegar and raisins, bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Place the fish in a tray and cover with the above mixture. Bon Apetite (The above dish can be kept for weeks, as the vinegar marinade works as a preservative. Turn the fish around often so the marinade can cover all sides.) In other areas in Greece instead of raisins they may use tomato paste. Thanks to Poppy Pagoulatou and Tasia Vasilopoulou.
This is Ithaki's version of Bruschetta.
Slices of bread dipped into water and then topped with oregano, olive oil, tomato and white local cheese. It makes an easy, inexpensive and delicious snack.
At the heart of every great recipe is Ithacan Virgin Olive Oil. You won't find it in your supermarket, but it is on every dining table on the island.
Ithaca Recipes - Austalian Memories is a collection of traditional recipes passed down through the generations. A well presented book with lots of photos from the past and recent past and is now available to order. Please contact Ithacan Philanthropic Society, Ithaca House 329 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Australia. PO Box 611, Melbourne, Vic. 3001 Australia. www.ithaca.org.au This limited edition of Traditional Recipes as given by the Ithacan contributors now living in Australia is selling fast. Editors Anna Vlass, Loula Vlass, Kay Raftopoulos and Andrew Raftopoulos. This is more than just a Recipe Book, Ithacan Recipes is a piece of history worth remembering.