The Greeks Love of Bread ....

The Greeks love of bread ensures the neighborhood bakery is still the focal point of daily life. They still have that old world charm of wrapping that fresh warm loaf of bread in wax paper. It is so much of their daily life that rarely do you find packaged bead in supermarkets, the expectation is that bread is bought and eaten fresh daily from the baker.  I made the mistake of asking one supermarket owner "ópou eínai to psomí?" Where is the bread? He just simply pointed down the road "foúrnos!" Bakery!

Rob waiting impatiently whilst I make my daily selection. 
You should have ordered a coffee Rob!

Getting into the habit of always having bread on the table takes some getting used to. Bread, psomi, is the staple of Greek meals on which everything else is piled onto. Taverna's don't ask if you want bread they just plonk it on the table, if you consume that portion they will just keep serving it. Some of our clients were quite miffed on their first Taverna outing to find they were charged for the bread saying "We never asked for it!" Why would you not have bread! and why would you not eat this amazing bread! The amazing soft yellow texture and the chewy crusts are of the typical Greek everyday loaf, the horiatiko. 

In my opinion when you have this amazing fresh bread available why is it Greeks choose to eat Barley Rusks. Though one of the healthiest Greek foods and of high nutritional value, a rusk is a hard, twice-baked, dehydrated bread. The Ancient Greek name for "paximadi" rusks was "dipyritis artos". This twice baked technique was used prior to the use of preservatives and was a clever way to keep bread edible for long periods and has been a staple in Greece kitchens since antiquity. Historically they were made with barley flour, however today most people add a little wheat flour to lighten the flavour and texture of their paximadia. They are purchased by the kilo at the local bakery and used daily in a variety of ways. This is one Greek bread I could leave on the shelf. 

However Greeks do use Rusks in many effective ways. One which I could use in our Galley would be Dakos Salad. Dakos known as koukouvagia, is originally from Crete consisting of  slices of oil soaked barley rusk topped with chopped  tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese, and flavoured with herbs such as dried oregano, olives a modern twist would be to add rocket, capers and peppers. If you haven't tried Dakos Salad its worth a try at home, the key to a good Dakos is all in using good quality tomatoes and bread because these two ingredients are heart and soul of this salad. If you cannot find sweet and ripe tomatoes, I suggest wait until you get some. 

Try Our Galley's Recipe at the bottom of the page.

Dakos Salad has a place in our Galley

On every street corner you will find Kritsinia (bread sticks) they are served all over Greece as a snack for all ages, they are a small bread stick covered in sesame seeds also used as an edible teething ring for small babies, as are the loops of sesame covered koulouria.

But it's not just bread the Greek bakeries do so well. Greek pastries and cakes are made with an abundance of honey, nuts, fruits, and cream. 

Their most recognised pastry is the Baklava a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. There are so many different versions of this in all shapes and sizes. You buy them in boxes, that's right not just one piece but in quantity!

You buy by the kilo and the box is chosen for your purchase.

Galaktoboureko is a favourite Greek dessert of semolina custard in filo. It is made in a pan, with filo layered on top and underneath and cut into square portions, or rolled into individual servings. It is served or coated with a clear, sweet syrup. I found it to be very close to our vanilla slice but a thousand times better.

Bougatsa is a Greek breakfast pastry consisting of either semolina custard, cheese, or minced meat filling between layers of fillo. A generous dusting of cinnamon and icing sugar adds only a few extra calories first thing in the morning.

Melomakarona (walnut syrup biscuits) these are the classic Greek biscuits Indulge in the orange, cinnamon and walnut flavours with every bite! 

Greeks have a food for nearly every occasion. It’s widely understood that Kourabiedes are the ultimate cookie to have around for all of life’s happy celebrations! Buttery and rich, these cookies should be a staple at every holiday and special occasion, and every moment in between!

The melomakarono is an egg-shaped Greek dessert made mainly from flour, olive oil, and honey. Along with the kourabies it is a traditional dessert prepared primarily during the Christmas holiday season.

A special gift given to us celebrate our Wedding Anniversary
from Hans, Andrea and Tessa

Greeks have a food for every occasion,
without food there is no celebration.

Anyone for cookies?

Until I traveled to Greece I though Australia was the land of pies .... Greece could probably take that title .... there are so many different types of pies, with countless variations from region to region. Probably the best known outside Greece are Spinach Pie (Spanakopita) and Cheese Pie (Tiropita), but there are many other delicious pies. Here a couple of my favourites that I indulged in mainly for breakfast as a trip to the bakery never seemed complete without picking up one or two other scrumptious looking treats.

Greek Cheese Roll (Tirobooreki) It has two cheeses anthotiro and feta - ricotta could be a substitute for the anthotiro if you can't get it where you live. 

Greek Courgette (Zucchini) Pie (Kolokithopita) A light and tasty pie. This can be eaten hot or cold. You can save it in the fridge and have it as a light lunch with some salad.

Spinach Pie

How did we resist all of these temptations.... Well we didn't  ...... This is Greece so when in Greece!

Our Galley's Dakos Salad Recipe  

6 large red ripe room temp tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice 
½ red onion, peeled and cut into 0.5cm dice
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 tbsp good olive oil, plus 1 tbsp extra 
Salt and black pepper 
70g feta, roughly crumbled 
40g black olives, pitted and halved
30g capers, whole or very roughly chopped 
150g Rusks
5g chopped oregano, to serve
Rocket leaves for serving

Put the tomatoes, onion, vinegar, two tablespoons of oil in a bowl, add a third of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, stir gently and set aside.

Spread out a layer of Rocket, on a large platter topping with rusks then spoon the tomato mixture on top. Sprinkle over the feta, olives and capers, and top with oregano and the remaining olive oil. 
Leave to sit for five minutes before serving.

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