Our Galley

Our Galley
Cooking on a boat should be fun. It is slightly, no, a lot different to cooking in your stable kitchen. Not always is the sea all turquoise water and postcard calm. Pots and pans love to skim off benches, the oven, if not secured correctly, loves to open by itself and throw your latest creation across the galley floor. Living onboard is so much simpler and easier with little imagination and a relaxed approach. This will get the best out of your galley and you. I just love cooking seafood that we catch and fresh produce we gather onboard "Our Dreamtime" during our travels. You will find my recipes easy to follow and they won't take a lot of time to prepare in your galley afloat or kitchen ashore. It’s all about leaving time to enjoy life! I used to mix all my own herbs and spices but no longer. Now my secret to quick and tasty gourmet meals is the YIAH range (Your Inspiration at Home). These are all-natural seasonings, spices, salts and other items inspired by ethnic regions and custom blended to make cooking fast, simple and healthy. Take a look at the YIAH page below for details. I hope you enjoy Our Galley.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Tantalising melt in your mouth and irresistible ...... What became our favourite Greek food?

In Greece, frying up a batch of saganaki, or fried cheese, is a real art. The perfect batch consists of cubes or thick slices of cheese that have been fried perfectly so that every side of the cube has a golden, crispy crust while the inside remains soft and melted. My previous experience of Saganaki has been disappointing as restaurants located outside of Greece often have the wrong idea of what saganaki really is. They think that by melting some Greek cheese and serving it on a plate that they have created the real thing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We could not resist the traditional form, indulging ourselves at an given moment.

Traditional Saganaki Cheese .... 

Saganaki is a popular Greek entrée or appetiser which incorporates various Greek dishes named for the small round two-handled frying pan in which they are made, the best known being a fried-cheese version. However you will find different meats, vegetables, or even seafood with cheese, panfried or broiled and served as "Saganaki" as main courses as well. The exact Saganaki recipe may vary but the cheese appetisers have to be served on the table in the same sagani pan they were cooked in. 

Saganaki was a simple method of spicing up locally available cheese by the peasant class of Greece. Locally available cheese in Greece is highly salted but very tasty. The locals started to deep fry or pan fry different varieties of cheese. Although the exact origin of the recipe is unknown, most gourmands state that the dish is distinctly Turkish in origin. The word saganaki is derived from the Turkish word sagani or sahan which indicates the special frying pan that is used to prepare the dish. The dish has two handles on both side of the dish and the saganaki has to be served in this dish. A variant of this dish is also cooked in Arabia.

Preparing saganaki the right way is a true art, but it is one that can be mastered with a little know-how. The cheese—usually known as a yellow cheese ... kasseri, kefalotyri, kefalograviera, or another firm Greek cheese—is typically dredged in flour, seared in olive oil, and then served with lemon. It is frequently eaten as a Meze dish served in the pan, alongside bread, usually pita bread. However, in order for the dish to turn out well, it is still important to be a little picky. The perfect cheese will be sturdy enough to develop that golden, outer crust while also gentle enough to allow the warm, melted centre to develop. There are a few Greek cheeses that will create the perfect saganaki and those who have mastered the technique will surely have their favourite choices!

Kasseri ... Yellow Cheese.

The choosing the right pan to use could be just as important to the process as selecting the right cheese! Nonstick-style pots won’t get the job done because it is very difficult to get the edges to brown while using this style. It is best to invest in a proper saganaki pan if you plan to make it a habit to make this dish at home. We also saw in many Greek Tavernas Saganaki served in clay pots with great results ..... so a little experimenting might be needed.

Enjoy the Different Versions of Saganaki ...

There are two types of cheese Saganaki that are generally made – a savory version and a sweet one. Savoury saganaki is typically served as part of a meze spread. After the cheese is plated, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of extra Greek Olive Oil Is usually added to enhance the flavour. Sweet Saganaki  is typically made with either manouri or halloumi cheese and is served as a dessert with a drizzled of honey.

It is worth your while to embrace the real art of making saganaki by learning how to do it the right way. The truth is, traditional saganaki is flavorful and makes a nice addition to any meze spread!

So let's look at the other versions of Saganaki

On a Greek Taverna's menu you are sure to find Saganaki listed in more than one form. Saganaki combinations can vary according to individual chef requirements. For example, a few chefs do cook the dish with slightly different ingredients using either prawns, steak or mussels  which are cooked in a rich thick tomato based gravy. The common element in all of these dishes is the  cheese that is melted throughout.

Saganaki Prawns
expertly cooked at Apagio Taverna and Grill in Tyros

At Apagio Taverna in Poros, I tried the chefs specialty.  Mussels that were bathed in a rich, ouzo-scented tomato sauce with fresh herbs and feta cheese. The mussels spoke for themselves, but you could not eat them without crusty bread to soak up that amazing leftover sauce.  There are some recipes you just want to leave a secret so I'm sorry this one will stay as a traditional family recipe .... You will just have to go to Greece as I did to experience this truly deLISH Saganaki  for yourself ...

Ouzo scented tomato sauce was an outstanding 
combination with prawns and saganaki cheese

"Kali Orexi!" (Bon Appetit!)

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Friday, 29 September 2017

Liquid gold running through Greeks veins

Steeped in history and lapped by the turquoise blue Mediterranean sea, Greece is home to some of the finest ingredients in the world. Sample them in a traditional Greek dish along with a glass of ouzo, just doesn't get any better. One of the best parts about traveling is tasting the food. I am never disappointed by the discovery of a completely different palate, a new array of tastes and textures and smells and ways of eating. With the opportunity to immerse ourselves into the Greek culture for 3 months this summer had my mouth literally watering, after all it is a foodies dream made in heaven.

What we didn’t realise was we would be sailing the famous Peloponnese region of Greece. This region displays monuments from every period of the eventful Peloponnesian history great archeological sites such as ancient Olympia, Epidavous, Mycenae and Tirynth, Byzantine churches, unique settlements and amazing castles. It's natural beauties such as mountains, forests, rivers and caves surrounded by the turquoise sea, fringed by beautiful beaches, sandy and smooth coasts on the west, rocky and dentelated on the east, make this part of Greek land an amazing place to sail. 

Apart from all of these man made and natural beauties the Peloponnese is know for its amazing Olive Oil. On our three month visit to this remarkable area we discovered how important Olive oil is to the survival of the Greeks. 300 litres or nearly (80 gallons for my US friends) Is the most homemade olive oil one Greek family bought at once from Yiannis and Mina Roboras, who have been producing their own olive oil in the Peloponnese region of Greece for more than 20 years.

Olives harvested awaiting pressing.
“Its a long family tradition,” Mina says proudly. “Our olive oil is special because our mountains haven’t been spoiled by industrialisation as other areas have. Our olive oil is 100 percent pure and we think – better quality than in the stores.”

The Robaras’ live in the sleepy village of Klimendi, high in the mountains of Corinth. They describe their village as “old but beautiful” with its traditional stone houses, rolling mountains covered with olive and mandarin trees and white and red grapes which they also harvest to produce wine and sultanas. “Olive oil is an absolute necessity and it’s very important to us Greeks. It is part of our culture and we use it for all cooking and sometimes for moisturiser on our skin and hands. It is considered a gift from the Gods,” says Mina.

I know others might disagree with me, but I will take a good quality olive oil over butter any day! I love using it to make popcorn. I drizzle it on fresh tomatoes and slices of bread. I use it to fry fish and as an ingredient in cakes. 

Olive oil is simply a golden liquid fat obtained from olives, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is commonly used in cooking, whether for frying or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps and has additional uses in some religions. It is associated with the "Mediterranean Diet" for its possible health benefits. The olive is one of the core food plants in Mediterranean Cuisine.

Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, followed by Italy and Greece. However, per capita consumption is highest in Greece.

As scientists tell us, the exact place where the olive tree sprung for the first time is the greater Mediterranean Basin. The first cultivation of the olive tree worldwide took place in Greece, and more specific in Crete. This happened in about 3500 BC in the Early Minoan times. In this period the olive tree was in a wilder form in comparison to the tree we know today. After 2000 BC the cultivation of the olive tree in Crete was very intense and systematic playing the most important role on the island's economy. The first export of the olive oil not only in mainland Greece but in Northern Africa and Asia Minor as well, started from Crete.

Very soon the cultivation passed to mainland Greece and the olive tree and its blessed product, olive
The historic site of Mycenae
oil became synonyms of the Greek nutrition through centuries. The Mycenaean civilisation (c.1600-1150 BC) followed the Minoan in mainland Greece. The olive oil production was very important in the economy of this society. The decipherment of the "Linear B" script brought to light valuable information about the production, the commerce and the export of the olive oil in Mycenaean Greece as we can see in the palace records of Mycenae and Pylos. Indeed, one could reasonably assert that the whole of Greek civilisation was established upon the branches of this humble tree.

A number of facts show to us the relationship between the olive tree and its product with some social activities. The olive tree was a particularly important symbol for the ancient Greeks. It was connected to their diet and their religion, and was used as a decorative motif on vases, in gold jewellery and elsewhere. It was considered a symbol of peace, wisdom and victory. When the first Olympic Games took place in Olympia in 776 BC an olive-tree branch was the award to the winners symbolising the armistice of any hostility and the peace. This symbolic award was given to winners until the end of the ancient Olympic Games. However, not only an olive-tree branch was the award in games but the product itself. 

A Hellenistic gold olive wreath, Circa 3rd Century BC

From this time until today, Greece became the world's most important exporter of qualitative olive oil. The love and high esteem of the Greek olive-grower for the olive tree is passed on from generation to generation and from family to family. With the birth of a child an olive tree is planted which will grow and develop along with the child. When the child starts school at the age of six, the olive tree is ready to produce its fruit. The blessed tree grows up with the family, only it will have a much longer life and will still be around to be tended by the next generation, and the one after that. Each year, it yields its annual crop of olives in return for the labor and love expended on it. 

Cristina Stribakou from Lia Olive Oils says her family tree shares common roots with their olive trees. "Panagiotis and Konstantina, our parents, inherited just 19 olive trees in 1975. They raised us and grew our grove with the same care and affection. As the olive trees grew in number, we grew up as well playing hide-and-seek behind their ageing trunks and branches which reached out for the sun while loitering among the thick shadows of those trees. Therefore, we created a land property of unique beauty within the unsurpassed beauty of the Messenian landscape. Our Messenian roots, our family roots, our tree roots are what we have learnt to love and appreciate. 

We continue the circle of life just like our trees do by fostering the same values we have been taught by our parents while cultivating our grove and our soul. Our trees are not only memories of the past but also tools of inspiration for the future." This we discovered is a common feeling amongst Greek families toward their olive groves. They are not just trees but they are part of their family.

Karen samples local olives whilst discussing Mark and Maree's olive grove,
located above the beautiful coastal town of Ermioni.

Greeks collect the olives during the winter months. They usually start in November and they finish in January. Harvesting Olives is not easy as the weather conditions makes it harder. Also it requires all the family to participate as it a demanding job to do. The past few year’s farmers use advanced equipment in order to make it easier to collect the olives. But groves like Mark and Maree's are still hand picked and supplies enough oil for their use and a small income.

There are different variations of olive oil that you will see in your supermarket, most commonly
What is the best Olive Oil. Photo by news.com
Extra Virgin Olive oil, Virgin Olive oil, Pure Olive oil and Olive oil. The difference is basically in the taste. Extra virgin olive oil is the best when you are looking to add an olive oil flavour to your meal, but when you are using olive oil to say, stir-fry, it is best to go with the standard olive oil. Because of the refining process in standard olive oil, it holds up better when exposed to high heats, and it actually costs less than the virgin grades.

Olive oil is best used when pan frying only. If you want to deep fry, I would consider other oils on the market. It may hold up well when pan frying but has a low smoke point and will overheat when used when deep frying.

Before you run out to your local supermarket and grab a bottle for yourself, be aware that there are different variations of olive oil, all with different tastes. So which one is best for you? 

The best olive oil is a blend of oil from a mixture of red-ripe (not green and not fully ripe) olives and a smaller proportion of oil from green olives of a different variety. Cold-pressing, a chemical-free process using only pressure, produces a higher quality of olive oil which is naturally lower in acidity.

Olive Oil Grades

Olive oil is graded based on how the olives are processed and the acidity level of the final oil. For the maximum flavour and health benefits, buy extra virgin olive oil. When purchasing olive oil, it is important to check labels for the percentage of acidity, grade of oil, volume, and country of origin. The level of acidity is a key factor in choosing fine olive oil, along with colour, flavour, and aroma. 

How to Store Olive Oil

Heat, light, and air all affect olive oil in a negative way. Olive oil is best stored in sealable metal tins or dark glass bottles to protect the oil from the light. These darkened containers should then be kept away from light and heat. 

Cooking Uses for Olive Oil

When you go to the trouble and expense of buying high-quality olive oil, use it where it can shine: to dress salads and drizzle on dishes. Lesser quality olive oil can make a good cooking oil.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The most commonly used and heard of olive oil is extra virgin. Extra virgin, along with the standard virgin olive oil, is extracted directly from the olive fruit by grinding the olives in thermal conditions which preserves the natural taste. The method for extracting the oil is what is known as “cold pressed,” which keeps the oil from losing its flavour that can be lost when exposed to high temperatures.

Extra virgin olive oil is produced naturally, meaning that the oil is not made from any sort of chemical treatments. Virgin oil is also an indication that the oil is not refined, that they are of a higher quality and retain their natural flavour.

Pure Olive Oil

Pure olive oil is another oil, but the name can be misleading. Pure is actually a blend of either extra virgin or virgin olive oil and olive oils that are refined. It is used mainly when extracted olive oil is of poor quality and the refining process helps it to have a better flavour.

Many times, refined olive oil is used when frying as the taste is not as remarkable as the virgin olive oil.

A product labeled simply Olive Oil, is nearly the same as something marked Pure Olive Oil in that it is refined with lack of taste.

Olive oil has long been the most important ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Besides dipping bread in it and using it to dress salad, there are many ways people from the Mediterranean use olive oil. 

Here are 10 traditional ways to use olive oil for better well being.

  1. To bathe a newborn and soothe a new mother. Bathing a newborn baby in olive oil calms the baby and cleans the baby’s delicate skin gently. A new mother can also use olive oil to ease pain, such as skin irritation from breast feeding.
  2. As a morning beverage. Some olive farmers drink a bottle of olive oil every morning. Many live a long life. Drinking one spoonful of olive oil every morning can soothe the stomach. Swishing it in the mouth for a few minutes can improve dental health.
  3. To nourish hair. For dry and damaged hair, wet it a little, apply olive oil, cover it with a shower cap and stay in a hot shower for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash out the oil. This treatment is recommended weekly.
  4. As a cleanser and makeup remover. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had no soap. They massaged olive oil into their skin, then scraped it back off, along with dirt and dead skin. Olive oil can serve as a face wash and eye makeup remover if massaged over the face and wiped away.
  5. As a skin moisturiser. Gently rub olive oil on dry skin areas, including hands, body, and feet. It works better than most lotions.
  6. To polish furniture. Use a cloth dampened with olive oil and apply the oil to wood furniture to clean it and make it shine.
  7. As lamp oil. In ancient times, olive oil was used in lamps. It has a pleasant, sweet scent when burned, and it is the cleanest oil for lamps.
  8. To clean leather. Olive oil can clean and waterproof leather coats, boots, belts, et cetera.
  9. To shine dinnerware. Olive oil can be used to shine brass utensils and silverware.
  10. As bath oil. A little olive oil in the bath is like a spa treatment, leaving skin silky and fresh.

The Health Factor in Olive Oil

The health benefits of olive oil are unrivealed, and research reveals more benefits nearly every day. In fact, we are only just beginning to understand the countless ways olive oil can improve our health, and our lives. Olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean Diet — an essential nutritional mainstay for the world’s longest-living cultures. Aside from its practical aspects, the olive tree gained a mythical dimension. The Goddess ‘Athena’ was believed to have gifted an olive tree to the Athenians which grew next to the Acropolis, presumably in honour of the city state’s devotion to her. Another myth states that it was Hercules who brought the first olive tree from the heavens. Homer refers to olive oil as ‘liquid gold’ and Aristotle argued that the cultivation of olive trees is a science. According to Hippocrates, olive oil was used in ancient Greece for more than 60 pharmaceutical applications, including the healing of skin problems, stomach pain and ear infections. 

Though considered a fat, olive oil is one of the most healthy oils due to its high monounsaturated fat content and relatively low saturated fat content. Studies have shown that olive oil helps the body’s heart remain healthy and also aids in regulating cholesterol levels.

Aside from consuming olive oil, some people swear by its benefits from using it topically on the skin. In 1997, the record holder for the longest lifespan, a woman from France, used olive oil daily not only in her diet but by rubbing it on her skin.

Whatever it is used for, the health benefits of olive oil have been researched and proven. Oil is such a commonly used product today it only makes sense to opt for the most healthy one on the market. It is also one of the most flavourful of all the oils and is the perfect addition to many meals.

Some of the research shows:

  • The phytonutrient in olive oil, oleocanthal, mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence. Squalene and lignans are among the other olive oil components being studied for their possible effects on cancer.
  • Older individuals who consume olive oil daily may be able to protect themselves from a stroke, according to a new study from France published in the online issue of Neurology.
  • A diet rich in olive oil may actually be able to slow down the ageing of the heart.
  • Olive oil supplementation was found to positively affect the thickness of bones. Olive oil will not be the only solution in the continuing fight against postmenopausal osteoporosis, however scientists have concluded that it is a very promising candidate for future treatments of the disease.
  • A study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet. Type II diabetes is the most common and preventable form of diabetes.

If you would rather not drink a glass a day, try it next time on your favourite dish. It would be worth it to try if we could all live a long and healthy life.

Olive Oil Ice Cream



1 3/4 cups whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Lets get Cooking

Bring milk, cream, salt, and ½ cup sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar; remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk ½ cup hot milk mixture into yolks.

Whisk yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture in saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 2–3 minutes.

Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl set in a large bowl of ice water; whisk in oil.

Cover with cling wrap to stop a skin forming.

Let cool, stirring occasionally.

Pour the custard into the chilled loaf pan. Cover with foil and place in the freezer for 6 hours or until it’s almost set. 

Use a metal spoon to roughly break up the ice-cream. 

Transfer the ice-cream to a large bowl.

Use an electric beater to beat for 3 minutes or until smooth and pale. 

This breaks up the ice crystals and gives the ice-cream a smooth texture. Return to the loaf pan. 

Cover with foil and freeze for 4 hours or until firm.

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

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.

Subscribe to our blog to continue the Greek Food Discovery with us as we taste test the amazing samples of food throughout the Peloponnese Region.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Greek Food Discovery ....

Rob and I have just returned from three months of Greek food indulgence. Never have we enjoyed a country's culinary experience so much; a cuisine that has been enticing foreigners and natives alike for many years. 

Greece is blessed with copious amounts of fresh natural products that promote wellbeing, maintain good health and lends heaps of flavour to countless dishes. The aforementioned, olive oil and wheat, as well as fruits, vegetables, honey, and fish are the pillars of the Greek cuisine. 

The emphasis is on fresh food ingredients such as this haul of octopus.
Todays catch and the tastiest, freshest salad. Served at Margaret's Taverna Plaka.

The ancient Greek diet and cuisine, forerunner of the Roman food culture, have given rise to much of European cuisine today. Moreover, for the Greeks, from ancient times right up to the present. Certain foods are a means of satisfaction or a source of pleasure and some are laden with symbolism or used for medicinal purposes. Further, often the name of the dish incorporates the ancient method of preparation and/or the original cooking vessel.

Although Greece has diverse geography and climate, many cooking methods are universal across different regions. Greek cooking methods are usually fairly simple and straightforward. Many recipes and methods have been handed down through hundreds of generations. Though Greek cuisine has evolved immensely over the history of the country itself, there are still many traditional dishes in usage today. It's highly likely that Homer’s heroes would feel at home at a Greek Easter, they would recognise the traditional dishes using lemons, potatoes or tomatoes, and much more. 

Preparing a feast of stuffed peppers at Michalis' Taverna in Ermioni

Greeks approach food with a combination of seriousness and nostalgia. They don’t eat to live but rather live to eat, and a meal is always a social occasion which invites the original meaning of friendship.

Tavernas are the place to really experience a Greek meal. Just remember that eating in Greece is never rushed, there is no belief in eating and running' or that you have had 'enough' to eat. In Greece, a lunch or dinner can last for hours. They take their time, engage in discussions, and spend time with family. Lunch or dinner can last for hours, and the more food and people gathered at the table the better. 

Who couldn't be inspired by this Taverna's setting in beautiful Ermionni.

Michalis Taverna in Ermionni was one of our homes away from home.
Many great meals were eaten and friendships formed over long Greek Feasts.

The meal can take form in many different courses normally cold dishes first followed by fish prior to meat all dishes shared between guests, or as a Meze. Meze has its roots in antiquity, the word and usage came to Greece from Turkey. A meze is not a meal course like an appetiser but rather multiple small dishes shared. They can be hot or cold, spicy or savoury, often salty, that is served, as a separate eating experience. Your order may well not come out in the sequence in which you ordered, this is the Greek way ...

Salads, Entrees and Vegetables will come out in any given order.

The one thing that I was so impressed with was the freshness of the produce. There is a simplicity to Greek food that no other culture can replicate. Simple, good, fresh ingredients combined with Greece's liquid gold (Olive Oil) that makes unbelievable food. The emphasis on authentic raw ingredients, unadulterated and grown locally ..... simple dishes, cooked slowly and without fussy sauces, seasoned with herbs and olive oil rather than exotic spices, with love and imagination...... 

Fresh, flavour filled produce is the key to creating mouth watering dishes

Michalis preparing two of the dishes he serves in his Greek Feast.
The Pork Parcel at left is a favourite.

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How good are Chickpeas onboard?

Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans are loved around the globe, with a permanent spot in practically everyone’s pantry, not only vegetarians. They are featured prominently in Italian, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern, Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. Yet chickpeas somehow still get relegated to the side dish territory, unceremoniously puréed into yet another bowl of hummus. 

Fresh Chickpeas being Harvested. Normally 2 seeds per Pod.
Though the most common type of chickpea appears round and beige, other varieties include colours such as black, green, and red. Like other legumes such as beans, peas and lentils, chickpeas are prized for their high protein and fiber content. This is great for us when fresh protein on the boat is low. 

On Our Dreamtime we tend to bulk up our meals with chickpeas, whether it be in a slow cooked stew or roasted there is always place for chickpeas. Having the convenience of them available in canned and dried forms allows us to store them onboard for long periods of time. 

Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas, which are often cooked and ground into a paste and mixed with tahini (sesame seed paste), this is the most commonly known use for chickpeas in Australia and it is used as a dip. But chickpeas are so much more. We have been amazed at the way the humble Chickpea is used all over the world. Such diverse cuisines using one simple ingredient to make amazing different taste sensations. 

How are Chickpeas used around the globe.
  • Mature dried chickpeas can be ground into flour, ground and shaped into balls and fried as falafel. This is commonly used in Syria and Lebanon.
  • Chickpea flour is known as gram flour or besan in South Asia and used frequently in Asian cooking.
  • In Portugal, they are one of the main ingredients in rancho, eaten with pasta and meat, including Portuguese sausages, or with rice. 
  • In Spain, they are used cold in tapas and salads, as well as in cocido madrileño. 
  • In Italy, chickpeas are eaten with pasta or in soup. In southern Italy, chickpea flour is made into a batter for panella, a sort of crepe.
  • In Egypt, chickpeas are used as a topping for kushari.
  • In the Philippines, chickpeas preserved in syrup are eaten as sweets and in desserts such as halo-halo. 
  • And just for fun some varieties of chickpeas can be popped and eaten like popcorn.
  • The chickpea-derived liquid can be used as an egg white replacement to make meringue.

How to cook them.

Fresh picked Chickpeas are usually rapidly boiled for 10 minutes and then simmered for a longer periods until soft. Dried chickpeas need a long cooking time (1–2 hours) but will easily fall apart when cooked longer. If soaked for 12–24 hours before use, cooking time can be shortened by around 30 minutes. Chickpeas can also be cooked in the pressure cooker, sous vide or slow cooked in a ShuttleChef.  Canned Chickpeas are the easiest to prepare used straight from the tin, rinsed you can roast, steam, add them to a salad or any dish.

Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content protein, dietary fibre, folate, iron and phosphorus, thiamin, vitamin B6, and zink. They have been associated with a number of possible health benefits for medical conditions. Diabetes, Bone Health, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Inflammation, Cancer and Heart Health.

Rustic Chickpea Salad recipe in Our Galley's Salad Ebook Recipe Ebooks

Bored to death by the idea of tossing that can of chickpeas into your salad for the umpteenth time? It's time to up the game. If you've got a can of chickpeas, you've got the makings for a fast, plant-based meal that satisfies. Check out some of the ways we use chickpeas on Our Galley Vegetarian page ... Vegetarian Recipes

Chickpea Truffles
Checkout this great page for inspiration 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Old Fashioned Family Recipes ... 

Perfect Hair, Perfect Starched Apron ... not in my Galley

What are your favourite childhood memories from the kitchen. Mine funnily enough is sitting on a high stool in my grandparents kitchen drinking sweet tea out of a proper chinaware tea cup called "my lady cup" and devouring what ever sweet treat was fresh out of the oven. 

Both my Grandmothers were good cooks. But let's face it they had to be. There was no ducking out to the Cheese Cake Shop to pick up a New York Baked Cheese Cake. Good home cooking was part of everyday life. It's so good to see the kitchen becoming the hub of the family once again. Both of my daughters love to cook and my daughter in law makes a wicked Frangipani Pie. Exploding with flavour, layers of pineapple, coconut cream and meringue, one mouthful and you are in heaven.  

So recently my mum and I have been going through some old family "stuff" and in it we have found some recipes from generations back. I loved the fact that most are hand written, typed or collected from newspapers into a variety of notebooks, address books and scrapbooks. 

Many of these old fashioned recipes have been in our family 60 to 70 years or more. The old fashioned Apple Bake recipe came from my grandmother, who got it from someone who served it at a school picnic in the early 1950's. I have decided to make these "Ol' Favourites" and share them, hoping to pass on some of the passion these fabulous home cooks had. 

Some of these were created by the cook and some are clippings from newspapers. All have delightful stories behind them. Most of them are on scraps of paper handwritten, I can see my Grandmother asking "Oh Joy you must give me that Meatloaf recipe, here I have pen and paper". The original is in my Nanna's recipe book as a newspaper clipping, a copy is written in my mothers and the corresponding is a scrap of paper in my Grandma's very distinctive writing. 

I selected those featured for their taste and time tested quality of the old fashioned recipes. I've tried to choose from different decades 40' 50' 60' and 70's. First because they are delicious and, secondly, they stir treasured memories. 

Most of us will agree many of our fondest memories involve our loved ones gathering, cooking, eating and enjoying food. Old recipes involved a lot of creativity back in the day, using simple ingredients as many things common today weren't available then. Many foods hadn't been introduced to Australia yet. European immigration was just starting to happen and our cultural menu was still largely based on English recipes. My mum jokes the only curry she ever knew was Keens Curry Powder.
You will discover that many of these will take you back in time, to fond memories.
Who can't remember Grandma, with an apron tied around her waist, beads of sweat on her face from the hot stove, and skirting around the kitchen tasting and testing this and that to ensure her family had a perfect meal? 

Where were those Thermomixs, food processors, rice cookers, microwaves? The old fashioned whisk, beaters and saucepans did a fine job. Or was it the great cooks using them that made it work.

Then there were the desserts. Oh my! Delectable puddings and cobblers, luscious frosted cakes, and always rainbow coloured jellies setting in the fridge.

It's small wonder back in those days so many kitchens were called "The Family Room".

A couple of my favourites I have found so far.

1950 .... Apple Bake  - this hand written recipe is in my late grandmothers hand writing. Just the simple fact that she had taken the time to write (very nicely) had me running to the galley to make it. Such a simple one dish dessert. Made in no time at all and I can also see it made with any stone fruit that happens to be in season. A modern twist on this is tossing the apples in a mix of Maple Bourbon Balsamic Vinegar and brown sugar.

1960 ..... How about the old fashioned Cheese Ball Recipe. Bursting with flavour but with such simple ingredient, this recipe has long been an entertainer's must have. I can remember it being served just as described "on a bed of lettuce leaves surrounded by jatz". We now have all sorts of cheese balls but this one takes me back to the Tupperware party days.

1940 .... Sybil's ANZAC slice I'm sure was enjoyed at the Holland Park Bowling Club ladies days. I remember my grandmother always taking a plate to add to the combined table for morning teas. This is a great recipe that we can add a few modern twists to. How about some lemon myrtle or a sweet Dukkah combined or sprinkled over the top. 

1950 .... When I saw this next recipe I knew it would be especially popular in our family. My aunts Ginger Fudge.... I love the added "Nice with Coffee"

1970 .... My Mum's famous "Rice Meatloaf with Apricot Topping" sounds kind of interesting. Love the line "to give the loaf a surprise". I actually found this recipe as the newspaper version pasted in my Nanna's recipe book, hand written into my mum's and then the hand written version below in my Grandma's collection. As meat was an expensive ingredient then, padding out the recipe with rice insured more mouths were feed. It is a very tasty meal and many variations could be made. Just make sure you put in "The Surprise".

Whether the recipe needs it or not, all of these recipes can be made with a modern twist. I'd love to hear about your favourite old family recipes. But all of this has me thinking of how in a few generations time our grandchildren will be reading our recipes. Will they be lost in cyber space forever.

My Favourite Recipe of all Time!