Monday, August 29, 2011

Fanouropita - the Pious Pie

seven pieces from different cakes offered at the church

Saint Fanourios whose name day is on August 27th, is the patron saint of things lost. His name is invoked when prayers are asked for the recovery of lost items. Fanouropita is a cake traditionally made to honor him  on his name day. The cake is brought to the church the previous evening on the 26th, is blessed by the priest, cut in small pieces and shared with the rest of the church congregation (it is said that you have to give away seven pieces). 

mine made with gluten-free flour, not as fluffy as usual

Fanouropita is made with no butter and no eggs. The tradition also mandated that has to be made with either seven or nine ingredients. The other, non-religious tradition says that if you need answers to vital personal questions or you need to find the lost item, you place a small piece under your pillow the night of the 26th, and when you wake up, everything has been revealed to you.


 For an average baking pan, the following ingredients are good for about 16 pieces

Ingredients - 9
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of oil (sunflower preferably)
12 tablespoons of orange juice
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (if you want to replace it with gluten-free flour you can do but the cake won’t be as “fluffy”)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of seedless golden raisins
icing sugar

Oil and flour the baking pan.

Put in a bowl the oil, the orange juice and the sugar and mix them in a blender/mixer until smooth.

In a second bowl blend the flour with the baking powder until the flower has no lumps. Add the cinnamon, the walnuts and the raisins.

Add gradually the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and fold it in.

Pour the entire mixture in the baking pan.

Bake for 50 minutes in 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celcius) 

When ready, sprinkle icing sugar on top.

Friday, August 19, 2011

PRET's summer menu

You still have a few more weeks to try PRET's light summer menu. I tried the Mandarin 5 Spice Roast Beef Cold Wrap which I found refreshing, spicy and perfect for a summer day - the cilantro with the red onion made the difference. The Royal Chef Salad, is another light menu addition but it is very similar to PRET's salad range. The Lentil & Couscous salad pot was light and had a strong lemon flavor which I like but it may not be for everybody. I skipped the new baguettes - Caprese and Chicken & Smoked Mozzarella but I tasted the new California Club sandwich, made with fresh ingredients. You will also find the Skinny Gazpacho if you are into cold soups. Expect to pay the same spicy PRET prices, from $2.69 to nearly $8 for salads.

If you are around, give PRET's summer menu a try before it's over. It may be pricy but it is light and feels like summer!

Hopefully, the iced coffee may stay for ever. It's strong, icy and gives me a kick.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A day at Cooking Odyssey's Kitchen

Having Sunday lunch is often a long, enjoyable process. It is almost a ritual that involves peeling, cutting, marinating, baking, grilling, sipping wine and sampling freshly cooked food. But cooking with Cooking Odyssey's producer George Stamou and his interior designer wife Effie Karambelas is a completely different experience. To be honest, I didn't do much of the cooking. My task was to watch and to take pictures while making comments about the space, the food appearance and the entire environment, a task that could be seen as "easy". But the experience was unique, pleasant and comfortable.

The kitchen, used for the Cooking Odyssey's inside shooting, is entirely green by using eco-friendly kitchen fixtures, surfaces and appliance companies. The most impressive is the Induction Cooktop (by Capuano Appliances) that cooks food in less time – which is not only energy efficient but also gets us eating faster. The durable surfaces made of 75 percent recycled content composed of recycled material (Eco by Cosentino),  the modern sinks and faucets (Kohler) and the SubZero Refrigerator give a clean, sleek and ergonomic look to this beautiful kitchen which is  ideal for moving around, doing prep work, talking to guests and also shoot a show!

Lentil Salad
The Real Greek salad

Fava Salad

The food was generous in number of dishes and portions. George barbecued the ribs, marinated chicken wings and steaks. Effie prepared the healthy and tasty lentil salad (based on Cooking Odyssey's recipe), the colorful and "real" Greek salad, a smooth fava salad, grilled eggplants with feta cheese and a cool and sweet beets salad. The Californian Viognier was the perfect match to this long-lasting, not wanting to end lunch and Effie's halva was the best dessert for the day, light and nicely shaped.

Eggplant with feta cheese

Chicken Wings
Ribs and Steaks!

George and Effie in the Eco Friendly kitchen
I am looking forward to more lunches with George and Effie, next time, I promise,  I will get my hands in the kitchen as well!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Think Fabricate event in DUMBO

A Dumbo-based multidisciplinary design studio that creates solutions for better living and learning, celebrated today its new inspiring furnishings with watermelon cocktails! With awesome views of Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan, this lovely August evening, New Yorkers from all boroughs  had the chance to view the new lines, talk to the designers Susan Doban and Jason Gorsline and sip fresh watermelon and rum cocktails as well as Sangria!

All of the company’s collections are designed and manufactured in Brooklyn, using sustainable materials, natural wood, applied color and historical motifs juxtaposed with modern forms.

Monday, August 08, 2011

InStyle Insider Event

RSVP to for this Saks Fifth Avenue event together with InStyle on August 17th from 6pm.

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Tipsy Girl Cocktail Event

On August 9th, The Tipsy Girl Cocktail Event will take place from 7pm. RSVP here: Expect to get complimentary vodka and cacha├ža tastings, hors d' oeuvres and unique summer cocktails at only $12. At 281 Church street.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Summer looks for the kitchen

We are in the middle of the summer so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the beach party, the outdoors and that adventurous picnic. But even if you just want to cook in your kitchen for a nice long-lasting dinner in the garden, put some color in your kitchen or at the table. Here are some cool, summer, playful items you can still purchase and use:

1. Multicolor place mats from IKEA. They are fun and they only cost $2.99 for a four-pack.

2. Do you like Watermelons? This playful, 11" carbon Japanese stainless steel blade of this Kuhn Rikon Colori Melon Knife will have you finally slicing melons with ease.  An ergonomic handle allows you to slice in comfort. The included matching safety shield will keep your blade sharp as well as protect the use. Buy online for $18.

3. If cocktails is your calling, try this 3-in-1 Cocktail station. This set provides everything you need to rim and decorate your cocktail glass. It's great for finishing off your margaritas or other frozen concoctions at home.

4. It's summer and you will need ice. Those colorful, funky ice cube trays from IKEA will only cost you $1.99 and make the freezer look nicer.

 5. Make fun and creative ice pops with volcano molds that allow you to fill the center of the pop with your favorite fillings. Simply use any juice to create your popsicle and then fill the hollow center with the filling of your choice.  Molds come in four funky colors, are BPA free and dishwasher safe. 
6. But in order to cook, you will need an apron! Dress yourself in this Sugar Baby, leopard, nostalgic-look apron and your guests will pay attention. Even more, they will ask you where you bought it from because you look so sexy!