Maritozzi cream buns

A squisite brioche type buns coming from Medieval period of Roman cuisine. It was made by the Roman women for their husbands (marito).

But as for the tradition, during the first Friday of March, young men were gifted a maritozzo to their fiances which they could insert a ring inside the bun!

  • 500 gr flour
  • 85 gr sugar
  • 85 gr extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 30 gr raisins (soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes)
  • 12 gr fresh brewer’s yeast
  • 30 gr candied oranges or cut small pieces of orange jam
  • 30 gr pine nuts

For brushing the buns

  • 2 egg whites (before baking)
  • 2 T honey, 100 gr sugar in 3 T water

For the filling

500 ml fresh panna combined with 40gr icing sugar

Put fresh brewer’s yeast in 250ml luke warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. When the yeast is totally dissolved, add flour, oil, 85gr sugar, egg yolks and lemon zest. Mix until the dough is formed. Add raisins, candied oranges and pine nuts. Knead the dough until smooth, soft and elastic. Cover and let rise for 3 hours.

Divide the dough in 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball shape. Place the balls in a parchment paper lined baking tray and let them rise about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Whisk egg whites and brush each bun.

Bake the buns about 18 minutes until golden.

While the maritozzi buns bake, make the syrup. In a small pot combine sugar, honey with water over medium heat. Stir frequently cook the syrup for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.

After the buns are removed from the oven, brush the buns with the syrup and let them cool.

Cut the buns across the top but not all the way and fill with panna montata cream.

Dust with icing sugar.

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Green Vegetable hortopita Quiche

for the filling:

  • 1/2 kg leeks
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • a bunch of nettles
  • a bunch of dill and parsley
  • a bunch of kale
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • red pepper flakes
  • 100 gr feta cheese (grated)
  • 80 gr gruyere cheese-Kefalograviera (grated)

Dice the leeks.First cut lengthwise, then cut small slices like rings.

Put the diced leeks in a pan with olive oil and cook for 5 minutes. Then add  milk, stir and simmer. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Before removing from heat add 2 eggs and stir well. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while stem and wash the green vegetables. When it comes to boil, add one by one the greens for about 5-6 minutes to boil them seperately.

Mix the green vegetables with leek by adding grated feta cheese, 40gr gruyere, chopped dill and parsley. Finally add the remaining egg and mix well.

for the dough:

  • 200 gr flour
  • 125 ml wine vinegar
  • 20 ml. extra virgine olive oil

Sift the flour, make a well in the center and add vinegar. Blend together with fingertips adding olive oil to form a dough.

Chill for 30 minutes before rolling out on a floured surface.

Roll out the pastry about 28cmx22cm and put it on a parchment oven paper. Place the green filling. Prepare 4cm wide dough to frame it.

Roll out the pastry to make 1 cm wide ribbons and knit them. Make small balls to decorate as grape figures.

Before baking, sprinkle grated gruyere cheese on top. Glaze the pastry edges with beaten egg.

Bake in a pre heated oven at 190 C until golden brown.

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Oven baked Mirabelle plum jam

Among the most delicate plum variety is the yellow gold colour with sweet rich flavoured and scented Mirabelle plums. Bereketia (Μπερεκέτια) is the Greek name of it.

They are harvested mid August when they are fully matured.

In sping the tree has beautiful white flower bushes. The tree needs a lot of sun for full aroma of the fruit. Their pulp is firm and have a yellow to brown colour.

It has a particularly aromatic sweet flavour. They are eaten as raw fruit as well as these plums support cooking well.

The fruit is characterized by high potassium content which is also digestive. It contains vitamin C. The fruit enhances the immune system.

Mirabelle plum tree is one of the most popular fruit of our garden.

With this year’s harvest, I made oven baked method jam which is thicker than the traditional ones that are cooked on stove.

  • 1 kg Mirabelle plums
  • 800 gr sugar
  • 1 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 t. Kirsch liqueur (optional)

Get rid of their stalks. Then, they must be halved and pitted. It is very easy for this fruit to pit. Finally quickly wash them.

Put it in a saucepan, add sugar and cook over medium heat by stirring time to time. Add Kirsch and stir well.

Remove any foam by the help of a spoon.

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After the plums cooked and begin to thicken, pour the lemon juice and transfer the hot fruit mix to an oven tray and place it to pre-heated oven for 100 °C about 2.5 hours.

Don’t stir during the oven. The colour changes yellow to orange.

After cooling a bit, put into jars and seal with lids.

This jam can be kept for months.

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Pickled okra

Okra is one of the popular superfood around the world. But the most unusual feature is that, it has gummy and gelatinous substance when cooked after the pod is released. A lot of people dislike to cook okra, due to its sticky texture. This thick gel called mucilage, which helps to lower the cholestrol level. It also helps to remove toxins from the body. Okra also contains lectin which is a type of protein that inhibits the growth of human cancer cells.

The Nortern Aegean region of Gömeç county is famous with its okra, as it is sown in Gömeç Plain. There you can find two types of okra, red and green. The red one called kınalı (hennaed) when cooked, turns green. The reputation of the quality of the okra sown in Gömeç Plain, certainly deserves a geographical indication.

Summer is the best time to experience the wonders of okra, when fresh okra is available.

I enjoyed this delicious superfood by preparing pickles.

  • 1 kg okra
  • 1,5 lt water
  • 1 or 2 T. rock sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cup high quality natural grape vinegar
  • 5 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 8-10 chickpeas
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 6 whole peppercorns

Wash the okra.

Put clean water to a pan and bring to boil then leave to cool (water distillation).

When it is completely cool, mix sea salt and grape vinegar to the water.

Sterilize a big glass jar (or jars) by running it (them) through the dishwasher.

First, place 3-4 chickpeas in the bottom of the jar. The pickles will develop easily by the help of chickpeas.

Layer the okra with peeled garlic and the rest of the chickpeas one by one in order. Fit all the ingredients into the jar. Pour the prepared distilled liquid over.

Cover with celery stalk.

Seal and set aside in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, to allow flavours and develop.

If you put 1T. sea salt , it is recommended to store the jar in refrigerator, after opening.

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Seven-spice cookie ~ Kömbe

The cookie dough is made from a beautiful mixture of fresh ground spices that include mahlebi, mastic, cinnamon, ground cardamom, ginger, clove, ground nutmeg and anice seeds with crushed walnut filling. During Ramadan, these seven-spicy cookies are a tradition of Hatay and Southeast region of Turkey. Almost in every household, large amounts of kömbe cookies are formed with its special wooden moulds then baked or else can be purchased ready from a wood-fired bakery.

These are a classical ritual cookies of Sugar Feast (Şeker Bayramı) as well as perfect for every occasion of Hatay region. During Sugar Feast bayram, people visit each other and the wonderful smell of these cruncy cookies are served to the guests.

  • 150 gr. butter (melted)
  • 100 ml. extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 ml. milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. vanilla powder
  • 570 gr. flour
  • 1 t. seven spice mixture

for the filling:

  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
  • 3 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. seven spice mixture
  • 3 T. sesame seeds to cover (optional)

for seven spice mixture:

  • 6 mahlebi seeds (pastle and mortar with a grinder)
  • 1/2 t. ground mastic tears (grind with a mortar and pestle the mastic tears)
  • 1 t. cinnmon powder
  • 1 t. clove powder
  • 4 cardomom seeds (give the pods a good whack with the side of a knife and take the seeds to grind)
  • 1/2 t. ginger powder
  • ground nutmeg ( grate 1/2 t. nutmeg)
  • 1/2 t. aniseed ( crush the aniseed in a mortar and pestle)

The combination should be around 2 teaspoons. Use one teaspoon for the dough and the other one teaspoon for the filling.

Melt the butter. When it is lukewarm, put to it to a bowl. Add olive oil, milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the seven spice mixture and stir well. Slowly add flour. Knead the mixture well until the dough will be smooth and soft.

Make the dough walnut sized balls. Fill with walnut mixture to the round shaped dough and close it with hands.

Then press down one side of the filled dough, to the oiled wooden mould to take its shape. Optionally dip them to sesame seeds. (This time, I forgot to dip to sesame seeds.)

Place on a parchament baking sheet covered tray.

Bake them on preheated 160°C oven until the cookies are golden colour.

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