On Thursday I was invited to La Cucina Caldesi to attend a cookery class hosted by TV chef and food writer Tonia Buxton and my chums at Total Greek Yoghurt.
I was pretty sure the day was going to be a giggle even before I stepped inside the Italian Cookery School as someone had already mischeviously replaced the word “Italian” with “Greek” on the door.
Once in and name badges on everyone started chatting and quickly sharing twitter handles, blog stories and cookery tips. Tonia came round with some fantastic slices of a traditional Easter Breads. I went for a slab of Flaounes which was full of spices, sesame seeds, cheese and dried fruits. It was delicious but turns out quite difficult to eat whilst making foodie small talk. I did manage to have a good chat to someone about barbeques…I don’t think I spat sesame seeds on to him, but if I did, Jonathan, I apologise :-)
Tonia put us all into small groups. I was with Selina from Taste Mauritius, Lucia from Lulabella’s Kitchen, Janey from Slice of Slim and Bailee from The Model Foodie joined us later. These girls are all hilarious and all fantastic cooks so we finished prepping our main course of Tonia’s Greek Lamb Pattie Tray Bake before everyone else (such swots!).
We were so efficient that there was plenty of time for a Team PILE IN pic!
Tray bakes safely in the oven Tonia gave us all a glass of rosé and got us to play a round of tsougrisma. Basically everyone gets a boiled egg which has been dyed red and you have to go round the room hitting your egg on the egg of each of the other players in an attempt to crack it and they all do the same to you. It’s a bit like conkers because the winner is the person with the most intact egg at the end. Tonia won, but she had some clever technique going on so we weren’t surprised.
Eggs smashed and wine dispatched we started prepping our desserts of Anarocrema which is a layered dessert of crumbled filo pastry, a mixture of Total Greek Yoghurt, flavourings like cinnamon or rosewater and a type of cream cheese called Anari (made from the whey from halloumi) then topped with fruits, nuts and more filo.
Selina had to leave the workshop early but had the forethought to bring tupperware with her…urm..GENIUS!
And finally we made our starter of Sea Bream Fillets with capers, garlic, corriander and olives with a Tahini sauce. I loved this dish, it’s full of flavour and I really liked how we all ate it standing up straight out of the pan. I had a fantastic day with Tonia, Total Greek Yoghurt and all the bloggers. Tonia is an absolute hoot – as well as enthusiastically jumping into the last pile-in photo she gave me a big chunk of the leftover Flaounes to take home for breakfast the next day! Check out her website for all her foodie happenings! All of her recipes from the day are below but head over to Total’s website for more yoghurty ideas!
Hope you all had a fab Easter break xx
Makes around 40
For the Flaouna Mixture:
1 kg flaouna cheese
2 pkts hallomi
400g pkt cheddar cheese
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves
1 bottle of mastiki
12 eggs, plus 1 egg to crack and smear over the top of the mixture
1 pkt semolina (small)
2 ½ glasses (500g) plain flour
½ cup sugar (optional, I don’t put in much sugar as I put so many raisins)
20g dried yeast
5 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 pkts raisins, or to taste
For the dough
1kg plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mehlepi
1 tsp ground mastic
¾ glass (100ml) olive oil
500g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt
3 tsp baking powder
- First make the Flauona mix. Grate the three 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 your hands and flatten out in the bowl. Crack on the last egg, smearing over the top of the 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 the yoghurt.
- Slowly add water to make a dough consistency and knead well for 5-10 minutes.
- Separate into 4 balls, cover and leave to stand for 20 minutes in a warm place.
- Roll out the dough into a square, add a heaped amount of the flaouna mixture, fold into a square around the mixture and press the corners down with a fork
- Place the flaouna on a 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 the flaounes to stand for 10 minutes before placing in the oven.
- Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180°C / Gas Mark 4 for the first 25 minutes or until well risen
- Do not open the oven door at all for the first 25 minutes as this will make the flaouna sink.
- Reduce the oven to 160°C / Gas Mark 2 for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
4 sea bream fillets (or seabass)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
25g pine nuts
12 Greek green olives (takistès if possible)
1 tablespoon of capers
Juice of 1 lemon
½ x 15g pack fresh coriander, chopped
For the Tahini Yoghurt Sauce
1 large tbsp Total Greek Yoghurt
1 heaped tablespoon of wholemeal Tahini paste,
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 large pinch sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Cold water to slacken, if needed
- Lightly season the sea bream fillets.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, then add the fillets skin-side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden brown.
- Turn over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until the flesh is opaque and just cooked through. Remove from the pan and place on warmed serving plates.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the garlic and pine nuts for 1 minute, until they start to lightly brown. Add the olives and capers and sauté for a further minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let it bubble for a minute then sprinkle in the coriander.
- Mix the yoghurt sauce ingredients together.
- Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve immediately.
100g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt
100g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
400g lamb mince
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
4 red onions (2 finely chopped, 2 cut into wedges)
Large handful mint, chopped
4 waxy new potatoes, ie charlottes cut into wedges
4 courgettes, halved & quartered lengthways
250g pack midi tomatoes on the vine
2 unwaxed lemons cut into 6 wedges each
4 tbsp olive oil
100g feta cheese, crumbled
- Heat the oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6.
- Put the breadcrumbs, the lamb mince, egg, plenty of seasoning and cumin in a bowl.
- Add the chopped onion and sprinkle in half the chopped mint. Give everything a good mix and shape into 8 patties.
- Lightly oil a large, shallow roasting tray and add the patties.
- Place the onion wedges on the tray around the lamb patties with the potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake for around 40 minutes, turning & basting everything once halfway, until the lamb is cooked though and the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the feta and remaining mint.
- Serve with a yoghurt and tahini sauce.
5 sheets of filo pastry
Olive oil to brush
1 kg unsalted Anari Cheese (or ricotta cheese)
750g Total Greek Yoghurt
½ glass (125g) caster sugar
1 small Greek coffee cup (50ml) of rosewater
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp honey
½ glass of orange blossom water
1 glass halved walnuts
1 glass chopped pistachio nuts
1 glass of fresh raspberries
- Cut the 5 sheets of filo pastry in half to make 10 sheets. Place each stack side by side on a baking tray brushing between each sheet with some oil. Bake in a preheated oven (150°C / Fan 130°C / Gas Mark 2) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool then crush into flakes.
- Place the Anari cheese in a bowl, breaking down with a fork. Add the Greek yoghurt & your preferred flavouring.
- Cover the bowl and pop in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
- You need a pretty glass bowl to assemble the dessert, or single sundae glasses.
- First, scatter half the filo pastry into the base of the dish, then dollop in some of the cream mixture, layer some nuts & fruit & repeat.
Recipes by Tonia Buxton and additional photos by Satureyes Photography.