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Mouthwatering and authentic Greek and Ionian Island dishes

RECIPES FROM THE IONIAN ISLANDS

Greek and Ionian Island cuisine is based on fresh local ingredients prepared in traditional ways, following recipes and techniques that have been passed down over generations. Ordering (or cooking!) a meze (lots of little dishes) will give you a chance to try a variety of mouthwatering specialities at one sitting, though you may be equally tempted by our seafood recipes, including octopus, swordfish and that old favourite, calamari. Then again, Greek meat dishes are also to die for... why not try them all!

Here are some for you to sample.

Starters and meze dishes
Main courses
Desserts


 

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Starters and meze dishes


Tzatziki

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
250ml Greek yoghurt
2 cloves garlic (or 1 if you want to keep it a bit tamer!)
Half a cucumber
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/2 tsp vinegar
A little parsley
A couple of soft black olives

Procedure
Put the yoghurt in a bowl. Crush the garlic cloves and add to the yoghurt. Grate the cucumber (don’t peel) and squeeze the liquid out before adding to the yoghurt. Add some olive oil, a little vinegar and pepper to taste and mix all ingredients well. Sprinkle some fresh parsley and top with a couple of olives. Serve with pitta or crusty bread to dip.

Recipe courtesy of our friends at the Kollokas Taverna, Katouna

Grilled feta

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
200gr hard feta, sliced
A couple of slices of tomato
A couple of slices of green pepper
Olive oil
Black pepper

Procedure
Place the slices of feta on one layer on some aluminium foil, making sure the sides of the foil are big enough to cover the feta. Layer the tomato and pepper slices on top and pour over some olive oil. Finish off with some black pepper and fold the aluminium foil over the top, closing the package. Place in a hot oven (180°C), or under the grill, for about 5 minutes until cheese is soft. Serve with crusty bread.

Recipe courtesy of our friends at the Kollokas Taverna, Katouna


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Main courses


Stuffed tomatoes, peppers and aubergines

Procedure
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cut the top off the tomatoes and the peppers (keep the tops) and halve the aubergines lengthways. Clean out the peppers, scoop out the inside of the tomatoes and the aubergines and chop the pulp of these last two finely. Add this mixture to the rice, chopped onion, garlic, parsley and mint. Season with pepper and salt and some olive oil.

Put the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines side by side in a lightly oiled ovenproof dish. Fill them with the mixture and put the tops back on the tomatoes and peppers. Peel and quarter the potatoes and place around the vegetables. Mix the tomato purée with the water and pour in the dish. Place in a medium oven for about 1½ hours.

Recipe courtesy of our friends at  the Seven Islands Taverna, Lygia


Moussaka

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 aubergines
400gr potatoes
500gr beef mince
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
Some fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp ground cloves
250gr tinned tomatoes
Handful of breadcrumbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the white sauce:
500ml milk
60gr butter
60gr flour
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp grated nutmeg
Pecorino, grated

Procedure
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cut the aubergines and potatoes lengthways into slices and fry with some olive oil. In a separate pan, brown the mince with the onion, garlic, parsley and cloves and then add the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the white sauce, bring the milk to just below boiling point. Melt the butter in another saucepan then stir the flour into the butter and gradually whisk in the hot milk. Cook until you have a thick sauce. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before beating in the eggs and nutmeg. Add salt to taste.

Place a layer of breadcrumbs in the bottom of an oven proof dish. Layer with the potatoes and the aubergines (the breadcrumbs help soak up some of the oil of the aubergines). Spoon the mince mixture over it and top with the white sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake for about 45 minutes until well browned.

Recipe courtesy of our friends at  the Seven Islands Taverna, Lygia


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Desserts


Galaktoboureko


(Custard pie)

Ingredients (serves 4)
For the filling:
1.25 litres milk
1 cup semolina
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the syrup:
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
Peel of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick

450gr filo pastry sheets
230gr unsalted butter, melted for brushing

Procedure
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350F) degrees.

Heat the milk with the sugar and the vanilla extract until just boiling. Lower the heat and add the semolina. Stir constantly for 5 minutes until the cream starts to thicken and remove from the heat. Beat the eggs and add little by little to the cream. Add the butter and set aside to cool down.

Brush the bottom and sides of a medium rectangular pan (about 9 x 12). Layer half of the pastry sheets one by one in the bottom of the pan and brush each sheet with melted butter. Add the custard on top of the sheets and layer the rest of the pastry sheets on top of the custard layer, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle a little bit of water on the top. Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes until the filo turns a deep golden colour. 

The syrup:
Boil the water with the sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon stick for approximately 10 minutes.  Remove the peel and cinnamon and set aside.

When the syrup and custard are at room temperature, ladle the syrup carefully over the cool custard and allow time for it to be absorbed.

Recipe courtesy of our friends at the Taverna Greco Levante, Athani


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