Regular readers of this blog will know that I love to bake. So, when I came across the Bake and Taste Greek event organised by the lovely Rose Fern of Ferns at the Balcony, I had to join in.
What really attracted me was the Greek angle. My Dad is a real Greek-ophile. Ever since he went on holiday to Kos several years ago, he has been teaching himself Greek using cassettes and CDs and by listening to Greek radio stations. He and Mum have Greek salad at least once a week and Mum is always trying different recipes - lamb with orzo is the current favourite. How could I resist this challenge?
But which recipe to choose? Rose gave us 6 options from recipes she has posted: 4 sweet and 2 savoury. Usually, you would expect me to go for one of the cake recipes and I was sorely tempted by the Pumpkin cake with the lemon frosting drizzling down the sides - yum, yum! However, in the end the choice was quite easy as galatopita includes semolina and I happened to already have some in the cupboard.
Semolina? Some of you will already be thinking of semolina pudding and school dinners. But fear not! Galatopita tastes nothing like those. The translation is milk pie but it's more like a firm baked custard.
The measurements for the recipe are given in cups. Looking at the photos on Rose's blog, the nearest equivalent to the glass she used seemed to be a sundae glass. When I measured the sugar and semolina on the scales they weighed in at 200g each which seemed about right for the proportions.
At the end of her recipe, Rose gives some ideas for varying the flavour of the galatopita. I wanted to try the traditional version but I also happened to have some coconut milk left from a curry the night before and thought it might be an interesting variation. So, I divided the recipe in half and made two versions.
Version 1: traditional. For this I stuck close to the original recipe but added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the milk. And, on a last minute impulse, I swapped the sprinkling of cinnamon for freshly grated nutmeg. To serve: fresh baby figs and a drizzle of Greek honey.
Version 2: with a twist. For this, I substituted 200ml of the milk with 200ml of coconut milk. Otherwise, the recipe was unchanged. To serve: a simple homemade blueberry compote (250g blueberries, 2tbsp caster sugar, zest of one lemon. Heat gently until the blueberries burst. It's a bit runny here but it does thicken if you leave it overnight).
Both versions were absolutely delicious and you could definitely taste the coconut in the second. Chickpea had a slice of each and came back for more. And my Dad? Well, how could he not like this taste of Greece? In his words: "Mas aresi para poli. Ine nostimotatos!"*
To finish, a totally gratuitous photo of the crystal blue sea at Zakynthos, taken on holiday about 10 years ago.
If you'd like to join in the Bake and Taste Greek event, there's still time as the closing date is 25 April. Or just pop over to Rose's blog and admire the gorgeous part of the world she lives in. Wait until you see the view of the sea that she has every day! x
*For those non-Greek speakers like me, Dad assures me it says "We like it very much. It's delicious!"
Thank you for all your get well messages. To be honest I'm not feeling much better but I don't want to waste my first week off in months and am ploughing on with my plans anyway!