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dpappas87

Active member
I am getting ready to make melamakarona (doing a test run before Christmas) and it's been a while ... I have some questions!

** I see some recipes that use all-purpose flour, and some that use semolina. Which is better? Does it matteR?

** A lot of recipes use a combo of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Can I just use cinnamon or do I really need the other spices?

** Some recipes include honey in the syrup and some only include sugar and water. What's your favorite way to make the syrup?

Thanks!
 

Luana

Member
Semolina is essential in melamakarona. It's usually about 1/3 semolina, and the rest is regular flour. Lots of recipes online if you don't have one. Semolina adds that kind of grainy texture that make these unique.

I think you're fine with cinnamon and a small amount of nutmeg.

I was taught to make syrup with sugar and water only. No honey! Ever! This from the aunt who made the best baklava ever. She said, honey is too sweet. I make syrup with 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a slow-ish boil. It's done when syrup falls slowly off wooden spoon.

Hope this helps.
 

Luana

Member
I am getting ready to make melamakarona (doing a test run before Christmas) and it's been a while ... I have some questions!

** I see some recipes that use all-purpose flour, and some that use semolina. Which is better? Does it matteR?

** A lot of recipes use a combo of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Can I just use cinnamon or do I really need the other spices?

** Some recipes include honey in the syrup and some only include sugar and water. What's your favorite way to make the syrup?

Thanks!
 

lalajess

Member
Semolina is essential in melamakarona. It's usually about 1/3 semolina, and the rest is regular flour. Lots of recipes online if you don't have one. Semolina adds that kind of grainy texture that make these unique.

I think you're fine with cinnamon and a small amount of nutmeg.

I was taught to make syrup with sugar and water only. No honey! Ever! This from the aunt who made the best baklava ever. She said, honey is too sweet. I make syrup with 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a slow-ish boil. It's done when syrup falls slowly off wooden spoon.

Hope this helps.
I didn't know that about Semolina and malamakarona! I usually do use semolina, but the one time I didn't, something felt off. I didn't make the connection that it was the flour.
 

PemiKanavos

Administrator
Staff member
There are many variations of the melomakarona recipe. Some do use semolina while others don’t. Some use only olive oil while other use have olive half vegetable oil, or honey in the syrup while others use just sugar. It’s I guess a personal preference and what your taste buds have been accustomed to all the years of eating melomakarona.
Semolina is use in some recipes not only to add a bit of texture, but it actually acts as a soaking agent. It helps to soak up more syrup.
Some people don’t like the axed texture and prefer plain flour instead. But either version is still delicious.
The secret to melomakarona is not to o er mix the dough and NOT to over bake the cookie.
 

What is Mahlepi Spice Exactly?

I have some Greek recipes that call for Mahlepi (in Greek) - also known as Maheleb and other names, depending on the language. I have recently found a source near me - a place where I can buy it - so I can try some of the recipes.

I also did some research about what it is! Thought I'd share:

This unique spice has its roots in the fragrant cherry plums of the Prunus mahaleb tree in the Middle East. The seeds inside these little fruits are ground to make the mahleb spice that we've come to love.

Mahleb hits you with a sweet, floral scent, and a flavor that's a mix of bitter almond and cherry, with just a touch of spice. It's a star player in Greek baked goods like tsoureki, a sweet bread that's a staple during Easter but is also used in many other pastries and breads.

Different Greek olive oil for cooking?

When buying Greek olive oil, do you buy different ones for different purposes?

I've been researching the best Greek olive oils. Now, I'm curious if any of you out there go to the lengths of selecting specific Greek olive oils for, say, salads, cooking, or even dipping with bread?

In my findings, extra virgin olive oil seems to be the go-to for dressings and cold dishes, while virgin olive oil can handle a bit of heat for light sautéing. And then there's the refined olive oil that's suggested for frying due to its higher smoke point. But, I've also heard a few people swear by the intense flavor of the unfiltered olive oil.

What's your experience with Greek olive oils, and do you have any personal favorites or secrets to what types work best for different recipes? Can you genuinely taste the difference in quality and type, or am I just overthinking my pantry staples? Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

Getting to know the different Greek spirits

I am learning about Greek spirits as my next quest to understanding Greek culture and cuisine. Of course, I know about ouzo. I went out to eat the other day and they brought over a different spirit I hadn't tried "on the house" - they called it masticha. Here are the spirits I now know about:

- Ouzo - Tastes like anise - I like it!
- Masticha - Made from mastic resin. I also loved it - it was sweet and delicate - tasted a little like evergreen but not too overpowering.
- Metaxa - Greek brandy, I've had it before but not my cup of tea. Not a huge fan of brandy
- Raki - I have Cretan friends so... I drink this with them. It's strong but pleasant, and it seems to go well

What did I miss? I am sure I missed something!

Traditions associated with Greek coffee?

When I visit people in Greece, it usually involves Greek coffee, a cold glass of water, and whatever sweets there are around - like Loukoumi, spoon sweets, fruit.. it seems like it's all about hospitality and spending time together, while sharing the bounty of what you have.

One time, a yiayia actually did a "reading" using coffee grounds. I didn't understand all the Greek, but the reading was fun and lighthearted and I wondered how she decided what to say.

Do you guys have similar experiences? The social aspect has been a big part of it for me.

Greek Cabbage Salad Recipe

I have been making a lot of Greek cabbage salad. I thought I'd share my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, grated carrot, sliced cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and parsley. Toss gently to mix.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat all the ingredients evenly.
  4. Let the salad sit for at least 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Serve in a large salad bowl or on individual plates and enjoy this refreshing and zesty Greek cabbage salad.
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