Sour cherry pie… on KICKSTARTER!

There’s a sour-cherry-pie & our very own KICKSTARTER project!!!!

sour cherry pie

It’s been a very long time coming.

The idea to write a cookbook started back in the summer of 2011. Back then, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or how I was going to achieve it. Mel was equally as clueless & baffled as I was. We wanted to cook though. We knew with absolute certainty that some how, we were going to make it happen. So we just started.

It took place in his grandmother’s kitchen, me with my camera in hand, him with a scribbled piece of paper in the messiest handwriting one can imagine. I used to have to chase him after it was all done just to get the recipe & write it down in a format that made sense. He’d always assure me that he would remember, but if I had let even a day go by, the whole thing was lost.

Slowly a collection of images started growing on my computer, & a bunch of notebooks were being filled to capacity. The quality wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but it was a start.

Then came the food stalls at The Meet Market once a month… & popularity started growing. Friends would insist that we should open a restaurant, but we were still set on the idea of a book, & still just as lost at where the starting line actually was.

sour cherry pie

….eventually came the blog. A place we called home & rambled at you time & time again. It was a better way to keep track. A better way to get feedback & reviews. To start building some confidence in what we were creating.

In the spring of 2013, someone suggested we start a campaign on kickstarter. We didn’t have a clue what that meant, & quickly forgot about it as we got consumed in our daily life. Again in the summer, we were reminded of it all & finally started talking about doing it seriously. Well, I started talking about doing it seriously, he wasn’t so sure, in fact, he was rather sceptical of it all. I knew that if I put it together & he could get a visual, he would be on board with it & see my vision.

Then it happened. Life changed forever & in one night, he was gone from this world. It’s strange the path that life takes. It can be unbelievably tragic, & so beautiful at the same time. The memory of it all is still as heartbreaking as it was then… & yet, even at it’s most painful, I can smile knowing that he lived his life exactly the way he wanted to. He was happy in his existence. He didn’t let anyone dictate who he was or how he should be. He went doing something that he loved, & I’m thankful for that small favour.

Life has continued in his absence, much to my shock. I’ve had to learn how to walk & talk & exist in a world where he doesn’t. I’ve had to discover who I am all over again, & learn how to smile once more. & some how, I’ve managed to find joy & beauty in the world. I’ve also discovered determination. This project is part of that discovery. This project encompasses everything that I am, & everything that I was. It shows the life I shared, as well as the new beginning I’ve had to create & discover. It is absolutely filled with love, & the desire to create stronger bonds with the people around us. Thank god for those people.

I think it’s because of the love & support I received from others, that this book is taking on the shape & form that I plan for it. It’s not just about cooking for people, it’s about making an event out of every meal. A meal that will take you time to consume, time spent with close friends & family, hopefully laughing & savouring the dishes made. I suppose for that reason, it won’t just be a collection of recipes categorised into sections, but rather several recipes grouped together to make up a dinner party, brunch, or even a picnic. You won’t have to flip through & try & guess which recipes work together, it will all be laid out. Your starter, salad, main, dessert & even a cocktail will be mapped out from start to finish in a cohesive manner, ready to make. Of course you’re allowed to flip through & pick & chose should you wish, but you won’t have to.

If you want to contribute to our kickstarter project, just click here!

Ingredients, crust:
– 160g GF oat flour
– 200g GF white flour blend
– 160g almond flour
– 2 tsp xanthan gum
– 30g white sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– zest of 1 lemon
——————–
– 250g unsalted butter, melted
– 1 egg yolk, room temp
– 60g buttermilk
– 60g dark rum

Directions, crust: (make one 9″ pie, 3″ deep, or four 5″ pies, 1.5″ deep)
1. combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl & whisk to combine. Create a well in the centre & set the bowl aside.
2. in a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients & beat them together. Pour the wet mix into the well of the dry ingredients, & use a fork to slowly incorporate the two. Once the mixture becomes thick enough, you can continue to work the dough with your hands until it all comes together completely.
3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, flatten each into a disc, tightly wrap with cling film & refrigerate for two hours.

Ingredients, filling:
– 750g sour cherries, pitted
– 200g red apple, purred
– 30g lemon juice
– 200g white sugar
– 30g corn starch
– 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
– 30g unsalted butter, cold & cubed
—————-
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 2-3 tbs of demerara sugar

Directions, filling:
1. pre-heat the oven to 250C
2. combine all the ingredients together & mix well, set aside.
3. butter a 9″ (or four 5″ pie plates) pie plate & set aside.
4. lightly dust your work surface with oat flour, remove one of the discs of cold dough from the fridge, un-wrap & roll it out into a circle a little bigger than your pie plate. Gently lift the dough from the counter, & line your pie plate with it. If the dough tares a little, don’t worry, you can gently manipulate it & press it back together to seal any holes.
5. pour in the pie filling you made. Take the cubed butter & sprinkle it over the top of the filling.
6. remove the second disc of dough from the fridge, once again dust your work surface with flour & roll the dough out to the size of your pie plate.
7. slice the dough into strips about 1 to 2cm wide. One by one, place the strips on top of your pie in a lattice formation.
8. trim the edges of the dough around the pie plate & press the sides down with a fork for a decorative pattern. Brush the crust lightly with the beaten egg, & sprinkle with demerara sugar.
9. (for a 9″ pie) cover your pie with a sheet of aluminium foil & place your pie in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 250C. Reduce the oven temperature to 175C & continue to bake for another hour & a half to two hours, or until the filling starts to bubble up & over the edges.
9. (for 5″ pies)¬†cover your pie with a sheet of aluminium foil & place your pie in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes at 250C. Reduce the oven temperature to 175C & continue to bake for another hour & 10 minutes, or until the filling starts to bubble up & over the edges.
10. once done, remove your pie from the oven & allow to cool completely before cutting.

Tips & tricks:
*** if you line the bottom of your oven with aluminium foil before you start, it will be much easier to clean afterwards. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to scrape off burnt sugar before, but trust me, it’s no picnic.
*** if you don’t allow the pie to cool completely, the sugar won’t set & the pie will run & fall apart instead of coming out in nice clean slices.

coconut chocolate chip pancakes!

light, fluffy, filling, coconut & chocolate chip pancakes. Completely gluten-free, dairy-free & sugar-free

What a day!

I had planned on posting these coconut pancakes up yesterday. I actually made them in the morning so that I could have a nice filling breakfast in preparation for the long day ahead….

Of course, as soon as I was done eating, I got called in to work.

I am beyond happy to report that this week I have been working alongside Eirini to help make the desserts for the wedding that happened last night. That’s right, 200 chocolate mousse & 200 mini strawberry pavlovas.

Yesterday, all our work paid off too. Yesterday, I got to put on some fancy chef whites & work alongside Vangelis (from Chili Catering) doing the mies en plas for the event.

12 long hours on my feet & a non-stop go-go-GO approach & it was FANTASTIC!

I had the time of my life!

So clearly, there was no time to share my filling pancake breakfast. Thank god for that breakfast too since I didn’t have a chance to eat anything else until 01:00 the following morning…. where I stood quietly in the shadows stuffing my face with left over dolmades¬†& sipping on a cocktail from Baba that Vangeli had brought in as a little treat for the staff once we were done. What a night!

So here I am, sleepy on a Sunday morning, planning to melt on the couch the entire day with my feet up, feeling the warm summer island breeze coming through the open doors, the sun light hitting the floor & a little take-out to sedate my hungry stomach…. & now I have to tell you how wonderful my little chocolate chip pancakes were.

Light, fluffy, filling, slightly sweet from the bitter chocolate & honey, completely gluten-free, dairy-free & sugar-free…. but nothing about them makes you feel like you’re lacking or missing out. They are what they are. & what they are, is delicious.

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heavenly cinnamon rolls

gluten-free cinnamon rolls

The last cinnamon roll I can remember having was from a tin. You know, one of those cardboard tubes where you peel off a layer of paper, press along the seem & the whole thing pops open. Icing included.

I do enjoy a nice, warm, gooey, freshly baked cinnamon roll straight out of the oven though. I had kind of written them off all together once the gluten was cut from my diet. Except for the odd occasion where I found myself lovingly looking through the glass display cases at CinnaBon trying to remember the extent of how good they could be.

Still, the only time that would ever happen was when I was on my way to the movies (since the store was conveniently located at the mall, and I never frequent the mall unless it’s for viewing pleasure), & by the time I was at the movies, the only thing on my mind was popcorn & beer. Well, not beer any more.

Back to the case in point. The only reason I’m even thinking about cinnamon rolls now is because my boss at work has asked that I come up with a homemade croissant for the hotel… being as I can’t work with wheat flour, I’m going to have to achieve something that I thought to be impossible…

One thing lead to another in my train of thought & all of a sudden I was making a list of all the bread-like items that I’d written off permanently as a fond memory. There you have it. My list comprises of gluten-free: bagels, cinnamon rolls, croissant, doughnuts, french toast & more.

I’m doing the cinnamon rolls first since now they are stuck in my head. I’ll save the croissants for when the hotel gets the ingredients in.

As for these gluten-free cinnamon rolls, they are heavenly. They have this moist, warm, chewy texture. Traits that I think are excellent since from what I remember, the majority of cinnamon rolls out there always got dry & more like cardboard. They are just delicious!

I’ve popped a few of them in the freezer before they had a chance to rise or bake. I want to see how they defrost & bake up so I know if they can be stored. Will let you know how that works out…

P.s. the photo is on suspension, the weather is like crap & I can’t get the lighting right to reflect the sheer awesome power of them.

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cinnamon & raisin bread

cinnamon & raisin bread - gluten free

Cinnamon & raisin bread will forever remind me of my grandmother, May.

Now there was a woman who gave in to my every food craving… more often than not I craved crap like those fake chocolate croissants that come in plastic, foil packaging. Or cookies. Or fast-food from a Greek chain called Goodies. (my mum didn’t let me eat any junk at all, so my summers with May I really went overboard)

Actually, thinking about it, the woman couldn’t cook worth a damn. And for the most part, she fed me a lot of junk food… or force fed me the gross concoctions she called meals. Man, I really appreciated my great grandmother Nania & my great aunt Lila back then. They lived in the apartment above May & they used to bring me down home cooked food. Soutzoukakia & pastitsio were my favorite.

cinnamon & raisin bread - gluten free

In fact, one summer May sent me home so fat, my mum called her up & threatened that if I ever returned home that porky again, she’d never be allowed to see me unsupervised.

Still, not all my memories of food with her are bad.

Case in point, raisin bread.

On the weekends, May would take me on a long drive through the mountains so that we could go to the amazing beaches in Sounio. Every time we took that journey, we’d stop at the same bakery along the way where she would buy us a loaf of freshly baked raisin bread… and by the time we’d made it to the beach, the whole loaf had been polished off.

I loved & hated going to the beach with May. The woman used to make me wear floaties until I was at least 6, even though I’d clearly been a water baby since the day I was born. I was mortified every time.

It’s funny the things we remember.

She was a peculiar woman, but I loved her very much, and I know she loved me, that much I never doubted.

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