Greek Easter Feast with Tonia Buxton and Total Greek Yoghurt

One of things I enjoy most about being a  food and travel writer that am exposed to many little traditions from various cultures and an opportunity to celebrate various festivals and of course meet wonderful new people .Even better is a chance to cook with someone as passionate as Tonia Buxton who taught us how to make a 3 course greek feast and took us through a journey of how Easter is celebrated back in Greece, relating in a very animated manner the the rituals,prayer and festivity surrounding the occasion.Total Yogurt the makers of the deliciously thick and creamy yogurt put together  this cooking fest at a Cookery School called La Cucina Caldesi located in the heart of Central London.

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Tonia Buxton a Greek Cypriot is the Total Greek Yogurt Brand Ambassador and a presenter of the award winning T.V series on Discovery Channel called ‘My Greek Kitchen’ and has also authored a book titled  ‘Tonia’s Greek Kitchen’. Soon  to star in a new T.V series called  ‘Pauls Family Feast’ a TV show by well ,Paul Hollywood 🙂

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After a quick ice breaker session we got in groups and started preparing the main dish of the meal – Greek Lamb Pattie Tray Bake. I love cooking lamb and am delighted with the similarities in Greek and Indian cuisines. We took love our spices and cumin does add a very deep flavour to lamb. If I was to make it at home though I would tweak it and amp up the spices  especially the cumin and just because I love heat crushed or paper thin slices of green chillies with seeds ummm!

Here is the recipe:

Greek Lamb Pattie Tray Bake

Serves: 4

Ingredients

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, i.e. Charlottes cut into wedges
4 courgettes, halved & quartered lengthways
250g pack juicy cherry tomatoes on the vine
2 unwaxed lemons cut into 6 wedges each
4 tbsp olive oil
100g feta cheese, crumbled

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Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6.
  2. Put the breadcrumbs, the lamb mince, egg, plenty of seasoning and cumin in a bowl.
  3. Add the chopped onion and sprinkle in half the chopped mint. Give everything a good mix and shape into 8 patties.
  4. Lightly oil a large, shallow roasting tray and add the patties.
  5. 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 through and the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the feta and remaining mint.(We used up most of the mint and our minty lamb patties were very juicy and yum)
  6. Serve with a large dollop of Total Greek yoghurt and tahini sauce.

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While our lamb patties were cooking we played a fun Greek easter egg game with eggs painted a cheerful bright red.We had to go about smashing our egg onto everyone else and in the end I was up against Tonia- of course she won! Years of experience laster she has mastered the technique 🙂

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We then made a Greek dessert called Anarocrema using Anari Cheese, which I flavoured with orange blossom extract ,fresh fruits and generous bits of freshly made filo pastry crispy bits .This creamy dessert is made using goats cheese and marries well with fruits ,pistachios,almonds and honey too is  very filling and morish dessert.

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While our desserts were sent for chilling we got cracking on with the starter a light and superbly flavoured starter –  Greek Sea Bream fillets with olives,capers,lemon and yoghurt Tahini Sauce.

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Thanks to @satureyes for the brilliant  photos.

It was a very well organised event and I got an opportunity to meet so many more bloggers.Cooking up in a team with Fiona (London Unattached) and Heidi was good fun and it great to be working with familiar faces. Many thanks to @TotalGreek yogurt for the lovely event & @ToniaBuxton  for her lively,warm and friendly way of conducting the cookery workshop and sharing so many beautiful experiences.

Hope all of you had a brilliant Easter Weekend and are looking forward to another long weekend coming up!

Disclaimer: With many thanks to Total Uk  and Tonia Buxton.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

In my Veg Box: Cauliflowers – Recipe Linky Challenge

Am back in May with another exciting challenge !This month, I am guest hosting In My Veg Box, an event run by Nayna Kanabar of Citrus Spice UK. This month’s theme is Cauliflowers.

Cauliflower – ”The kale of 2014, the budget-friendly superfood, the most underrated vegetable” is what the Huff Post,Canada mentions in a recent article about 10 health benefits of cauliflower.

Did you know that Cauliflower is an aid to weight loss! Yes! That’s why its the new kale and tastes much better too, don’t you think? My favourite new way to use cauliflower creatively is by shredding it in a food processor and cooking it with some water in a microwave as a replacement for rice.

Cauliflower is bursting with various vitamins like  Vit B and C , potassium and phosphorous that can support your body’s repair and maintenance of the nervous system, immune system, muscles and bones.

Its name is from Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower.

A brassica, like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower heads (called curds), which grow from a thick central stem to form a single, round head, cupped by green leaves. It has a firm, almost waxy texture, and a mild, delicate flavour. Most cauliflowers are white, but it’s also possible to find green and purple varieties, as well as the sweeter Romanesco cauliflower, with its distinctive pointed florets.The orange cauliflower is also rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A.

I tasted the orange and purple coloured variants of cauliflower for the first time a few years back and my love affair with the beautiful Romanesco cauliflower has only just begun! Did you know that the English call romanesco – broccoli, the French – cabbage and the Germans and the Poles – cauliflower. Some of the undecided place it somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower. Taking into account its shape, romanesco rosettes bring to mind the pyramids or minaret towers, the theory, that it fell out of a flying saucers would seem to be rather interesting.

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Acc to the BBC Good Food Guide:  Like all brassicas, cauliflower smells very unpleasant if overcooked, so brief cooking is essential.

With me and my hubster cauliflower and green peas bhaji made using a simple hand me down recipe from my aai (mother in Marathi, my mother tongue) is a firm favourite.I make it atleast once a week. My aai, my sister and her kids love it too, we are a veggie friendly family that way!

If all this has not put you in the mood for cooking up something interesting or simple and easy with cauliflower then what will?! 😉

So get cooking,clicking and link up but first a few rules! I know , I know RULES.. But  I promise the rules are dead easy to follow!

Rules to Participate:

  1. Please prepare any vegetarian recipes using Cauliflowers and link your dish to the linky code below. You will need  to enter the name of your dish, as well as the url of your blog.
  2. Current theme is CAULIFLOWER.
  3. You must link this post to Sliceoffme and to Citrus Spice UK.
  4. Use of the logo is not mandatory but it helps to spread the word if you can use it.
  5. Multiple entries are allowed.
  6. Archived entries are also allowed, only if they are re-posted and updated with this event link, as well as the Citrus Spice UK link.
  7. Recipes must be added to the linky by 31st May 2014.

In the event of any problems with using the linky code, please email me your entry to fruitsnveg@yahoo.com. Please include your name, recipe name, url and an image no larger than 300 pixels.

Thank you! Can’t wait to see variety of recipes that I am sure are possible with the humble cauliflower! Get Cooking Bloggers!

In my veg box cauliflower

References: Wiki,Huffington Post Canada,Bonduelle

In my veg Box – Theme Cauliflowers – all entries.