Ahh, Fridays. I just adore them. After a big week writing there’s something completely satisfying about turning my brain (and belly) to some feasty goodness. And what feasty goodness we have in store!
This week I’m absolutely delighted to introduce a new guest to Friday Feast. Adelaide writer Eleni Konstantine is not only a talented author and designer, she’s also a total sweetheart. But if her paranormal and fantasy romances are anything to go by, it appears she also harbours a deep dark side. Probably developed form all those wonderful fairytales her mother gave her when she was young, along with her great love for Greek mythology.
Eleni’s latest release is Sealed With A Kiss. Take a look.
Can a gift from her grandmother protect Lise?
Lise doesn’t believe in vampires. Or so she tells herself. Though, she constantly wears the garnet necklace her grandmother gave her, which wards off the creatures. Andreas, the man she’s attracted to, seems more than a little interested in it. Could there be an ulterior motive?
Intrigued? I am! Thanks to the joy of ebooks, you could have your own copy with just a quick clickety-click. Visit Smashwords where you can download a file for any ereader format, from Kindle to Kobo to your iPad, and others. You can even read it on your computer. Easy!
And now, prepare your tastebuds for Eleni.
I love food. Seriously. I’m not one of these people who only views it as substance. After all, why does food taste so good if this was to be the case?! Lucky for me, food is paramount in the culture I grew up in. And I have a mum (mana or mama in Greek) who loves to cook and experiment as well. Lucky me!
But today, I’m going to bring you one of the traditional dishes I grew up with.
What is pastitio? It’s Greek and is sort of like a mousaka but instead of putting potato and eggplant (aubergine), you have pasta.
There are three layers traditionally
- Pasta – bottom layer
- Mince sauce
- Béchamel sauce (white sauce) – top
But we mix up the bottom two layers.
You will find variations on the web, but this is the one that always makes my mouth water no matter what. I had to pin my mum down for this as she does this off the cuff and changes according to the size of the casserole dish.
The following is for a dish 30cm x 40cm
- 500gm pasta of your choice. We usually go for penne as it mixes with the mince layer really well. Fat spaghetti is lovely as well.
- 7 eggs (3 egg whites, lightly beaten for mince/pasta layer; the remainder egg yellows will go in the béchamel (white) sauce) and 4 eggs in béchamel sauce.
- 7 cups milk
- 6 tablespoons melted salted butter
- 250gms (1 cup) of cornflour
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- white pepper
- grated dried ricotta cheese or Parmesan (to sprinkle on top of the white sauce)
- 800-1kg mince – we usually do a mixture of Pork and Beef. But you can really have what you like.
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion (whatever type) – grated
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomato (or you can put the ready made pasta sauce instead of the diced tomato and tomato paste)
- ½ cup chopped parsley (continental)
- 1- 1½ cups water
- 7 heaped tablespoons corn flour
- 8 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese or dried ricotta cheese (or a mixture of both)
The mince layer
– Heat up oil and fry up mince until brown.
– Add onion and stir
– Add tomato paste and diced tomato. Stir
– Add ¾ teaspoon nutmeg.
– Add salt and pepper to taste.
– Add chopped parsley
– Stir until there is little to no liquid left.
– Take off heat and put to side.
The Pasta layer
– boil the pasta so it’s al dente. Tip 1: add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil; Tip 2: when you add the pasta, add some salt to taste.
– strain pasta
– Mix the meat sauce and the pasta together.
– Add the 7 tablespoons of the cheese(s)
– Add 3 lightly beaten egg whites into mixture and stir.
– Butter or oil a casserole dish (we use Pyrex) before use.
– Pour mixture above into casserole dish and flatten out to cover the bottom of the dish.
– Leave for 10 minutes (basically leave when making the White Sauce)
– Place 6 cups of milk, a pinch of white pepper, ¼ teaspoon with melted butter into saucepan to boil.
– As this is heating, add into a bowl, the remainder eggs (4 whole + 3 yellows), 1 cup of milk and corn flour and whisk until the corn flour is absorbed.
– Add the bowl’s ingredients into the saucepan and stir until the milk froths.
– If there are lumps in your white sauce, you can sift it through to make it more smooth.
– Add white sauce to the casserole dish. Spread out.
– Add some dried grated ricotta cheese or Parmesan cheese to top of mixture
– Put in oven at 180 Celsius(356 Fahrenheit) for an hour.
– Let it rest for 10 minutes when you take it out of the oven.
– Cut into how large you want your pieces to be, and serve.
– A Greek village salad makes a good side dish.
Thanks, Eleni, for sharing this wonderful family dish. I’m a huge fan of Greek food and will definitely being giving this one a go. It’ll be perfect for a wintery night snuggle-in.
Now, my lovely Feasters, is there a dish or a food that you go back to again and again? Eleni would love to know. In fact, she’d love to know so much that she’s giving away an ebook copy of Sealed With A Kiss to one lucky commenter.
My go-to food is a fresh rice noodle dish made with chilli bean paste and pork that I adapted from a Neil Perry recipe that was featured in a Gourmet Traveller several years back. It’s hot, healthy, fast and luscious to eat. A household favourite.
So share away and you could win yourself a short tasty read!
Giveaway closes midnight AEST, Tuesday 21st May 2013. Open internationally. Rah!
If you’d like to learn more about Eleni and her stories, please visit her website. You can also connect via her Eleni’s Taverna blog.
This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Jenny who has won a copy of Eleni’s Sealed With A Kiss. Thanks to all who visited and left comments. Always lovely to see you. Hope you all enjoy your pastitio!