Greek Cypriot food is a melting pot of delicious flavours: simple Mediterranean salads; classic ingredients like feta, a squeeze of lemon and fresh oregano; cinnamon-infused stews; orange-blossom scented pastries.
TAVERNA, takes the best of traditional Cypriot cooking and makes it relevant to modern home cooks. From simple vegan fast-day dishes to feasts for the family, there is something delicious for every mood and moment.
These delicious recipes relive sun-kissed Mediterranean holidays and simple taverna-style meals.
Greek ricotta, pistachio and apricot pancake recipe
CREDIT: KRISTIN PERERS
Anari, or Greek ricotta, is the base of many sweet Greek dishes and has become very popular in the form of a breakfast pancake. Feel free to change the fruit depending on the season – griddled pears would work well, as would sweet orange.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Serves: 2
- 125g fresh anari, or ricotta
- 100ml milk
- 2 large eggs
- ½ lemon
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 30g unsalted butter
- 3-4 apricots
- 20g pistachios
- 2 sprigs of mint
- 2 tbsp honey
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- If using ricotta, drain it in a sieve to dry it out a little. Spoon the anari or strained ricotta into a large mixing bowl and pour in the milk. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the ricotta and keeping the whites to one side in a clean medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Finely grate the lemon zest into the ricotta, add the sugar and a good pinch of sea salt and beat all the ingredients together. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold them in.
- Whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk until you have stiff peaks, then fold them into the ricotta batter, keeping it as light and airy as possible.
- Place a medium non-stick ovenproof frying pan on a medium heat and add the butter. As soon as it has melted and is bubbling, ladle in the ricotta batter, then place the pan in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen, golden and the edges are crisp.
- Meanwhile, place a griddle pan on a high heat. Cut the apricots into wedges and, when the griddle is hot, grill them for a few minutes on each side until charred. Finely chop the pistachios. Pick the mint leaves.
- When the pancake is ready, slide it on to a serving plate or board. Top with the apricot wedges, drizzle with honey, scatter over the pistachios and mint leaves and tuck in.
Kakavia Greek fisherman’s stew recipe
CREDIT: KRISTIN PERERS
Kakavia is a hearty, one-pot meal and a great way to use whatever seafood is fresh and in abundance. You can even add shellfish towards the end – prawns, mussels and clams would all make fine additions. Like with most stews and one-pot dishes, it is delicious fresh, but even more so the next day.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Serves: 4
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 4 sticks of celery
- 1 leek
- 2 garlic cloves
- olive oil, for cooking
- 400g ripe tomatoes
- 600g Cyprus potatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 allspice berries
- 1 litre of fish or shellfish stock
- 750g fish fillets, such as hake, sea bass, bream, red mullet etc, scaled and pin-boned
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch of dill or flat-leaf parsley
- Peel and chop the onion and carrots. Trim and slice the celery and leek. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Place a large saucepan on a medium heat and drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the veg for 15-20 minutes, until starting to soften but not golden.
- Cut the tomatoes into 3cm pieces and add to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes. Scrub the potatoes, then chop into the same size as the tomatoes and add along with the bay leaves, allspice and stock. Season well, bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes.
- Cut the fish into even-sized chunks, around 4-5cm, and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon.
- Finely chop the dill or parsley and add to the pan, then serve.
Greek cheese, courgette and honey pie recipe
CREDIT: KRISTIN PERERS
Cheese pies are everywhere in Greece and Cyprus – small handheld ones and large sheet trays, in filo or kataifi, they come in many guises. I am in love with this type, where you soak the cheese-filled pastry in a light custard and then bake it.
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes resting time | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Serves: 6 – 8
- Large knob of butter, for greasing
- 200g feta
- 175g kaseri or gruyère cheese, or even cheddar would work well
- 75g halloumi
- 350g courgettes
- 2 eggs
- Freshly ground white pepper
- A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- 300g kataifi pastry (a shredded sweet filo pastry available online or in specialist Middle Eastern shops)
- 175ml double cream
- 175ml milk
- 50g walnuts
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 3 tbsp honey
- Grease a 25x30cm roasting tray with the butter.
- Crumble the feta into a bowl and coarsely grate in the other cheeses and the courgettes. Whisk one of the eggs, then add to the bowl along with a good pinch of white pepper. Add the thyme leaves and whisk it all together.
- Tease the kataifi pastry apart and lay half of it in the greased tray, easing it up the sides a little. Fill with the cheese mixture, then drape over the remaining pastry until the filling is completely encased. Whisk together the remaining egg, cream and milk and pour evenly over the entire pie. Leave to one side for 30 minutes, preheating your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 towards the end.
- When you’re ready to bake, finely chop the walnuts and scatter over the top of the pie. Drizzle everything with olive oil, then place directly on the bottom of the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until crisp and golden.
- Drizzle over the honey, return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until dark golden, then leave in the tray for 10 minutes before serving.
Rose and pomegranate prosecco cocktail recipe
CREDIT: EMLI BENDIXEN
Pour the rose syrup into a pretty cocktail glass then top up with prosecco – the amount of syrup is a matter of taste. I love two tablespoons, but make a test glass to see what you like. Finish with a scattering of pomegranate seeds.
Prep time: 5 minutes | Makes: 1
- 1-2 tbsp rose syrup, such as Greek or Indian (to taste)
- 150ml prosecco or sparkling wine a few pomegranate seeds
- Pour the rose syrup into a pretty cocktail glass then top up with prosecco – the amount of syrup is a matter of taste. I love two tablespoons, but make a test glass to see what you like.
- Finish with a scattering of pomegranate seeds.