(Greek) Νέες συσκευασίες 1 Kg!

Cristmas Wishes and a Christmas Recipe

Foccacia wishes you Merry and tasty Cristmas with a recipe for a traditional greek Santa-Claus Pie!

Ingredients:

  • 625 g sugar
  • 625 g soft margarine
  • 750 g self-rising flour
  • 375 g walnuts and almonds
  • 100 g honey
  • 100 g glucose
  • 19 eggs
  • Peel from 2 oranges and 2 lemons
  • Confectionary sugar
  • Execution:

    Beat the margarine and the sugar until they become creamy and then toss in 10 eggs one by one.

    At the same time, make the meringue from the remaining 9 eggs and very little sugar.

    Continue beating the first mixture and add the honey, glucose, the peel and the nuts until the mixture is homogenous.

    Then add the meringue and continue beating softly. After you add the meringue, keep beating while adding the flour. Beat until the mixture is homogenous.

    Put the mixture in a well buttered and floured round pan, add the coin and bake in 170-190 degrees Celcius.

    After the pie is baked, let it cool; then flip over and sprinkle with confectionary sugar.

    Enjoy this Santa-Claus pie with wishes for good health and a happy 2011!

    (Greek) Προσφορά!!!

    Hygiene in Your Kitchen

    There is a lot of things you can do to keep your kitchen clean. We will not refer to the usual stuff, such as washing hands and proper cooking of meats. We will indicate specific points that you might miss and that they are equally important:

  • Raw chicken does not need to be washed as bacteria will be killed if you cook it thoroughly. If you do wash chicken, you risk splashing germs onto the sink, worktop, dishes, or anything else nearby.
  • Separate raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Don’t overload your fridge because this will hinder the circulation of cool air and might mean the food is not kept cold enough.
  • Use a liquid sanitizer every time you are done with cooking.
  • Secrets of a smart consumer

    In a time of economic downturn, everyone is looking to cut down on various expenses. An important part of the money we spend goes to groceries. To save some of that money there are a lot of ways:



  • First we budget
  • Use a shopping list…and stick to it.
  • Study, gather, use…brochures
  • Search and compare prices and quality.
  • Watch for offers and quantities.
  • Look for discounts, but consider the final price.
  • Choose local fruits and vegetables that are in-season.
  • Sometimes you can choose frozen vegetables that have no preservatives and they retain most of their nutritional value.
  • Wonder: “Do I need it?”
  • We pay more only if it’s really worth it.
  • Say yes to private label products as long as their nutritional value is the same as the brand name’s.
  • Choose homemade food.
  • We work a little more: For example buy a chunk of cheese and shred it yourself instead of buying shredded.
  • Eat a fruit for a snack.
  • Take lunch from home.
  • Do not throw food in the garbage. You can always use it to make something tomorrow or eat it as it is, as long as you have preserved it properly.
  • Cook simple: Foods that are made with few and simle ingredients are usually cheaper than food that are made with comlex and hard to find ingredients.
  • Use FIFO (First In First Out): Put the newer foods back in the fridge and bring the old foods in the front so that you use these first.
  • Economic Crisis: How to cope with its consequences

    Very useful article for all business people, written by Vasilis Pappas and posted on “BdElla” magazine in December 2008.

    The main aspects of the article follow, but if you would like to read it all (in greek only – sorry no translation), you may click here.

    Maybe this time next year you will have fewer competitors! Some will not manage to adapt; however, yu could be one of them!

    We are going through a time of economic downfall. and because after every downfall there is a rise, the ones who will benefit from the crisis are the ones who will be a step ahead of the competition.

    Businesses who continue to promote and advertise, have more chances to survive and grow, even when the economy is bad!

    Differentiate and Win: Find ways that will make your offer unique – your products and services “one of a kind”.

    Help your customers get rid of uncertainty and make them yours! Show them that you will be there when they need you. People today have a need for dependable solutions and dependable people.

    People have not stopped having needs and wants! They keep wanting solutions in their problems. And you must be there when they need you!

    How to Make a Basic Foccacia Dough

    foccacia bread

    Ingredients:

    • 30 g yeast
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • 3 1/3 cup (500 g) all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tbs salt

    We prepare the dough as it is described here. For the yeast, we can buy it or we can make it as it is described here.

    When the dough rises, we place it on a surface slightly sprinkled with flour and we knead for 2-3 mins. We put it on a well oiled pan and we spread it with our hands. We press the dough with our fingers, we sprinkle with the rest of the olive oil and finally, we sprinkle the salt. Bake it for 20-25 min until it browns.

    Ingredients of the flour

    Liquids: To dissolve and activate, the yeast needs some liquid (water, milk, etc). The quantity depends on the quality of the flour and on wether we want a dough that is soft, medium, or hard. Hard flour, richer in protein gluten, absorbs more water and thus makes more bread. usually we need a glass of water for 1/2 kg of flour and the water must be warm, about 30 0C.

    The water must be added at the correct proportions during fermenting. More water produces very tight dough that does not rise as much and the bread stales faster. We must use good quality water (potable), not too hard not too alkaline, because that hinders rising.

    Fermenting with Milk produces a light texture and a thin crust, darker than with water. The milk’s fat helps the bread preserve longer. The dough that has milk instead of water absorbs more liquids. Milk affects positively the bread’s volume and its crumb.

    Other liquids that are used are beer, wine, fruit and vegetable juices.

    Oil – Fat: Oil and butter give a rich taste and flavor, soft homogenous texture and they act as natural preservatives. It is better to mix solid fats with the sugar so that they are distributed evenly throughout the dough.

    The salt gives taste to the bread, stablilises the gluten, slows down the enzyme activity and helps the bread retain moisture. That is, the salt slows down the rising of the dough, but it is necessary, because otherwise the bread will lack taste. Salt also aids in the preservation of the bread. Most dough products, even when they are sweet, contain some salt, since it gives a finer texture, consistency, elasticity and bigger volume to the final product. Too much salt hinders rising.

    Eggs give taste and flavor. But the role of the yolk is different than that of the egg white. The egg white traps the air and hardens the texture. The yolk on the contrary, softens the dough.

    Sweeteners: Sugar, honey, molasses, etc. help the fermentation, give a nice color to the crust and make the dough sweet. Every sweetener can alter the taste of the dough product, even in small quantities. Honey is not recommended if we want our product to be crispy, because it gives a gum-like texture to the dough and holds more water than other syrups. On the other hand, sugar melts during baking and, since it becomes solid when it cools down, it makes the final product crispy.

    Homemade Pizza Dough

    The pizza dough is easy to make and you can preserve it in the freezer.

    Ingredients:

  • 400 g hard flour
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 mL water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Process:

    Sift the flour with the salt creating a little mountain*. Make a hole in the center and pour in the sourdough, oil and some water. Start pushing the flour from the sides towards the center. Knead and whenever needed, add small amounts of water until you get a soft and elastic dough that does not stick on your fingers. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in a bowl, sprinkle some flour on top, cover and let it sit for 1/2 hour until it doubles in size. Make 4-6 balls out if this dough and let them sit on a flourered surface until they double in size. Sprinkle some flour on a working surface and spread the balls  into thin (as thin as you like) layers that you lay on an oiled pan. Put the ingredients of your choice and bake in a preheated oven in 200 oC for 15 min.

    *: Sifting is done so that the flour mixes with the air and oxygen gets trapped within the flour so that we have better conditions for fermentation.

    Variant with corn flour:

    Mix 1 1/2 cups corn flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl. Make a hole in the middle and pour 1/2  cup water and 2 tbsp olive oil. Knead for 5-7 min until the dough becomes elastic and smooth.

    Variant without yeast:

    Mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tbsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp olive oil. Knead for 5-7 min.

    Variant with wholewheat flour:

    Mix 1 3/4 cups wholewheat flour, 1 tbsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl. Make a hole in the center and add 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp olive oil. Knead as in the previous variations.

    Enjoy!

    Homemade yeast (Sourdough)

    The method of homemade yeast, or sourdough, or natural yeast is the oldest method ever used for the rising of the dough in order to make bread: Dough from flour and water sits in room temperature to absorb the living organisms that are in the air and they feed from the flour’s amylum and initiate the fermentation. Usually, 4 days is enough, but you may need more. This type of homemade yeast, or a piece of dough from last time’s bread making is used to make bread. In this dough, various bacteria of lactic fermentation occur and they convert the sugars in lactic acid. With this homemade yeast, we get the initial dough which has a sour taste, because of the lactic acid. Lactic acid inhibits the development of all becteria except for the lactobacilli. After 12 hours approximately, we add more flour and water and the fermentation continues. This method may be harder, but the bread has a fuller taste and it’s preserved better.

    How to make sourdough:

    Mix 1 cup flour with 1/2 cup water, the basic ingredients. Others add more ingredients, such as honey, must, sourmilk, or a few drops of lemon juice to assist the fermentation. It’s advised that you knead thoughrouly (5-6 mins) so that the  gluten is spreat even. Then we put the dough in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place with no currents.

    After the dough becomes sour, in 2 days, add another 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour and knead again. Repeat another 2 times and the sourdough will be ready. If it’s not (not risen and not spongy enough), repeat one more time.

    We put the sourdough, preferably, in a clay container, we oil the surface of the dough and we preserve in a cool place, or in the fridge for 1 week. It preserves much longer in the freezer. When we make bread, we will keep a piece of dough, which will be the sourdough for next time. This way we’ll always have sourdough.

    The amount of sourdough necessary to make bread is 10% of the dough you are going to make, even though you can use a small amount of sourdough which, during the day, ferments with a small quantity of some of the ingerdients you will use.

    Next week:

    Homemade pizza dough made with sourdough.