Wednesday, April 03, 2013

OPA!

I'm excited to introduce you to my good friend from Down Under Eleni Konstantine. Not only is Eleni a fantastic writer, she's one hell of a cook! So take it away Eleni and dazzle us an awesome Greek dish.

Hi Everyone! Nice to meet you all.

I’m very lucky. I’ve been surrounded by good cooks my whole life. One food that I have loved since I was a kid is pastitsio. And my mum’s pastitsio has always been my favourite.

What is pastitsio? It’s Greek and is sort of like a mousaka, but instead of potato and eggplant, you use pasta. We cook it for my dad’s name day celebration. It is one of his favourite dishes.

There are three layers traditionally but we mix up the bottom two layers.
1. Pasta - bottom layer
2. Mince sauce
3. Béchamel sauce - top

You will find variations on the web, but this is the one that always makes my mouth water no mater what.

The following is for a dish 30cm x 40cm (11 inches x 15 inches)
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.

Ingredients
500gm (1 pound) pasta of your choice. We usually go for penne as it mixes with the mince layer really 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 tbsp. melted salted butter
250gms (1 cup) of corn flour
1 tsp. of nutmeg
salt
white pepper
8 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese or dried ricotta cheese or a mixture of both
800-1kg mince or 13/4-2 pounds ground - we usually do a mixture of Pork and Beef. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion grated
2 tbsp. of tomato paste
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes or readymade pasta sauce to replace the paste and diced tomato
½ cup chopped parsley (continental)
1- 1½ cups water
8 tbsp. corn flour heaping

Mince Layer
- Heat oil and fry 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.

Pasta Layer
- boil the paster 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

Combining Layers
- Mix the meat sauce and the pasta together
- 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 (so the meat takes up a bit of the heat)
- Add the 7 tablespoons of the cheese(s)

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.

The Finish
- Add some dried grated ricotta cheese or parmesan cheese to top of mixture
- Put in oven at 180Celcuis (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.


My heroine Zeta Kosmos is from a Greek background but she has no time to enjoy pastitio.

Zeta will protect the one she loves, even if it means living in Hell.

Mastering a unique power was much safer for Zeta Kosmos with a mentor to help her along. Now that he’s disappeared, Zeta must continue alone with her calling—closing Gateways to Hell.

Daniel Richards is in the family business—Warding supernatural evil from causing havoc on humans. As such, he’s only interested in the safety of one-night stands. Until Zeta. This bad boy now wants a long, lasting relationship.

But Zeta can’t let go of her past, nor can she ignore the secret demonic threats against Daniel’s life. She’d rather fight demonic spawn and be dragged into Hell than allow anything happen to him. Can Daniel convince her to stay? Will she have to pay the ultimate price?

To read an excerpt from Gateway to Hell, please click HERE.

Eleni Konstantine is Fantasy and Paranormal fiction writer, with a number of shorts published. Her stories range from flash fiction to novels. She blames her mother for her writing bug because as a child she was given many books, including illustrated fairytales. That and a love of Greek mythology, and Eleni was destined to become a writer.

Eleni lives in Adelaide, Australia, with her family and feisty American Staffy.

Learn more about Eleni Konstantine on her website and her blog Eleni's Taverna.

I'll be back Monday with author Raine Delight. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane

5 comments:

  1. I'm breaking out the Sambuca for this yummy dish! Cheers, Eleni and Sloane! OPA!

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    1. You're making my mouth water. Salud, my friend!

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  2. Have this on my to be made list. Thanks for sharing, Eleni!

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    Replies
    1. Me too, Lizzie. This Saturday! Thanks for stopping in.:)

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  3. Thanks ladies. Hope you enjoy and thanks Sloane for hosting me. Always love it when I visit.

    x

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