Arugula Salad with Manouri Cheese and Dried Figs

Gina’s Macaronia and Octopus (Lenten) By Tzeni Samonas
Saturday August 13th, 2016

In nothern Greece salads made with Roka a.k.a Arugula are a staple at the dinner table.  There are many variations but our favourite is this one.  You can’t go wrong with this salad, it’s always a hit at summer BBQ’s and other family events.  This recipe serves about 12 people as a side or starter, adjust accordingly for smaller servings.



•    5 cloves of finely chopped garlic
•    2 cups olive oil
•    ½ cup balsamic vinegar
•    2 tbsp dijon mustard
•    4 tbsp honey
•    ½ teaspoon salt


•    5  142 g pkgs of fresh baby arugula
•   400 grams of manouri cheese crumbled
•    300 grams of dried figs chopped
•    2 cups of pecans chopped


1.    Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt and garlic in bowl and set aside.
2.    Rinse arugula and add half to a large bowl.
3.    Add half of the dry ingredients including the manouri cheese and then top off with the remaining arugula.
4.    Add just enough salad dressing so that your salad is not soggy and toss.
5.    Top with the remaining dry ingredients including the manouri cheese and drizzle with some more salad dressing.  Enjoy :)

Gina’s Macaronia and Octopus (Lenten)

Gina’s Macaronia and Octopus (Lenten) By Tzeni Samonas
Tuesday March 15th, 2016

With Clean Monday being the beginning of the Great Lent for Eastern Orthodox Christians, Gina who makes our amazing mini baklava’s at the bakery (her hands are always in our pictures and videos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest hense our hashtag #ginashands)  has shared this amazing lenten recipe with us.  I made it the other night and it was super quick, easy and delicious. You can find the frozen octopus and many of the other ingredients used in our foodmart.



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•    I kg Octopus (frozen and thawed) tenticles only and cut into pieces (available at Serano Bakery in the FoodMart)
•    500g Misko Tubetti pasta
•    200ml olive oil
•    200ml white wine
•    2 medium onions, grated
•    1 tsp Kyknos tomato paste
•    1 tsp ketchup
•    3 bay leaves
•    1 cinnamon stick
•    1 tsp salt (full tsp)
•    1 litre water (500ml + 500ml)
•    ground pepper to taste


1.    Heat olive oil in a large pot.
2.    Add onion and saute for 2 min.
3.    Add the octopus and saute until the octopus turns red in colour.

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4.    Add the tomato paste and cook until you can smell the tomatoes.
5.    Add wine, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, ketchup and 500ml of water.
6.    Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low boil for about 20 min.  Taste to see if the octopu is cooked, if it’s ready add the remaining 500ml of water and add salt.
7.    Bring to a boil and add pasta while contsantly stirring until pasta is eldante and there is still a substantial amount of liquit left in the pot (about 5 min).

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8.    Remove from heat and cover to 20-30 min.
9.    Serve with ground pepper to taste.



Yiayia Dinas’ Semolina Halva Is As Easy as 1:2:3:4!!!

By Tzeni Samonas  By Tzeni Samonas
Saturday October 3rd, 2015

I have to admit that growing up halva was not one of my favourite desserts. I found it bland and just not appealing at all until I had my Koumbara’s mom’s halva and it was incredible!!! This recipe is so easy to remember because the ingredients are literally 1 cup of oil, 2 cups of fine semolina, 3 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water, 1:2:3:4. I add some spices and lemon zest to the syrup and serve drizzled with honey, cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon. The aromatic spices would make this a great dessert to add to your Thanksgiving table. Enjoy!!!

1 cup oil

2 cups fine semolina

3 cups sugar

4 cups water

1-½ cups sliced toasted almonds (other nuts can be used as well)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cloves

½ rind of lemon

  1. In a pot prepare the syrup by bringing the sugar, spices, lemon rind and water to a boil and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove lemon rind and set aside.

  1. In a large heavy saucepan heat up oil and add semolina and cook over medium heat continuously stirring until semolina is a nice light golden brown colour (approx. 8-10 min) then stir in sliced toasted almonds and cook for another 2 min.

  1. Remove the pot from the heat and gradually (as the semolina oil mixture will bubble and could boil over) add the warm syrup to the semolina and almond mixture. Return to medium\low heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. The mixture will start to boil and bubble but keep stirring until it thickens and starts to pull away easily from the side of the saucepan.

  1. Spoon the mixture into a bunt pan or individual molds.

  1. Leave to cool and set for a about a 1 ½ hours (a cake mold will need more time) and serve with honey, cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon.

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