The latest video: KO’s Yiouvarlakia

KO’s Yiouvarlakia (Meatball Soup with Rice) is one of my mum’s recipes. This is a recipe she learned from her mother and one that I took with me, when Eugene and I moved to Seattle, almost 30 years ago. It is a wholesome and hearty soup that nourished and comforted us while we lived there and has nourished and nurtured our children since our return to Australia 7 years later.

It’s a soup that I would make when we stayed in accommodation that had a kitchen, when we travelled, and I would feel satisfied that my children had at least one nutritious and satiating meal that day.

It’s a soup that my beautiful thia Vanggio would make, and have ready for us to eat, when we arrived after 30 hours of journeying from Melbourne, Australia, to Kastraki, Greece… In fact, my aunt would also make a large batch of the meatballs and freeze them uncooked. I would then take out as many as I needed and turn them into soup, for an easy dinner for my children, when they were tired after a long day touring around the Meteora.

Just writing this makes me see how this soup for me, for my family, expresses connection, continuity and commitment to life and each other… and the fact that real food isn’t just food, it’s so much more…

KO’s Milopita

KO’s Milopita is an upside-down apple pie. This is my mum’s recipe, which was passed on to her by a friend and now down to me and you! The morish, sweet and tangy, baked apples are spiced with cinnamon and layered onto a lovely moist cake base.

Everyone who tries it, loves it, and asks for the recipe. So here it is! But make sure you have friends and family around to share this one, because once you get started, there’ll be no stopping you!

KO’s Milopita

KO’s Milopita is an upside-down apple pie. This is my mum’s recipe, which was passed on to her by a friend and now down to me and you! The morish, sweet and tangy, baked apples are spiced with cinnamon and layered onto a lovely moist cake base.

Everyone who tries it, loves it, and asks for the recipe. So here it is! But make sure you have friends and family around to share this one, because once you get started, there’ll be no stopping you!

Eleni’s Sheftalies

Eleni’s passion for cooking was ignited as a young girl watching her mother and her nine aunts, all sisters, cooking together and preparing family feasts. Eleni witnessed the joy of cooking, companionship and collective creativity, as she watched these women working together. The food they then shared was infused with all these memories; memories that remain indelible for Eleni.

Eleni learned her sheftalies recipe in the same way. She became friends with Vasiliki when Vasiliki came to Melbourne for post-graduate studies. Vasiliki and Eleni bonded instantly over their shared Cypriot heritage and their love of cooking. They would often cook all day and then invite their friends over to feast on the food they had prepared and celebrate their friendship, well into the night, with music and dance.

Vasiliki taught Eleni her family’s sheftalies recipe and now Eleni has made this recipe so many times, it has become her signature recipe too. Eleni’s Sheftalies are made with cinnamon-spiced pork mince; a generous amount of fresh parsley; brown onions; dried mint and seasoning, and then wrapped in caul fat, before being barbecued over hot charcoals. The fat in the caul fat renders out, making the sheftalies juicy and delicious. They are usually made for special celebrations and get togethers. They take a little preparation to make, but if the effort of making them is shared, then the family, friendship and feasting rewards are enormous!

How Kali Orexi began…


A few years ago, I offered some of my mum Antigoni’s ntomatofai (tomato-eat dish) to my friend Sara. Sara enjoyed the ntomatofai so much, she asked if my mum would teach her how to make it. As it was also one of my favourite dishes and I had yet to learn it, I organised a cooking lesson for both of us. When other friends heard about this cooking lesson, they also wanted to join. The numbers grew, so the venue changed from my mum’s kitchen to my kitchen (now the kitchen used in filming Kali Orexi). Read more…