The latest video: Stella’s Kolokithokeftedes

My parents-in-law were born and raised as Greeks in Constantinople/Istanbul or as they call it I Poli – ‘The City.’ Living in a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city and immersed in the cuisines of many, influenced their kitchen and that of others residing in that great city. This never-ending fusion of many co-existing cuisines over aeons has been termed politiki kouzina – food of the πόλη/city. This food is delicious and varied, just like its cultural roots.  
 
My mother-in-law Stella is a wonderful cook with a subtle hand. One of the first recipes we asked Stella to teach us were her zucchini fritters or as Eugene and his family called them ‘mucver’ (their Turkish name). Their Greek name is quite a mouthful, kolokithokeftedes, so I can understand why Eugene and his family used their simpler Turkish name, even though their mother-tongue was Greek.

Stella’s mucver-kolokithokeftedes are fluffy, herby and cheesy and light. They have a restrained amount of flour in them, so they are not doughy. You can pan fry them or, as I show you in the accompanying video, you can bake them in the oven for fuss free cooking. Try them either way or both ways and let me know what you think!

Vasiliki’s Karpouzopita

This recipe for Karpouzopita – Watermelon Pie comes from Vasiliki, from O Palaios, a renowned zaharoplasteio (patisserie) in the town of Plaka on the cycladic island of Milos. Vasikili makes and serves countless Karpouzopites, at her zaharoplasteio in Milos each summer, and she has beyond perfected it: sweet bursts of juicy, rosy watermelon; crunchy, nutty toasted sesame seeds; heavenly cinnamon spice; and an orange-hued batter that caramelises at the base and creates a chewy, crunchy toffee at the edges. This dessert is incredible!!! 
 
I was lucky enough to have a personal lesson when I travelled to Milos in July 2018. I recently reached out to Vasiliki and asked if she would like to share it with the KO community and she said, “I am honoured that you trust me and my recipe and, with all my heart and love, I would like you to share it! I am sending you a thousand hugs and kisses from Milos.” Please make this beautiful pie and feel Vasiliki’s warm and loving embrace all the way from Milos! And when and if you can make the journey to Milos, please go and enjoy the original and best version of this pie at O Palaios in Plaka and accept Vasiliki’s embrace in person too!

KO’s Prasopita (Leek Pie)

When I was 22 years of age, I went on an extended back-packing trip around the world. While I was away, Eugene (my mostly good man) asked my mum to teach him how to make fillo pasty. He was 23 years of age and already concerned that this skill would be lost to future generations due to changing priorities and shifting life-styles. When I returned from my trip and heard this, I decided I needed to learn too. I am actually not a competitive person, but it didn’t feel right that I hadn’t taken the time to learn this skill from my mother and that it really was my responsibility to maintain this skill and one day pass it on to the next generation.

Since that time 30 years ago, I have made mostly one type of pita – prasopita – leek pie. It really is my favourite. Leeks are so sweet and juicy when cooked in olive oil and their flavour is so morish!! I can’t get enough of them.

The video created for this recipe gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious pita, including how to roll your own fillo pastry. Rolling your own fillo pastry is a skill that can be developed with patience and perseverance. Your first two or three sheets of fillo may be a little holy and odd shaped, but before you know it, you will understand how much pressure you need to apply to the fillo to stretch it out and when it needs to be dusted with extra flour, because it’s getting too tacky to work with. Layer by layer your pita will come to life, and the joy and satisfaction you experience when you sit down with friends and family to share the fruits of your labour, will be enormous.

The day Lucia filmed me making the prasopita, Ilyana was at home, and without discussion or warning, she joined me in the kitchen and had a go at making fillo. I hope you will be as curious and courageous as her and have a go too!

KO’s Prasopita (Leek Pie)

When I was 22 years of age, I went on an extended back-packing trip around the world. While I was away, Eugene (my mostly good man) asked my mum to teach him how to make fillo pasty. He was 23 years of age and already concerned that this skill would be lost to future generations due to changing priorities and shifting life-styles. When I returned from my trip and heard this, I decided I needed to learn too. I am actually not a competitive person, but it didn’t feel right that I hadn’t taken the time to learn this skill from my mother and that it really was my responsibility to maintain this skill and one day pass it on to the next generation.

Since that time 30 years ago, I have made mostly one type of pita – prasopita – leek pie. It really is my favourite. Leeks are so sweet and juicy when cooked in olive oil and their flavour is so morish!! I can’t get enough of them.

The video created for this recipe gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious pita, including how to roll your own fillo pastry. Rolling your own fillo pastry is a skill that can be developed with patience and perseverance. Your first two or three sheets of fillo may be a little holy and odd shaped, but before you know it, you will understand how much pressure you need to apply to the fillo to stretch it out and when it needs to be dusted with extra flour, because it’s getting too tacky to work with. Layer by layer your pita will come to life, and the joy and satisfaction you experience when you sit down with friends and family to share the fruits of your labour, will be enormous.

The day Lucia filmed me making the prasopita, Ilyana was at home, and without discussion or warning, she joined me in the kitchen and had a go at making fillo. I hope you will be as curious and courageous as her and have a go too!

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…