Thracian Baklava with Sesame Seeds and Dried Figs

Merry Christmas! I wish you all the best, have fun, enjoy the company of your loved ones and feel the joy!!
Today I have a traditional dessert from my hometown Xanthi - Greece. It's a baklava with sesame seeds and dried figs. Baklava is the most easy dessert to make, so don't be afraid, get the ingredients and serve a succulent dessert. 


For the syrup 
1 1 / 2 cup water 
1 cup sugar 
1 / 2 cup honey 
The peel from one lemon 
1 cinnamon stick 
Juice from 1 / 4 lemon 
For the pie 
1 pack phyllo pastry (500 gr) 
250 g melted butter 
1 cup chopped walnuts 
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
5-6 dried figs, cut into small pieces 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
1 teaspoon ground cloves  
1/2 cup chopped pistachios for serving


Using a saucepan, combine all the ingredients of the syrup and simmer for 15 minutes. Skim any foams that rise to the surface. Let the syrup to cold.
Thaw phyllo pastry according to package directions. Keep pastry covered with clean damp dish towel to keep it from drying out. 
Place 1/3 of pastry sheets in a greased baking pan, one by one, brushing each sheet all over with melted butter. 
Combine walnuts, sesame seeds, figs, cinnamon, clove and sugar in a bowl. 
Sprinkle the sheets and place the other 1/3 of sheets (don't forget to brush each one with butter). 

Sprinkle some filling again and continue with the last 1/3 of sheets. Bake at 350° until brown and crisp, about 30 to 35 minutes.  
When the pie is ready and hot, pour the cold syrup into the pan and let the pie absorb all of the syrup (2 hours) 
Serve with chopped pistachios on top.

Enjoy the Holidays! 


Mixed Green salad with hazelnuts and blue cheese vinaigrette


Chicken Meatball soup with vegetables

How are you, are you shopping for Christmas, decorating, baking?
I love the pre-Christmas time the same as I love Christmas and New Years Eve!
Since i became a mom, I truly enjoy decorating, baking, watching Christmas movies and all these things.. This kid changed my life for sure :)
Today I have a famous Italian - American Soup, simple and broth-like with tasty chicken meatballs, carrots, spinach, corn and orzo. The most easiest, nourishing, colourful and joyful soup so perfect on a cold cloudy day..


Fennel Risotto with Crispy Sesame Shrimp

Hello hello!!! It got a little chili today and we even saw some snowflakes.. But.. that was it!
I know that for people who live here in Canada for many years, snowing is just so common and normal thing to happen but for me who it's my first year in Toronto it's so exciting!
I love snow! Back in Greece in Athens the weather is warm almost all year round, and maybe you'll see snow for one or two days in a year.. Of course not every year..
Lets go to the recipe now, simple, easy risotto with such an aroma and crispy sesame shrimps! Delicious!

Ingredients (4 people) 

For the risotto 
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 whole star anise
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion diced
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and diced
1 cup Greek Carolina or Arborio or Carnaroli Rice
1 cup dry white wine
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan and more for serving
Salt and Pepper

For the shrimp 
20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined ( keep the tails on)
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
A little grated cheese for sprinkling
A little flour
Salt - Pepper


Place a skillet over medium heat and when the pan is hot add the sesame seeds and toast them for 1-2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
We start putting the risotto broth to warm up. In a saucepan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon butter. We have a pan over medium-high heat.
In a medium pot combine the chicken or vegetable stock with star anise and coriander over medium - low heat and keep warm.
Preheta the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a deep pan with the olive oil and pace over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and fennel. Cook, stirring until the vegetables are soft.
Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the wine and simmer to evaporate the alcohol.
Pour in 1 cup of the warm broth. Stir until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid. Keep stirring while adding the broth cup by cup allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.
Cook for 18 minutes or untill the rice is tender but firm to the bite. Remove from heat and add the butter and parmesan. Stir.
Meanwhile use a bowl and whisk the olive oil, honey and vinegar. Put the flour in a shallow plate and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the shrimp into flour then in the oil-honey-vinegar and then into sesame seeds.
Use a baking pan covered with parchment paper and lay the shrimps on it. Sprinkle some grated parmesan on top.
Bake the shrimp for 10 minutes.
Serve the risotto with the crispy shrimps on top.



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