Summer brunch in Athens

in Inspiration -

This summer brunch in Athens combines some of my favourite things: delicious little bites, good friends, good vibes and the sublime Athenian light.

Summer brunch in Athens

A few days ago, I got to spend a few hours with two of my favourite bloggers- who also happen to be two of my favourite people: Ifigeneia and Calliope, the creative minds and talent behind Teapot and Madame Gâteaux respectively. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, so the first couple of hours (more like three, maybe four) were spent mostly catching up and gossiping about mutual acquaintances, rather than trying to set up for our brunch and photo shoot. I wouldn’t have it any other way: one of summer’s (and life’s) greatest pleasures is spending time in a beautiful garden (surrounding Madame Gâteaux’s brand new tea room), with good friends, over cold coffee, exchanging news and ideas. If your sister happens to join too and there’s also a delicious meal to be enjoyed at the end, then the day is close to perfect.

Summer brunch in Athens

 

Summer brunch in Athens

My sis’ sense of humour and positivity makes her the perfect companion to any project and her appetite and love for eggs an ideal brunch buddy. The other two gals are not bad either: Calliope runs a very successful pastry business, which specialises in afternoon tea and other delights with a vintage feel. She’s also my personal sweet guru, having taught me any decent thing I know about desserts and baking (she recently graced us with the recipe for the damn best cherry pie ever). Ifi is not only a great ball of energy and light, she also carefully hides behind the best shopping guides ever and dreamy travel posts (her IG always gives me serious wanderlust).

Summer brunch in Athens

So on a very bright, VERY hot summer day, we gathered for what would be one of the most fun and delicious photo shoots and brunches I’ve ever had. Calliope & Ifi filled the garden with beautiful flowers and hanged wee vases from the trees, while Alkyoni took photos of the neighborhood’s cats. And then, we were ready to dig in: Callipe’s gorgeous, pink fig cheesecake with a chocolate, dried fig & walnut base was as delicious as it sounds and her mango & raspberry jelly panacottas made me momentarily lose my mind. My nectarine and tomato tart, with lemon thyme, feta and balsamic was light and colourful enough to match the aforementioned prettiness; and of course there had to be eggs, and I went the creamy, easy, en cocotte way- all topped with pretty geranium leaves from the garden.  And since it was consistently around 37ºC (98ºF), the watermelon and lime agua fresca I made in 5′ was a life savour.

I am not crazy about summer in the city, but this brunch, with these ladies, really me eat my hat- along with everything elese.

Find the recipes & inspiration below.

Summer brunch in Athens

Summer brunch in Athens

Summer brunch in Athens

Summer brunch in Athens

Summer brunch in Athens

Pink fig cheesecake with a chocolate, dried fig & walnut base

Mango & raspberry jelly panacottas

Nectarine & tomato tart with lemon thyme, feta & balsamic– coming soon

Eggs en cocotte

For the watermelon & lime agua fresca: blend together 1/2 medium-sized watermelon and 1 1/2 limes. Strain through a fine mesh into a large jug and top with lots of ice cubes

Ifi took my photo- and there’s more from our brunch here!

 

 

Smoked trout & potato hash

in Savoury, Taste -

This smoked trout and potato hash with lots of fresh herbs and a lemony horseradish cream has become a favourite for a lazy Sunday brunch- so so good!

Smoked trout & potato hash

I first made this a while back, when I was full into my love affair with Blas Y Tir’s small, chubby & delicious potatoes. And while I’m not quite sure how the dish came to mind, I know we’ve enjoyed it time and again in the last few weeks. It is so very simple to put together and yet so flavourful and satisfying as the perfect hearty breakfast or leisurely lunch. [READ MORE]

Almond & white chocolate salami

in Desserts, Taste -

This almond & white chocolate salami is one of the easiest and quickest desserts you’ll ever make- and it is just ideal for summer snacking.

Almond & white chocolate salami

I am not exactly sure how this salami got stuck in my head; chocolate is, surprisingly, not something I really crave during the summer months. I long for simple pies and delicious ice creams, refreshing popsicles and fragrant sorbets. Yet here I was the other day, mixing melted butter with cocoa, chopping white chocolate, fragrant almond cookies and shaping it all into delicious thin logs. [READ MORE]

Spicy bread & tomato salad (panzanella)

in Savoury, Taste -

Crusty sourdough, fresh juicy tomatoes and harissa turn this hearty and spicy panzanella into the perfect quick summer dish. 

Spicy bread & tomato salad (panzanella)

Just have a quick look at my Instagram these days- it’s a tomato extravaganza, my own summery inspiration wall, a love letter to the season’s true queen. All hail the tomato and its beauty! I am not a purist when it comes to almost anything, but I do discriminate between tomatoes from back home and those from anywhere else. And when I say home, I mean it literally, my family’s country house, where we grow everything that summer is made of: the juiciest tomatoes in all sizes, crusty cucumbers, small green peppers, some spicy, some not, white, chubby aubergines, the most fragrant herbs and sweet/ tart plums in the most gorgeous purple. It’s all there and my summers are made of them on repeat. [READ MORE]

Beer, bacon & fennel seed bread

in Savoury, Taste -

In celebration of baking, picnics and all things summer, a beer, bacon & fennel seed bread I’ve been in love with for quite some time now.

beer-bacon-fennel-seed-bread

In my mind, I love baking; going through my fridge and cupboards, flipping through recipes or eyeing fresh produce of the season. Then slowly, sometimes reluctantly, others barely containing my self, forming a plan; it is often in the form of a challenge, but mostly I’m a slave to my own appetites and even more so to the people I have in mind when baking. I made these cookies for a friend leaving London for Portugal via Berlin and five different cakes for another friend’s birthday. There needs to be a reason, even if it’s just an overwhelming desire for pie or the juiciest tomatoes I could get my hands on. [READ MORE]

Summer potato salad with bresaola, tomatoes, radishes & avocado

in Savoury, Taste -

A summer potato salad with bresaola, tomatoes, radishes & avocado, which is as beautiful, simple, refreshing and filling as it gets. 

Summer potato salad with bresaola, tomatoes, radishes & avocado

When we were wee bit babies, our mom had an array of nicknames for us; amongst my favourites were ‘little potato chip’, for me, and ‘little shrimp’ for my sister. We were quite similar for sure, as identical twins can be, yet also quite different, as much as siblings usually are. I was the rounder one- hence the little potato monicker, which I always loved- even when I didn’t like my chubbiness, even when I decided I didn’t care much for potatoes. [READ MORE]

Damn fine cherry pie

in Desserts, Taste -

Buttery and crumbly on the outside, juicy, red and perfectly sweet on the inside- a damn summery, damn fine cherry pie indeed!  Damn fine cherry pie Pies with buttery, sugary crusts bursting with fruity, juicy fillings are amongst the things I most love to make; there is a bit of challenge to them, which is always a good thing, while also welcoming experimentation with so many different ingredients and flavours. Apples and pears are impossible to resist in gloomy, rainy, autumn days and cherries are a gift that keeps on giving in the summer. For this damn fine cherry pie, I have worked with Madame Gâteaux– she is not only amongst the people I most love to be with, she’s also my baking fairy godmother. She’s taught me every decent thing I know about baking- and without cringing even once at my questions, comments and suggestions. Without further ado, here’s her tips and secrets for the best damn fine cherry pie you’ve ever had in your life!

* find the original recipe, inspired by the insanely cool Twin Peaks, here. [READ MORE]

Fresh pea, watercress & egg tart

in Savoury, Taste -

Celebrating Father’s Day with a very crunchy and very green fresh pea, watercress & egg tart. Easy, quick, pretty and perfect for all handsome men out there. 

Fresh pea, watercress & egg tart

Father’s Day always comes at one of my favourite times of the year: it’s early summer, the weather is usually, hopefully, enticingly warm in the mornings and perfectly cool at night; work is slowly winding down and summer plans are slowly, or frantically, unfolding. And amongst all that, there’s this day and the additional charm it brings with it to celebrate. [READ MORE]

Greek mezze platter

in Inspiration, Small bites, Taste -

This Greek mezze platter features some of my favourites from Oliveology: extra virgin olive oil, delicious cheeses, crunchy olives & thick grape molasses. 

Greek mezze platter

I discovered Oliveology a little over a year ago- yet I knew of it. I’d heard stories from friends, Greek and foreigners alike- delicious stories about superb products, which increased homesickness for the former and filled the latter with a sudden urge to visit Greece. I met Marianna, the sweet and mighty owner and creative force behind the brand, randomly at a food event and subsequently discovered what all the fuss was about. Everything I’ve tried from Oliveology is simply very very good. [READ MORE]

Spicy avocado cocoa mousse

in Desserts -

One of my favourite chocolate desserts, this spicy avocado cocoa mousse is everything: delicately sweet, smooth and lightly spiced up with pink peppercorns. 

Spicy avocado cocoa mousse

Sharing this mousse was somewhat of an aftermath; the initial plan was much different and included an abundance of sweet and savoury Greek gems, all from Oliveology, on of my favourite Borough Market stores. And then things happened and plans changed- much more than plans changed actually. And  for a few days, I was not up for much. [READ MORE]