Category Archives: Recipes

Oranges and lemons galore

This is a fabulous time to be in Crete if you enjoy citrus fruit. I’ve read that people of Crete eat six times more of these juicy fruits than the average resident of other Mediterranean countries who themselves eat six times more fruit than residents of north European countries. Greek mythology says oranges were the gift of Gaea, Earth, at the wedding of the father of the Gods, Zeus with Hera.

Like European travellers who arrived in the island in the 19th century, I revel in the variety of oranges and lemons of the island. Although the west of Crete is renowned for oranges, we have a good winter crop where I live in the east. Navel oranges, bitter oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, mandarines, kumquats, lemons, bergamot, grapefruits and pink grapefruit are all enjoyed in my village of Kritsa. Although unripe lemons look like limes, I’m not aware of any growing locally.

Citrus colours cheer up a grey day and are so full of vitamin C I feel healthier just by looking at them. Vitamin C is necessary for the growth and repair of body tissues and used in the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.

orange treeAs vitamin C supports a healthy immune system, a deficiency can leave you more susceptible to colds. However, the jury seems to be out over whether taking vitamin C while you have a cold speeds recovery. I’m not taking any chances! While I have the opportunity I shall pick fruit for an instant snack when I pass a tree while walking in the country and gratefully accept gifts from generous neighbours to make fruit based recipes. Off the top of my head I can think of marmalades, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, lemon chicken, orange and chilli chicken, and a wonderful orange based tonic.

Fellow blogger, Amanda Settle lives on Rhodes where they have an annual orange festival so it’s not surprising that she knows some excellent recipes. One of my favourites is her tumeric, ginger and citrus tea recipe. With Amanda’s kind permission here is the recipe:-


  • 2 lemons sliced thinly and quartered
  • 1 orange sliced thinly and quartered
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 inches of ginger grated
  • 1 cup of local honey


  1. Thinly slice the lemons and oranges then quarter the slices
  2. Place in a jar with the rest of the ingredients and mix well
  3. Leave in the fridge overnight, liquid will come out of the fruit.
  4. Place a good spoonful of the mixture in bottom of your glass or cup and add hot water.

IMG_20170120_170137Keep the jar in the fridge and use daily.

I’m in the mood for recipes now so here are a couple more:-





Lemon Curd 

Ingredients to make 2 x 250 g/9 oz jars

  • 4 lemons, zest and juice–if you are not using local lemons make sure they are unwaxed
  • 200 g/7 oz caster sugar
  • 100 g/3½ oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk


  1. Put the lemon zest and juice, the sugar and the butter into a heatproof bowl.
  2. Sit the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture every now and again until all the butter melts.
  3. In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolk together. Remove any visible ‘threads’ of egg white.
  4. As soon as the butter has melted stir in the egg mixture and combine thoroughly.
  5. Leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every now and again, until the mixture is creamy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove the lemon curd from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally as it cools.
  7. Once cooled, spoon the lemon curd into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

TIP: To sterilise jars, put through the hot cycle of a dishwasher. Or, wash the jars in very hot, soapy water and then place the jars onto a baking tray and slide into an oven set to 150 C/300 F/Gas 3 for 10-15 minutes.

The following recipe for marmalade is courtesy of Steve Daniels who once posted it on his blog Crete Nature. I use it every year but adapt it to whatever fruit is available including blood oranges and grapefruit. I swap the brandy for Metaxa and use raki in grapefruit marmalade. Big navel oranges are great and if I use smaller oranges, I add an extra one or two.


I once spoilt two lots of marmalade by over cooking them and my husband used a lot of effort to chip away at the resulting solid mass to rescue the pans. I treated myself to a jam thermometer to prevent recurrence. However, without a thermometer pop a saucer in the freezer when you start the cooking process. Then, when you think the marmalade is ready, put a teaspoonful of the mixture on the cold saucer. After 30 seconds use a spoon to push it along. If it wrinkles up, then the mixture has reached setting point.

I’ve got a nursery rhyme going round and around in my head now – join in if you wish.


Oranges and lemons

Say the bells of St. Clements

I owe you five farthings

Say the bells of St. Martins

When will you pay me?

Say the bells at Old Bailey

When I grow rich

Say the bells at Shoreditch

When will that be?

Say the bells of Stepney

I’m sure I don’t know

Says the great bell of Bow

Greek cookery book with a big difference

Although social media has many critics, I love the way it allows you to ‘meet’ and get to know people from all around the world. Via our very different blogs, I corresponded with Greek American chef Krystina Kalapothakos and soon became Facebook friends. Back in August 2017, Krystina holidayed in Crete and we jumped at the opportunity to meet up. I’m glad to say social media friends became real friends that day.

How brave, or foolhardy, was I to bake a cake for a chef? The cake I chose was Fanouopita a traditional Cretan recipe for the name day of St. Fanourios on 27 August. With a splash of Metaxa and grated apple it keeps moist so I could bake it the day before.

During this visit we swapped books and Krystina’s Back To My Roots has pride of place in my Kritsa kitchen.

Along with Krystina’s friend Leilani , we visited the Kritsotopoula Memorial so I could give them insight to the true story behind my novel, Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa.  After this, we drove the 16 km up to Katharo Plateau for a simple lunch of chip omelette and salad. Krystina was in her element and was soon ‘cook-side’ chatting to Despina.

coverKrystina’s new book, A drop of ladi & My Greek Soul has 315 pages of recipes, insight to four areas of Greece and guest contributors… including me and my cake recipe for Fanouopita.

I am delighted to say Krystina has joined me on the blog today so we can learn more about her wonderful new book.



img_3773Mmm, is that Kourambiedes, Christmas cookies you’ve brought with you? I made them after seeing the recipe on your blog, Kouzounas Kitchen.

Well, we’re into December so I thought we could treat ourselves, and the recipe is in the book. 

While I lick the powdered sugar from my lips please describe your book. 

A Drop of Ladi & My Greek Soul is much more than just a cookbook! It encompasses Greek recipes, intertwining traditional and modern styles to bring the best of Greek cooking to your table—perfect for a beginner or intermediate foodie who appreciates Greek cuisine.
I have filled the book with 100+ unique recipes from four different regions of Greece and beautiful family stories. As head chef, I take readers on a Hellenic adventure, perusing traditional foods, wine pairings, travel stories, and the appreciation for Greek culture by beautiful people around the world. 
You can earn how to make rustic phyllo dough or maybe even feta saganaki with an ouzo honey sauce. Let your taste buds say Opa!

It certainly is much more than a recipe book. I love the section of Crete travel stories and friends! I’m ashamed to say I laughed at your tale of getting marooned on Spinalonga Island, but we’ll keep that between us and the people who read about your misadventure. I’ve never seen a book like this. Where did you get the idea?

My inspiration to write this book was for many reasons but the main one was to share my Greek culture and recipes with the world and to help promote Greek family businesses too!! Although this is my second cookbook, I yearned to share more Greek recipes and family stories from Greece. 

How many of the recipes have you cooked yourself?

I have cooked every recipe from the book including the featured recipes provided by other people. 

Wow! Your family must have enjoyed a lot of lovely dishes. Good job you checked my recipe as I’d forgotten to give you the quantity of sugar.
You’ve created a beautiful book. Not only is the cover enticing, the colourful inside pages are so well laid out. How on earth did you collate material?

Thank you, sweet friend. Well, the idea was to create a cookbook not only with a mixture of modern and traditional recipes, but to include many beautiful Greeks around the world, while intertwining my stories to go along with it. 
As I was testing recipes in the kitchen last year, I said to myself, well the first cookbook doesn’t have this specific recipe. Then I imagined a bigger version of BACK TO MY ROOTS to include passion and beauty from Greeks around the globe. This time I went BIG with 350 pages of amazingness. 

With Christmas fast approaching, your book will make a brilliant gift for foodies and people who love Greece. Where can people buy your books?

People can purchase direct orders from me via email ( or go to Amazon and purchase a copy of the book there. 
This is the link for Amazon worldwide                                                                                                              This is the link for Amazon UK –

After a well-earned rest, what are your plans for 2020?

HA, well so far, I am pretty busy with book signings, book orders, and catering. I am not sure when I will have some down time but if I do, I would like to enjoy with family and friends. My goal is to revamp the new online store, and carry some new Greek handmade jewelry, and aprons. 

How can people keep up with your work?
People can connect with me on my food blog ( as well as social media platforms. (Instagram/ Facebook/ Twitter) 

I have always enjoyed reading recipe books, and this one is a delight as there is so much information along with the delightful recipes. Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today.

Thank you for inviting me, I look forward to meeting up when I next visit Crete.

I certainly look forward to seeing you. Meanwhile, I’m off to the kitchen!