4 years of Eat Yourself Greek
Oh, my! Where have these four years gone? Certainly not down the drain, I have been quite busy of late. There is a sweet treat waiting for you, a pure white spoonful of goodness: ypovrechio, a submarine. And yes you can make it yourself, at home.
Head straight to the recipe
So really, what have I been up to the past year? Well, I have been partly in the kitchen, partly travelling, sometimes in front of the camera, most of the times behind. It has been a super creative year. Last summer I was in Mykonos, where I spend the best part of my time. Whilst there, I got some really exciting news, Eat Yourself Greek was featured in the CNN travel as one of the five best blogs on Greek cuisine. I did celebrate with grilled octopus in one hand and a glass of ouzo at the other and a few long laps in the sea, just to get the excitement off. It’s such great praise seeing your work recognised by a respected news network.
There have been a few fun dinners at Eat Like a Greek, too. Yes, if you visit Athens, you can come by for lunch or dinner or a drink. Me and Artemis will be cooking for you and indulge ourselves in a nice long chat about food and travels as we normally do. It’s exactly how we spent our evening with the lovely travelers of EU in my region.
For the most part, however, I have been photo-shooting. I think this is where you make it official that you actually work as a food photographer. I took on my first large food photography project, a book with recipes of the world tailored for kids. More of this will most likely come in the future as the book is still being prepped. So watch this space.
Meanwhile, I really enjoyed myself cooking with friends. My lovely friend Vicky and linguist extraordinaire shared with me some wonderful Nordic treats over Christmas, both the saffron buns and cinnamon buns were quite a hit with everyone. I also found myself in London quite a bit, it is second home after all. I know you loved Kostas’ chocolate raspberry tart, it’s hard not to. Even more so his date-energy balls, we cooked for a good cause too.
Whilst in London I also got a chance to check out the Greek restaurants too. If you are visiting and are in the look out for your Greek fix, check out these little gems – you won’t be disappointed. What was even more fun for me though, was spending some time with Despoina Siahuli, a Greek chef in London. I got the chance to fuss over pots and pans in her kitchen and enjoying possibly the best revithada I have every had.
There was also quiet some fuss during July, when I was nominated for the Marie-Claire insta-foodie competition. How fun that was! I took a bit of a detour, presenting work you don’t often see in Eat Yourself Greek, I went Mexican and I went a little bit crazy over stop motion, too. Not a winner, but so much richer for the experience. And really, how do you like stop-motion? I think I’m falling in love with it.
So, it’s been a year of lots of work and great fun, that deserves a celebration in its own merit. I didn’t go for a fancy triple layer cake nor a crazy full on Greek BBQ. Don’t think it didn’t occur to me. My afternoons this August are spent in the city, in peace and quiet, having this feeling that all is good with the world. I wanted to share a little bit of this with you and a very special Greek treat, ypovrechio, vanilla candy or mastic flavoured candy.
Have you ever tried ypovrechio? It’s a very old fashioned Greek sweet. It’s a spoonful of soft candy turned into submarine. How? Well you dip your spoon in a glass of chilled water, take a taste and submerge it back again. Thus, submarine! It will probably remind you of an afternoon with a Greek granny, possibly spent at the backgarden of a low-roofed house in the village. Perhaps with the sound of the waves in the background, hitting the sand with a wooosh not far off.
ypovrechio, submarine spoons, for me tastes of quiet afternoons. These precious moments, when not much is going on, where you enjoy the company of a few loved ones and there is not a single worry in the world. It’s a spoonful of sweetness and chilled water to cool off the heat of the Greek summer.
A prime treat, in olden times, when sugar used to be a praised commodity. You could find this treat at the best households and until now, it is still considered to be the official treat at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Konstantinoupoli. A regal treat indeed, as this candy has descended from byzantine halls [see 17th century Constantinople] and it has met the quiet afternoons of childhood in Greece no matter where you might be, in Athens, on the islands or up on the mountains at a tiny village with the large oak at the main square, a place where grandma used to call home.
And yes, you can make it yourself. Have you ever had a go at candy? I bet you have attempted sugar paste, it’s not far off. ypovrechio is thickened syrup, flavoured with vanilla or mastic and fiercely beaten to get its characteristic, malleable texture.
The ingredients are very simple, sugar, water a bit of lemon juice and flavouring of your liking, traditionally is vanilla or mastic. You will however need a stand mixer or a food processor to go ahead with this – please do not attempt to beat it by hand unless your muscles can keep on for a good 15 minutes. So, let’s make something sweet.
Here’s how to make your own
- 400 gr sugar
- 200 ml water
- 1 tbspn lemon juice
- 1 tspn of vanilla extract or 1 tspn mastic powde
- Add in a medium pot the water and sugar and bring the fire to low-medium heat.
- Let the sugar dissolve undisturbed, add in the lemon juice and let the mixture boil for 20-25 minutes.
- To check for doneness, get a spoon of the syrup and drop into cold water. It should become solid and not dissolve.
- Once done, transfer to the bowl of your stand-mixer and let it cool down. You can place in the fridge for 30 minutes if in a rush.
- When it reaches room temperature, put your blender on to medium speed and beat for around 15 minutes.
- Store in a sterilised container for 24 hrs and you are ready to enjoy. Obviously in a glass of ice cold water.
From Athens with love,