Αγάπη μου Ελλάδα μου – My love, my Greece
Do you ever feel you belong to a certain country that is not your birth or ‘growing up place’? Greece is that place that feels like home to me. I am not Greek, nor do I have greek blood or relation in me. And I have only discovered it in my adulthood. But every time I am back in Greece I get an overwhelming feeling of familiarity and warmth towards it. I somehow understand it all. I understand why a middle aged Greek woman would out dresses black for far longer than she should, I appreciate how everything has to be home made including the feta cheese, bread and olive oil. I love the drama of it all and I love how every other home has its own little chapel in the garden.. and to cut a long list short I love Greek music.
I was introduced to the voice of Nena Venetsanou ten summers ago and I was hooked. One of my favourite albums for this legendary singer is a collaboration with the composer Mikis Theodorakis. Epitaphios (Epitaphs) are poems written by the poet Yannis Ritsos in 1936 when the Greeks where fighting the Germans. The poet says “For me my senses, my basic auditory perception, come from the people. And this is what came out of me. It is what I sang, danced, and listened to, since I was a child” Theodorakis composed the piano music to these poems. The opening song is about a mother in the middle of the street that laments for her dead, killed child with people protesting in the background. I find great pathos in this music especially that mothers in this part of the world; Syria and Palestine have lost and loose their children in unfair situations on daily basis. The human life is so similar in its fragility and pain and it is all expressed in this universal music.
Anyhow the dessert in the post is inspired and adapted from Magda’s blog post at http://mylittleexpatkitchen. Revani is what we call in the Middle East Harrisa; an ultra sweet and delicious dessert made of semolina. This adapted version is a lot lighter and it could actually be called a Coconut cake.
I have altered the ingredients in a way to cut some of the fat and sugar content from the original recipe. I decided that the cake will be drenched in a syrup anyway so there was no need to add the original 230g of sugar and 160g of butter, instead I added yoghurt to the milk to give the cake its moistness.
- 100 g butter
- 180 g sugar
- 3 eggs
- 220 ml mixed half milk and half yoghurt
- 250g flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 140g desicated organic coconut
- 350g sugar
- 360 ml water
- 20 ml lemon juice
- peel of 1 lemon
Pre heat the oven to 180C, spray the base and sides of a 22 or 24 cm spring form pan and place a parchment paper on the base (this is important in order to remove the cake easily from the pan). All ingredient should be at room temperature. Place the butter with the sugar in a free-standing cake mixer with paddle attachment on and mix until well incorporated. Add one egg at a time, always mixing well, on the side, mix the milk with the yoghurt the and add to the butter. In a side bowl sieve the flour with the BP and add slowly at first to the butter mixture and turn off the machine, add the rest of the coconut by folding it in with a rubber spatula. Pour the mix in the cake tin and bake for 35 minutes in the lowest part of the oven and 10-15 minutes in the middle or higher level to get a nice brown crust.
For the syrup, while the cake is cooling in its pan on a rack. Place the sugar, water, juice and lemon peel in a little sauce pan and let it come to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Remove the peel. Once the cake has completely cooled down, keeping it in the cake pan, pierce a few holes using a tooth pick and re heat the syrup till it’s very warm and using a spoon pour over the cake. I found that the syrup makes an escape and creates a big mess from under the cake. So keep a plate or a bowl to save some of the syrup. Sprinkle the cake with some desicated coconut for both taste and decoration. Bon Appetite!
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