Is Honey Organic? The hard truth.

Is Honey Organic? The hard truth.

Hello my friends!!!

Today, I want to share with you two great blog articles I read some time ago. Both articles are talking about a burning issue I was wondering about and I am sure you are thinking about also. Is honey organic?

Bellow you can find the links to both articles. I am giving you the links because I don’t want to “steal” the work of someone else and knowing the effort they have to put in to writing an informative article I want to acknowledge their work.

The first is from Lucy Siegle, posted on the Guardian website. The title of the article is: “Is there any such thing as organic honey?”, and although the article is aimed at the UK market, what she is describing extends to almost every other country with heavy industry.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/11/organic-honey-any-such-thing

The second article comes from Max Goldberg, an American Blog writer and businessman posted on his page livingmaxwell.com. This article is talking about the certification of Organic Honey, produced in US by USDA, the United States Department of Agriculture. For me what is the most shocking outcome of this article is that there are dozens if not hundreds product codes, sold right now, around the world with a certification that is nothing else but a sticker.

http://livingmaxwell.com/organic-honey-certified

For the few of us interested in Organic products and their certification, both articles should be a guide on what to expect and what to check when we buy Certified Organic products. Do not be fooled by sticker certifications and nice advertisements. Get informed, get involved.

Bellow you can see the link to European Commission website about Organic Farming, Organic Products and Rural Development. Spend a few minutes and read subjects like:

What is organic farming?

The EU policy about Organic Farming and Organic Certification

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/index_en.htm

It’s an easy reading site with lots of information and I really believe that you will find it helpful & useful.

That’s it for now. There are 5 kilos of Red Organic peppers on the kitchen bench waiting to be cooked into pickles for the winter to come. Don’t worry; I will post the recipe and procedure soon. Until then have a nice “Organic” weekend.

Homemade Tomato Juice with Organic Tomatoes

Homemade Tomato Juice with Organic Tomatoes

Hello my firends!!!

The pleasure of homemade preparation combined with the economy and the unsurpassed taste of seasonal produce is something I love. I also love pasta, so tomato is my number one ingredient. I still remember my grandmother preparing the “winter” tomato juice. The truth is that back then I was young and the only thing I cared about was the big bread slice that she gave me, covered with the tomato juice and olive oil. I still remember the taste.

The main idea is to “imprison” the unsurpassed taste of seasonal organic tomato.

Ingredients: Red organic tomatoes, well-chosen herbs and extra virgin organic olive oil.

Utensils: A heavy-bottomed saucepan, some glass jars with screw cap and if you want to make it more classic, labels for the jars.

Time: From 30-45mins for about 2 kilos of tomatoes which is about a 1 kilo jar. It’s really easy to do it, but for the first time it can be a little time consuming. For the next batch you will see that time will be much less.

Maintenance time: If you close the jars, airtight, the juice will last for many months, perhaps even a year or more (although I am pretty sure you will eat them much earlier).

Organic street markets or small organic farmers (like in our case), is the place to start. Find the most delicious tomatoes. Do not care about the appearance of the tomato. Be careful to choose mature, juicy, tasty tomatoes with flavor. Avoid melted tomatoes or green ones.

Calculate that for every kilo of fresh tomatoes, you will get half a kilo of tomato juice. So, buy the quantity you want and don’t forget to choose with the same care. The remaining ingredients should be fresh and delicious: onions, garlic, fresh herbs.

Sterilization of the jars is necessary. Wash them well and let them dry in a low heat oven (100 °C). Put caps in separately and at a lower heat, because there is a chance the plastic inside the lids might melt. Otherwise, put the jars in a saucepan, cover them with water and bring them to the boil for 10 minutes. Boil caps separately. Remove them with clean tongs and leave them on a linen towel to dry.

The airtight seal is what will preserve the contents of the jars for a long time. Fill the jars with the hot sauce up to 1 cm from jar edge, screw caps on and turn them upside down until the jars are completely cold. In order to be sure that the air is out of the jars, the caps will have an inward recess, indicating that air has been removed.

Tomato juice for every use

Boil the tomatoes for 5 minutes until you can see that you can peel them without too much effort. Take them out of the saucepan and peel them, then cut them in half and press them in order to get rid of the seeds and the water they have inside. You are almost there. Bring them to the boil for 20 to 50 minutes (depending on the density you want). During this final stage you can create your one recipe with herbs and any other ingredients you want. Personally I want the juice to be neutral in taste so I put in only a little salt, a bit of sugar which will reduce the sharpness in taste and some extra virgin organic olive oil.

That’s it. You are ready to enjoy a winter full of recipes with homemade tomato juice.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Hello friends!!!

Today I am going to tell you about a magician. A chocolate magician! Have you ever seen the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory??? Do you remember Willy Wonka? I have news for you. Willy Wonka exists (in a way).

Her friends know her as Tea, but I call her in many different names, depending on how I feel every time I see a new creation of her. My most popular are “Choco Magician”, “ChocoHeaven” “Choco Mia” and “Slurp”.

Unlike Willy Wonka, she is not closed in a large chocolate factory but she lives in Milan, Italy and besides her lovely website (www.teascake.it), you can find her wonderful creations on Instagram (@teascake). If you like chocolate and sweets in general, then this is your Chocolate factory. A place every child (regardless of the age) wants to be!!!

tea (5) tea (4) tea (3) tea (2) tea (1)

Homemade Loukoumades with Organic Honey

Hello my friends!

Today it’s Loukoumades day!!! A really happy day!!!

Ok I admit it may sounds strange that I am so happy about a strange Greek word but let me explain. In Greece (and I hope in every other country) grandmothers are a special person for every child. Grandmothers are the ones “spoiling” kids with small sweet treats and large amounts of love. Every grandmother has a huge list of homemade sweets suitable for every occasion but today I am going to give you the recipe of my favorite one. As you have already understood it’s called Loukoumades.

Ingredients (for 3 persons)

2 cups flour

2 cups water

1 packet yeast powder

1 pinch salt

Sunflower oil for frying

Organic honey for serving

Cinnamon for serving

Preparation

Mix the flour with yeast powder and slowly add lukewarm water. Then stir until you have smooth dough. Finally add a pinch salt, cover the mixture with a towel and put in a warm place in order to let the dough rise. Let it rest for at least 2 hours. The rough must be double its size.

In a deep pan heat the sunflower oil over medium-high heat. Then take a handful of the mixture and tighten your fist so a little dough comes out between your forefinger and thumb. With a teaspoon, which you have already wet, cut the rough (?) and throw it into the hot oil. Fry it until it gets a nice golden color. Remove the Loukoumades one by one with a slotted spoon and place on a platter lined with paper towels.

Let them cool down a little and drizzle with pure Organic honey. You can add cinnamon if you like.

Sit back and enjoy the absolute sweet simplicity!

Bougatsa Serron

Hello friends!

Today I am going to write to you about one of my favorite snacks. It’s called Bougatsa and according to the legend, Bougatsa originates from a northern city in of Greece called Serres.

Bougatsa (1)

As you will see, my blog post tonight is not aimed at providing you with a recipe. It’s rather an attempt to show you that Greece is not only about Mousakas and Souvlaki, but it has a huge variety of different tastes and ingredients. Use it as a road map to Greek tastes, so next time you are in Greece you will be able to eat something other than the usual tourist dishes.

I guess there is something of a history between me and Serres. Although it’s 700km from Athens I have been there at least a thousand times. First it was the race circuit that caught my attention. You see, one of my hobbies (apart from cooking and traveling) is motorcycle racing, and Serres has the only decent racetrack in Greece.

The second thing that totally got my attention was a tall beautiful blond woman. My love and wife Sotiria. It was during one of those trips to Serres that we met. I was eating and chatting with my friends in a nice tavern when I suddenly saw her turning around a corner and walking towards me. That was it. Love at first sight.

The third was eating the real Bougatsa. I say the real Bougatsa because you can find Bougatsa everywhere in Greece but you haven’t really tasted a Bougatsa unless you have eaten one in Serres. Pure Magic! And the taste becomes even better if you eat the Bougatsa together with cold cacao milk.

Technically Bougatsa is a paper-thin stretched raw dough. So when you ask for a Bougatsa you must specify the filling you want. The most usual fillings are: feta cheese, semolina custard cream, ground beef and spinach with feta cheese mix -but the truth is you can eat Bougatsa with almost anything as filling. The sky is the limit. I have even seen Bougatsa with carbonara filling.  The stretched dough is crispy with a mild salty taste. Although it sounds simple, every Bougatsa shop has its own recipe and as you can imagine, the recipe is kept secret and goes from father to son. One other fascinating thing about Bougatsa is the stretching of the dough. Below you can see a small video on how the stretching is done.

The best way to eat a Bougatsa is hot, right out of the oven and cut into small serving pieces. If you choose it with semolina custard cream then they will serve it to you with powder sugar and cinnamon on top.

So next time you are in Greece try to order a Bougatsa. I am sure you will be delighted.

Organic Honey based moisturizing masks for after the beach

Good morning my friends.

Today, I will write about two Moisturizing masks for the face, the body and hair, made from natural, organic products.

In Greece, summer is synonymous with sun and sea. Even for us who haven’t yet gone for holidays, being located in Athens is a gift. In half an hour you can find yourself on the beach, enjoying a refreshing swim.

But what about dehydration caused by the sun, the salt and sweating; Our skin and our hair are dehydrating a lot and the need for rapid hydration is imperative. Our bodies need to be moisturized and we need to feel young and beautiful as we really are.

Moisturizing Mask for face and body

1 tablespoon organic honey

1 teaspoon of organic sugar

1 teaspoon organic yogurt

1 teaspoon organic olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar melts and the mix become a uniform cream. Then apply it on your face and other parts of your body that feel dehydrated. Relax for 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. I am sure you will feel your skin vibrant, hydrated and elastic. A simple cream works wonders.

Hair mask with honey and olive oil

3 tablespoons organic honey

5 tablespoons organic olive oil

Mix both ingredients and apply to your hair from the middle towards the edges, gently massage for 5 minutes. Then wrap your hair with a towel and allow the mixture to penetrate into the trunk of the hair. Rinse with water and wash your hair.

I am sure you will be thrilled by the results.

Steamed mussels with beer!!!

Hi!!!

Today it was my turn to cook so I decided to cook one of my favorite dishes. Steamed mussels with beer. A really simple recipe, minimal on ingredients and really quick (if you buy the mussels already cleaned). I didn’t, so I am going to explain you also how to clean them before you steam them.

IMG_20150809_210648
Preparation

Put the mussels in a big bowl with clean cold water and 2 tablespoons of salt (I use the pink Himalayan salt). Leave them for about an hour in order for the sand and foreign bodies on the shell to be easily removed. Then, take each mussel separately with a knife and begin to remove the limestone bodies or some small barnacles if present. Then pull out the pre adductor mussel and rinse thoroughly. In order to help you, take a look at the next two pictures – one with the “beard” and one without.

IMG_20150809_210914IMG_20150809_210834
Ingredients
As you can see in the picture you are going to need:

IMG_20150809_211019

1 tomato (Organic)
1 Onion (Organic)
Garlic (I leave it to you to decide how much to put in. I prefer a lot) (Organic)
1 tablespoon salt
1 lemon juice
1 glass of beer
2 tablespoon olive oil (Organic)

Take a large pot or a shallow pan and cover the bottom with slices of tomato and onion. Then put in the garlic, the olive oil, the lemon juice and the salt.

IMG_20150809_210752

 

Now, heat the pot on high heat. As soon as you see the oil heating up (about 1 minute) put the mussels into the pot and close the pot lid. There is no need to put in water. Mussels have a lot inside them.

Let the mussels to cook for 5 to 7 minutes.

Open the lid and pour 1/3 of the beer and drink the rest. Take out only the mussels and with a tablespoon pour on them as much sauce from the pot as you want.

You are ready to enjoy them. Don’t forget to pour every mussel with lemon juice before you eat it. Lemon gives them a special taste.

Important tip. Remove the closed mussels. Do not eat them.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy them!!!

Marvelous Feta cheese pies with honey!!!

Marvelous Feta cheese pies with honey!!!

Hello my friends!

Today I’m going tell you how to make a famous Greek starter, Feta cheese pie with handmade short crust pastry. Now that I am thinking, it’s not only a tasteful starter but an all-day, any course bite. Alexis at least, eats them all day long ;-)

Let’s begin with the ingredients (of course no need to mention, all ingredients are organic)

For the pastry

225g cow yogurt (Usually for the short crust pastry people use butter but I prefer yogurt. It’s much healthier)

½ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

500 g Self-Raising Flour

For the filling

300g Feta cheese

2 eggs

Optional pepper (If you like spicy)

1egg for egg-painting

Preparation

  1. First we make the pastry. Put all ingredients in a bowl, except the flour. Stir until the mix looks like cream. Then pour the flour slowly into the bowl and stir. It’s important to pour the flour slowly in order not to make it stick. When the mixture is ready, leave it to rest. Don’t forget to cover the bowl with a towel. Leave it resting for half an hour.
  2. Now let’s prepare the filling. Shatter the Feta cheese into a bowl and mix it with the eggs. Stir for a little while in order for the egg to mix with the cheese.
  3. Let’s marry the pastry and the filling. Take small pieces of the pastry and mold them like small ping pong balls. Then press them with your palm in order to make a small round patty. Take a tea spoon and fill the middle of the patty with the filling. Close the patty in half to form a small half-moon pie. To ensure the patty will stay closed, press the edges smooth with a fork.
  4. Take a baking pan and cover the bottom with a wax paper. Put inside the small pies and egg-paint them on the top. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 30 minutes.

The one million dollar tip:

Pour the cheese pies with honey before serving to your guests. They will be amazed.

Good luck!!!

PS. I am waiting for your comments!

Honey & Cinnamon weight loss tea

Honey & Cinnamon weight loss tea

Are you already regretting you didn’t start dieting earlier? Maybe if you did, you could wear that rather expensive and bold swimsuit that drew your attention last week at the shopping mall. Or maybe you could wear that tight, white backless dress you bought last year. What about your holidays? Are you ready?

I know. I feel the same. Summer is already here and you have not managed to get rid of the extra pounds gained during winter. Do you feel remorse? Are you promising yourself that you will be more prudent next summer?

Do not despair! It is not too late. How;

Just follow a simple, balanced diet and try the perfect slimming tea recipe that follows:

– ¼ tea spoon of Organic Ceylon cinnamon*

– A half of Organic Ceylon cinnamon* bark stick

– 1 tea spoon of Organic honey

– Juice of half a fresh lemon

Boil a cup of water. Put it in a cup and add the ¼ tea spoon of Organic Ceylon cinnamon and the Organic Ceylon cinnamon* bark stick. Cover the cup and let it steep for half hour. As soon as it has cooled, stir the tea spoon of Organic honey.

For best results enjoy a cup of cinnamon tea twice a day, before breakfast and about 1/2 hour before you go to bed. Cinnamon has been shown to help control blood sugar/insulin levels, which contributes to weight management.

Do not reheat the tea if you have mixed the honey. Heating your tea will destroy the nutrients in the honey.

About the ingredients

Use only Ceylon cinnamon. Try to find organic, but be careful. There is only one real cinnamon. The Ceylon cinnamon. To understand the difference and the dangers that exist with the common cinnamon that we buy from shops, I suggest you to google it. We are using Cosmoveda but I am sure if you search you will find other producers also.

Our Organic honey is Greek. It is a raw unprocessed organic honey from Central Peloponnesus and soon we will introduce it to you with a fully dedicate article and give you the opportunity to buy it from our shops.

Until then enjoy your tea and think organic ;-)