Tag: Traditional Foods of Greece


1 Norwegian Breakfast

Lefse – Potato Cakes

Once upon a time travellers on Norwegian Railways sleeper trains were handed special tickets by the train chief. ‘These are for your breakfast, go to the hotel across from the station,’ the chief would explain to bemused travellers. The sight on arrival in the grand hall of the grand hotel was a grand breakfast, an assortment of hot and cold foods that had no rival anywhere in the world. Sadly this tradition has lapsed. On the sleeper trains between Oslo, the capital of Norway, and Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim and between Trondheim and Bodø in the far north, a modest breakfast is served onboard. The grandiose buffet breakfasts are becoming a thing of the past, but some hotels are clinging to tradition by presenting modest grand buffets. Think of every possible breakfast food that is served across Europe, add the Norwegian love for loaves and fishes, cheeses and crispbreads, bacon and eggs, pickles and potatoes, and then something you never imagined.

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Cheese – Brunost Cheese – Gamalost Cheese – Gudbrandsdalsost Cheese – Jarlsberg Cheese – Norvegia Cheese – Pultost Cheese – Ridder Cheese – Snøfrisk Coffee
  • Crackers
  • Crispbreads
  • Eggs – boiled, fried, poached
  • Fishes – Klippfisk (cod), Lutefisk (lyed cod or ling), Sild (herring)
  • Leverpostej (liver paste)
  • Milk
  • Museli
  • Pickles
  • Lefse (potato flatbreads)
  • Potatoes
  • Smoked bacon, grilled to a crisp
  • Smoked salmon, with lefse or toast
  • Tea
  • Toast
  • Yoghurt

2 Welsh Breakfast

Bacon and eggs are a traditional breakfast throughout Europe, cockels and laverbread less so. In south Wales the sands stretch the length of the Gower peninsula. This is the cockel shore – a place of the laver. Laver is a soft purplish sea vegetable found at Atlantic shores, picked from rocks at low tide. It is thoroughly washed in two changes of water, drained, cooked and sold dried or fresh.

  • 8 slices smoked back bacon
  • 400 g laver pulp
  • 100 g oatmeal
  • Cockles
  • Eggs

Combine laver pulp and oatmeal, shape into 5 cm wide, 2 cm thick cakes. Fry bacon, remove, allowing fat to drip into the frying pan, keep warm. Bring heat up, wait until the bacon fat is starting to smoke, then fry the laver cakes, two minutes each side. Serve with bacon, sausages and poached (or fried) eggs … And fresh cockles.

3 Irish Breakfast

  • 8 potatoes
  • 4 mackerel, filleted
  • 90 g butter
  • Seasonings

Boil the potatoes in their skins. Pan-fry the mackerel in half of the butter, skin-side down first. Serve with the potatoes, split in half, a little butter in each.

4 Sicilian Breakfast

  • 2 squid, cleaned, cut into small pieces
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 5 g chilli flakes
  • Water, for boiling

Bring water to the boil, heat oil in a deep frying pan. Place squid in the boiling water, boil for 90 seconds, then transfer it to the frying pan. Flash fry squid, about three minutes, adding the chilli after two minutes. Deglaze pan with lemon juice, pour over squid, serve.

5 French Breakfast

  • 16 oysters
  • 4 slices thick country bread
  • 4-6 slices streaky bacon
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 15 ml anchovy sauce
  • Pepper, large pinch
  • 4 wooden skewers

Shell the oysters, soak in the anchovy sauce and lemon juice. Season, wrap a piece of bacon around the oyster, skewer, four to each stick. Toast the bread and place the oyster wraps under a hot grill for two minutes.

6 English and Scottish Breakfast

  • 600 g haddock / smoked haddock, cut into chunks
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 350 g long grain rice
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 75 g onion, chopped
  • 25 g butter
  • 5 g parsley, chopped
  • 5 cardamoms, crushed
  • 3 g cinnamon
  • Turmeric powder, very large pinch
  • Seasonings
  • Water, for boiling

Sauté onion in butter in a large frying pan for ten minutes, add bay leaf, spices and seasonings. Stir rice into the onion mixture, add stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Simmer haddock in water for five minutes, flake and set aside. Chop eggs into small pieces. Stir the eggs, fish and parsley into the rice, heat through, season.

7 Swedish Breakfast

  • 2 litres water
  • 250 g smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices wholewheat bread
  • 10 g salt
  • Black peppercorns, crushed

Salt the water and bring to the boil. Break an egg into a small bowl, carefully let it slip into the water, reduce heat and poach for three minutes, remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining eggs. Toast bread, place a poached egg on each slice, garnish with equal amounts of the salmon and a sprinkling of black pepper.

8 Turkish Breakfast

  • 1 kg Black Sea anchovy fillets
  • 250 g corn / maize flour
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • Sunflower oil

Pour flour into a large bowl, dredge anchovies through flour, place side by side on plates. Heat oil, fry anchovies until crisp, drain. Serve with lemon juice.

9 Greek Breakfast

The art of preparing octopus for the grill has consumed the time of Greeks for centuries. The tenderising process alternates between pounding, freezing, baking, marinating and slow cooking. Yet the one method that remains infallible is drying the whole fish under a hot sun in a light breeze.

  • 1 kg octopus, sun dried
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml vinegar
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tbsp oregano

Blend the oil and vinegar, cut the octopus into pieces. Marinade in this mixture for an hour. Grill under a high heat for three or four minutes until the flesh is tender. Serve with vinaigrette of lemon juice and oregano.

10 Russian Breakfast

Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat describes caviar as ‘the last legendary food of modern times’. Traditionally caviar was made from the roe of wild sturgeon in the nutrient rich Caspian Sea.

It came in four varieties: –

Beluga (pale to dark grey eggs from the larger fish, up to 1000 kg).

Oscietra (various coloured eggs from the smaller fish, 300 kg).

Sevruga (dark grey to black eggs from the smallest fish, 60 kg).

Sterlet (a very small sturgeon that is almost extinct).

Seruga is thought to be too strong for a breakfast caviar, beluga too rich, which leaves oscietra, a light nutty caviar. Because of its flavour, roe from the Icelandic capelin is accepted as caviar and suitable for breakfast.

  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g oscietra caviar / black capelin caviar
  • 45 ml kefir
  • 45 g flour
  • 10 g sugar
  • Baking soda, large pinch
  • Oil, for frying
  • Salt, pinch

Whisk the kefir into the eggs, season, add flour and soda to make a smooth batter, leave to froth. Heat some oil in a hot frying pan, pour a tablespoon of the batter into the centre of the pan, remove from heat. When holes form on the surface, flip over, and after a few seconds press with a spatula into the pan, putting it back on the heat for a minute. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with the caviar.

Legendary Dishes | Piperópita Pilíou Πιπερόπιτα Πηλίου (Pelion pepper pie)

  • 800 g horned red peppers, sliced
  • 250 g filo pastry
  • 200 g feta, crushed
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 2 orange peppers, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned, chopped, liquid drained
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 60 ml milk
  • 60 g trahana powder
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 15 g butter
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt

Sauté the onions and sliced horned peppers in the oil, covered, until they begin to wilt. Add the bell peppers, cover and cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat, cook until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring several times. Take off heat, leave to cool. Stir in the feta, tomato pulp, trahana and seasonings.

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Beat 2 egg whites in a bowl, fold into the cheese-onion-pepper-tomato mixture.

Butter a baking tray. Crumble the filo, place half on the buttered surface of the tray, add the cheese mixture, top with remaining filo. Beat the egg yolks with the milk, coat the filo.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Kerkyraïkí Giaourtópita Κερκυραϊκή Γιαουρτόπιτα (lemon yoghurt pie)

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 300 g white wheat flour, t500 / white spelt flour
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 g yoghurt
  • 220 g butter, softened
  • 5 lemons, zest
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 vanilla pod

Whisk butter and sugar until it is integrated, add egg yolks and yogurt, beat mixture until smooth.

In a separare bowl beat egg whites until they are stiff.

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, lemon zest and vanilla.

Fold one spoonful of the flour mixture followed by one spoonful of egg whites into the butter-sugar mixture. Repeat until the flour mixture and egg whites are used up.

Add the lemon juice and pour the batter into a prepared cake tin or tray.

Bake at 180ºC for 70 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Ntomatokeftédes Ντοματοκεφτέδες (tomato burgers)


These unique cheese and tomato burgers are a traditional product of the Greek island of Santorini and ideally they should be made with Santorini tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are preferable but tinned tomatoes will also work.

  • 800 g Santorini tomatoes, skinned
  • 200 g feta / kefalotyri, grated
  • 90 g + 30 g fine semolina
  • 90 g onions, puréed
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 30 g dried onion
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp boukovo flakes and seeds / red chilli flakes and seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried mint, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram, crushed
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp oregano, chopped
  • 2 chives, chopped
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Salt, large pinch

Chop the tomatoes, place in a sieve and leave them to drain for an hour.

Press with a wooden spoon to drain remaining liquid.

Transfer to a bowl, stir in the dried onion, onion purée and all the herbs and seasonings plus the baking powder and chilli flakes and seeds. Leave for an hour.

Stir in the cheese and around 90 grams of semolina, a little more if the mixture is too sticky. Refrigerate for two hours.

Shape into small round burgers, coat in semolina.

Heat some oil in a frying pan, fry burgers over a medium-high heat, three minutes on each side, to produce a golden brown crust.

Legendary Dishes | Pisía Pontiaká Πισία Ποντιακά (potato pies)


Traditionally these delightful little potato pies are served with honey and dressed with cinnamon and sugar.


  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 125 lemon juice
  • 1 duck egg / 2 hen eggs (110 g)
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 30 g vanilla sugar
  • 15 g yeast
  • 5 g salt

Warm lemon juice, add sugar, reduce heat and stir, leave until warm to the touch. Dissolve yeast in the juice. Stir salt into the flour. Break the egg into the flour, add the olive oil and yeast mixture. Knead into a smooth dough, leave to rise for an hour, degas.


  • 900 g potatoes, whole, boiled in their skins, mashed with a fork
  • 300 g onions, chopped small
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 10 g dried oregano
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley

Sweat onions in oil over a medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, stir, remove from the heat, and let the filling stand for about 30 minutes to cool.

Roll the dough thin, cut into 12 cm rounds. Place the filing on top, shape into an oblong, seal and roll, pinching any open gaps.

Fry in shallow oil until they are golden on all sides.

Legendary Dishes | Bougátsa Μπουγάτσα (cheese custard pie)


The double act that is filo and feta among the traditional pie dishes of Greece has a tendancy to over-shadow the food acts that require kefalotyri, the spicy hard cheese made from goat or sheep milk, and ladotiri, the salty hard cheese also made from goat or sheep milk.

Bougátsa is one of these acts. Generally a custard pie made with semolina it is often transformed into a cheese custard pie made with kefalotyri and ladotyri to produce an enigmatic flavour that is unforgettable.


  • 12 leaves of filo pastry
  • 120 g butter, melted
  • Butter, for greasing

Cheese Sauce

  • 1 litre milk
  • 250 g kefalotyri cheese
  • 250 g ladotyri mytilinis cheese
  • 80 g butter
  • 80 g white flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 g black pepper
  • Nutmeg, 20 gratings
  • Salt, pinch

Heat milk and butter in separate saucepans. Add flour to the butter saucepan to make a roux. Increase heat. Using a wire whisk stir the warm milk into the roux. Add black pepper and nutmeg. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, leave to cool. Stir the cheeses and the egg yolk into the sauce and add some salt.

In turn smear the melted butter over half of the pastry leaves, crumple and place in the bottom of a buttered baking tray.

Pour the cheese sauce on top.

Smear all but two of the remaining pastry leaves with butter, crumple on top of the cheese sauce. Smear the last two pastry leaves with butter, place on top of the crumpled leaves.

Bake at 170ºC for 45 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Lalángia Messinías Λαλάγγια Μεσσηνίας (olive ribbons)


Traditional to Mani and Messinia, these delightful olive ribbons are prepared in the home for celebrations and weddings. Made with local olive oil, local bakeries make them as a snack food. Coated in honey they become a sweet snack. Generally they are eaten with cheese. Coated in honey they become a sweet snack.

  • 500 g white wheat flour, t500
  • 290 ml olive oil
  • 50 ml water, lukewarm
  • 25 g yeast
  • 1 tbsp white wheat flour, t500
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 orange, zest
  • Oli, for frying

Put the yeast in lukewarm water with the sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour, leave to rise, about 30 minutes.

Rub the oil with the flour, salt, spices and zest. Add the yeast mixture, knead, cover with a towel, rest for 2 hours.

Cut the dough into large balls, roll out into thin strings, making the pattern of your choice.

Fry in batches in hot oil for 5 minutes each time until they are golden, remove them to absorbent paper to cool.