For many years, I was frustrated that I could never find certain traditional foods the way they were made at home - no preservatives, no additives - just pure ingredients to serve my family.
Well, things had changed and improved over the years with people becoming more aware of what they ate and more conscious of processed foods. With all this, it was still hard to find nutritional, unprocessed food for an evening meal. So, in 2002 with 2 kids, a monster mortgage, I decided to quit "my job" and take a huge plunge in fixing this problem.
From a very young age my sisters and I were always encouraged (actually forced) to learn to cook from our mother and grandmother. Growing up in a Greek-Cypriot household, it was "our duty" to learn to cook. We were taken to farms to get fresh milk, then take it back home to make fresh haloumi cheese and ‘anari’ – ricotta cheese.
We watched chickens being plugged and cleaned, sat for hours on end helping make trahana ( cracked wheat with yogurt – made into soup ), flaounes ( cheese breads served at easter time), koulouria, kourabiedes – the list goes on. At the time, it is true to say we didn’t appreciate it and in fact at times we resented it. I was and still am blessed to be surrounded by fantastic cooks - my mum and aunts. Their recipies and insistence on fresh, seasonal and preferably home grown vegetables and fruit has been permanently instilled in me. Years on, as adults and parents ourselves I am grateful and very thankful for my mother’s patience and perseverance in showing us “how to cook”. I now face the same complaints from my children. I hope one day they will appreciate it as I did.
So, my fascination and involvement in food has been deeply embedded in me. A few years ago, I very cheekily, wrote in to Matt Preston about an article he was about to write on making Greek souvlaki. He challenged me to cook some for him – and so I did. He loved it! You can view that article here if you wish.
I now hope I can teach you, the way my mum has taught me, traditional Greek and Greek Cypriot food to enjoy with your families.
These classes are held in Templestowe, Melbourne and are designed in an informal and fun manner. It’s your chance to experience cooking new recipes, improve on your techniques and meet and make new friends. They are demonstration format, though participants are encouraged to assist at various times during the class. We will cook delicious food together, and enjoy the meal afterwards.
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Many thanks for your attention and time. If there is anything i can assist you (menu planning, portion control for a party, ideas with food), with please do not hesitate to contact me.
Nikoletta (Niki) Louca