Monday, September 16, 2013

Abbecedario Culinario - Cyprus-Moussaka

Cyprus is the 13th stop on the Culinary Journey through Europe (L'Abbecedario Culinario della Comunità Europea) and I'm very pleased to announce that I will be hosting.


The history of Cyprus can be traced back to the Neolithic Period (around 10000BC) at the World Heritage Site of Khirokitia. By 1400BC Greek traders were well established, bringing their cultural influence to the island. It's said that the Goddess Aphrodite emerged from the waters off Cyprus between the towns of Limassol and Paphos.

Due to its favourable location, Cyprus has seen its share of invaders - from Alexander the Great, Cleopatra to Richard the 1st. In 1459 it was handed over to Venice and from 1571 it came under Ottoman rule. From 1878 it was placed under British administration until independence in 1960. Finally in 1974 after the Turkish invasion, the island was virtually split into two and remains divided to this day.

It is no surprise that with such a colourful history the cuisine of Cyprus shows its Greek, Syrian, Lebanese, Italian, French, Catalan and Turkish influences - so you are sure to find a dish to suit your tastes.

As part of this alphabetical culinary journey we have arrived at the letter M and the dish selected to represent Cyprus is Moussaka.

Moussaka is a layered dish of eggplant, potato and meat topped with a béchamel sauce. I always thought that Moussaka used lamb but apparently it is more traditional to use a mix of beef and pork. Since I'm a novice when it comes to Cypriot cuisine I've sought out expert advice and found the answer in the pages of Tessa Kiros' Falling Cloudberries - this recipe is the one used by Tessa's Aunt.

moussaka© by Haalo



Moussaka
[Slightly Adapted from Tessa Kiros (Falling Cloudberries)]
Serves 4

1 large eggplant
2 potatoes, peeled
Meat Filling:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
300 grams mix of pork and beef mince
ground cinnamon
dried oregano
white wine
1 cup tomato passata, approx
Béchamel Sauce
25 grams butter
25 grams cornflour
1½ cups milk
25 grams kefalotyri cheese, grated
1 egg yolk

Notes: There is a lot to do in this recipe but it all can be done in advance. You can leave the dish as individual components and assemble when you're ready to cook. You can also cook it in advance and reheat it when needed.

Prepare the eggplant:
It's more traditional to slice the eggplants lengthways but due to the size of my dish I've sliced it into rounds. Top and tail the eggplant and then cut evenly into 5mm thick slices. If you find your eggplants are usually bitter you should salt the slices at this stage for about 30 minutes otherwise just skip this step.

Fry the eggplant in olive oil until golden and soft - beware eggplant is a sponge when it comes to oil so once cooked drain them on paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Prepare the potatoes:
Slice the potatoes into 2mm thick slices - steam them until just tender. Drain and then pat dry. Fry these slices in the same oil as the eggplant until golden. Once again, place on paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Make the filling:
Sauté the onion in a little oil until soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and parsley and cook for a minute. Crumble in the minced meat and cook until the meat has browned evenly. Add in a little dried oregano, a sprinkle of cinnamon and season with a little salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine and once it has evaporated stir in the passata. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The filling should be thick but not too dry.

Make the béchamel:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat - whisk in the cornflour to form a smooth paste and then slowly pour in half of the milk, whisking constantly to ensure a smooth mixture. Once this has thickened, add the rest of the milk and continue stirring. Once the flour has cooked out and the sauce is thick, stir in the Kefalotyri cheese and adjust the seasoning to taste. Once cooled, whisk in an egg yolk. If you are making this in advance add the egg yolk when you are ready to assemble the dish.

Assemble the moussaka:

Lay half the potato slices over the base of a baking dish. Cover this with half of the eggplant slices. Follow this with an even layer of meat. Repeat the layering, ending once more with meat. Top with a thick layer of béchamel and sprinkle over with a little extra kefalotyri cheese.

Place the baking dish on a tray to catch any spills and bake in a preheated 170°C oven until golden and heated through - about 40 to 50 minutes.

Let it cool slightly in the pan before slicing - you can also serve it at room temperature. For a traditional look, serve it cut into square pieces.

moussaka© by Haalo


If you'd like to join in this culinary journey of Cyprus:

You'll need to post a Cypriot recipe by Sunday 6th October.
In your post include a link to this post and to the Culinary ABC
then leave a link to your post in the comments section below.
You are welcome to use old posts but just update the details to include the relevant information and multiple entries are welcome.

I'll end this with a warm welcome of Kopiaste - I hope you'll come and share in the wonderful food of Cyprus.





Recipes - Ricette

Vazania Giahni by Sciroppo di Mirtilli e Piccoli Equilibri
Semolina Halva by Le Tenere Dolcezze di Resy
Horiatiki by Un'arbanella di Basilico
Upside Down Milopita me Petimezi by Kopiaste..to Greek Hospitality
Daktyla Kyrion by Le Tenere Dolcezze di Resy
Chirino me Spanaki by Armonia Paleo
Pita Bread by Trattoria Muvara
Galaktoboureko by Le Tenere Dolcezze di Resy
Hummus by Le Tenere Dolcezze di Resy
Spinach, Kalamata Olive and Feta Pizzettes by Cafe Lynnylu
Spanakopita by PinkoPanino
Pasticcio di Maccheroni by Un'arbanella di Basilico
Spanakopita by Torta di Rose
Glyco Stafyli by Zibaldone Culinario
Beef Stifado by Mangiare è un po' come Viaggiare
Shammali by Ricette di Cultura
Keftedes by A dieta da Lunedì
Koupepia by Zibaldone Culinario
Shiamali by Torte e Dintorni
Patates Antinahtes by Briggishome
Vasilopita del Capodanno by Le Tenere Dolcezze di Resy
Cyprus style Olive Bread by Briciole
Dolcetti all'Avena e Cocco by A Tutta Cucina
Kourabiedes e Melomacarona by La Cucina di Anisja
Flaounes by Cindystar
Talatouri by Un Uomo dal Bagno alla Cucina

64 comments:

  1. Guess what I had for lunch today?
    Eggplant moussaka :D .

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful post! Thanks for participating and hosting this stage of the abbecedario!
    Looking forward to receiving a lot of recipes from Cyprus!
    Cheers,
    Aiu'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've noted that the deadline to participate is not correct. They have time until October 6th. ;-)

      Delete
    2. Thanks - have corrected that!

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  3. E dopo tanto eccoci nuovamente tra i sapori mediterranei. Il tuo piatto è meraviglioso, complimenti!!!
    Alla ricerca di ricette dunque e a presto!!
    Resy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie mille! Aspetto la tua ricetta!

      Delete
  4. Ciao e piacere di conoscerti! Ho sempre pensato che la moussaka fosse greca e invece scopro essere di origine cipriota. Vado alla ricerca di ricette di Cipro e torno presto!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao e Grazie - anche io ho pensato che era greca, ma e fatto un po differente.

      Delete
  5. Ciao piacere :)
    Partecipo con questa ricetta:

    http://sciroppodimirtilliepiccoliequilibri.blogspot.it/2013/09/vazania-giahni.html


    Ciao

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks lovely, Haalo!
    It is wonderful that you are hosting Cyprus, see you soon.
    Baciusss
    brii

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brii - look forward to seeing your dish :)

      Delete
  7. Eccomi con il primo dolce!! Spero di realizzare altre ricette, a presto!!
    Resy

    ReplyDelete
  8. I do it with eggplant only as I have eaten in Mykonos! But this moussaka looks very inviting! Lucia

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ciao Haalo, here I am with my first recipe
    http://arbanelladibasilico.blogspot.it/2013/09/uninsalata-appetitosa-per-labbecedario.html
    See you soon with another one, kisses

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie - a perfect salad for Cyprus!

      Delete
  10. Hello Halo,
    I was informed of this event by Brii. My participation for Cyprus is Upside Down Milopita (Apple Pie) me Petimezi (with grape molasses)
    http://kopiaste.org/2013/09/greek-upside-milopita-epsima-apple-pie/
    Ivy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ivy - the cake looks divine!

      Delete
  11. Ciao Haalo, altri dolcetti profumatissimi per tutti i golosi!"! Ciao a presto
    http://le-tenere-dolcezze-di-resy.blogspot.it/2013/09/daktyla-kyrion-le-dita-delle-signore-i.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie - sono belli ma ho voglia di mangiare tutti!

      Delete
  12. http://le-tenere-dolcezze-di-resy.blogspot.it/2013/09/daktyla-kyrion-le-dita-delle-signore-i.html
    eccoli, non avevo inserito il link, scusa!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Eccomi con una ricetta cipriota, spero di riuscire a trovarne altre.
    http://armoniapaleo.blogspot.it/2013/09/chirino-me-spanaki-spezzatino-di-maiale.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie - Il Spezzatino guarda così ricca e deliziosa.

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. Fantastic Aiu - the pita looks great, will have to try making some!

      Delete
  15. Terzo dolcetto in arrivo..............ciao!!
    http://le-tenere-dolcezze-di-resy.blogspot.it/2013/09/galaktoboureko-il-dessert-cipriota-di.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Questo è uno dei miei dolci preferiti. Grazie!

      Delete
  16. Gradisci un antipasto, visto che è l'ora di pranzo?? Ciaooo
    http://le-tenere-dolcezze-di-resy.blogspot.it/2013/09/lhummus-di-ceci-con-tahini-per-i-meze.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delizioso, mangio questa con la pita di Aiu!

      Delete
  17. Beautiful moussaka!
    http://cafelynnylu.blogspot.com/2013/09/spinach-kalamata-olive-and-feta.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lynne - classic flavours, they look fab!

      Delete
  18. La tua mousska è appetitosissima!!
    Ecco il mio contributo per questa puntata:
    http://pinkopanino.blogspot.it/2013/09/spanakopita_30.html
    A presto!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ciao Haalo, here there is my last recipe from Cyprus
    http://arbanelladibasilico.blogspot.it/2013/09/pasticcio-di-maccheroni-per.html
    Kisses

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Haalo! I just added my contribution! Thanks for hosting! Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  21. hi Haalo, here my contribution for Cyprus
    spezzatino cipriota

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Haalo!! This is my recipe for Abbecedario Culinario: http://www.ricettedicultura.com/2013/10/shammali-cipriota-per-labbecedario.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alessandra - a lovely cake!

      Delete
  23. Hallo! I'm Manuela from Italy. I send you my recipe for Cyprus. Just in time! Keftedes with Skordalia.
    http://adietadalunedi.blogspot.it/2013/10/kopiaste.html
    Thank you for the hospitality an sorry for my english.
    See you soon, kisses. Manuela.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Eccomi finalmente arrivata....bellissimo post per un posto da sogno. Eccoti il mio contributo e grazie per averci ospitati
    http://tor-te-e-din-tor-ni.blogspot.it/2013/10/shiamalidolcezza-da-cipro.html
    a presto
    Rosa Maria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie! Amo tutti i dolci con semolina.

      Delete
  25. Dearest Haalo, almost on the deadline with a very simple but tasty recipe given my by our dear friend Ivy! :-)
    Patates Antinahtes
    http://briggishome.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/patates-antinahtes-en/
    Thank's for hosting.
    baciussss
    brii

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brii - lovely! Hope the kitchen comes earlier than november!

      Delete
  26. Ciao Haalo, questo è il mio ultimo dolce contributo per Cipro. Grazie per la tua disponibilità, a presto!!!
    http://le-tenere-dolcezze-di-resy.blogspot.it/2013/10/vasilopita-del-capodanno-cipriota.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie Resy - un modo delizioso per festeggiare il nuovo anno e la fine di questo viaggio a Cipro!

      Delete
  27. Eccomi con l'ultimo treno, ma non potevo mancare:
    http://atuttacucina.blogspot.it/2013/10/dolcetti-all-avena-e-cocco.html
    Un abbraccio e buona domenica!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie - sono un bel piatto di biscotti, mi piacerebbe uno adesso con il mio caffè!

      Delete
  28. Che bello l'elenco delle ricette di Cipro con le foto! Grazie per l'ospitalità e spero di incontrarti ancora in viaggio con l'Abbecedario. A presto. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie, sei troppo gentile. E 'stato bello vedere tutte queste ricette. E 'quasi tempo di pensare alla prossima tappa in Slovenia!

      Delete
  29. Ciao, spero di essere ancora in tempo ... ti lascio il link delle mie ricette
    http://lacucinadianisja.blogspot.it/2013/10/kourabiedes-e-melomacarona.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ciao Anisja - c'è sempre tempo per queste belle biscotti!

      Delete
  30. Hi Halo,
    running fast but I did it!
    And the recipe was really delicious!
    Will add the English version tomorrow morning ;-)
    Thanks again for hosting, and ... kalinýchta!

    ReplyDelete
  31. So silly, here is the link:

    Flaounes - Cypriot Easter Bread
    http://cindystarblog.blogspot.it/2013/10/flaounes-focaccine-al-formaggio-cypriot.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cinzia - the bread looks fabulous and it must have been delicious!

      Delete
  32. You know I love your photos and I never get tired of them. You always manage to surprise me. The photo of the cut moussaka is simply gorgeous, just perfect. I wish I could claim that plate as my portion. Thank you for the interesting presentation and for hosting.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi! Thanks again for your contribution and for hosting Cyprus! The page with all the contributions is ready: http://abcincucina.blogspot.com.es/2013/09/m-come-moussaka.html and now let's go in Slovenia!

    Cheers!
    Aiu'

    ReplyDelete

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