Pumpkin Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Pumpkin Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

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Why Not a Pumpkin Variation for a New Family Favorite?
During a stay in Kosice, Slovakia at the end of my Journey to Greece, I fell in love with a vegetarian red beet pirohy (pierogi) dish served with fresh spinach and goat cheese.  To discover more about my love story with this delicious wholesome dish, read my recipe for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese.

While I was testing out recipes for Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese with one of my Belgian sisters, she started harvesting pumpkins from her vegetable garden.

 

 

As I l…

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Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Red Beet Ravioli with Spinach and Goat Cheese

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What Inspired this Soul-Fulfilling Red Beet Ravioli Dish?
Towards the end of my Journey to Greece, I spent a few days in Kosice, Slovakia, near the Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian borders.  I initially planned to spend one night in Kosice, yet immediately fell in love with its old town.  I ended up staying three nights so I could leisurely visit the town, hang out in its cafes and restaurants, and spy on the hordes of people strolling on the main street, Hlavná ulica.

Hlavná ulica is such a vibrant street with a park, musical fountains, and loads of statues dividing the b…

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Exploring Romania More Deeply

Exploring Romania More Deeply

First Time in Romania
At the start of my Journey to Greece last June, I spent five days in Romania visiting mainly Timisoara, Sibiu and Brasov. Stopping in villages along my route or at vista points atop mountains to take photos of the magnificent scenery below became part of my daily routine while travelling by car.

The landscapes in the Transylvania region of Romania, in particular in and around the Carpathian Mountains, were absolutely breathtaking.  Of the three cities visited on my first trip, I loved Brasov most and would have liked to have stayed there longer.

For more informatio…

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My Personal Greek Cuisine Teacher

My Personal Greek Cuisine Teacher

My Personal Greek Cuisine Teacher showed me how to make Tasty Authentic Greek Recipes
This past summer I travelled to Greece where I spent almost two months, more than half of which in Xanthi.  I chose Xanthi because a law school friend of mine lives there with his lovely wife, Thomais Pasvanti, and their two children.

My friend, Diamantis Totief, has bragged several times that his wife is the best cook.  He’s mentioned that she makes the absolutely most delicious Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes, Authentic Greek Pasticcio and meatballs.  He then invited me to come learn how to make thes…

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Road Through Bulgaria Back Towards Belgium

Road Through Bulgaria Back Towards Belgium

Saying Good-bye to Xanthi
Two weeks ago I left Xanthi, the main destination of my Journey to Greece, to head back up north to Belgium.  I was sad to be returning towards ordinary life instead of continuing to wander wherever the wind blew me, so to speak.  Ok, it would take quite a gale to blow me in one direction!  But you understand my point.

Even though I still had one month to travel from Xanthi to Brussels, the remorse was hard to shake off.  I immensely enjoyed visiting Xanthi, which I believe will always have a special place in my heart.  I am preparing a separate post on my time in…

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Papoutsakia – Greek Stuffed Eggplants

Papoutsakia – Greek Stuffed Eggplants

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How do you Make Papoutsakia?
The Greek dish called Papoutsakia can be translated from Greek as the Little Shoes or the Little Slippers.  As charming the name may be in Greek, Papoutsakia are eggplants stuffed with seasoned ground veal and tomatoes.  Sounds simple, right? Well, they are!

 

My friend, Thomais, has kindly provided me with this recipe for Papoutsakia.  As you may remember, she has also taught me how to make Authentic Greek Pasticcio and Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes.  Click on the names of those dishes to find the corresponding recipe.  I appreci…

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Eating Out in Xanthi – A Personal Guide

Eating Out in Xanthi – A Personal Guide

What are the Eating Out Habits in Xanthi?
This summer I had the pleasure to visit Xanthi to spend time with friends and explore the local food culture.  As many of you know, Xanthi, located in Greece’s Thrace region, was the main destination of my three-month Journey to Greece, which is now about two-thirds completed.

During my stay in Xanthi, I had the pleasure of several delicious homemade meals prepared by my friend, Thomais. I also enjoyed eating out for lunch and dinner numerous times in restaurants, not including my various snacks between meals.

After a mere five weeks in Xanthi, …

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Halkidiki My Lovely

Halkidiki My Lovely

Is Halkidiki Heaven on Earth?
Some may consider such a question sacrilege?  How can Heaven be on Earth?  Yet, almost every day I was in Halkidiki I experienced something spiritual.  This written by a person who does not think of himself as being particularly spiritual.

 
What or where is Halkidiki?
Halkidiki (or Chalkidiki) is a peninsula in the Central Macedonia region of Greece. Halkidiki, south of Thessaloniki, is a popular destination in the summer for tourists mainly from Southeast Europe.  You can find out more useful information by clicking this link.

 

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Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes

Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes

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What Makes this Recipe for Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes Genuine?
Months ago my friend, Diamantis, described how his wife, Thomais, made the absolute best Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes (in Greek known as Gemista).  In fact, his accolades of his wife’s wonderful cooking and his invitation for me to come learn at her side first gave me the idea to embark on my Journey to Greece.

Why not spend time in Greece learning local and family recipes from such a good cook?  I’d enjoy some long-deserved vacation while gathering materials for my blog.  Ok, twisting my arm was  perh…

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Road from Brasov to Xanthi

Road from Brasov to Xanthi

Why the Rush to Xanthi?
Originally I planned to arrive in Xanthi (Greece) on 15 June, after visiting a few days some mountain villages in Bulgaria.  But as I drew closer to Xanthi and to seeing my friends there, I became impatient.   Wait a second, I’m jumping to the end while there are still some tales to share with you.

After a restful and restorative visit to Brasov, Romania, I headed south towards Bulgaria.  Not far from Brasov lies one of Romania’s most famous places, Bran, the home of Bran Castle, better known as Dracula’s Castle.  Although not far, I would have loved to have travell…

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Authentic Greek Pasticcio

Authentic Greek Pasticcio

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What makes this Pasticcio Recipe Authentic?
Greek restaurants all over the world prepare Pasticcio (also known as Pastitsio).  Not surprisingly, families and taverns all over Greece also make it.  Most families follow a recipe passed on to them by a dear family member and then adjusted over time to satisfy personal taste.

 
What is Pasticcio?
Those unfamiliar with Pasticcio may wonder what is this romantic-sounding dish.  The easiest way to describe it would be as a Greek version of lasagna bolognese.   This is not entirely fair as a comparison.

In Greece Pastic…

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Musutu in Xanthi, Greece

Musutu in Xanthi, Greece

What Makes Musutu a Local Hit?

Musutu in Xanthi
  • Location
  • Atmosphere
  • Food
  • Service
  • Price / Quality Ratio

Summary

Musutu is a definite must-stop in Xanthi for fine food, coffee and drinks. The manager, Giorgos, will take excellent care of you. At the end of your meal you will feel as if you've made a new friend.

Musutu
Elpidos 7 | Elpidos 7 & Dagkli
Xanthi 67100, Greece

Tel: +30 25410 68988
http://www.musutu.gr/ (currently under construction)

4.5

Customers stop in all day and evening at Musutu, a cafe-restaurant located on a pedestrian street in the center of Xanthi.  During the off-hours they come to chat with friends and to enjoy coffee.  Greek coffee or espresso, cold or hot, however you enjoy it.  Although there are many other places for coffee nearby, locals seem drawn to Musutu by an invisible force.

In fact, however, what attracts people to this cafe – restaurant is the manager himself,  Giorgos Grammatopoulos.  He is like the conductor of an orchestra who you don’t notice until …

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Hungarian Goulash Soup Made at Home

Hungarian Goulash Soup Made at Home

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A Cooking Extravaganza with friends in Budapest
On my travel through Hungary at the start of my Journey to Greece, I spent three wonderful days with friends outside of Budapest.  My friends have twin five-year-old children so we planned to spend much of our time at home cooking traditional local dishes.

Little did I know how many dishes we would prepare on my second day there.  I say we but really all I did was watch, take notes, take photos and, of course, taste the final results.  You may think I did nothing, however, these elementary tasks constitute the main duties of…

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Becoming More Centered in Central Europe

Becoming More Centered in Central Europe

Rivers, Pastel Colors and Lots of Green
I always try to avoid generalizations or stereotyping when talking about countries visited.  How can a tourist really understand the depths of a country’s uniqueness or what makes its people tick in a few moments or days passing through?  Even after living in Brussels for 26 years and becoming a Belgian citizen I try not to ruffle any feathers when asked to describe various features of Belgian life.

In the past 11 days I’ve driven more than 2000 kilometers (1200 miles) from Brussels to Brasov, Romania.  I have tried to avoid larger cities as well as …

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Join my Journey to Greece

Join my Journey to Greece

Bye Bye Belgium, Hello Greece!
I’ve been fairly quiet on my blog the past month or so.  As some may know, I’ve been preparing my move away from Belgium, my current journey to Greece, and my ultimate transfer to Los Angeles, California.  After 26 years in Belgium I have decided to return to my familial roots (and sunshine) in Los Angeles.

You’ll find more on my move to Los Angeles in a future post.  For now, suffice it to say that it’s definitely a time of big change for me, which will hopefully open up new areas of inspiration and creativity.

To get the creative juices flowing, I’m trav…

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