Taking You Home
Identical twins and 2014 'My Kitchen Rules' finalists Helena and Vikki Moursellas take you home to the simple Greek food they love to eat with their friends and family.
Nothing tastes better than a home cooked meal - particularly when it's a recipe that's been handed down from generation to generation.
Helena and Vikki share their favourite recipes so that you can experience what it's like to eat at their Greek family table. From simple recipes for tzatziki and marinated olives, through to a beautifully slow-roasted pork belly and a twist on a classic Greek dessert like Sticky Baklava Fingers, this is a fresh new take on Greek family food. Each recipe is accompanied by a personal story and photos from the girls' own collection.
Let Helena and Vikki take you home to the food they love to eat.
Identical twins Helena and Vikki Moursellas were 2014 finalists on Channel 7's My Kitchen Rules. Their Greek family food won the hearts of the nation and made MKR history with the highest home kitchen score - watched by millions of Australians. Helena and Vikki live together in Melbourne.
Taking You Home
Authors: Helena and Vikki Moursellas
Interview with Vikki and Helena Moursellas
Question: You know Greek food best, is it only Greek food that features in Taking You Home?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: Of course! Only Greek food for us.
Question: Are these recipes family recipes with your own spin, on them?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: Most of the recipes are family recipes with a little spin on them and our beautiful Yiayia has lots of her recipes in the book.
Question: Which of the recipes in Taking You Home, holds the most memories for you?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: The Patates with Avgo (potato with eggs) would have to hold the most memories. Every time we cook this dish its like being back in Yiayia's kitchen. Also Yiayia's Lamb kefethes takes us back to the days coming home from school and there would be a plate of kefethes on the table ready for us to eat.
Question: Why did you call your recipe book, Taking You Home?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: We wanted to take you back home to our village where it all started for us. We travel to Greece every 2 years and each year we gather more recipes and inspiration from our village and family.
Question: What's the trick to making beautiful Baklava?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: Making sure you have the best rolling technique and of course a flavoursome filling.
Question: Why was it important to include a personal story with each recipe?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: We wanted to share our life and food journey with everyone as well as our recipes!
Question: What's a typical day like, for you now?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: It's always an early morning, an hour of exercise followed by a fresh juice. Afternoon you will find us creating new recipes and of course cooking. Always replying to emails and spending the rest of the day on social media.
Question: Have you been watching this season of My Kitchen Rules - are you glad to be a viewer rather than a competitor?
Vikki and Helena Moursellas: Unfortunately we haven't had time to watch this season of My Kitchen Rules. We have been busy working on our new restaurant and the cookbook. If we could we would do it all over again, we had a ball!
After a night spent dancing at our favourite bar, we are the first customers waiting at our local bakery. The lady already knows what we are after: she has a hot tray of bougatsa ready, straight out of the oven. She sprinkles the dish with cinnamon and icing sugar before cutting it into slices. What better way to finish the night . . . or should we say, start the day? This is our version of the delicious classic.
125 g caster sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated
125 g semolina
2 cups milk
100 g melted butter, plus extra, for brushing
5 sheets filo pastry
ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
icing sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease two baking trays and line with baking paper.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and caster sugar for a few minutes using an electric mixer. Add the lemon juice, orange zest, semolina and milk, and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture into a deep saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is thick (about 15 minutes), then add the melted butter and mix to combine.
Cut the filo pastry sheets in half and brush with butter. Place 4 tablespoons of the custard mixture in the centre of the pastry. Fold the top down and roll up, folding in the edges to form a log. Continue making parcels until all the custard filling has been used up.
Place the parcels, seam side down, on the trays and brush the tops with butter. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Allow the parcels to cool down, then sprinkle with cinnamon and icing sugar.
Tip: Filo pastry is available in both the frozen and chilled foods sections of your local supermarket.
Pork and Mint Meatballs
Pork and mint are flavours that work well together. These mouth-watering meatballs are great accompanied by Nikki's Tzatziki and Our Famous Pita Bread.
500 g pork mince
½ red onion, finely chopped
½ bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons plain flour, plus extra, for coating
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a mixing bowl, combine the pork mince, onion, mint, salt, pepper, egg and the 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix well.
Sprinkle the extra flour on a plate. Roll about a tablespoon of mixture in your hands to make a ball, then coat in the flour. Repeat until you have used all the mixture.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and fry the meatballs, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden brown all over.
Zucchini & Feta Fritters
This is our favourite midday snack in the summer – a quick and easy recipe that's super-appetising. Enjoy with Nikki's Tzatziki.
2 zucchini, grated
1 yellow banana pepper, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves Marinated Garlic (see recipe page 221), crushed
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
180 g Marinated Feta (see recipe page 225)
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of cracked pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup plain flour
extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
. Place the grated zucchini in a clean tea towel and press to remove all the excess juice.
Transfer to a bowl and add the banana pepper, onion, mint, dill, parsley, garlic and chilli.
. Chop the feta into small pieces and add to the mix. Season with salt and pepper, add the egg and flour and give the mixture a good stir.
. Place a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, drizzle with olive oil and add 2 heaped tablespoons of the mixture for each fritter. Fry on each side for 3–4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
Tip: If the mixture seems too wet, add extra flour.
Taking You Home: Simple Greek Food by Helena Moursellas and Vikki Moursellas published by Hachette Australia ($39.99)
Interview by Brooke Hunter