Most people know Kris Pavlidis for her role as Chair of the Ethnic Communities’ Council Victoria (ECCV), Councillor of Whittlesea, and for her drive as an experienced and passionate community advocate for social justice and cultural diversity. When she’s not out campaigning for causes that are dear to her heart, she enjoys unwinding in the kitchen and unleashing her creativity making all manner of culinary delights.
Neos Kosmos first came across her spanakopita on Facebook when she posted a photo to the delight of her friends. Those that had tasted her pita had nothing but praise to give.
“My mother is from Kalamata, and they don’t really make pites, but my dad is from Kastoria and that’s how my mother first took an interest in these pies,” Cr Pavlidis says, adding that her mother had a unique way of making pites. “For a start, we are generous with the filling, and instead of using the trapezomandilo (tablecloth) method that stretches out the dough we prefer to work it and roll it into smaller pieces.”
Interestingly, when she talks about cooking, she subconsciously reverts to talking in Greek.
“Cooking is a special activity, especially for Greek households,” she says, adding how every meal has a story that links one generation to the next.
She’s passed on the pita tradition to her own daughter, Zoe, and Christopher, her son, enjoys it too. Her Italian sister-in-law Carmel has also learnt how to make the dish.
After a bit of cajoling, Neos Kosmos managed to convince Cr Pavlidis to share her pita recipe with the world – and as an extra bonus, she shared her baklava recipe with us too. Enjoy!
Spanakopita (spinach pie)
Large round aluminum baking tray
Lukewarm water 4 cups
Special White flour 4 cups
Vinegar 1 cap
Olive oil 2/3 cup
Unsalted butter 250 grams
Spinach 2 bunches
Ricotta 1/2 kilo
Australian Feta 1/3 K
Bulgarian Feta 1/4 K
Pepper 2 tspns
1. Heat fan forced oven to max
2. Melt butter & add oil to cooled butter
3. Lightly Oil baking tray
(Optional: Make it the night before and refrigerate)
2. Carefully Wash spinach and slowly sauté
3. Finely crumble and mix feta cheese into ricotta
4. Add beaten egg
5. Add pepper
6. Add cooked, cooled and squeezed spinach and mix
1. In large bowl add and slowly fold in flour to water with vinegar
2. Develop into soft smooth rounded dough
3. Place dough onto floured surface (granite is good)
4. Knead vigorously and continuously
5. Hand roll into two long sausage pieces
6. Cut each sausage into 3 pieces
Smallest pieces will form the base
7. Roll out and paste each piece with fat mixture before folding in half, paste and fold again
Stack and rest the three pasted pieces
Repeat for the other three
8. Roll out each stack of three
9. Line tray with smaller dough base
10.Spread filling across the base and cover with lid, gently folding it to create crunchy texture
11. Using fork, pinch dough edging around the tray
12. Drizzle with remaining butter/oil and cook 45 mins until browned
13. Lower oven temperature (after approx 15 mins) to 180′