Friday, 1 June 2012

Cheap 'n' Greek 'n' frugal: Greek-inspired waffles (Βάφλες)

Prices are in euro (valid in Hania). All ingredients are Greek or locally sourced; those marked with * are considered frugal here because they are cheap and/or people have their own supplies.

While we travelled through Northern Europe last month, we tasted our first waffle. I've never made waffles before because, like poffertjes, waffles need special equipment, which is only used to make that specific dish. I'm still not convinced that it's a good idea to buy single-use equipment, but since I invested in a special Dutch pancake tin while I was there, I decided that a waffle maker is something I had to have after all, especially if you have children. Apparently you can make waffle batter into pancakes - but they wouldn't be waffles, woud they? And like poffertjes, waffles are fun to make and easily enjoyed by everyone and they provide happy memories.

I bought a cheap waffle maker in Hania, made in China. It cost €25 with a one-year guarantee. (That's expensive for a cheap import, isn't it? Prices in Hania are always much more expensive than elsewhere in Greece.) The waffle maker doubles up as a toasted sandwich maker too (the irons come out), but since we already have a toasted sandwich maker, it's unlikely that I'll use my new gadget other than as a waffle maker. Such equipment make me feel materialistic, so I look for ways to get the best use out of them.

I've been given a good recipe by my friend Uta for waffles. Uta's original recipe is especially clever in that grated apple is added to it to make the waffles stay moist and juicy until the next day, so you can have them as a dinner treat and then enjoy the remaining for breakfast the next day. By replacing various ingredients in the batter with local ingredients, notably olive oil instead of butter, I've come up with a Greek-inspired waffle recipe.

You need:
125g olive oil* (instead of butter)
70ml orange juice* (instead of milk - or you can use a mixture)
125g flour (I used a mix of white and brown flour - ~25 cents)
1 small teaspoon baking powder*
1 apple, grated (~25 cents), OR: 1 small zucchini, grated (it basically does the same job - it keeps the batter moist - in the autumn, I also use pear)
2 eggs*
2 tablespoons sugar*
vanilla flavouring (I omitted this, since I was using fresh orange juice - you can add orange zest for more flavour)

Mix ingredients together to make a thick batter. Heat the waffle iron and bake the waffles until golden brown. The mixture is enough for 6 waffles (or 8 smaller ones, with missing corners).

Waffle batter containing grated apple

Waffle batter can be flavoured or kept moist in many different ways. To avoid buying apples (something we don't grow ourselves), I used fresh zucchini (we cut the first one from the garden on the 15th of May). Grated zucchini is used in sweet treats like zucchini bread and zucchini-chocolate cake. This is a very clever way to keep children eating healthy food.

A teddy bear's picnic with Greek toppings - the cream, the organic strawberries and the chocolate topping are all products of Greece.

The first time I cook something new, it's to get the hang of it. The second time I make the same thing is never like the first time I made it. This time, I divided the batter and added grated zucchini in one lot, and grated zucchini with cocoa powder in the second lot. The plain zucchini waffles tasted good with cheese - great for people who aren't too keen on sweet snacks. Savoury waffles make a great meal.

Waffle batter containing grated zucchini and cocoa powder - I added just enough cocoa to give the waffle a rich chocolate colour.

Waffles have very little to do with Greek cuisine, but when made in a healthy way with Greek ingredients, they can be enjoyed as a Greek-inspired twist.

All the different waffles I've made so far have been very successful. The same recipe can be adapted in many ways to ensure that you're not just eating a fatty hi-carb sweet treat.

The waffle batter can be made at night, ready to pour the next day into the waffle maker, so you can start the day off with home-made fruit and veg waffles: before you leave the house, you'll have had a good dose of olive oil, eggs, orange juice and zucchini, topped with some home-made jam and organic fruits from the garden. (I usually halve the recipe when I keep the mixture overnight in the fridge.)

Cost of 8 waffles: about €1, eaten once as an evening snack and the next day for breakfast, among four people. Together with the toppings, each serving costs about 50 cents.

©All Rights Reserved/Organically cooked. No part of this blog may be reproduced and/or copied by any means without prior consent from Maria Verivaki.