This was an easy & well organised dinner party, with nothing much left to do when the guests had arrived. I picked up some freshly made vegetarian dolmades, haloumi cheese and some hapuka fillets from the market. The rest of the ingredients, I had on hand.

We’re obsessed with Greek desserts in our family so the first thing I made was the bougatsa. I telephoned Ruby at kindergarten to let her know that I was running a little late due the bougatsa taking longer than anticipated. Not surprisingly, she was ok with it. 
I sliced the haloumi and lightly coated it in flour, fried it in olive oil until golden and served it on a platter with lemon wedges and the dolmades.
I whipped up a Greek salad, 
threw some kipflers in the oven, made the marinade for the fish and baked it.
Oven baked fish with tomato & parsley (from Falling Cloudberries – Tessa Kiros)
Serves 6
You’ll need:
1 kg white firm fish fillets (I used hapuka) cut into 6cm pieces
400g tin of Italian chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
4 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
Juice of 2 lemons
2 celery stalks, chopped with some leaves
1 tsp sugar
3 tbs olive oil
Crusty bread to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the fish in a baking dish large enough for all the fish to lie flat in a single layer.
  2. Mix together the tomatoes, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, celery, sugar, & olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
  3. Pour the tomato mixture over the fish to cover, shaking the dish from side to side.
  4. Cover with foil & cook for 30 mins.
  5. Remove the foil, increase the heat to 200C and bake for another 40 mins, or until the liquid has thickened & the top of the fish is golden in a couple of places.
  6. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Bougatsa (also from Falling Cloudberries – Tessa Kiros)
Serves 12
You’ll need:
2 litres milk
300g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split length ways
1+1/3 cups semolina
250g butter
About 375g filo pastry
3 eggs + 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tbs icing sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Put the milk, sugar & vanilla into a large heavy based saucepan and gently bring to a simmer.
  2. Pour in the semolina in a thin, steady stream, holding it high and stirring continuously.
  3. Lower the heat and cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally until the semolina thickens. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
  4. Pre heat the oven to 180C and have a large ovenproof dish ready ( I used a 35 x 26cm tray).
  5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Brush a little butter over the base of your dish. Lay a piece of pastry covering about 2/3 of the base and then lay another slightly overlapping this. Allowing the excess to hang over the sides. Brush with butter and repeat this until you have layered 12 sheets of filo (7 layers in total).
  6. Remove the vanilla bean from semolina mixture, scraping out the seeds.
  7. Take 2 tbs of the melted butter and stir it into the semolina mixture with the eggs. Pour this into the pan and cover with 7 more layers of pastry (14 sheets), brushing each sheet with melted butter, as before.
  8. Trim all the edges of the pastry leaving a small overhang & fold on the edges down neatly over the custard. 
  9. Cut one sheet of filo to exactly fit the top, press this down & brush with melted butter.
  10. Using a very sharp knife, gently place your hand on top of custard and score serving portions as it is impossible to do this neatly when cooked. Be very careful not to let the custard ooze out the top.
  11. Bake in the oven for 15 mins, then reduce temperature to 150C and bake for another 45 mins. Remove form the oven and dust the top with icing sugar and cinnamon and return to the oven for 10 mins. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

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