CHEESE & SESAME BALLS

MANOURI is one of the joys of Greek cheese production. The word derives from the ancient Greek manos (tyros)= light, not hard (cheese) and highlights the cheese’s old origin. A good manouri is an exceptional fresh Greek cheese. It has delicate, milky taste, characteristic flavor, dense but smooth, almost spreadble texture and white color.   It is produced in Thessaly, Central and Western Macedonia from whey of goat or sheep milk, or mixture of them, with the addition of fresh full-fat milk and fresh cream. You’ll find it at the market in log-shaped rolls, or in pieces cut from a roll.

 

 

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Although cheese purists eat it on its own, perhaps with a drizzle of virgin olive oil or with a cracker biscuit, what manouri really does is afford you the ability to play around it. Try it fried or grilled, in pies or in stuffings for vegetables or, even better, eat it with some fresh or dried figs or preserves or nuts and honey… it is fantastic!

The recipe that follows is for cheese junkies and was inspired by reading a piece of a poem entitled ‘Deipnon’ (The Dinner) by Philoxenus of Cythera. Philoxenus of Cythera (435 BC-380 BC) was a Greek dithyrambic poet who had an adventurous life. This extravagant Deipnon in verse, which have been preserved by Athenaeus, author of The Deipnosophists, probably intended as a satire on the luxury of the court of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse.

During the banquet, interminable dishes were consumed by the gigantic appetites of the guests: breads white as snow, fat eels and a conger eel to awake a god’s appetite; a ray fish, some tope, an electric ray, cuttlefishes, squids, octopuses, and a roasted lobster as large as the table; cuttlefishes dredged with flour; fried shrimps; desserts placed on green leaves and sweet – sour breads larger than a pot; an enormous chunk of roast tuna fish; a home raised pig’s belly, shoulder and kidneys; a kid’s roast head; lambs’ tripes, intestines, feet, head, noses seasoned with sylphium; boiled or roast kids and lambs; hares, chickens, partridges, and cushats; breads; golden honey with yogurt and fresh cheese; honey pies sprinkled with sesame seeds, cheese pies and fried desserts made with sesame seeds and cheese. Here we are, at last!

 

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CHEESE & SESAME BALLS 

300 gr. manouri

2 tbs. + 1/3 cup of flour

1/2 cup thyme honey

1 cup sesame seeds

olive oil for frying

 

Crumble cheese by hand. Add 1 tbs. honey, 3 tbs. sesame seeds, 2 tbs. flour. Mix well. Shape into balls, roll in flour and fry in hot oil.

Gently heat the honey for a few seconds until runny, but don’t overheat it. Place the cheese balls on a plate covered with ½ cup sesame seeds. Pour honey over them and sprinkle with the rest of the sesame seeds.

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This is my entry for La Fete du Fromage, hosted by Chez Loulou

 

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5 thoughts on “CHEESE & SESAME BALLS

  1. a wonderful sensuous dish – perfect as an after dinner palate cleanser;
    honey pies, cheese pies, sesame seeds, and a combination of these – now that is the typical cretan kitchen like my own!

  2. Maria,
    The intriguing sweet-sour flavor of cheese pies that are found in several variations aroung islands is descendant of ancient Greek – Roman cuisine.

    Laurie,
    Indeed, fresh cheese, sesame and honey is a perfect combination.

    Jo,
    I believe that the delicate flavor of manouri will simply disappear in black sesame. However, when I use fresh goat myzithra from Chania I add black sesame seeds, freshly ground black pepper and bitter strawberry tree honey.

    Dee,
    Great to hear from you! Thanks so much. I’m so pleased you like it.

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