Friday 29 March 2013

A Creative Daughter of Walthamstow

After I posted my first guest blog, I realised that I hadn’t even introduced myself; let's put it down to nerves and try again!  My name is Gill and I am an artist and maker and blogger – I blog as Paisley Pedlar and you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and on my main blog at .  For this, my second guest post I would like to introduce you to my good friend and daughter of Walthamstow – Sonia Demetriou.

Sonia grew up in Walthamstow, living in Boundary Road (although her house is no longer there.  She went to school Gamuel Road Primary School and then on to Gasgoyne Secondary and McEntee Technical School before leaving aged 16 to become an apprentice Decorated Furniture Restorer in a studio in Chelsea.  A couple of years ago Sonia shared with me the germ of an idea for writing a book about her Greek Cypriot heritage and after several visits to Cyprus and many hours toiling over her PC keyboard,  “Androulas Kitchen – Cyprus on a Plate” was published at the end of 2012.  This amazing book starts with a brief explanation about why she wanted to write it and then follows on with all kinds of fascinating facts and stories about traditional Cypriot crafts such as basketry, weaving and lace making.  Many of these traditional crafts are in serious decline, with only a few craftsmen and women still working in the traditional way to keep the crafts alive.  Fully illustrated with beautiful colour photographs the book also focuses on traditional Cypriot cookery (there is a clue in the title) and includes some delicious recipes some with Sonia’s own contemporary twist, and it is one of these that she has kindly allowed me to share with you… Revani is found all over the Middle East in different versions and Sonias version is simply to die for – cakey, sticky, orangy and almondy, YUM!

Revani tis Sonias
125g unsalted butter
60g caster sugar
2 eggs
75g rice flour
100g plain flour
50g ground almonds
Juice of 1 large orange (or 2 small ones)
1 teaspoon baking powder
A few drops of almond essence
Handful of blanched almonds for the top
Juice of 1 large orange (or 2 small ones)
100g caster sugar

·         Pre heat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4
·         Grease a 10cmx20cm non stick baking tin (I also lined mine with greaseproof paper)
·         Sift the flour, rice flour and baking powder in to a bowl
·         Mix butter (softened) with the sugar until creamy in a separate bowl
·         Add the almond essence
·         In another bowl whisk the eggs together
·         Gradually add the egg mix to the butter and sugar, and add in the flour mixture
·         Mix together the orange juice and ground almonds and add to the rest of the cake mixture.  The consistency should be like a soft batter, if it is a little stiff add a few drops of milk.
·         Pour the mixture into the baking tin, sprinkle the blanched almonds on top and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes until it is cooked in the middle.
·         While the cake is baking, place the orange juice and sugar in a pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved and thickened.
·         When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and pierce the top with a skewer or knitting needle and pour the orange syrup over the cake and allow to cool in the baking tin.
·         Once cool, turn out on to a cooling rack and enjoy!
This cake is delicious, it is light but has a lovely cakey consistency and the sticky orangy flavour is really refreshing as well as satisfying.

Delicious Revani (tis Sonias)

You can find out more about Sonias book, “Androulas Kitchen –Cyprus on a Plate” at and on her Facebook page at .  The book is available to buy direct from Sonia or from Amazon.

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