Hearty Greek baklava with feta, tomatoes and fennel salad. And the great seniors of Crete.

"E s like doing the right thing and taking care of things instead of letting them rot," says Dimitra Georgiou Belibasaki, working diligently in her crispy kitchen. She vigorously pours strong coffee into small cups and arranges them carefully on a tray. She carries this over slowly with small shuffling steps across the street to her Kafenio - a typical Greek coffee house - across. Dimitra is 94 and lives in Crete. And instead of sitting with a headscarf on a chair in front of her house with the blue doors and posing for postcard motifs, she has a dutiful and active everyday life.

That she is still so good in her old age, do not consider it as a coincidence. The old wrinkled face is overshadowed by her wonderfully lively eyes as she very seriously explains what her age is for her: she always gets up early, makes coffee, looks after her garden and plants, and eats simple meals on a regular basis.

That's what her neighbor Irina Kalamanou does. For the 90-year-old, the day also begins with a task - the feeding of their two birds - and a strong cup of coffee. She feeds herself, cooks every day and loves mainly cooked fish in lemon and olive oil. Not too much food, lots of fruit and occasionally a glass of wine - that's your tip for a long and healthy life.

And then there's the olive oil. 94-year-old Manolis Paterakis is proud to have no sugar or other diseases. And, like his two peers, he also believes in the beneficial effects of the products of his native Crete - especially olive oil. Whether pure on bread with salt, for cooking or roasting or as a morning liquid liquid gold - for all seniors is undoubtedly certain: From Crete comes simply the best and tastiest olive oil in the world. And it is indispensable for good health and longevity.

But why is it really that so many agile seniors over 90 live, especially in Crete? Maybe it's the sun, the climate, the sea, the many stairs, getting up early, working on meaningful tasks, working in your own garden or the fruits and vegetables of the beautiful island? You can not know it. Maybe it is really just on the Cretan olive oil. Rumor has it that one can easily become 100 years old with this "God Elixir" ...

For those who now and now need more olive oil in their lives, I have a wonderful recipe that captures the typical flavors of Greece combined in an exciting dish: crispy, savory, sweet and salty at the same time. For this, plenty of the best Cretan olive oil is used.Gaea Sitia from Crete)
1 kg of onions, peeled and sliced ​​
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
1 bunch of dill, chopped
800 g of ripe tomatoes , in cubes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
100 g raisins
100 g chopped almonds
300 g feta cheese
6 filo pastry leaves (eg packaged by the Turkish greengrocer)
2 tablespoons buttermeal
3 Tablespoons of clear honey

For fennel salad
1 fennel tuber, finely sliced ​​
juice of 2 lemons
1 generous dash of good olive oil (eg Gaea Sitia from Crete)
½ bunch mint, chopped
½ bunch smooth parsley, chopped
100 g Kalamata olives, pitted (eg from Gaea)
salt & pepper

And otherwise
1 casserole dish, approx. 20 x 30 cm
1 large pan and 1 baking brush, preferably made of silicone

And this is how it works:

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onions simmer in glassy.

Then turn up the heat a little, add the sugar, cinnamon, and garlic and fry the onions until they brown the caramel. Stir in dill, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Then simmer the onion mixture for a few minutes until it has a thick, creamy consistency, stirring occasionally.

For the filling, crumble the feta with your hands and set aside.

Pour the raisins in a small bowl of boiling water and leave for 10 minutes. Then drain off the water and make the raisins.

Let the butter melt in a small saucepan.

Carefully remove the filo pastry from the package, unroll and cut 6 leaves in half to make 12 To get shape matching leaves. (Store the rest of the dough for another dish in the refrigerator or freeze).

Brush the bottom of the casserole dish thinly with the liquid clarified butter using a baking brush. Put a sheet of filo pastry on it and brush it thinly with clarified butter. Repeat until 4 leaves are in the mold.

Then place half of the onion mixture on top. Sprinkle half of the feta and raisins and sprinkle half of the almonds.

Then again layer 4 pieces of lard coated with clarified butter in the form.

The rest of onions, feta, raisins and almonds distribute on it. Finish with 4 more buttered filo pastry leaves.

Cut the top layer of the filo pastry into a rhomboid shape and brush again thinly with clarified butter. Finally, sprinkle with a little water.

Bake the baklava in a preheated oven at 180 degrees top/bottom heat for about 30-35 minutes until the surface is nicely browned. Slightly cool to serve and drizzle with the honey.

Fennel Salad
The finely planed fennel (this is easy on a cucumber slicer) in a bowl with the herbs and olives Mix. Season with lemon juice and olive oil, mix well and then season with salt and pepper.

If the filo pastry leaves are not exactly in your mouth Casserole dish, simply bite the protruding ends in.

The Greek baklava tastes warm and cold - perfect for buffets and brunch. Simply put in the oven for 10 minutes at 150 degrees