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Posts Tagged ‘greek cooking’

In meteorological terms today (1st September) is the first day of Autumn and having just returned from 2 weeks of very hot sunny weather in Greece it certainly feels like it too, the garden now has an Autumn look, the plants have lost their vigour, leaves are changing colour, going crispy and even dropping off, what were once colourful flowers are now ripening seed heads.

I love Autumn it is a time for harvesting, storing, tidying up the garden/allotment, planting for Winter and Spring and taking stock of this year’s crops.

At this time of year there is often a glut of produce, if you have lots of salad crops why not consider making one of my favourite Greek dishes a traditional Greek Salad.

Greek Salad

Ingredients

1 small lettuce washed and torn into pieces

4 large ripe vine tomatoes, cut into wedges

1 small cucumber, sliced thickly and then cut into quarters

½ a red onion, thinly sliced

1 small green pepper deseeded and cut into rings

16 Kalamata olives

1 tsp dried or fresh oregano

85g feta cheese, cut into slices or chunks

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly crushed black pepper

What you need to do

Place all of the ingredients in layers in a large bowl starting with the lettuce followed by the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green pepper, olives, feta cheese.

Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle on the oregano and season with the salt and pepper to taste.

Eat as the Greeks do with crusty bread to mop up all of those beautiful juices.

This will serve four as a side dish or 2 as a starter.

It is so simple and delicious, with all the flavours of the Mediterranean in one dish.

Enjoy

Gill

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This year we ventured further afield for our summer holiday, our destination – Kefalonia, Greece. I can honestly say it was one of the best holidays we have had; the weather was hot and sunny every day, the locals very friendly and hospitable, the scenery was magnificent, the sandy beaches were spotlessly clean and the azure blue sea was so clear you could see the amazing sea life and the abundant brightly coloured fish (that would quite happily eat bread out of your hand).

Fish Kefalonia

Our last holiday to Greece was over 10 years ago and we were really looking forward to the Greek Cuisine, we weren’t disappointed, the first thing that we had was Tzatziki which is a traditional greek appetiser usually eaten before the main meal, its main ingredients are Greek Yoghurt, Cucumber and Garlic, it was delicious and so much nicer than the shop bought version available in the UK, so when we got home I thought I would try and make my own using cucumbers, garlic and herbs from my garden.

Tzatziki

Home made Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 170g Greek Yoghurt
  • ½ large cucumber  or 1 small cucumber
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • Optional: Finely chopped Mint or Dill

Method

Grated cucumber

  1. Peel and cut your cucumber in half and remove the seeds, grate the cucumber flesh and place it into a sieve or colander over a bowl, mix in the salt and leave to stand for approximately one hour. Cucumbers contain a lot of water most of which needs to be extracted before you add your cucumber to the yoghurt, if not you will have a thin and watery Tzatziki.
  2. Whist your grated cucumber is standing, mix into your yoghurt the olive oil, lemon juice and the crushed garlic clove to allow the flavours to infuse, be cautious when adding your garlic, raw garlic especially crushed  is very strong and pungent – the smaller you cut garlic the stronger the flavour is, it may be an idea to add ½ clove at first.
  3. After an hour press down lightly on your grated cucumber to remove any remaining water and then stir into your yoghurt mixture.
  4. Add your herbs if required, in Greece some Tzatzikis contained finely chopped dill or mint or were served without either.
  5. Season with Ground Black Pepper
  6. Serve in a shallow dish or on a small plate, garnish with mint/dill or an olive and drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Eat with crusty bread or pitta bread.
  8. Enjoy!

I have made it twice since our return, the first time I used a whole garlic clove which I found quite strong, homemade is definitely worth making and so much better than our supermarket versions but regrettably it’s just not quite as good as the Greeks, I will have to start saving up for next year!

Now that I am back there are lots of jobs to catch up on in the garden and on the allotment click here for suggestions of what to do in your garden in September.

Gill

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