I’m not here right now, I’m there! I’m there in Greece, one of my very favourite countries, lapping up the sunshine on the island of Crete. It is 14 years since I was last in Crete and I have missed it so much. Having spent over five years working there in my misspent youth Greece (and more especially the Greek Islands) has had a pull on me like no other country. Maybe it is my spiritual home, who knows.
anyway I’m off on holiday just now so thought I would leave you with a couple of tasty and simple Greek dishes to give you a taste of some super recipes I shall share when I get home next week.
Enjoy this Tsatsiki and Greek Salad.
Tsatsiki is probably the most well known of the Greek dips. The cool mixture of cucumber, dill, mint, garlic and Greek yogurt is known the world over. You can buy it in any supermarket but when you make it yourself it taste so much better.
The first time I ever made tsatsiki was when I worked on the Greek island of Spetse (too many years ago to mention really) where I was working in my first holiday rep job. I had to make up the tsatsiki for the beach picnic and didn’t have a clue. I was fine when dealing with the cucumber and garlic but the yogurt was my downfall. How was I to know that good Greek yogurt (and of course that’s what you get over there) always has a little disc of waxed paper lurking on the top. I didn’t notice this and glibly chucked two cartons into the vast bowl of tsatsiki I was making. All was fine until the guests tucked into their picnic in the sunshine and some had the misfortune of munching on a mouthful of the hidden paper. I was mortified at my mistake and never lived it down with the other reps.
A simple Greek salad (or Horiatiki) makes the perfect lunch with some crusty bread. Add the tsatziki and you have a meal that will fill you up and please any gathering of friends on a summers day.
Use the freshest of veggies for your salad: juicy ripe tomatoes (use vine tomatoes for best flavour), crunchy cucumber, vibrant peppers, sharp onions and of course luscious black olives. Toss in the ubiquitous Feta cheese and olive oil and lemon juice and you are ready to go.
So here are two quick and easy recipes for you to try wherever you are while I enjoy reliving days gone by and building new memories in Crete.
- 1 cucumber
- pinch of salt
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp of mixed dill and mint leaves minced
- 500g/1 lb Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Greek Salad
- 6 vine tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 100g/3½oz black olives
- 150g/5oz Feta cheese
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
- Peel the cucumber and grate into a sieve lined with some kitchen paper.
- Add the salt and leave to drain over a plate for 20 minutes.
- Squeeze out as much liquid from the cucumber as possible and place the pulp in a bowl.
- Add the other ingredients to the bowl and stir well.
- Cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow flavours to develop.
- Greek Salad
- Chop the tomatoes, cucumber and pepper into large chunks and place in a large serving bowl.
- Slice the onion and add to the bowl.
- Add the Feta and olives and dress the salad with the olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and dried oregano.