This weekend it will be Greek Easter, a celebration that rather leaves Christmas in the shade when it comes down to all-out festivities and happiness and proper non commercial family gathering. This weekend will be all about candlelight processions, roasting lamb and competing to see whose red egg wins the battle of the tapping.
I credit Greece for introducing me to the real joys of home cooking and the love of herbs. No meal is complete without the aromatic touch of wild thyme, oregano, mint, rosemary or basil. From the fast street food souflaki to the long slow roasting of the traditional Easter lamb, herbs play an important part in giving Greek food its abundance of flavour and hint of spice.
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 lamb steaks
- 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
- 2 tablespoons chopped stoned olives
- 8 baby tomatoes cut in halves
- lettuce leaves of your own choice
- 125ml/4 fl oz Natural Greek yogurt
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- 2 large wraps
- Chop the onion into thin slices and crush the garlic
- Add these to a large bowl along with the rosemary, thyme and oregano
- Cut the lamb into bite sized pieces and snip up the bacon and add this to the bowl
- Mix together the olive oil and lemon juice with the seasoning and pour over the meat
- Cover and refridgerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavours develop
- Heat a heavy skillet on high and add the marinaded meat mixture along with the olives and baby tomatoes, stir while cooking for 5 - 8 minutes until all meat cooked through to your taste.
- Finely chop the mint and basil and stir into the yogurt
- Warm the wraps for 3 minutes in a low oven and cut them in half
- Spread each half wrap with the yogurt and lay on a few lettuce leaves, divide the meat mixture between the wraps and fold each over and wrap in a paper napkin
- Drizzle on any remaining yogurt and serve with a smile!
This is pretty quick to prepare, it is just the marinating time for the lamb with herbs in the fridge that adds an hour. Use this time to search out some bouncy Greek music on the Internet. Add some Zorba to your weekend and some fun fast Greek food to your table on this very special Easter weekend.
Today my mind is back on the islands, remembering sun tanned faces, big smiles and lots and lots of laughter. I wonder what happened to those people I knew all those years ago? I wonder what those places are like now? Funny how food brings back memories, I feel I could almost step off the boat on to the harbour side right now. Walk up to the Dapia kafeneon and sit there people watching with a tiny steaming cup of Greek coffee.
May Day, bank holidays and Greek Easter. Whatever you are celebrating this weekend enjoy every taste of it.