Tag Archives: baklava

Get her to the Greek

8 Jul

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A couple of days ago, I returned from a week in Tsilivi, Zackynthos. Yes, I am still grumpy about being back in the British weather. And yes, I did drink enough cocktails to procure all of those little flags myself. But I also ate a lot of amazing Greek food. I’ll confine myself to the highlights…

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Saganaki. My favourite Greek starter from every family holiday ever, it’s local cheese (Google seems to suggest that kefalotyri and kasseri are common varieties), rolled in flour and fried. It has a wonderfully light, crisp crust to it, and tastes great liberally doused in lemon juice.

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Souvlaki. This mixed one – at Romios, like the saganaki – featured beef, lamb, pork, chicken and spicy village sausage. As the picture suggests, it’s basically a posh kebab – but with infinitely better seasoning.

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Meze plate. If the name isn’t Greek for “I don’t know what I want, so hit me with a bit of everything that’s tasty”, it bloody well ought to be. Deep breath: moussaka, lamb kleftiko, beef stifado, Zackynthian chicken (in a tomato and herb sauce with local cheese, although our maitre d’ at Calypso informed me that every restaurant has its own variation on the recipe), dolmades, tzatziki, Greek potatoes and potato salad… Oof.

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Kalamari. I have little patience with people who are squeamish about squid, especially when it’s absurdly fresh from the sea, like this was from Sweet Revenge. Also, crispy tentacles are the best.

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Roast chicken with olive oil, garlic and rosemary (again from Sweet Revenge). Simple, but with a ton of flavour. I really can’t wait to attempt to recreate this at home.

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Mixed dips – houmous, tzatziki, taramasalata and a spicy cheese dip called tyrokafteri. It sounds daft, but I’m always (pleasantly) surprised by how different fresh humour tastes from its supermarket counterpart; more garlicky by far, and thicker in texture. The Olive Tree‘s did not disappoint.

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Grilled swordfish. Greek islands were my family’s holiday default throughout my teenage years, but amazingly, at 23, this was my first trip as a meat-eater, having spent about six (some might say misguided) years as a pescetarian. As such, stuff like swordfish steak was a staple for me, so it was fantastic to revisit it at Athena and find it just as delicious as I fondly remembered.

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Baklava. Probably the most famous Greek dessert (this one also from Athena), chopped nuts wrapped in filo and then drenched in honey is always going to be a winner. That will probably give you impossibly high blood sugar levels, followed by type two diabetes. Worth it, though.

Squirrelled away in my suitcase on the flight home were several packets of herbs (oregano, mixes for souvlaki, tzatziki, potatoes, feta…), a couple of different olive oil blends and a Greek recipe book – *cough* but definitely no honey *cough* – so I’m really excited about giving some of this stuff a go myself.

In the mean time, though, is it really too much to ask that all of my drinks look like this?

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