Tag Archives: Greek

My big fat Greek packed lunch

12 Jul

20120712-091548 AM.jpg

Yep, I’m still trying to chase down that Greek food dragon.

I get bored of normal salad (or indeed any packed lunch) fairly quickly, so I’m always keen for new spins to put on it. I’m fairly pleased with this combo: salad leaves, crumbled feta, Greek-style new potatoes and home-made tzatziki.

The potatoes are somewhere between a roast and a fondant – drizzled with olive oil and then shoved into a roasting pan with chicken stock, an oregano-heavy herb mix and an almost-literal ton of lemon juice. Thanks to a bit of confusion with the recipe (which called for two tablespoons of the seasoning mix; apparently this didn’t mean the properly measured type) the tzatziki is about more garlicky than I’d have ideally liked. Still, it’s pretty close, and a good way of incorporating cucumber, which I don’t really like on its own – plus, I should be able to nail it next time.

Monday’s attempt fared less well. After a morning sat in the office fridge, tzatziki and potato marinade had conspired to turn things into a sad, soggy mess. This morning, though, I stumbled upon a two-compartment takeaway container in the kitchen cupboard. Problem solved! I need to get me one of these ace Black + Blum lunchboxes.

Get her to the Greek

8 Jul

20120708-054913 PM.jpg
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…

20120708-054924 PM.jpg
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.

20120708-054935 PM.jpg
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.

20120708-054948 PM.jpg
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.

20120708-055000 PM.jpg
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.

20120708-055007 PM.jpg
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.

20120708-055018 PM.jpg
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.

20120708-055026 PM.jpg
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.

20120708-055032 PM.jpg
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?

20120708-062458 PM.jpg