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Sardeles Lemonates (Sardines in Lemon Sauce)

One of the best things about Greek cuisine is that each table offers an opportunity to sample many different dishes. A range of dishes are often placed in the middle so every gets to helps themselves to a sample of each dish. Finally, the delicious juices can be mopped up with a hunk of crusty bread. Sardeles Lemonates is the perfect dish for sharing and should be a staple at any table. 

 

Ingredients:

Olive oil for frying
5 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Half a hot chilli pepper (we like the green ones)
6 cups of cold water
1 kg of sardines, filleted (this is really easy but takes time. Cut the head off the sardine, hold the body in your hands and run your index finger down the belly taking out the guts of the fish. Run your finger down the belly for a second time until one fillet falls away from the bones. With a little gentle massaging the bones will come away in one piece leaving both fillets attached to each other.)
125 ml Olive oil (the good stuff - extra virgin)
30g butter
Juice of 2 lemons
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt
 

Method:

Lightly brown the potatoes, garlic and chilli-pepper in a little oil, pour in the cold water and boil for about 30 mins. 
Reduce the temperature, skim any foam and boil for a further 10 mins adding the sardines. 
Finally add the butter, lemon juice, parsley and salt and serve.
 

22nd Aug 2019

Posted by Ben Bland

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Garides Saganaki (Baked Prawns in Tomato Sauce)

When it comes to seafood look no further than Greek cuisine, and Garides Saganaki is a perfect example of this.  It’s a quick yet delicious Greek appetizer of prawns in a tomato sauce topped with gorgeous Feta cheese, perfect for long warm summer evenings with a glass of wine or Ouzo.

 

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil for frying
500 g tomatoes, peeled and diced (fresh or tinned)
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
Half a pimento, finely chopped
750g large prawns, shelled if you prefer
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
100g Feta cheese, crumbled
Salt
 

Methods:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes, garlic, pimento, prawns and parsley and cook gently over medium heat for 15 minutes. 
Stir in the Feta cheese and cook for a further 2 minutes and transfer to an earthenware casserole (we have a lovely clay pot which we bought in Sifnos island). 
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 
Serve hot with lots of kitchen roll for your fingers.
 
 

7th Aug 2019

Posted by Ben Bland

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Bourekakia Melitzanas: 3 Cheese Eggplant Appetizer Rolls Recipe

A mixture of three delicious kinds of cheese marks the filling for thin slices of eggplant that are rolled, dipped in flour, breadcrumbs, and egg, then fried to perfection. Make these in large batches because they will disappear very quickly!

Yield: about 50 pieces

 

Ingredients

 

FOR THE FILLING

- 1 egg

- 1 cup of cold water

- 1/2 cup of olive oil

- 2 cups of flour

- 1 can of evaporated milk

- 7 ounces (200 gr) of feta cheese, crumbled

- 3 1/2 (100 gr) ounces of kefalotyri (or pecorino), grated

- 1 3/4 ounces (50 gr) of edam cheese, grated

- 5 ounces (150 gr) of fresh dill, finely chopped

- Sea salt

- Freshly ground white pepper

FOR FRYING

- 3 eggs, beaten

- 1/2 pound (225 gr) of crushed toasted bread crumbs

- 1/2 pound (225 gr) of flour

- Oil for frying

- 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) of large eggplants

 

Method:

Beat the egg with the one cup of water until fully combined.

In a frying pan, heat 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add flour and, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, cook until golden. Add evaporated milk and the water-egg mixture and cook to combine thoroughly. The colour may darken.

Set aside to cool to room temperature and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Stir in cheeses and dill.

Trim eggplant stems and ends and cut in very thin slices lengthwise (around 50 slices total). Add several tablespoons of oil to a frying pan and sauté the eggplant slices until softened and lightly browned.

Take a rounded teaspoon of the filling and with hands, form into a small sausage shape. Place at one end of an eggplant strip and roll up.

To fry: Roll each eggplant roll in flour, dip in beaten egg, roll in toasted bread crumbs, and dip in egg once again. Fry in 1/4 inch of hot oil.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Image source: https://www.kopiaste.org/2008/01/melitzanes-me-feta-eggplant-rolls-with-feta/

23rd Jul 2019

Posted by Ben Bland

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Pretty Interesting - Greek Food

Gourmet is not something that most people associate with Greece. Retsina and a souvlaki kebabs accompanied by fresh tomatoes, heaps of Feta cheese and a bowl of olives immediately spring to mind and are much more associated with this Leventine land.

We have always mentioned to our more gastronomic guests that the culinary delights of Greece are based on simple fare. The taste of a juicy tomato the size of a grapefruit, skinned and drowned in lashings of olive oil, a sprinkling of wild thyme and the crunch of sea salt, mopped up with some fresh bread, warm from the oven. Or the explosion of the sea as you crunch on lightly fried baby squid enhanced with the zest of freshly squeezed lemon. 

Towards the end of last year we visited a fabulous restaurant in Athens. It was full of creativity and sensuous delights and although it was towards the more expensive end it was totally worth paying the extra. Tucked away in a corner of Keramikos we sat in the corner of the ‘Funky Gourmet Restaurant’. The food was served in a theatrical manner and as we bit into something that resembled an olive, served hanging on something that looked like a miniature olive tree, the initial taste was chocolatey with a salty after-taste, the combination of which lingered on the palette. We began to think that perhaps there was more on offer than the familiar flavours of Greece. It set us thinking…

 

Avgotaracho from Messolonghi

Apart from the fact that Lord Byron met his end in the salt marshes of Messolonghi, nothing of worth came from this mosquito infested area on the west coast of mainland Greece, until one discovers the taste of Avgotaracho.

Made from the roe of a flathead mullet that comes to spawn in the lagoon once a year, it is salted and then sealed in beeswax making it a rare delicacy with a fine aroma. Best accompanied by a glass of Sparkling Moschofilero and served as an appetizer.

 

Kozani Saffron

Grown on the outskirts of Western Macedonia, the quality of the saffron is considered one of the best in the world. The area has one of the lowest densities of population in Greece.

The Kozani Saffron Producers Cooperative was formed in 1971 in order to take advantage of the harvest and keep the local community alive. In 1992 the cooperative started to package and sell their saffron as a high quality product direct to the consumer. Kozani Saffron can fetch up to 1500 euros/kilo and the production is between 6 and 7 tons per year. The saffron is known for its antioxidant, antithrombotic, and anticancer qualities. It lends its golden colour and subtle aroma to risottos, sauces, and pastries.

 

Chios Mastic

Refusing to grow anywhere else in the world the Mastic tree found only on the south coast of Chios island produces a resin that contains 80 ingredients that have become famous for their therapeutic qualities from treating various types of cancer to lowering cholesterol.

Mastic gum was even sold to the Sultan’s harem as a breath freshener. Mastic is used for flavouring the liquors of Mastichato and Masticha and with its unique aromas transforms pastries and savoury dishes into gourmet delicacies.

 

Tsakonian Aubergines

Leonidio is the capital of Tsakonia and home to some 7000 Peloponnesians who love food. The eggplant owes its deliciousness to the microclimate of the area where it is not only eaten in its many more familiar forms - ‘imam baildi’, ‘melitzanosalata’ and ‘moussaka’ but also it is preserved, pickled, distilled into liquor and made into ice-cream!

 

Mainalo Spruce Honey

The rarest type of honey in the world is also found in the Peloponnese in the central region of Arcadia. Mainalo is a mountainous place where fir tree forests are abundant and it is here that the vanilla flavoured honey can be found.

It is exquisite with yeast bread baked in a terracotta oven, some spicy Graviera cheese and a glass of chilled white wine.

 

Greece is home to many more delicacies and culinary delights. I suppose our initial thoughts are still correct and the ‘gourmet of Greece’ is to be found in the simple things and wonderful produce that are unique to this very special and varied place.

 

Posted in    |   Tagged  Northern Peloponnese

10th Jul 2019

Posted by Ben Bland

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